Stories from Greece
Recently BrookLink was invited by 222 Ministries to teach and train a group of Iranian church leaders in Athens, Greece. All of them had a story to tell! For a whole week my friend Paul Sinclair and I were teaching these men and women about God as our Father—a heavenly Father, whose extravagant and costly love set Him apart from even the best of earthly fathers.
During one of our sessions I shared with those gathered about how God as Father knows everything about us—even our tears do not go unnoticed. I quoted the following Scripture:
“You have kept a count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 (ESV)
There is a tradition in Middle Eastern cultures that a soldier going off to war gives his wife or girlfriend a small vial to be worn around her neck. Every time the woman would cry at night over the absence of her loved one, and as she wept, the tears would be collected in the bottle until her lover would return. This poetic imagery is the Psalmist’s way of teaching that God not only sees our tears, He preserves them too!
Soon after teaching, a twenty-something man walked up to me. His eyes were sad and piercing, his face taunt and tight. He found words difficult and it was apparent something was on his mind. He managed to say, “God would need more than a vial to collect my tears. He would need liters and liters!” It was obvious that this man had experienced great suffering and pain. Several of us gathered and began to pray for him and as we did he began to weep profusely. God used the powerful image of a bottle of tears to speak into this young man’s life.
Time and time again, in spite of language barriers and even sizeable cultural gaps, we are privileged to witness the Holy Spirit as our best translator and interpreter.
Later in the week an Iranian couple—he an engineer and she a university professor, asked me to perform a “ renewal of marriage vows ceremony.” They were married 24 years ago as Muslims. Four years ago, they both became followers of Jesus. So Paul and I co-officiated a marriage renewal ceremony, complete with music, rose petals, a makeshift flower bouquet, and a room-full of Iranians dancing and rejoicing at the occasion—a memorable experience indeed!
Thank you once again for your investment in the lives of these Iranians and other church leaders serving in difficult places. Because of you, men and women are being equipped and empowered to know and rely on the integrity of God’s Word, even as they endure hardship and persecution.
As we approach the summer months ahead, with warmer weather, outdoor events and family vacations, this time can be a season of reduced donations for non-profit organizations.
Will you consider becoming a financial partner of BrookLink? Our budgetary needs for 2015 are $288,000 and we need new donors to help us reach that goal.If you have never given to us before, now is the time to do so! Learn how to Make a Gift to BrookLink on our website.
Finally, thank you for your prayers for us as we travel and train in places far from home. Countless times we feel buoyed and blessed knowing of our friends who intercede for us and for those we meet. Your prayers are “a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
PS: To learn more about our week of ministry in Athens, Greece read the additional stories posted on our blog.