March 13, 2014

The last month has been a good one here in Thessaloniki. We are getting out in more areas of the city for ministry and the warmer weather is bringing many more people out during the day and night. It is great to be here in the service of the Lord!

Earlier this month, there was a special Orthodox holiday for their time of lent. It was a time when they put costumes on and ate meat – all day long! Kayode and I had a great time throughout the evening/night as we made our way through all of the heavily populated areas of the city. We were able to witness to a few people – I was able to talk to a middle-aged man from Germany (George) for a while who thinks he is saved but hates God. Lord willing, he will take to heart the things and Scriptures I gave him and realize his need for God. Kayode was able to witness to a group of young men who listened to the gospel for quite a while. We each had other witnesses with people as well. All in all, even though it was meant to be a great night for the Orthodox, it worked out to be a great night for us as well! I did tell Kayode that we should have come in costume as well – as Orthodox priests! It may have helped us even more with reception! :)

Some man thought he would “help” Bro. Dan out with his sketch board. :)

Some man thought he would “help” Bro. Dan out with his sketch board. :)

The nighttime ministries in the area of the old palace and near the arch have been going very well. Everytime we are down there, we get to witness to college students. Kayode has been able to meet and witness to a young JW a couple of times that we met down there. He understands the JW doctrine is not perfect, but does not want to give in quite yet. Please pray for him. We have also had some college students come up and ask where the church is because they are interested in attending. We have yet to see them come out but we are still praying for them. Please pray for them with us.

I started attending Greek classes on the other side of the city and have already had great conversations with two of the ladies about the Lord. One of them says that she will come to church. In this case, I will be with these people twice each week, so I get to keep on them about it. :) There are 12 people in the class and I am making my way through the class to speak with them about the Lord. Please pray for these souls here. The other day was my first class there and we finished off the class by carrying on some Greek conversations with each other. One of the women asked me what my job was and I looked to the teacher to ask her how I would say “pastor” – I had already told her what we were doing here – and she was a little puzzled about what it might be so just told the woman that I was like a Babas (or little father, which is what they call their priests). The women got all excited and just kept saying, “Bravo, Bravo!” :) At least it gives me something to work with!

Within the church, things have been improving Spiritually. One of the men has been having great witnesses with his family. One of the family members wants to speak with me about salvation next time we are together. Another man in the church told me how much he wants to leave the things in the world that he has been involved in for so long because he sees how there is no hope or joy in them. He wants to start getting together weekly for studies (which before he had kept pushing off). It has been a blessing to have several one-on-one Bible studies with some of the guys here as it has been a joy to get to know them more and see them grow. Please pray for these men.

One of the men who had been coming quite regularly, Leonidas, just disappeared around September of last year. We had tried calling him but the number said his phone was disconnected. People that knew him did not know where he was either. We have been praying quite a bit for him that he would be safe and God would bring him back one day. He finally came this past Sunday. He had had major heart surgery last year and been in the hospital for two months. Since he got out, he has been having a very slow recovery. This was the first time he had been able to come to church again and he was happy to be there. Please pray that his recovery would continue to go well. It was such a relief to see him again and know that he is (finally) doing well!

Our family is doing great. Our daughter, Chloe, got saved this past Monday night! It was such a blessing and is such a joy to have our two oldest children saved and on their way to heaven. Our oldest son, Charlie (he got saved in December), had been telling me that he had been witnessing to Chloe and telling her that she needed to get saved. I told him that night, “See, that is such a good thing you did to tell her that she needed to get saved – now she did it!” He was really happy and told me, “Dad, now she can tell someone else how to get saved and they can tell someone else and it can keep going like that. That way, soon everyone in the world will know how to get saved and want to so that everyone can go to Heaven!” Such a sweet heart from our little 4 year old! We pray his interest in souls never leaves him!

Thank you all once again for your giving and prayers for the ministry here. We are thrilled to have a small part in it and be your extension on the ground here. May God bless you for all the physical work you did here and the spiritual work you do laboring in prayer.

