My friend Nikola, whom I met on the basketball court several weeks ago, has turned out to be a truly divine appointment and an amazing testimony. Firstly, his pastor and close friend in Novi Sad, Aca Mitrovic is good friends with Tommie Naumann, the pastor of the Network Community here in Greece. I have even personally heard Aca speak in Virginia when he visited Dwelling Place for a Missions Conference in 2009.
God’s relentless, unyielding pursuit of Nikola amazes me. He met the Lord when he was 17, but fell back into a very ‘fast’ life in the world. Let me just say that most Americans, myself included, have no grid for what life was like in the former Yugoslavia. It is the sheer grace and mercy of God that Nikola is alive today. And not only that, but in the very face of a twenty-one year run of sin and rebellion, God sends an American to a basketball court in Thessaloniki because God. wanted. him. back. Only God is that jealous.
Not only did God rescue Nikola, but He is really transforming and releasing him before our eyes. Nikola testified to the ease with which some of the things that he struggled with for years have just fallen away and lost their hold. He is also a hero among the Roma (Gypsy) children, leading them in group games and exercises during our weekly visits. It’s so awesome to see a guy, whose life was on a completely different course just a few weeks ago, now running around a Roma village loving on a bunch of little kids. What privilege and honor He has given us to work alongside Him.
A few brief prayer requests:
Jen, Kim, Amy, and I continue to press the university campus twice weekly through our coffee outreach. Continue to pray that the Lord would really move on the hearts of young people through us and the He would break in on that campus. We really desire to see Greek young people added to our body.
I joined the leadership team for the Thursday night home group in the city. I lead it for the first time this week and I think it went well, though it definitely stretches me. Pray that the group and the leadership would be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose, and that we would know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
I will be traveling to Beirut, Lebanon April 5-11 for a Conference themed ‘Breakthrough.’ Tommie helps orchestrate this annual conference together with friends from churches in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Prayer for protection is especially appreciated given the present situation among many Middle Eastern nations. Pray for peace in southern Syria. We are believing it will be a really powerful time in the Spirit!
God bless you all – love you so much,
Attached are a few photos from the Roma village. As you can see, some of the children do not have shoes and are exposed to an extremely hazardous environment. If you would like to donate specifically to help provide the children with shoes, you can donate via Paypal at my blog: beninthebalkans.blogspot.com – just indicate, ‘Roma Shoes.’ Thanks!