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Greece Summer 2014

Athens, Greece June 20-28, 2014

TLI provides the curriculum and teachers for a Bible Institute in Athens, Greece that serves the needs of the immigrant community. Classes are offered in four separate locations and in four languages for the following: Arabic, Farsi, Romanian and English speakers (for African and Filipino church leaders.) The immigrant community of Athens is roughly 20% of the city's population and there is very little theological training offered in these languages. You are invited to come and help provide leadership training for current and future church leaders among the immigrant community. Many current church leaders are former Muslims who now have a great opportunity to reach Muslims who have emigrated to Europe from Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Follow along as teachers in the field offer their experiences as they share theological training with local church leaders.

Field Notes   Greece Summer 2014

Jun  29th,  2014Praise the Lord

"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;

I will sing praises to you among the nations."  Psalm 57:9

Our formal teaching time has drawn to a close this week in Athens, Greece.  It has been an impacting time for us all.  We strengthened existing friendships and were blessed with new ones. We worked our way through the Gospel of John and modeled expository preaching. We taught leaders from several different nations to be good contextual readers of Scripture and to allow the Word of God to structure our thoughts.  

The final two days we were priviledged to hear sermons from some of the students.  It was a joy to hear experienced preachers grow bolder in shaping their message directly from the Scripture text. It was exciting to hear the Lord raising up new voices to declare His praise.  Each of our teaching groups reported to us that they benefited from the content of the TLI curiculum and our physical presence here in Athens.  I asked a group of African leaders how the TLI courses had impacted them. Their faces immediately brightened and they said: "Praise the Lord!  We have learned so much from each of these classes.  You have brought us what we really need."  

We experienced several confirmations of God's sovereign presence among us.  We received very concrete answers to prayer as a team.  We savored the experience of being in the company of the greatest missionary of all time, Jesus Christ. We thank God for the unique and valued contributions of every team member.  We look forward to the next opportunity that Jesus Christ will give us to honor His Name.  We thank you for all who have supported this team with your gifts and prayers. 

May the Lord of all nations continue to send workers into His fields of harvest.  Amen.

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Jun  26th,  2014Preaching the Glory of Christ

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."  John 21:25

Our class this summer has been focused on the Gospel of John and moving from the text of Scripture to expository preaching.  It is a tremendous blessing to spend such dedicated time pouring over the text of God's Word together with believers from many different backgrounds.  We are growing in our ability to understand the Word and to communicate it effectively.  We have been emphasizing in our curriculum to read Scripture with God at the center and to follow the flow of thought within the passage before us.  We then try to build our sermon around the structure of the Scripture itself.

We have four separate groups meeting around the city each afternoon and evening.  A significant part of our mission has been encouragement to local Christian leaders and workers.  Our Romanian teachers have been used by the Lord to strengthen the faith of the Romanian pastor and key church leaders.  We have been impressed with their commitment to Scripture and heart for evangelism.

Our Pakistani group is eager to learn more of God's Word.  Some members of this group are new arrivals to the city.  Their stories are filled with tremendous suffering and the high cost of following the Lord Jesus.

Our Iranian group has a sweet spirit and determination.  They too face many obstacles in building a new life in Greece.  Most hope to move from here into more stable parts of Europe.  We must minister to them as long as the opportunity exists.

Our African group has representatives from several nations.  They too are attentive and insightful as we pursue the text in class.  Last night, we ended with a period of open questions that helped us see many of the pastoral issues that they face.

Please continue to pray for God's blessing and protection of our team.  Pray that the Lord will use us to help present the churches as the pure and spotless bride of Christ.  Pray for the gospel workers here serving long term.  Pray for the Greek churches and an outpouring of God's Spirit in this beautiful, ancient, complex, and strategic country.


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Jun  22nd,  2014The Power of Prayer

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. (Psa 141:2)

We arrived safely in Athens, Greece and have been drawn close to Christ in prayer throughout the early stages of our trip.  Our sovereign Lord has placed His servants all along our path.  Before we left the Cincinnati airport, we were prayed for by one of Christ's servants who had just returned from Athens.  We had the opportunity to share our faith in several different conversations during our flights. Our orientation with local missionaries had a special emphasis on prayer.  We have prayed for others, each other, and those we are serving.  The Lord has answered us when we have called upon Him.

Today has been a full day of ministry.  We worshipped this morning at the First Greek Evangelical Church and heard a powerful sermon on the prayer of Hannah.  Pastor Giotis taught us to seek God above all and followed 1 Samuel 1-2 all the way to Christ as the ultimate and sufficient answer to every prayer.

This afternoon we met with an Iranian pastor and learned more of God's special work among this community.  In the evening, we dispersed around the city as team members preached at the Romanian, Pakistani, Iranian, and Greek churches.  The gathered Pakistani group finished the meeting by writing out their prayer requests by hand.  We praise God for the privilege of being here together to serve the body of Christ.  Tomorrow we begin our class on the Gospel of John and expository preaching. Please pray for us that we might teach Christ faithfully and in the power of the Holy Spirit and equip and encourage these precious leaders in their ministries. 


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Jun  17th,  2014Prayerful Final Preparations

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"  Isaiah 52:7

This week marks our final preparations for the Training Leaders International mission trip to Greece. We are humbled to have heard God's call upon our lives to wash the feet of those proclaiming God's good news in Christ.  We are a God-assembled team of eleven, including our children, who will be training ethnic pastors in the interpretation of the Gospel of John and expository preaching.  We will be spreading out in Athens, Greece into four different teaching sites.  We will have a Romanian, Farsi, Urdu, and a mixed group taught in English from Africa and the Philippines.  

Our prayer at the outset is that God would be exalted in our teaching and ministry with these ethnic church leaders.  We pray that they would grow stronger in faith and be equipped to see and proclaim Christ in every passage.  Please join in us in prayer for safe travel and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to be upon our team.


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