In Christ,
Charlie Barkowski and family

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February 10, 2014

Church:
With the colder weather here (nothing like the US, so we are not complaining!), some people have not been at church in a while. However, it has started to pick back up again with a wonderful group of people at church today. The one-on-one Bible studies are going very well and seeing some growth. We also have seen some bring family members that we are praying for –please pray for these souls with us.

We had a sad time when Telemachus lost his nephew in a car accident. The nephew had translated for Bro. Brent last year so some at the church knew him (and a couple knew him well). I went to the funeral service with Telemachus and was able to meet many of his family members. Please pray for Telemachus and his family. He is doing well but could use the prayer for God to continue to help him.

I had the opportunity this weekend to spend some time with some of the guys outside of church. It was a blessing to be with them some more and get to know them a little better. We also had a church fellowship dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was a blessing to have many of them participate in making things for it.

Evangelism:
People are finally starting to be out on the street more lately! College students are slowly coming back and we are once again having a good time witnessing to them in various places around the city. I have gotten to know some people downtown better lately and being able to give them the Gospel. My Greek is slowly getting better for understanding (and speaking a bit more) so I am able to communicate a little better with some people. It is a blessing being out with Kayode as his Greek is very good! We are still doing night time evangelism in certain areas of the city each week and seeing great reception by the college crowd.

The hardest thing for me has been not being able to speak Greek well enough to take advantage of opportunities with “Greek” time. I was in an office the other day for a couple of hours and had people all around me in line – and none of them spoke English.

Family:
Our family is doing well. We had some family visiting last month and we enjoyed having them see the ministry here. Our kids are learning Greek words and the people at church love hearing Daniel (our little two-year old) speak some basic Greek.

Thank you
Thank you once again for your prayers! It is comforting to know that so many are praying for the work and for us. Please continue to do so. I have taken a couple of trips into the Middle East over the last couple of months and will be doing another one this month and next. Please pray for fruit on those trips and safety for my family while I am gone.

God bless!

Charlie and family

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January 15, 2014

Church

The church has seen some people come and visit and others leave. With the winter and holiday time, people move around more than normal so we are hoping and praying that they will come back soon. Please pray for Kosmas and Leonidas. They have been gone for a couple of months now and their phones are not working. We miss them (Kosmas had been coming faithfully almost every service for a couple of months). Telemachus has begun to come faithfully again. Please pray for his son, Alexis, who continues to have health issues. These health issues were the reason that Telemachus had been gone for a while.

We do praise the Lord for a son of one of the men – he has been coming quite regularly with his father (the son is a young teenager). Please pray for him that the Lord would do a work with him.

 

Evangelism

I couldn’t believe how slow things got around here once the middle of December hit! We go out in the evening often to pass out tracts and we thought that the evening time would be perfect in the shopping district near Christmas time. No! The stores were actually closed by 8PM on a Saturday night! We did have some crowds that we came upon but not like I would have thought.

Once it was a few days before Christmas, the city turned into more of a empty place than a regular city. The colleges had let out and the students left town (students make up the largest groups we talk to, especially at night). Some of the days I was downtown, there would be maybe a dozen people that would come around over the course of 20-30 minutes! This was like this for most of the time from Christmas to New Years – there were 8 days between Christmas and January 6th that stores were closed (which meant far fewer people out)!

On January 6th, they celebrated the 12th day of Christmas with a ceremony not far from the square. They would throw crosses into the harbor to bless the water and then have young men jump into the cold water to retrieve them. There were thousands of people out there that day. It was a very religious crowd of whom many scoffed at me as they passed. Praise the Lord that many still took tracts.

Now that the weather is warmer, the streets are again crowded so the evangelism has been going well. Kayode had to go back to London for a couple of weeks and he was sorely missed. It is good to be out with him again.

