Tales from the Macedonian Mission Field - January/February 2021 Update
I hope you are all well. Even in the midst of lockdown and pandemic restrictions the discipleship journey continues. During this time where we may have felt like we are going through quite a tough time of pruning, I am encouraged that God does it in order to prepare us for even greater growth. How our relationship with Him is growing, our faith is growing, the openness amongst those who don't yet know Him is growing. Or maybe God has planted a fresh vision in your heart, and you have been scattering fresh seed into that soil. Are you thinking that you are not really seeing much fruit? Well, the thought that goes through my mind as I write this is that once a seed is planted, the growth that takes place is first and foremost below ground as the roots spread out. It is only after a while that we start to see that growth coming through the surface.
The last two months has been a time of development in some areas and pauses in others. My new room-mate, Luka has now moved into the apartment at the start of January. This has been a great time of developing our friendship, spending some time during most days in prayer and worship, and also in a very practical way of helping me to develop my language skills. I thank God for him and the blessing that he is.
As you may recall from my previous update, we have started to have some lads over every week to spend time together seeking God and processing His Word. We are looking at how we can develop this. How we can develop the Biblical culture of 'sharing life together' like seen in Acts 2:42-47 in a Macedonian context. It has exciting prospects. Currently, Covid restrictions don't allow us to meet in groups larger than 4 people in homes, but as they do, we will be seeking to grow our gatherings together incorporating a missional dynamic into it.
As we know from Scripture that discipleship is not a 'lone wolf' lifestyle. It requires us to walk through life with our master and teacher, and also with each other. It is a time intensive journey. So also, I have been looking for some guys that I can spend time investing in. One such guy, called Ljupcho (pronounced Loopcho) I have met since my last newsletter. He's 28 and been in relationship with the Lord for about a year, coming from an Orthodox Church background. He's an amazing guy with a passionate desire to know the Lord more and grow in sharing the Gospel with people. I have regularly started meeting up with him, processing what's going in life, what the Lord has to say about it, and process how we can engage his non-Christian friends with the gospel.
We continue to have some very positive conversations with people in Stip during our times of mission there. The cold winter months have meant that we in some ways have had to change strategy during this time. As well as continuing to engage the people that are around on the streets, we have started to spend time engaging with people in cafes. One café in particular has become our focus, as we have been welcomed warmly there by the owners and staff. We have had almost weekly opportunities to engage with them and some customers, offering prayer and giving them some Scriptures. As we read in the Bible Jesus explaining about the 'person of peace'. This has become to us a 'restaurant of peace'. The restaurant owner, Jovan, has had past experience of being around Christians, and is always very warm towards us.
This last two months has been a very difficult season for churches here in Macedonia, church leaders in particular, due to illness and death. In the last two months, the main Evangelical leader in Macedonia, Pastor Mirche has died of Covid. The wife of another church leader, Anet-Marie has also died of cancer. And many other leaders have been or are still ill with Covid or another illness, and so have been in hospital or isolating. In one evangelical church, seven leaders came down with Covid at once. Prayer is very much valued for God's protection over the leaders. This has further inhibited a lot of things on top of current restrictions, in particular generally meeting with each other.
My new room-mate Luka.
Being able to start developing and processing what a missional household can look like in the apartment.
The mission in Stip with the openness and welcome we have received at the cafe with the opportunities to engage with people about the Gospel there.
New connection with Ljupcho
Protection over the church leaders from sickness and disease.
Continued prayer for development and growth of the missions work we are engaged in, with an increasing depth of discipleship with those we are in relationship with.
That my visa extension application (which will start being processed this month) will be smooth with God's grace over it.
At the time of sending this newsletter out, I am back in the UK. My dad sadly passed away on the 2nd of March, so I have returned to be with family and help out with all the preparations that need to be made. I am aiming to get back to Macedonia in the first half of April, which will enable me to continue with the visa process. Please pray for God's peace and comfort over the family during the time of grief, and His grace over all remaining preparations that need to be made.
Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. I very much appreciate it, and love keeping in contact with you. Stay in touch.
Love and God bless,
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