Should it really be called a sacrifice?

May 14th, 2011

Lately, I haven’t been giving much input to so many ideas, thoughts, feelings, or intuitions people speak about.  (Unless asked) Why, I don’t know so much really.  There is so much I have to learn and so much I need to give up or as we would call it, “to sacrifice”.  I then thought, “Why do we call it a sacrifice?”..I mean it seems so negative. Doesn’t it?  According to Websters dictionary it means: a loss entailed by giving up or selling something at less than its value.  When you go by this description then we are not sacrificing anything.  It is Jesus and only Jesus who is the true sacrifice.  When we say, I am sacrificing this or I am sacrificing that what are we saying?  Are we saying these things have more value than the truth?  I then thought, “Hmmm, to think this way is a huge problem.”  Are we really Losing something of value or are we gaining when we surrender to the Lord?  God is perfect and He loves His children..He loves all and He died for us all.  In all reality that means we are gaining right?  Right! So, it is actually a blessing (which means a favor, mercy, or a benefit given) by God to give happiness to those who receive it.  He died for us, so we may inherit the kingdom of heaven.  He loves us, watches over us, and gives us all that we need.  He gives us strength, wisdom, patience, peace, knowledge, and above all love.  Seriously, is all this of less value than our earthly things?  No, of course not!!  Serving a God of love is not a sacrifice none the least but a blessing and a true joy.  Like C.S. Lewis said, If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.


Amazing Grace

March 30th, 2011

What has happened and what was learned.

I am truly amazed by God’s graciousness. Often times we take so many things for granted and at that point we slowly start losing focus.

The song Amazing Grace has a particular part that just recently caught my attention. “I once was lost but now am found”. Reason being; I find myself occasionally drifting away and going towards the things around me.

For example:
Homesickness
Children’s education
Nesting somewhere permanently
Missing comfort
Language barriers
Feeling inadequate
Loneliness

In fact, the list can go on. I started losing focus on what God has for our family. What He has blessed us with. I, at that point, was lost. I had a complete and utter breakdown. I threw the towel in I screamed to God, “God!!! I am done with this!” I broke down and cried bitterly. Sophia came up to me and said, “Mama, are you sad?” and of course I tried to get myself together and said, “Yes Sophia, Mama is very sad but it will be okay.” I forcefully smiled and placed my forehead on hers and then she took her little hands, placed them on my cheeks, and said, “Mama Jesus loves you and He saved you okay.” I was speechless for a minute, I really didn’t expect that from her. I just smiled and said, “Yes, Sophia yes He did.” I immediately called Aaron and asked him to pray for me; that I am having an extremely hard time.

At that point I knew that I needed to get into the Word every day. I wanted to commit completely and wholly to Him. Life as a missionary is not easy but it is easier when you have the Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean things are always perfect but it is in Him. He is a gracious Father that gently leads us to the river and gives us His living water. Since then I have been at peace.

Recent news

Katie

Took Katie to the Doctors and the Dr. believes she may have absence epilepsy and that it is causing these “blackouts” that is not recognized by the person or the other people, unfortunately when they are having these absent seizures people do not understand what is going on may tend to misunderstand her. We did take her to the Dr.s before hand and they had found a spot on her brain. However, it was just a fatty tissue that wasn’t worth worrying over.
So many things that can be overwhelming didn’t seem to bother Katie, she trusted the Lord in all these matters. She just said, “God loves me and He will take care of me and my troubles mom.”
She was right! After some tests the neurologist said EVERYTHING is okay with Katie and nothing on his end is a problem. So we now have an appointment with another specialist for Katie.
Also, Katie is now involved in preparing the communion every other Sunday and is so faithful in serving in that area! Our soon to be 13 year old is growing and maturing in the Lord…

Caine

Caine is now in the media ministry. Copying the messages for those whom where not there on those whom requested the message that week.
Also, he now is attending School of Music and is being trained in classical piano. He learned many new praise songs, gospel, and classical pieces. He even started to sing again! Our 14 year old is growing up so quickly!

Sophia

Sophia is singing all the time. Some of the songs she sings are…Jesus loves me this I know, Jesus loves the little children(she is almost done singing that one completely), Be thou my vision(just the first 2 sentences), and tinkle tinkle little little tar…as she would sing it. Why she sings that song like that but the others with clarity is beyond me..In August she will be going to kindergarten..every morning as the kids leave she says..”Okay mama get my backpack I’m going too” Our 3 year old is becoming very independent

Aaron and I

Aaron is still teaching away and proclaims the gospel to his fellow co-workers. He works 39 hours a week but is gone for 49 hours a week and is finding so much joy in serving here in Germany.
And I, well still translating away.

Ministry

Are our marriage and our children. We spend many times going for walks with each other or sometimes Aaron and I take the kids to spend that one and one time. We go sightseeing..Caine loves history and Katie loves adventure so we enjoy going to places that the kids suggest.
In June Jenny and I are hosting a Womens Spa Retreat and we are having Autumn Nagy from Norway come down and speak…we will have facials, pedicures, manicures, massages, hairstylist, and a middle-eastern hair removal specialist(remove with a string).