 

Family

We had a huge blessing a few weeks ago. I have been teaching on Wednesday nights on how to give someone the Gospel and what Scriptures to use. Our oldest son, Charlie (4 years old), began to ask a lot of questions and came to tears one night after church when he was saying that he knew he had sinned and he did not want to go to hell. We spoke for a while and then put him to bed. We continued to talk about it for the next week and one morning, he told me that he had gotten saved a couple of nights before when he was going to bed. I spoke with him for a while and he definitely understood it! We praise the Lord that one of our children has accepted the Lord! He is a different boy since then and always talking about the things of God. The day he got saved was just one week earlier than when I got saved at the same age. :)

We are still working on our Greek and it is coming along well. We are feeling more comfortable in speaking with people and I am even able to have some basic conversations on the street. Please pray that continues.

Thank you

Thank you all for your continued interest and prayer. We greatly appreciate it and need it! We praise the Lord that we have the opportunity to serve our Lord here in Thessaloniki. God bless!

Charlie and family

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December 1, 2013

THANK YOU!

First, let me thank all of you who have given to help the project here continue. Our support does not cover the church expenses here so we were in great prayer for the financial needs as the money was to run out in November. The Lord came through with a week to spare as God’s people gave to help it. It was a blessing to share the blessings with the church people here. Please know that they (and us!) are extremely grateful for you following the Lord’s leading!

Church
The church here is really doing well. For a time now, we have about 18-19 in attendance on Sunday morning. Since the last report, we have seen a couple of new people that have begun to attend regularly and have been a blessing. One of them is a college student from another country that has a great desire for the things of God and witnesses to people regularly.

I have been able to get together with many of the people during the week (outside of service) to have studies and find out where they are at spiritually. It is encouraging to be one-on-one with people and learn more about them as we look to be a blessing and pray for them with knowledge.

Evangelism
The evangelism has been carrying on as normal. The schedule is that typically Elia, Kayode, and myself will go out letter boxing a couple of days a week (normally) while Kayode and I will go out in the city center (sometimes with Tasos – another man who has been coming for a couple of months) and pass out tracts and search for people to witness to. On other days, I go out by myself and walk the route from church to the square as there are many college students (and some of them speak English) along the way. Then, on one or two nights a week, Kayode, Dan (another man at church), and myself will go out at night in Aristotle or near the old palace (down the street from the arch) and we will evangelize some more. Bro. Dan does sketch board preaching and Kayode and I have begun to play our instruments (guitar and trumpet) to gather the people before the preaching starts. After that, we will pass out tracts and Gospels of John to those who walk by the sketch board. Lately, we have seen many great witnesses come through this – some nights, all three of us will be engaged with people at once. The square near the palace is filled with college students and drug addicts at night. We see a lot of college students that stand to listen or come up to us. Please continue to pray for all of these outreach efforts that souls will be saved and the Gospel will continue to go out with free course.

Upcoming
When we were here last year, we noticed that they convert the square into a huge festival area of sorts for Christmas. We are planning to really take advantage of that this month as we saw the area filled with hundreds of families last year. We are not allowed to give tracts to children (of which there are many of at this time) but our children can! We plan on going down at nights as a family to reach as many people as possible while they are the most open of any time of the year. Also, one of the main streets that intersects near the square is the large shopping street. It is PACKED with people and has proven to be a very receptive place to pass out tracts at night. Please pray that we will be able to reach many people during this time!

Visitors
Since our last letter, we were blessed to have my in-laws (Evangelist Jim Walker and his wife Linda) come for a couple of weeks. I was gone for half of it to another country for evangelism so it was a blessing to have my father in-law and mother in-law here with my wife and kids. My father in-law was able to help replace and upgrade some things at the church as we look to make some improvements on it.

Last week, we were very blessed to have Bro. and Sister (Bernard) Courtney here for the week (they are from Bro. Knox’s church). They had volunteered to come to teach us as much Greek in a week as we could hold. It was an intense week! My wife and I picked up a lot from Bro. Bernard (Friday alone was 10 hours of Greek) and now we are going back through to match the hundreds of Greek words in our heads with the English translations :) We will be continuing this to be able to better minister with the people around us. Thank you, Courtney family!

Thank you for your prayers and continued interest! My family is doing very well here and enjoying life in Greece. The kids enjoy passing out tracts (they always make sure they have tracts on them whenever we are going anywhere) – even our little 1 year old who thinks they are called “Yassis” (hello) because that is what he says when he gives them out. :)

Talking to a man in the square.

