Moores in Macedonia: July 2021
We hope all is well with you, here is our latest update from Macedonia:
‘Where will you be in 100 years time?’
We are delighted to be able to let you know that a few weeks ago we had the privilege of seeing a lady from Stip come to Jesus. In a conversation we had with her she spoke to us about how she thought that her good works would be sufficient for her to be welcomed into heaven, that being a ‘good person’ gets you to heaven and that in 100 years’ time that is where she would be. We shared with her the reality that no person is ‘good enough’ to get to heaven and how our good deeds are not enough. We spoke about what Jesus did on the cross and that the only way to heaven is through the cross of Christ. We talked about how we could have full assurance of an eternity with Jesus by coming to him for forgiveness. At the end of our conversation when we were about to leave she asked us to pray with her to receive Christ.
One of the wonderful things about this story is how God has used many different people from the body of Christ to help reach this lady. The first contact was made by Goran and Ian. They met with her for a few weeks but then the relationship went quiet. A little while later she was visited by Scott and Vladko and seemed to be really interested in talking about Jesus. After a few weeks of meeting with her we saw her interest increase over a few weeks until she received Jesus. This lady owns a fruit and vegetable stall in the town and we visit her weekly to encourage and pray with her. We are trying to link her with a local church.
All of the followers of Christ have a role to play in sharing the good news with others and we never know the impact we can have. Whether you are the one praying with someone to receive Jesus or being someone who makes a first contact with someone or helps keep a relationship going, what you do is valuable for the kingdom.
‘Every day they continued to meet together’ (Acts 2:46)
Like many followers of Jesus, we consider the example set by the early church in Acts 2 as a model for what church could be like. One of the challenges we have often seen in contemporary western culture is how to do the ‘daily’ part. How do we connect daily in a contemporary society where people live that bit further apart and work in many different places and at different times? Well, earlier this month we had a bit of a revelation: we are further along than we thought!
In previous updates we have mentioned how Monday to Friday we gather to read scripture with a group of other Christians online. We have developed this over the past few months to begin a little earlier for those who want to join in for a quick catch up and then we also have added on a prayer time to the end for those who can stay, where we work through the Lord’s prayer during the course of the week and pray for each other as needed. We have a group of people who are committed to doing this daily. It has been a huge source of encouragement and blessing for ourselves and the others that are part of the group.
We firmly believe that an online meeting can never be an adequate substitute for face-to-face gatherings but we have found that a positive result of lockdown was that we have been able to develop a way of connecting almost daily with other believers. We hope to develop this more and more in the coming months. Our dream is that the church would be a beacon of light in the community as we seek to glorify Him in all that we do.
We have completed our study of the ‘Masterplan of Evangelism’ book with the group now. We then have begun to explore how we can put it into practice and we have decided as a group that in September, once the holiday season is over that we will begin a Discovery Bible Study, which will be hosted in the home of one of the members. This is a great opportunity to invite friends and family who we are all trying to reach with the gospel message and are interested in finding out more.
In the community
During the summer months most of the afternoons are too hot for going outside, especially for children. Take a walk through our local area at 2 in the afternoon and you will meet… no one! But after 6pm, as the temperatures start to drop, people begin to come outdoors. It has been wonderful to get out into our local park in the evening and strengthen our connections with local families and build new relationships. We feel as though we are growing deeper roots into our community and have a good number of connections. Most evenings we spend outdoors chatting with our neighbours while the children play together. These summer and early autumn months are important seasons for doing this and we are expectant for what God will do in these upcoming months.
Many people responded with encouragement regarding our community picnic idea in our previous newsletter. To be honest it has been quite slow going! In the first month we had two rained off – which is unheard of in Macedonia! However, we have had neighbours and other members of the church join us for some of the ones that have gone ahead which has been encouraging. As the weather has got considerably hotter over the past few weeks, lunchtimes in the park are very quiet, so we are having a rethink on how to do community meals, but we are still committed to trying out new ideas and ways of sharing food together as a family on mission.
Thank you to all who pray for us, please would you pray about the following:
Please give thanks for the new Christian in Stip, that she would grow in her faith and be connected to a community of believers who will help her to grow as a disciple of Christ.
For the launch of the Discovery Bible Study in September, that it would be an opportunity for those who don’t know Jesus and want to find out more to connect with his word.
For more inroads into our local community and clarity on the way forward with how to invest locally.
Ian, Katie, Kristen and Josiah.