2014 has already begun with new opportunities and challenges! Just three months ago we would have never foreseen what this year would bring. On the other hand, there is nothing about our lives in these last five years that we could have predicted. One thing, for sure, that we have learned about God’s character is that He loves to surprise us. There are some surprises that don’t seem so wonderful in the beginning, but as we learn to trust God we realize that He delights to give good gifts to His children and even the most unexpected gifts can bring more joy than we ever imagined. We knew when we moved to Italy that the Lord was calling us to work primarily with refugees. And so the journey began with a small home group of a few Iranians and Albanians. At the time we thought Italy would become our home for a long duration, thus we enrolled our children into public school to learn Italian and integrate into the culture. Now we look back and see the last 16 months as a preparation and training time for this next move.
In October we were invited to work among the refugees in Athens, Greece. In one month the Lord spoke clearly to us and opened the door wide for us to make this move to Greece. There was no prayer left unanswered, no doubt in our minds. God prepared the way and we walked through the door. We have moved to four countries in the last five years, but this was the most sudden and unexpected. We are grateful to be serving with Teen Missions even though much of our work in Greece is outside their standard vision of ministry at this time.
Currently, our family is living in an apartment above the refugee center in downtown Athens. There have been many adjustments for our family as we begin again to adapt to new cultures and learn two new languages, Farsi and Greek. The center where we are living works primarily with Iranian and Afghan people; our primary focus has been to learn the Farsi language from Iran. David has been given the primary role of teaching (through a translator) approximately eight times during the week. Between Bible study, baptism classes, morning devotions and the evening church services we have two nights a week, he stays quite busy doing what he loves to do, teach God’s Word. He also handles the preparation for the teams we are hosting throughout the year and has taken over the correspondence and administration responsibilities for Farzad, the director of this ministry.
Ten days after our arrival in Greece, we hosted a team of 20 volunteers from Switzerland for the next three weeks. I guess you could say we’ve been running ever since our feet hit the ground in Athens! I help with the children’s ministry and teaching Sunday school to 50-70 children in one small classroom. I also help prepare the meals that we serve twice a week to about 300 Afghan refugees. We host a women’s sewing class every Saturday where we are teaching the women to crochet and sew on machines. They are making many crafts in order to sell for a small income. We hope to direct you soon to a website that is being created in the US to market these items that are being made here at the center. We’ll keep you informed. We are excited about setting up and hosting this years Teen Missions team. It has been arranged for our team to backpack along the Amalfi coast in Italy. The team will evangelize with drama and puppets as we journey to the various villages there. Then we will go by train to the east coast and board a ferry to Greece and spend the latter part of our summer working at the refugee center here in Athens. Four of our team members who came to Italy last year have signed up to join us again for this year’s team, three of them as assistant leaders.
We anticipate another wonderful summer together with these four youth, plus 20 something more who will be joining us. Gabriela and Caleb have also been praying about the events of this upcoming summer.Either David or I will be returning to The Lord’s Boot Camp in Florida to bring the team to Italy and Caleb would really like to be a part of the Boot Camp training with the team members this year. His expenses for the summer, including the airfare to and from the US are about $2,500. He will also need his own prayer partners in order to be a team member. Please pray with us about being a sponsor either through prayer or financially towards his summer mission trip. Gabriela is not yet sure about what this summer holds for her. She is really enjoying serving here at the refugee center. She has begun to play the guitar for our evening services, both for the adults and the children’s Sunday school classes. She enjoys cooking in the kitchen, cleaning, playing with the children and is also learning to crochet and sew with the Afghan women. Gabriela and Caleb are back to homeschooling as we all thought it best not to lose another year due to language studies in a public Greek school! Sarah is still serving at Shevet Achim in Jerusalem and loving it! She has been serving there for ten months now and always has wonderful stories to share with us when we skype together. We are so excited about the opportunity to visit her at the end of January. All of us will take a family vacation and spend 12 days together at Shevet. We are so blessed to be able to take this time together and to experience a small part of her world!
We are so grateful for wonderful friends and family who pray for us and support us in this outreach. You are making a difference! You are touching the lives of these refugee families as you minister to our family here in Athens! You are the reason we are able to love these families into God’s kingdom! Thank you so much for serving Jesus and being an active part of the Body of Christ through your prayers and support! We love serving together with you! Please remember to pray for these refugee families. Please remember to pray for us…for health, strength and endurance in this work.
The Lord Bless You,
David & Becca Powell