Tales from the Macedonian Mission Field - September/October 2021 Update
I hope this update finds you well, and that you are enjoying the changing colour of the trees as we progress through Autumn. Have you noticed that it doesn't matter at what stage of life a plant or tree is at, how young or how old it is, that it is affected by the seasons regardless? That just because a plant or tree might be young, does not mean that it will go through a process of constant growth all year around. Even to them, as they sense the changing of the weather with winter approaching, they go into a stage of dormancy until the following spring.
So with us. Even though your ministry or my ministry might be 'small' at the moment from our perspective, it does not mean that we won't go through the process of pruning, where we are cut back even further. By this Jesus enables even further and stronger growth. The line that has been going around in my mind is to 'start small, but dream big'. Each of us has to start somewhere. From Scripture, we know that our starting point, in all stages of life is to 'seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness' (Matthew 6:33). It also says in Scripture, in Zechariah 4:10, and I love how it's put in the New Living Translation, "do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin." So, we may start small, but if we press into God, and take those step-by-step movements of obedience to Him, working towards various goals in living out the Great Commission, then just like the mustard seed that grows into the largest of plants, or the drop of water falling into a pool that creates a ripple effect, we will see His Kingdom grow in our communities and beyond. "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV).
Here in Macedonia at the moment, the Covid situation has changed quite a bit since the last newsletter. A Covid passport scheme has now been introduced, whereby entrance to many places, such as coffee shops, restaurants, enclosed shopping centres etc is restricted to people who have been vaccinated. This has meant that meeting with people has had to change. There is a very large number of people who haven't had a vaccination, and so meeting up in a coffee shop is now no longer an option for multiple people. So, this has led to more walking meetings. This will probably not continue for any great length of time moving into the winter as the temperatures get lower and the smog increases and becomes denser. The plus side to this though is that it leads to an increase of activity of people being in and out of each other's homes. We continue to meet up with people from our church and local community, looking at how they can take those next steps of following Jesus in their day-to-day life, growing in their awareness of who He is, who He has called and created them to be, and how to apply and outwork that. As part of that, we are growing in our connections with people from the local community, and it is exciting to see how that all unfolds.
These last couple of months have seen me meeting up with and getting to know more leaders across the church here in Skopje. Everything works by relationship here in Macedonia, to a stronger degree than in the UK, so establishing and deepening these friendships with the leaders is vital to being able to serve and developing a working partnership, especially where the House of Prayer is concerned. To discuss and process where we have shared vision, and how we can work together in that. It has been so wonderful to do this, to introduce myself to them, and hear their story, what God has been and is doing in their lives, and the vision that He has placed on their hearts.
The Macedonia House of Prayer is now moving forward in actively looking for a building to host intercessional ministry, and in partnering with other ministries in that venture. At the stage of sending this newsletter out, we have put forward a lease proposal to an organisation for the use of their building, and are waiting to hear back. We are expecting a team of ten from WYAM Amsterdam to arrive at the end of November for up to three months, so logistical preparations will need to be made for that also. A building would be a great tool to have in that regard, but we recognise that even if the MakHOP does not have a building of its own by that point, the Lord will enable other doors to open to facilitate the team.
Below is a couple of photos of the area where we are looking for a new building for the House of Prayer. Around by the Old Bazaar area of the city centre.
In other news, in Shtip, we have recently been introduced to a friend of one of our team members. This is going really well, with the strong possibility that very shortly we could be having a Bible study in this friend's home. He has recently been injured, breaking some of the bones in his legs, so please pray for a speedy healing for him as it currently means he is not able to work. Engaging him is going alongside continuing to meet with another connection who is always happy to see, read some Scripture and pray with us. Her current working condition is that she is currently working seven days a week, and isn't able to afford to pay for extra help on the fruit and vegetable stall. So this is proving hard in being able to engage her more fully in community. However, we are very pleased with the way our relationship with her is developing, and how we have been able to serve each other in that.
Below is a photo of Shtip. It is a beautiful town of about 45,000 people.
For the growing connections with people in the local community and openness to discussing the message of the gospel.
For our new connection in Shtip, and continued engagement and growth in relationship with our existing connection.
For the church leaders, and my growing number of connections and relationships with them.
For a growth in home community, with people meeting together, sharing together, breaking bread, worshipping and praying together in each other's homes.
For the continued growth of connections with people from the local community, and with church leaders.
For an open door for the MakHOP to be able to utilise a building for physical prayer gatherings, and partnership with other ministries.
For healing in our Shtip connection' bones, and the establishment of a gospel community in his home.
For our other connection in Shtip, that she is able to take the step of reducing her working days that she can engage more fully in Christian community and that God will make up the shortfall in her finances.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and your partnership in the gospel, both in prayer and financially for those able to do so. I could not do what I do without your support, and because of it, you are very much a part of what God is doing here. Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing. I very much enjoy hearing from you.
Much love, and Christ's richest blessings.
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