Traveling to Greece
The day we have been waiting for the whole school year had finally arrived! In the morning we gathered to pray before we loaded the bus and made our way down the mountain. With the community around us we joined hands as they prayed a blessing over us and launched us into outreach. We took time to have each staff and intern go through the bus praying for the students and stirring ourselves in faith for the month ahead of us. Our hearts were full of expectation as we arrived at the airport. Not wanting to wait to get to our destination and for outreach to begin, some of the students approached people at our gate to bless them. We had a quick flight to Greece, but upon arrival found out there was a national strike of the public transportation workers. We began to wait and pray in confidence, knowing that the Lord could open the right doors for us! He did just that and we made our way to Thessaloniki where we would serve the next week.
Sunday Morning Church Service
After just a few hours of sleep we walked to Anagenesis church. We had come to pour out what we have received over the last four months. Our team led worship and hosted the children’s Sunday school program. This church has begun to open their doors to refugees to join their services and have recently seen many of them come to faith. Jeremie had the opportunity to share a testimony about finding his identity in Jesus during the time in Cyprus. Ruben gave a powerful word about the nearness of the Lord and the close relationship that God desires with us. We could feel the nearness of God as the Holy Spirit began to move in the hearts of the people. At the end of our time people from the congregation began to respond and the students were released to minister to them. What a special morning to witness God pouring out his love all over the people in the church.
Church at Evangelical Church of Thessaloniki
After an incredible time at church in the morning, we were expectant for God to show up powerfully again at our evening service. We connected with a church who is catching the revelation of Israel and the One New Man expression. We joyfully shared some songs in Hebrew with the congregation, and our team had the opportunity to give three testimonies. Batel talked about God changing her heart for her own nation. Gabriel told how Romans 11 has birthed a passion in his heart towards intercession for Israel. Ruben shared about how the Lord met him with His love, and revealed the Father’s heart for Israel. At the end of the service we were so encouraged to hear how the church was impacted by all we poured out. As a Messianic ministry, it is one of our greatest joys to see people catch the revelation of Israel.
Joseph had a word of knowledge for someone with hip and knee pain during the service. When he was meeting people, he felt led to ask a certain man if he knew anyone with those issues. The man did, and he got his friend who had been struggling with these issues for a long time. After Joseph prayed for him the friend said he felt about 70% better. Joseph prayed again and the man was healed completely! Praise the Lord!
Serving at the Idomeni Refugee Camp
Most of the week we traveled to the Macedonian border where we were able to serve at the Idomeni refugee camp. Some of our time was spent serving in practical ways like preparing meals, distributing food and bathing small children.
The most precious moments were definitely visiting the tents of different refugee families and spending time with the children in the camp. Each team that visited had the opportunity to connect on a personal level as the refugees welcomed us to their home. Although they are in this situation, they show genuine hospitality to their guests.
We were able to pray for many of the people we connected with and even give them Bibles translated into their languages. Every day we left with hearts filled with a greater burden and compassion for these precious people. It’s our desire that we would bring hope to the hopeless and that our lives would be an expression of the Father’s love! For us the greatest gift we can carry is love.
One of the highlights of the week was receiving a group of refugees at Anagenesis church. Several women and their babies came to the church for an opportunity to have a warm shower and a break from the intensity of life at the camp. It was such a pleasure to spend time over a cup of tea and some snacks getting to know them. Though there was a language barrier we were able to communicate through simple means, and to share the love God has for them.
Day Trip to Veria
On Wednesday we took a day trip to Veria, an ancient city mentioned in Acts 17. Veria was primarily a Jewish settlement until the Holocaust. We visited what is believed to be one of the oldest synagogues in Europe, and a place that the apostle Paul probably preached. In the middle of a prayer time our German team members offered up repentance for the history of their people. It was such a beautiful picture of redemption and restoration for this city. As we closed our time in the synagogue, we couldn’t help but worship the Lord in this rich and historic place.
We then made our way to the city center to worship and do some street evangelism. Immediately the Lord was moving among us in mighty ways. All over the square there were small groups of people praying together as everyone boldly stepped out to share the love of Yeshua with those around us. It was inspiring to all to see the openness of people in this city. It would be safe to say that probably everyone came away with a testimony of healing or salvation that day. He surely is moving powerfully in Veria!
Testimony: As we worshipped, a woman heard us from her window and was moved by what she saw. Eventually she came to us with a cake she baked just for our team. One of our students shared with her and this woman gave her life to the Lord.
Aside from serving at the refugee camp this week, a significant portion of this week was spent in the city doing street evangelism. Each day we had a time of worship in the city squares and the parks to lift high the name of Yeshua over this nation. As people would gather our team was released to reach out. We had many opportunities to share our faith and pray for those in need. For some of us the Lord was giving us words of knowledge that guided us through the day. All over Thessaloniki people were being touched by God.
During one of our times on the streets, our team was worshipping and a national news station asked if they could record us for a broadcast at a later time. Ruben began to pray out and declare the gospel over this nation for all of Greece to see. At another point the students were able to perform the dance that they prepared for this outreach. A message of hope was released through their movement. Afterwards, Andrew got up to preach the Gospel to all who were watching.
We saw people healed from long time illnesses, many hearts encouraged, and many others get saved. The whole team is so hungry for more and we are longing to see the Lord encounter people wherever we go. As He continues to show up, we are growing more and more eager to see a move of God on this outreach.
Shabbat in Thessaloniki
On Friday night we went to a restaurant overlooking the city to celebrate Erev Shabbat. We reminisced about all the beautiful ways that God has met us this week as we ate traditional Greek dishes. The next morning we were blessed with some extra sleep and a day out in Thessaloniki. It was refreshing to have a day all together after such a full week.
On Saturday evening we hopped on the public bus and headed for a youth service at the Apostolic Church of Thessaloniki. Upon our arrival we were aware of the contagious hunger for the Lord that filled the atmosphere. Some of their staff led worship in Greek, then our team was invited to lead the rest of the worship time. After worship, we had Danielle and Michael share testimonies. Danielle shared how, through the GTS, God has completely healed her heart and made her brand new. Michael described his journey in finding satisfaction in Yeshua alone. It’s amazing to see the students come alive and release the life inside of them. After the testimonies Lionique brought an exhortation about having courage and stepping out of the boat to run after the desires and dreams God gives us. We eventually moved into a time of prophetic ministry reaching those who desired greater vision for their lives. Immediately each member of the youth group came forward and the Holy Spirit showed up in a powerful way. We had a time of fellowship over a meal before we hugged goodbye hoping to one day meet again!
Sunday Morning Church Service
On our last morning in Thessaloniki we were at Anagenesis church for another Sunday morning church service. Along with some from the church, Preston and a small team led worship. We had several students give testimonies about the ways we saw God moving during our times of street evangelism this week. Kristina brought the message, preaching out of 1 Kings 17, on the widow who gives all she has in the midst of a drought. It’s promised that the she will not run out or run dry. This church has taken a position to stand strong and care for those in need while resources are limited. Kristina’s word declared that they would not run out of provision and that the Lord would multiply their resources.
The service transitioned to a time of communion and, though it’s something we are used to doing, it was the first time for some of the new believers. Singing the familiar words of “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus,” we were reminded of the life Jesus poured out, for our redemption, on the cross. It only got better as two, very new, Iranian believers confessed their faith again as they entered the waters of baptism, dying to their old man and being raised to new life. This was such a significant way to end our time in Thessaloniki. Our next stop is Athens where we are believing for more of God’s Spirit to be poured out wherever we go and on whoever we meet!