Talking to a man in the square.

Rachel, Charlie, Eia, Tasos

Rachel, Charlie, Eia, Tasos

Brother Courtney and Elia

Brother Courtney and Elia

Charlie talking to a visitor one Sunday

Charlie talking to a visitor one Sunday

A small crowd listening to the message

A small crowd listening to the message

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October 18, 2013

[stextbox id="info"]Please note – This project only has funds on hand to cover expenses for one more month. If you have been waiting to help keep this project going, now would be a great time to jump in.[/stextbox](Donate through the web store by clicking here.)

Church
We continue to have new visitors to church. We have several that have come and a few that have kept coming back. We have been trying to do some things with the church building itself and many people have stepped forward to help out and participate, and doing so gladly. It is a blessing to see the church working together!

One of the new members does design work and has translated and laid out Bro. Logan’s doctrinal book into Greek. We are getting them printed up and planning to start some new studies for those who were not here for that last year. He is also helping us by doing some other design work to help us get the Gospel out even more.

Some of the people in the church have been wanting to participate in the evangelism and that has been a blessing. We are planning some larger outreach opportunities as the year comes to a close here and some of the people have already expressed excitement in helping out with it.

One of the great things that I enjoy seeing at any church is the length of time that people like to linger for fellowship after church. I believe it is a good sign to see people enjoying each others’ company in the Lord and it is very evident here. Most Sundays will see the last people leaving about an hour after service ends!

Please continue to pray for the people that come to church faithfully. It is surprising how many of them have difficulties with family members in relation to their desire to go to church. One of the men actually sneaks to the church and no one knows because of what their reaction to his coming here would be. One of the ladies is only allowed to read her Bible when she is not at home because her husband will not allow it. We are praying to see whole families saved and worshiping God together – please pray with us that this would be realized.

The other night, we were getting ready for church when a man came to the door and asked what “Baptists” were. He asked if this was some new movement because he had never heard of it before :). I began talking to him and found out that he was a Muslim from Iraq. I was able to witness to him for about half an hour. Please pray for Hamid that he would come back again and accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Towards the end of our conversation, Elia came to church and was able to communicate with him a little more deeply in his own language. It was a blessing for Elia and a good testimony for Hamid.

Evangelism
The evangelism has been going very well. We have begun to go out at night each week in addition to the day-time evangelism. One of the brothers here has been doing sketch board preaching. We found a great spot near the ruins of the old palace that sees hundreds of college students going by as well as a large gathering of drug users/drunks. We went out a couple of nights last week and saw many people stop to hear the preaching and many personal witnessing exchanges happen. As one of the brothers mentioned, the young people are really so important here since they really have no affiliation with the orthodox church and are willing to listen. We are really praying to see more young people saved and in church.

Our family has been going out together every so often as well. The kids are really enjoying going out – our littlest, Daniel (almost 2), calls it doing “yassas” (his little Greek for hello). He loves running up to people and saying that while handing a tract. It always neat to see people ignore us but take it from the kids.

We had a brother from the states, Bro. Pledger, that visited with us for a couple of days. One of the days, he and Kayode were talking to some of the guys selling bracelets. After giving the Gospel to them for a while, they bowed their heads in prayer to receive Christ – a blessing!

In addition to the public ministry, we have continued in the gospel distribution from house to house. We have been covering some very large areas lately. For the most part, the reception with those we are able to talk to when we are out in the neighborhoods has been good. I did have one middle-aged man that was angrily throwing a pile of them in the dumpster. I went over to get them out and he started yelling at me. I just took them back from him and the dumpster and went on my way. He started walking right behind me and grabbing them each time I went to put them at a house. I just started trying to see if I could out walk him before I resumed again – it took about 1/3 mile to do that. :) When he disappeared, I went up a bit more and worked my way back. It is always so discouraging to find someone like that who takes it upon themselves to prevent others from hearing the Gospel. There are many such Elymas (Acts 13) here.

