“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
One of the great joys of being part of the family of God is being able to boast in each other, because, after all, we are one Body. Our DTS outreach team has returned from the refugee camps of Greece, sun-bronzed and joyful, overflowing with testimonies of God’s faithfulness. We wanted to share a few of these stories with you, because you have been a part of making this possible!
According to the team leaders, one of the biggest highlights of the outreach was seeing the team move in Spirit-led unity to bring the Kingdom in what is arguably one of the most difficult situations on the earth right now. We had mentioned in our last newsletter that the team had gotten to baptise an Iraqi guy in Lesvos who then baptised others. Apparently, the ripple effect didn’t stop there! When the team got to Athens, they met another Muslim young man with whom they shared this testimony, and his initial reaction was ‘I am saddened that someone would turn away from Islam and choose Jesus’. However, as the team spent time with him, something changed in his heart: ‘I feel like I see the face of God in you’, he admitted. One of the team members felt a special burden to pray very hard for this young man, and, minutes before the team was due to take the last tram out of Athens, he also decided to give his life to Jesus!
I’m sure you have all read the story of Paul in Acts 17 using the altar ‘to the unknown god’ to proclaim the gospel. Well, one really moving experience for the team was spending the night worshipping in the very same place, the Areopagus (or Mars Hill), and building an altar ‘to the known God’ there! One of the team leaders testifies: ‘God is totally at work in the refugee camps… [we met] new Iranian and Kurdish believers who had had visions of Jesus in Thessaloniki. So much more I could say: endless drinking chai and playing with kids, tearful goodbyes that made us realise that genuine friendships had been established, mind-boggling generosity from refugees towards us.” We have read about people in the Muslim world having visions of Jesus, but it was incredibly exciting for the team to actually have a conversation with a young man who had dreamed of a man on a white horse, whom they were able to identify as Jesus from Revelation 6!
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Rejoice with us as we rejoice in and honour our outreach team! They have done so well in walking in obedience, unity and joy, and we are proud of them as we shoot them like arrows from our quiver into to whatever God has for them next. As they stood up to share testimonies of the past nine months at their graduation last Tuesday, there were tears of joy in their eyes, and they were unanimous in declaring that they are not the same people they were nine months ago. Praise our glorious God who really does change hearts and bring his Kingdom through ordinary people!
Peter, Taryn & Isaac
PS. And it’s now just two weeks until the due date of our little baby! Taryn’s mum will be arriving from India on Friday to stay for a few weeks and help us manage life with another little person in the family. Please pray for a safe delivery.