We are also preparing a Purity Conference on October 22nd our first meeting was on Sunday and we will meet once a month to plan and prepare.

Prayer requests:

  • Katies Dr. appointment in April
  • Language
  • Schooling options for children
  • Upcoming events
  • Health
  • Study times for Tues
  • English Club
  • Kids’ growth
  • Different apartment
  • Drivers test
  • Translations

…. “My grace is sufficient for you. For MY strength is made PERFECT in weakness” 2 Corinthians 13:9

A Journey to the center of the Heart.

February 3rd, 2011

This morning I woke up to Aaron waking up the kids for school. As parents, we know how hard that is, especially when you are dealing with preteens and teenagers! I rolled over and thought, “Uuuhhg”. My motivation this morning: coffee. Gotta-get-up, gotta-get-up, … I finally got out of bed, sat at the table, and slowly started waking up. Just then, Caine entered the kitchen with the same feeling. Katie, she is always bright and happy in the morning just like her daddy, and of course to Caine and me that can be extremely annoying at times and you just want to go back to bed.

While we were still waking up, Aaron got out the Bible and started to give the kids their morning devotional. At the end, Caine, seemingly not paying attention, blurted out, “I got a devo for you.” Aaron and I glanced at him and replied, “Okay.” I blurted out, “Caine, this better be good.” Of course I was thinking, the nerve of this kid! He didn’t listen to anything Aaron had read. He’d better not be messing around or else he will meet the wrath of his mother under two cups of coffee! Here is his devo to Aaron and me:

“Okay, take your finger and spin it in a circle like a rotating wheel, but spin away from your body then towards your body … like this.” Aaron and I did this with no problem. I was thinking, “What is this?”
“Okay, now take your other finger and spin it in the opposite direction at the same time.” Man, I couldn’t do it … my mind wasn’t getting it. I tried and tried. We all laughed because of the seriousness in our faces trying this. I asked Caine if this was something he had to learn in music school, but it wasn’t. I kept trying, I just couldn’t..
Then Caine picked up a pen and held it up and said, “Okay, Mom, now just focus on this pen and then try. I still couldn’t get it. I did get it in two rotations but lost it. Aaron couldn’t get it either.

Caine then placed the pen back on the table and said, “You see, guys, this pen represented Christ and when we try to center our lives in Him in our own strength, we can’t. It is He who centers it for us. Did you see how hard it is when you try to do something out of your own strength? You get worn out, frustrated, eventually you stop and just say, “I can’t do it!” Now, imagine it without Jesus (the pen). You have no center at all!

I thought., in all seriousness, “Duuuuuuuuuude, that was awesome!” I mean that was all I can say …”Dude!” I know it isn’t a great descriptive word, but it is a word that has tons of meaning for that specific occurring moment.
The Lord gave me an awesome devotional into the center of my heart, and I am actually still chewing on that. My pastor back at home always used this scripture in his life and taught it to the congregation..”Lord take my heart and show any wicked way in me, that I may repent.” If Jesus was not the center of my heart, I honestly don’t know where I would be and I don’t really want to even think about it. He saved me from myself, from my self-centeredness.

What is going on:

* Jennifer and Gunther finally have their boys! She was in labor for 46 hours and had to get a Cesarean. Both boys are healthy and quite beautiful. Their names are David and Jonathan.
* Aaron is teaching Tuesdays and some Sundays, and will be taking over when Jenny and Gunther will be leaving for the States this summer for a short time.
* Dani is still slowly translating.
* Finances … it is super expensive and the Lord has been and is so faithful! He sold our car so the money we made from that will help tremendously!
* Aaron returned from the Western Europe Pastors Conference, and was tremendously blessed.

Our Children:

* Caine is now attending the Grunstadt School of Music and started to play another instrument, the Harmonica. He is doing well in school and is speaking and understanding German more and more!
* Katlyn is constantly studying and doing better in school, she will be working with horses and I am sure she will love it! She is helping me with organizing the Spa retreat and also is planning her own Valentines Party with the theme Gods love, four of her friends are coming over with only one being a Christian. She is our little evangelist and has such a gift of relationships.
* Little Sophia will be entering Kindergarden this year in August and is speaking all the time in both German and English. She loves puzzles and is doing 25 piece puzzles now. She is our little helper but also a little bossy. She tells us stories about Jesus walking on water and how He is in our hearts.

Prayer requests:

* We may have to move out of our apartment since there will be new owners for this building. They are wanting to turn it into a coffee shop. Please pray for direction if that is the case, and apartments that are affordable.
* Jennifer and I are planning a women’s spa retreat this June and we asked Autumn Nagy to speak. She will be booking tickets this week to come! Pray for traveling mercies and for the retreat itself.
* In addition, the Lord has placed a burden on my heart to hold a purity conference for the end of this year or next year. Please pray as Jenny and I prepare and plan for it.
* Aaron needs prayer since his work place is a mission field as well, and he has had many opportunities to share the gospel and to counsel.
* Pray that our children may continue to grow in the Lord and in the language.
* Pray for taxes … that we will not owe anything.
* For our families at home. Dani’s mother was in ICU again recently.
* Pray for the Spencer family, who will be going to Greece in March.
* Pray for Dani’s upcoming driving test.