The good part about people like this is that we had one lady that came to church on Wednesday as a result of finding the packet in thrown in the road. She came to church as a result! The Lord is able to continue working even when others mean it for evil.

We have some plans to branch out with some other avenues of outreach in the coming months. Please pray that God would bless it and that much fruit would come as a result. This past month has been a blessing here as we have seen more people going out to witness and many great witnessing opportunities with many people. The church has added some new faces and we have continued to meet with new visitors and have Bible studies with those as well. The family is doing great and we are very thankful to be involved in the work here. Thank you for your continued prayers and your support that helps keep this work going that so many of you have had a personal hand in.

Thanks for posting this for us!
God bless you!
Charlie

Young man who only spoke French getting the Gospel over the phone from Bro. Dan's wife in French!

Young man who only spoke French getting the Gospel over the phone from Bro. Dan’s wife in French!

Bro. Tim praying with the three young men

Bro. Tim praying with the three young men

Bro. Dan witnessing to a man who stopped to hear the preaching

Bro. Dan witnessing to a man who stopped to hear the preaching

Me witnessing to a young man walking by

Me witnessing to a young man walking by

Our little son Daniel and myself

Our little son Daniel and myself

Rachel and our other two children, Chloe and Charlie, while out witnessing

Rachel and our other two children, Chloe and Charlie, while out witnessing

Kayode witnessing to a young man for a while

Kayode witnessing to a young man for a while

People gathering around to hear the sermon

People gathering around to hear the sermon

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October 2, 2013

Church
Things are going very well at church. We have had a couple of new visitors – one came from an hour away to visit (but cannot come consistently). She is not saved and knows it. She will be moving out of the country soon but as promised to return before so she can talk with us more. We had another visitor a couple of weeks ago who has been a complete blessing. This brother got saved in Germany a few years ago and has not been in church for many months as he was trying to find one that would work for him. He listened to a lot of preaching online and finally figured that he was looking for a Baptist church. He ended up finding the only Baptist church in town and has been faithful ever since! We have been meeting once a week for Bible study and he is helping me with some Greek as well. He is very eager to help in church with anything and will be helping me with the layout and printing of some church invitations that we will start using door-to-door soon.

Last week, our regular translator was out of town and all of the options we had were not working out. Tasos (our new brother) was willing to try to translate and he did an excellent job! Praise the Lord for such willing church people!

The Wednesday evening Bible studies are going well also. The prayer meetings have been a blessing. A typical Wednesday evening starts at 7 with prayer, goes into the service and then we have about an hour or so of discussion afterwards. It is a real blessing to fellowship with everyone around the Word of God.

Evangelism
Elia has been faithful about going door-to-door with me lately. Every service, he eagerly asks when we are going to do it next. Kayode returned here after being in London for a while and went out with us as well. I had a portion of the map that we were going to work on and we ended up doing double the area while we were out. We went through several thousand that day.

We are starting to get feedback from people in the neighborhood around church as we continue. Many people are starting to ask friends/acquaintances about the church and I have had a chance to talk with some of them as well. My wife was witnessing to a woman in the city who was asking about the church only to have her daughter chime in by saying she knew where it was. It is a blessing!

As for street work, it is getting better as the people stop leaving town so much during the hot days. The days are beginning to get cooler which is bringing more people into the city. On one of my days home from the city, I stopped at the store to pick something up. (to preface, I had been praying lately for one of the police officers that had responded to the accident last month because he left before I was able to get him a Gospel tract. I really felt bad about that and had been praying that he might hear somehow). As I pulled into a parking spot, I recognized that the guy who pulled up next to me was the police officer I had been praying for (he was in plain clothes)! He remembered me as well from that day and I was able to give him a tract and tell him the Gospel. He listened and even said he would try to come to church some day! Please pray for this officer.

