Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! We have had a good last month or so as well as having some sad times but we are still blessed to be here.
Speaking of being here, we officially received our 3 year residency permits last week so we are able to stay for another 3 years. This was something that took a long time to take care of last time and even though it took a bit of time and running around this time, it still seemed to go faster this time around. Not sure if it really did go faster or if we are just getting used to how the government is around here. 🙂
We have seen many of the people that we wrote about last move on over the last month. These brothers and sisters from the Middle East really had wanted to stay here but the prospect of no future in the area of employment left things very difficult for them. Bit by bit they moved away. We still have 4 of them left here with another couple moving back here this week. Please pray for each of these people as the way of passage is not always so easy. I spoke to one of the guys tonight when he called me from a jail here in Greece because he had not showed up for his asylum interview here (even though his paper is still valid for 10 days and he had been trying to move on, not stay in Greece). He said that they told him that he will have to stay there for 3 -6 months. Given the abundance of immigrants and the lack of resources to handle it all, there are some places where this is the response that they make with such situations. This is a reality of the immigrant situation here and it is something we have become familiar with as we try to deal with the immigrants around us.
While it has been sad to say goodbye to many of these people, it was also a reminder of how important it is to use the time we have. I only met them back in early March but already our family had grown close to them in this time. I met with them 1 (mostly 2) times each week to teach them English and the Bible as well as them coming to every church service. We have had baptisms, extra Bible studies, one on one study times, even a wedding. A lot has happened with them in the space of 4 months and we thank God for the time we had. We thank God that we will be able to also keep in touch with them as they move on and that many of them received a lot of Bible in a short amount of time.
We have had some people come to church that are not saved and I have had some very good studies and witnesses with them. Please pray for these Greek people that God would work in their hearts and they would see their need for Christ.
Every couple of months, I blanket our neighborhoods around the church with tracts and this past week was one of those times. Praise the Lord, we had a visitor at church this morning as a result of one of the tracts! His name is Vangelis and he is really searching. I and a man from church were able to talk with him for a while after church today and he knows he is unsaved but is really interested in coming back to hear more.
Our family has been blessed to have had my parents here for a while and to now have two ladies from the US – Sue and Aimée – here helping us with the move and with the work. Nothing in Greece moves fast and that includes paperwork for our move so we have been moving things bit by bit as we have time and they have been an incredible help in that as well as in our evangelism efforts.
We are approaching the hottest part of the year here which means the city will be shutting down for about a week as everyone heads to the beaches. It becomes very quiet around here! But, tourists continue to come and each summer, we have many tourists that come to church as they want someplace to worship at. We were blessed to have a sweet older couple last week from Sweden and it was an encouragement to us to spend sometime with them.
Thank you all again for your continued interest, prayers, and support of this work here in Thessaloniki. We have some ups and downs but it is always an encouragement to know there are so many praying for our family and the ministry. Please know that we are very grateful for all of you and that you are in our prayers as well.
Charlie and family