Friday, March 27, 2009

Operation Joshua Scouting Trip & Divine Appointments

This week our Operation Joshua team was privileged to visit the Peloponnese to scout out the best location to base our distribution event this summer. The trip was successful in meeting this goal, but even more than that, God blessed us with encouraging divine appointments. I want to share the scriptures that spoke to our hearts through our encounters with these special individuals.

At the first campsite, the name of the lady we spoke with meant “freedom,” and we were able to pray with her and share the truth that will set her free (John 8:31-38):
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."

We met and shouted “Hallelujah!” together with an African man from Ghana, which opened a connection for partnership with a local church in Messenia. He encouraged us with a beautiful scripture passage that compliments the previous one (Galatians 3:23-29):

“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”

Our last stop was at the campsite that had been our top option from our previous visit. The most important thing about this place was the chance we had to share the Gospel with the owner who we met their previously. It was as if he was waiting for our fellowship, as he welcomed us to sit and have a Greek coffee with him. At this beautiful “city on a hill” location, our team prayed fervently as Ilias took the time to share the life-giving truth which brings us the joy that this man could so evidently see on our faces (Matthew 5:13-15):

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Please join us in praying for these special connections that we made on our journey. I pray these scriptures have encouraged your hearts as they did ours. How special it is to be set free as sons and daughters in God’s family, no longer slaves, but heirs to the promise in Christ, and empowered to pierce the darkness of this world with the light of the truth of Christ! Meggan DeJong

A Date With God

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

I want to thank GOD for the chance that He gave me to have a wonderful trip on the MORNING STAR last weekend. I believe that the Lord wanted me to make this special trip but there was another who desired to stand in my way.

The first night was very difficult for me. The wind was blowing and the boat was rocking. I panicked as I felt the boat rolling from side to side. I was so afraid and just wanted to leave and get off the boat. Everyone else around me was trying to sleep and I just started to cry.

I was so desperate that I woke the captain and told him that I couldn’t continue with the trip and that I needed to go ashore. He explained to me that this would be difficult, as it would mean waking others who were sleeping to get me from the ship to the shore and that it was the middle of the night. He asked me to consider trying to manage until the morning.

I am so thankful for my best friend, Liza who stayed up with me and prayed with me all through the night.

The next morning came and we headed off for Limni with me still on board.! I believe that my fear and panic was an attack from the devil because he didn’t want me to experience the blessing that God had in store for me.

While in port the next morning, the captain asked us to go somewhere in the village and to spend some time with God. I took my bible and headed for the beach. It had an amazing view and was so peaceful. I opened my bible to Isaiah 41:8-13. As I read, I felt so small and started to cry. I also began to pray.

I understood that the Lord was there with me and that He was talking to me through His Word. I felt that He was on a date with me and wanted me to just be there, alone with Him. He had been waiting for a long time for me to come and to talk to Him. I felt just like Adam and Eve, walking and talking with the Lord on that beautiful beach. It was amazing.

I prayed and decided to put my trust in Him and to not be afraid anymore. He holds me in His hands and wants me to have faith in every sector of my life!!
I am so grateful for this experience on the Morning Star, for the new friends that I met and for the faithfulness of my friend Liza and the others who supported me through my fears. I am especially thankful for my Lord and for the intimate fellowship that we shared together.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"I Want to Serve"

Colossians 1:22-24 – “Obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”

After House of Worship on Sunday night, I met David, who had found my “Pray for Greece!” facebook group and was interested in serving at love meals. I told him we would be happy to have his help, especially since we had anticipated being short-handed this week. He asked where and when and I told him to come back to the hall anytime the following afternoon. By the time he arrived the next day, we had already finished setting up, so we were all able to spend some time chatting with him and getting to know him better through fellowship and prayer.

As the night went on, he served with his “natural bouncer abilities” by standing at the door to welcome those eager to come in and he also participated in the dirty bathroom clean-up work afterwards – rubber gloves, mop, and all. We had to test his authentic willingness to serve with us, no matter what the job, right? ☺ He maintained his ready and willing attitude, and we expect he will return to serve with us again at future meals. We are always very blessed by the way God connects His family together through prayer and service.

Greek Missionaries Head for Sri Lanka!

Jesus told us… GO, and make disciples of all nations... baptize and teach all that I have commanded you. Invite them into this way of life. I will be with you as you do this, day after day after day...until the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the airport and "see off" a Greek missionary couple on their way to Sri Lanka. It was such a blessing to chat with Ritza and Michalis and to reminisce about the special send off my church family gave me right before I came to Greece, just a short time ago. Ritza and I encouraged one another with a hug and the simple gift of mutual understanding for what this "packing up, leaving home, and saying good-bye" stuff feels like.

This was an extra special moment for all of those gathered at the Athens airport, because it is not exactly common or popular for Greeks to leave for a long-term mission service assignment. Praise the Lord for the supportive parents and church family of Ritza and Michalis! In fact, my fellow HM staff explained to me that the last family who did this was our founder, Costas Macris, and his wife Alky. Alky was among those of us gathered to send off Ritza and Michalis with prayers and blessings, and needless to say it was an emotional time.

Johnathan, Costas and Alky's son and the current president of HM, shared a vision of hoping to wear out the path to the airport in order to send off more and more Greek missionaries to serve God all over the world.

This couple had actually met and been encouraged towards missions during their participation in a summer sports camp out at HM's waterfront property, Porto Astro. I pray God will continue to use this blessed location to disciple and mentor the Greek young people towards mission!

Meggan DeJong

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Divine Appointment or Coincidence?