Yesterday was the start of the International Fair here in Thessaloniki. Our whole family went down to the city to pass out tracts. We got down there and noticed hundreds of police officers, many in riot gear, all around. It has been a while since there has been a big protest, but there were many that were beginning to assemble. We passed out many tracts to the people passing by – people were especially receptive with our children :). Our kids had a blast and can’t wait to go back down again. Getting out of there was a big problem as they shut down all the main roads in the center of the city. We didn’t realize, but as we were passing out tracks in the square, a couple of blocks up, the Prime Minister had come to give a speech. That was the reason for the huge crowds, protests, and police officers. Hey, whatever draws crowds is always a good thing for us, so a big thank you to the PM! :)

Thanks again for all of your prayers. We believe God is working here and we are very happy and thankful to be a part of it. We ask that you continue to pray for the work here that it would grow, spiritually and physically.

God bless,

Charlie, Rachel and family

Rachel and kids passing out tracts in the city

Rachel and kids passing out tracts in the city

Little Charlie and Big Charlie passing out tracts

Little Charlie and Big Charlie passing out tracts

Tasos translating last Sunday

Tasos translating last Sunday

Three men in the square who asked us for tracts

Three men in the square who asked us for tracts

Elia as we were going door-to-door

Elia as we were going door-to-door

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September 5, 2013

We offer our sincere appreciation for those who you who continue to pray for, be interested in, and support Project Thessalonica.

The church not only continues but is growing a bit under the direction of Brother Charles Barkowski. He has sent the following information, reluctantly, at my insistence, that it might be passed along to you. We do need some help to keep this work going. After reading the information below please respond if you will take responsibility for a portion of these expenses. Funds may be send to THE BIBLE Baptist Church designated for Project Thessalonica. You may also contribute to this project through the web store. Thank you.

“A couple of months ago, you asked about the financial situation. Here is what the finances look like for the church:

Rent – $520

Electric – $145 (give or take depending on usage)

Translator – 20 euro per service x 9 – $237

The other little things such as supplies, bus fare for Telemachus (for leading music) and such, we take care of on our own. With those three things, the monthly total for church is $902. After paying the latest rent, it looks as if we have enough from the $3500 (that was left in the church fund) left to cover through mid-November. There is a little in the offering on occasion which I put towards the expenses as well.

Our support is such that we have enough for our family (living expenses, etc) but would not really be able to cover the $900 right now. I am not worried – I know God has established this church here and He will provide.”

“As far as tracts, would you be able to put me in touch with some tract publishers that you may have worked with? We are beginning to run low on those and I would like to get some to a brother who is coming in a month. We will be out of the Gospel of Johns soon, but I am working with a new fellow here at church (great guy – we are having weekly Bible studies and he actually wants to study more than once a week because of his hunger!) to translate and get printed church flyers that we will begin using with the Bible tracts for letter boxing. We should be ok there, but the tracts are something we will have people start bringing if we can get some. My in-laws are coming next month as well, so they will bring a bunch.”

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August 18, 2013

Thank you to everyone for your prayers! We have finished our first month here and it has been a blessing.

The Square

The street ministry has been going well. We have been splitting out time between that and letter boxing. The square is quite hot this time of year, so by quiet time, we are sweating a great deal! But we can put up with a little heat and sweat to be able to tell others how to avoid an eternity in flames, right?

It has been difficult without having a translator or knowing the language. I have had a few people that wanted to talk about the tracts but had to continue because they did not speak English. There have been a few that I have been able to witness too, though. One of them was a young Orthodox man who was trying to reason with me for a while. He kept telling me that I was wrong and there was no need for me to be here because God Himself had established the Greek Orthodox church and it is the only one. The sad thing was that for all his religious zeal, he still freely admits that he does not know what will happen to him when he dies. I kept bringing it back to that and he thought I was most prideful to state that I knew with absolute certainty that I was going to Heaven. I showed him in the Bible how we can know that and tried to convince him of his need for a Savior. He started saying he did not speak English enough to talk about that – though he spoke perfect English up this point. Praise the Lord that the Holy Spirit can do His work regardless. Pray for this man – Panayotis.

Another day down at the square, I ran into Avra who has not been at church for a while. We were able to talk for about an hour about things that are going on in her life. She wants to come back but there are some things that she is dealing with – please pray that these would be resolved. The same day, I was stopped by Terry, another man who had come for a while but has been away. I was able to talk to him for a while as well. It was good to see familiar faces from church and be able to encourage them in the Lord.

