(Matt) The past week was a fairly rough week. We realized that we were no longer tourists here, but we are also painfully aware that we are not locals. Everything from hailing a taxi to bagging groceries can provide an opportunity for miscommunication. Most significantly we are spending time with a lot of refugee friends who are in desperate circumstances, but we feel like there is not much we can do to help. We are uncertain of our roles and of how to care for our kids in a small apartment in a foreign city.
The entire team has been pretty fatigued. One of the young women we work with (Courtney) finished her time and returned to the states. Her absence is felt. We were joined by a new member from Alaska, but the other three girls are nearing the end of a month of hard core service. They were weary last week. Even our local church partnership has been stressed. Eleni (pastors wife and refugee ministry coordinator) has an injured foot and responds to desperate phone calls nearly 24-7. The ministry is flourishing, but it takes a toll on her.
We tried to escape last week, but found a trip to the Mall resulted in more family frustrations. A trip to the beach on Friday ended with a swim in sewage from a recent storm. But friends were praying for us and a few encouraging notes lifted our spirits. Dreariness has driven us to the Lord in more serious ways. I wrote in my journal recently, "I am convinced that nothing good can come of our time here unless God does something supernatural." I didn't write that our of despair, but just as a matter-of-fact observation. I have no human abilities which can bring easy answers to the problems that we witness.
This morning, I had a very refreshing time of prayer and Bible study. I found new confidence to walk through the day with hope. There were beautiful things to witness at church today as we bade tearful farewells to Syrian friends who will relocate to Belgium. One thankful man said through an interpreter; "We have been welcomed here like family. I want to know Jesus more."
God is good and he is clearly at work here. We are dependent upon your prayers and hopeful for renewing power of the Spirit. The ministry is not easy, but when you catch a glimpse of God working it is breathtaking.