December is normally one of my favorite months for being out on the streets here. That is because people are generally in a better mood and more receptive to talking about the Gospel as well as the fact that there are more people on the streets for shopping.
This year was quite a bit different as it was one of the colder Decembers and sickness was rampant around the city. It caused the streets to be quite a bit more subdued and people to just hurry along to stay warm.
Still, I was able to speak with several people on the streets about the Gospel. I also hit thousands of doors again with Gospel tracts as well. Please pray for 2 young men who I was able to talk to for a while in one of the neighborhoods.
The people from the Middle East
We have been having a bit of a growing process with the people that have been coming to church from the camps. It is hard at times to deal with them in the best way because there are those that seek people out that will be kind to them to take advantage of what they have to offer and that ends up causing problems for everyone in the camp. I have been finding the balance of helping and teaching while maintaining some caution with the newer visitors. There are even those who had not been to church for months who came back for a visit and it is hard to tell what exactly is their reason for coming at times. I had thought they had already left the country and am always surprised when they show up!
I had asked for prayer for one of the older men from the camp. He is really not afraid of anyone or of what they think. He will put his Bible on a chair outside his tent to let people know that it is a Christian there. That did not go over well with the majority of people in the camp who are Muslim. They had already been angry with him for bringing people to church. He argues with them that people have a right in this country to attend wherever they wish and it is good for people to hear the truth from the Bible.
Unfortunately, after some of this had gone on, one young man (who I had met and talked to at length before) stirred everyone up and got him kicked out of the camp. We arranged someplace he could stay for a couple of days as everyone tried to find something else for him. Thankfully, he was able to move in with a friend in our village! So, we are now in a position to help him more and have him more involved with the fellowship with the other faithful Middle Easterners from church who live near us. Please pray for his health as his back pain continues but we are thankful he is safe from harm for now.
Please pray for the people from church who I meet with weekly to discuss the Bible and answer questions. Some of these people are not saved but are certainly open to the Gospel.
Those of you who were here before may remember Harula, the older Greek lady from around the corner. Please pray for her as she is to have eye surgery and her blood sugar has been giving her problems lately.
Please for a young man who had come for a while and then fallen away but keeps saying he will come back to church soon. He has had a lot of things going on in his life and he really needs to get back to the Lord.
We just came through an incredible period of very snowy/cold weather here. From what we were told, it has been decades since it has snowed this much. Over half of the city was without water and pretty immobile for a couple of days as the streets were not drivable. Being from NY, we were used to it but the conditions of the roads and vehicles did not make it easy to deal with. At least our kids were able to play in the snow – the first time for 2 of our children! The city is finally digging out from it and things should be back to normal next week.
Thank you for your prayers and support of our family and the ministry here. It is amazing how much has happened in the last year! This time last year, we had no idea that we would have many Middle Eastern friends and church attenders and that several of them would come to know the Lord as Savior while they were here. Only God could make such things happen and it is a joy and thrill to be in His service!
Charlie, Rachel, and family