Door-to-door

The letter boxing has been going well. We are rapidly going through the remaining supply of Gospels of John. We have moved through Kalamaria near the coast and are now approaching the area near church. Elia came out with me one day and is now hooked. He keeps wanting to know when we are going to go out again. He was very happy about being able to give out the Gospel and it was nice to have him with me when some people tried speaking with me as he speaks some Greek. It is so amazing when I walk into a building and see 60 mailboxes. To think that is just one building in a huge city of lost souls can be overwhelming but we are doing what we can do one person at a time.

One day on our way home from Kalamaria, someone pulled out of a street without looking and plowed right into our car. We got to experience the Greek way of handling such a thing – it took an hour for the police to come! The first thing that was said was that I am not supposed to be driving this car in Greece since I am an American, it is from Romania, and I am in Greece. Fortunately, his superior did not think it was that big of a deal and dropped it. This was an opportunity to tell the family who hit us the Gospel, especially since the Lord helped me not get upset (which they seemed to be surprised at). Fortunately, the car was still drivable – especially since it took a few weeks to just get their insurance company to finally tell us we could go it fixed.

On my way to the shop last week, I was one block away when another lady hit me – in the same spot! I have not had an accident in 15 years of driving – until I got to Greece! Fortunately, both of them were not my fault and no one was hurt. Tomorrow, Lord willing, the car will finally get fixed.

The Lord has used situations like this to slow me down. In America, I am always used to being in a hurry and having to do something. Here, I get to use things like this as a way to give the Gospel to the people that have literally been put in my way.

Church

Church has been going well. We are right around 20 people (or more) every Sunday and about 10 on Wednesday. Our translator, Dimitris, had his family come to church a couple of weeks ago and we were happy to get to know them. Last Sunday, the mother of a lady from our church in NY came to church with her sisters and niece and we got to go out for a time of fellowship after church. Today, we had a lady come from an hour away. She had talked to Angelo a number of months back but this was her first time here. Please pray for Vasilka – she is not saved and does want to come back. She enjoyed the service today and wants to make the trip back at some point. Also, we had a new man, Tasos, that came to church. He got saved a number of years ago in a Brethren church in Germany and has been back in Thessaloniki for a little while. He is looking for a church to make his own and will be coming back on Wednesday. His wife and son are not saved, so please pray for them.

We saw our first soul saved here on Wednesday. Telemachos had brought his son Alexis again to church. He asked if I would talk to him because he was not sure he was saved. I spoke to him through the translator for quite a while. He did not really think he had ever sinned so we dealt with that. After hearing the Gospel, he said he did want to get saved and went ahead and prayed on his own. He has many physical ailments but is now a new creature, spiritually. Please pray for him and his situations.

That night after church, we had a long time of talking with the people about issues of the Bible. I had just started to teach a series on Wednesdays on the Promises of God and had taught the first one about Eternal Security. A new man came that night that wanted to ask a lot of questions. He says he is a religious historian of sorts and likes to see his spiritual beliefs “evolve”. I spoke with him for a long time about his spiritual concerns. Please pray that his heart would be open for the Lord and that he would return.

Thank you all for your prayers for this ministry! We have started to have prayer before church on Wednesdays and more of the people are coming to that. It is a blessing to hear them pray for the people who have given and come here over the last year to spread the Gospel. They have not forgotten the sacrifices that you all have made! Thank you for that. The church is growing and you all have had a major part in that. What a joy to serve such our worth Savior together!

In His Service,

Charlie and family

Our youngest son Daniel "singing" at church

Our youngest son Daniel “singing” at church

Our after church discussion one night

Our after church discussion one night

Elia talking with Charlie before church on Wednesday

Elia talking with Charlie before church on Wednesday

Dimitris (our translator) and I after a Sunday service

Dimitris (our translator) and I after a Sunday service

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July 22, 2013

Thank you for the prayers for our family. We arrived back in Thessaloniki late on July 11th. We took the next few days to settle in and get the things that we needed for our new home here. My youngest sister was able to come with us and will be here to minister with us for a while.