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…2 Tim 4:2

Last weekend I was invited along with a couple co-workers to give a presentation at a local church in Lamia, a city 2 hrs. north of Athens. God really blessed our time there and the next morning we were invited to go for coffee with the pastor and some of the youth of the church. We strolled together down the coast to a small village.

To my surprise we came upon a small marina with a few boats. Very naturally, I gravitated towards the port and dragged the whole team with me. As we stopped to look at one on the sailboats, a man popped his head out from inside. Immediately, I sensed that I had met this man before and so I asked him if he had ever taught at a particular sailing school in Athens. He said yes and I proceeded to tell him that I was a student of his there in 1987! Then he invited us all on board for a coffee. As we visited, I had the chance to share with him the work that I do with the Morning Star, HM’s sailboat.

Later that morning the pastor and the youth and I talked about the importance of our testimony. One never knows who God is going to bring across his path and when He does, will he see the same risen Lord in your life as he did the last time he met you? This was a challenge to my heart.

I thank God for these “divine appointments” and I do not believe at all that these are coincidences.

Alex Macris
Skipper - S/Y Morning Star
Hellenic Ministries – Maritime

Morning Star News

More than the sounds of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, The Lord on high is mighty!(Ps 93:4)

The month of February was very exciting and significant for the maritime ministry. At the beginning of the month, I was able to go to Sweden to attend the annual Skipper's Conference. The theme this year was “Walking on Water” and the speaker who challenged us daily from the Word of God, was my brother, Johnathan Macris. The purpose of the conference was for various boat ministries to come together and share with each other the work that God did in their ministry throughout the year. Many new boat ministries attended and were blessed. Collectively, we have a vision to continue growing the momentum so that many will hear the “Good News” through the use of boats. Next year this conference will take place in April at HM's seaside property Porto Astro. Please keep praying that God will continue blessing through these conferences.

Later in the month, we had another meeting, but this time in Zuidlaren, Holland. Truly for HM's Maritime Ministry this gathering of believers was historic. Since 1987, the 53 ft. staysail schooner, Morning Star, has been serving the needs of people amongst the coastal ports and islands of Greece. But now we believe that God has placed in our hearts another chapter in which more boats will join this ministry to Greece and beyond. Therefore, we felt the need to start an international council for HM’s Maritime Ministry. Our goal is to meet annually to seek God and His direction on how to move forward and to enlarge our circle of influence in order to spread the vision.

Personally, I am very encouraged about this new step in our journey of faith and am excited to see how God will piece it all together.

Alex Macris
Skipper - S/Y Morning Star
Hellenic Ministries – Maritime

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

God's Faithfulness to the House of Teeuwen

I’ve been reading through Joshua lately and this past week was trying to work my way through the passages about the Israelites dividing up the land. I must admit I was praying hard about what the Lord wanted me to see in these passages because they were moving a bit slow! At the end of Chapter 21 as I was about to close I came upon, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.”

I thought to myself, “Wow, what a special verse. Not one failed. I need to apply this to my own life.” As I began to meditate on the verse the Enemy began to whisper the fear I’ve struggled with since moving to Greece. “Why would anyone want to support you here? It isn’t third-world Albania, nor is it war torn Kosovo. It is the nice country of Greece. I began to pray that God would take away this fear and that I would be able to claim this verse in my own life.

About 5 minutes later I went to check my emails. The first one I read was from a friend who said she and her husband would like to start supporting us. I sat there at the computer and cried tears of joy. Not 5 minutes after I had claimed that verse for myself, the Lord was showing me that none of His promises to “the house of Teeuwen,” my house, would fail.” He is faithful even when we need reminders to see it!

Additionally, this week we celebrated our son’s 13th birthday. We had been discussing having a party with a couple of his friends and Philip had expressed the idea of going rock climbing or playing paint ball. After checking into the prices, I realized that both were probably not something that we could do. I felt very bad telling him this and later challenged him to take his request to God. I explained that God doesn’t always give us what we want but that He does tell us to pray about everything and let our requests be known to Him. Philip responded well even though I know he was disappointed. A few days later a friend called to offer me tickets to a climbing park at half price! I couldn’t believe it, as I had never mentioned anything to him about wanting tickets to the park. I knew that this was an answer to Philip’s and my prayers. What an incredible birthday gift this was for Philip, not just the trip to the park but the personal lesson from God. That He does hear and answer prayers and that He is not just the God of Mom and Dad but of Philip too! We all had an incredible day at the climbing park and reveling in God’s faithfulness to us all. Alecia Teeuwen.

Another Family Reunited!

Recently, Hamza, the other Albanian who has been living and working at Porto Astro for the last seven years, was granted permission to bring his wife and sons to live with him here in Greece. This is the last of the refugees who are employed by HM to have his family reunited! We rejoice to see Hamza’s, Aurturo’s and Akbar’s families living together again after so many painful years of separation.
Hamza brought his wife Maria and his two sons, Elton, 14, and Zudi, 12, home to Greece in mid February. They join Aurturo and his wife and son who also live out at the property. It was with incredible joy that we saw this family reunited. Some of the HMers have dreamed of this day for many, many years. In fact, this was a dream of the late Costas Macris; for Hamza and Aurturo to be able to bring their families to Greece.
Please pray for Maria and the boys in this transition period. They left behind life in a two-story house in a big city with lots of relatives near by to begin living in trailers on a remote location without most of the conveniences of a city. The boys will also have to integrate into the Greek school system. Elton was the top student in his class in Albania and will miss the stimulus of school until they are able to get the paperwork sorted out and the boys in school, hopefully by the fall. Additionally, in their 16-year marriage, Hamza and Maria have never lived together for longer than a short period of time.
So amidst the joys of reunion there will also be challenges. Please remember to keep them in your prayers. For now, we are rejoicing in God’s goodness in bringing this family together again.