Moores in Macedonia: March-April 2020
Welcome to our news from the last two months. For so many of us in this season things are looking very different to how we expected, but God has been faithful and good. At the beginning of March springtime began and Macedonia came out of hibernation. We began the month really looking forward to increasing our street evangelism opportunities, connecting with more families and having the joy of two teams come from the UK to support the work of God here in Skopje.
AND GUESS WHAT GOD DID...
... lots! It didn’t quite work out as we planned. The teams were cancelled, the street evangelism scaled down and on the 10th of March Macedonia closed all of its schools and cafes due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result, the local outdoor area filled up with families. This gave us lots of opportunities to connect with new people and reconnect with people we had lost contact with. As the understanding of the virus grew and restrictions became tighter things started to quickly change. Gathering in people’s homes became banned and social distancing was introduced so we had to adapt our ways of working here, with communication being done on video message and over the phone.
We still believe that God wants to do things in this season and we are trying to join in with it as best we can. We have been able to use the time to invest in family and we have also been enjoying spending time with Scott who just made it to Macedonia before the lockdown began. We have had evening and weekend curfews here so we have spent a lot of time in the apartment together! Kristen was already being home educated so Katie has been working to adapt the curriculum to involve Josiah, with a bit of help from Carol Vorderman and Joe Wicks!
We have been trying to make the most of the season by reaching out in new ways to friends and neighbours. The children have made 32 rainbow paintings, one for each apartment in our building. We have written a message of support and hope on each one, along with an offer of help for anyone in need. These are being distributed this week so we are hopeful they will be a witness and bring hope to people who may be worried at this time. In addition to this, Scott and Ian have prepared a map of our local area and are taking some time most days to pray around the area, with the intention of walking down every road and path and covering our community in prayer.
UPDATES ON OTHER WORK
In our previous update we mentioned that we were beginning to work in Stip, another town in Macedonia. Prior to lockdown Ian managed to make a few visits to support the church there to build family on mission. Part of this work is doing street evangelism with Goran, one of the members of the church there. During one session Ian and Goran spoke to two young women to ask if they would like prayer for anything. One of them excitedly told us that she had been thinking about God recently and really wanted to believe in him but wasn’t sure if he was real. The night before we met her, she had prayed and asked God to show her if he was real. She couldn’t believe it when the next day she met us and we spoke to her about Jesus! It was great to be able to give her a Bible and some other resources so that she can begin a journey of discovering who Jesus is. It seems that many young people are not buying in to the traditional orthodox religious practices and are open to finding out more about what the Bible says and if it matches up to what they are seeing in front of them. We believe there is a great opportunity here for them to meet with Jesus and have their lives transformed by him. We intend to restart this work as soon as restrictions here are lifted.
In our previous update we mentioned that we planned to begin a similar work in Kumanovo, a town around 20 minutes’ drive from us. Unfortunately, we have been unable to start this work due to the restrictions. The town is currently on full lockdown with no one allowed in or out of the town. Hopefully we will be able to begin later this year.
One of the things that we feel that God is saying is that when things return to normal, (or whatever normal looks like!) that we should make some changes to the way we operate. Some things will stop, some things will change and others will have a greater focus. We are still trying to establish the details of what that will look like but one thing that has become clear is that we will be having a greater focus on the local area that we live in. This is something that has come out of our prayer walking and so we are hopeful and excited that God has big plans for our local community and we are looking forward to being part of what he wants to do.
PLEASE PRAY FOR...
Give thanks for our neighbour who has recently become a Christian. Please pray for her and her family and that we will be able to grow in Christ at the time.
Give thanks that we have had our visas renewed for a further 12 months until April 2021.
Please pray as we distribute the rainbow pictures to each apartment in our building, that the message would be well received and that we would be able to provide support for anyone in need.
Please pray as we seek God for the changes he wants us to make and that we will be able to bear fruit in whatever he asks us to do.
Please pray for the children as they are spending a lot more time inside at the moment and are unable to see their friends.
Please pray for the medical staff and the patients with Covid-19 in an underfunded and poor health service.
We are grateful to those who support us financially and we are thankful to God for his provision. If you are interested in supporting us financially either with a monthly or one-off contribution, please let us know.
Thank you for reading our update!
Ian, Katie, Kristen and Josiah.