It is always great to see how the Lord works. When I had arrived back in Rochester, I was surprised to find that our passports had not arrived yet. We gave it another couple of days and then a friend began calling daily to try and find out when the passports would be sent. On July 5th, we still did not have them and we only had 3 mailing days left to receive them by. We found out that the lady that had handled our passports had left the US on vacation so our passports were just sitting somewhere. Praise the Lord, a gentleman called back (after repeated voicemails) and said he had our passports and asked if we wanted them sent to us in the envelope we had sent – YES PLEASE! :) We received them the next day and much to our surprise and delight, our visas were for 1 year instead of the few months we were told they would be! This means that during our stay here, we will not need to go do any more work on our paperwork! A big thank you to Mrs. Koletas for all of her hard work on getting this done!

Our first Sunday all back was a great blessing. The people of the church were so loving to my family and were so happy to see us back. One of the ladies had taken 6 hours to do a deep cleaning of the church to make sure it was perfectly clean for our children!

We have been able to go back to the square and pass out tracts. It is quite different to not have a translator to assist with the street work. Please pray as I am hard at work to learn as much Greek as possible to communicate with these people. We already had quite a few people who had come back to talk and we were not able to go anywhere with it.

On Wednesday, after service was over, we had a middle-age man named George that came in. He had received a gospel tract and came by the church only to arrive after the service started. He had not wanted to interrupt so he stayed outside the whole service and then came in to talk to us. He said he has been searching for answers and Telemachus was able to talk with him for a few minutes. He said he works Sunday but will be back on Wednesday. Please pray for him and his salvation!

The weekends during the summer have empty streets. We went downtown on Saturday only to find the square empty and most places closed. Most of the people have vacation in July and August so they leave town because of the heat. Fortunately, we still had a full church this morning. There were 18 people at church today, including Kosmas, who is a friend of Telemachus. I had a good conversation with him after church has part of the sermon had been about traditions and he had many questions about the traditions of men. Please keep him in prayer.

Our family is gradually getting used to life here again. We will be looking at some more areas of ministry opportunity in the next couple of weeks as well as continuing in the evangelism that has already been started. Thank you so much for your prayers for this ministry and your interest of it. We count ourselves very blessed that God has allowed us to minister here for a while.

Charlie and family

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July 1, 2013

It has been good to be back in Thessaloniki. I had a wonderful time with the Logans before they left. They have done a wonderful job here and I was happy to get to spend some time with them before their departure. After that, it was getting stuff unpacked and getting some more of the things that our family needs when we all return in early July. In the meantime, I was able to get a lot of tracts out, was able to witness to a few people, and had some great church services. Bro. Brent had finished going through I Thessalonians so I started II Thessalonians and just finished the first chapter. It was good to be able to show them once again the difficulties that the devil tries to bring our way as we live for Christ and also how beneficial the church is to support each other and for the fellowship of the believer. We also covered how to pray for each other and why that is so essential for the growth of the church and our own spiritual maturity.

I am heading back to NY to get the rest of my family and we will all return together to Thessaloniki next week. Praise the Lord, our visa approval came through. We should have our passports shortly and be ready to go. We have a lot of ministering to do when we return to Greece and we are looking forward to it. We do not know how long the Lord will allow us to stay here before continuing on, but we are so grateful to all of you who prayed, gave, and labored to see this body of believers spring up in Thessaloniki. It is a glorious thing to see these faithful people hungry for fellowship and the Word of God. When we return, we are going to do our best to become more involved with the people and to do our best to help them mature more as we continue to evangelize.

Please pray for something – my last time here, I was unable to connect with the Jewish community and that was something I had really desired to do. This is one of my goals during my time here as that is a burden of my heart. The Logans’ last Sunday, a visitor came to the church and we were talking after the service. He mentioned that I look just like the rabbi of the city and that he is a friend of his. Long story short, when we return, he is going to set up a lunch for the three of us. Please pray for the Lord’s will in all of that.

God bless,
Charlie Barkowski

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