We thank you for all your prayers. Let the Lord be your center in all that you do and say. As the Psalm reads, and as we should say, “Lord, you are mine!” ~Psalm 119:57

Wilderness

June 27th, 2010

I could never compare our lives with the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and the suffering He has gone through because of His love for us.  When I read about the history that occurred in the Bible I try to  imagine myself being there and wondering what it would be like and what it was like.  Stories like Moses walking in the wilderness for 40 years.  David being among the Philistines and running from Saul being forced to live in the wilderness.  Elijah in the wilderness and the Lord providing for him.  Jesus being led into the wilderness in Matt Chapter 4.  My point is, we all have a wilderness and we all have the answer to our experience.  God!  I would like to share ours and the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A few weeks ago Aaron was informed by his mom that she had cancer of the breast, and a couple of weeks later I was informed that my mom was rushed to the hospital and had a blood transfusion and almost passed away..We were both grieving and crying out to the Lord and asking Him what we should do.  The very next day the Lord showed both Aaron and I the scripture about Jesus coming to Lazarus.  Jesus knew he had passed however He also knew that the family was hurting so He came to glorify God and to bring  joy to the grieving family.  He raised Lazarus from the dead and the family again had hope again in Him.  You see, Jesus himself was on the missions field and He was called to go for a little while to minister to hurting family but most importantly to glorify God.  At this point I knew what He wanted me to do.  I wanted to go to begin with but I needed His guidance first and foremost.

As Aaron and I were talking I shared with him what the Lord had shown me and immediately he said, “The Lord showed me the very same thing.”  So we booked our tickets and flew the very next day.  When we arrived I went to see my mom at the hospital…I couldn’t take the sight of my mother it hurt so much, so much that all I could do was to lay my head on her head and say a silent prayer and I talked to my dad who was right beside her for 6 days, exhausted and went to Aarons parents for a nights rest..I was so hurt  that my heart was in such pain.  Aaron felt the same way with his mom, a woman so gentle and so loving, he practically was held up with the Word and through prayer. Yes, we were weak but in our weakness the Lord made us strong.  Aaron and I went back and fourth to our families to make sure all was fine.  I with my mom and he with his and the kids stayed so strong but at the same time torn.  There were days of complete exhaustion because of worry, jet lag, mental and spiritual battles.

My wilderness:  Wanting to stay home, not following the call, being with my family period..I almost made up my mind..I am staying here I don’t care God there is no way I can leave my mom like this, what if I never see her again, what about my dad? The list goes on and on and on and on.  I started to rebel.  I went to bed on the 3rd night of our stay and I had the feeling of hatred in my heart, I lost hope and then a soft voice to me and said, “It will be okay for I am with you and I am with your mom.”  and I quickly remembered about Jesus and the rich man, the scripture that said seek the kingdom of heaven and everything else will be given to you, and I just remembered all the promises of God to us His children.  I quickly repented and asked the Lord for forgiveness and that was the day I knew that I need to be submissive to His calling on our family and I was filled with joy and excitement.  Well, I have to tell you the Lord is soooooo good and He shows His mercy each and every day over and over again.  My mom recovered and is doing so good. The Doctors got all the cancer out of Aarons mom Charlotte.  She had a 5 day mamosite treatment and killed all the cancer cells and so, she is cancer free and a survivor! We are now praying for emotional healing on both our families.  It is still hard for them that we are a ocean away.  I do have to tell you how good God is again..I went to moms one day and she is all about me staying home which doesn’t feel good when you hear the pain coming from a mothers heart let alone the rest of the family that really doesn’t support you but that day my mom looked at me and said in German…”You know Daniela, I know that you and Aaron gave up everything to go and I believe that God will give it back to you again and I am happy for you. :)”  I was so overjoyed to hear a blessing from my mom but this is the same blessing in the Word…Matthew 19:29. “and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my name sake shall receive a hundred fold and inherit eternal life.”  God spoke through my mom and gave us His promise once again.. I have to tell you at first Aaron, the kids, and I were suffering…we were bashed with confusion, manipulation, weariness, anger, a mean every wave there was..(spiritual warfare) but we conquered it with the gentleness of Gods hand, His word, His faithfulness, His love, and the power of the Holy Spirit and only that, nothing else.

My point?  This..When we make a decision to follow God we will be persecuted and I am telling you the enemy has been around for a very long time and will use any and every tactic known to man and to the spiritual world.  Through these wildernesses we become stronger, closer, and more trusting in Him to be able to go out in His Name and in His power to glorify Him and Him alone.  Amen

I encourage you to read Matt chapter 5 when the storms are hard and to remember Philippians 1:6 in times of doubt. We love you all and we thank you all in our Lord Jesus.

What does obedience look like?

June 11th, 2010

I have seen how the Lord works through obedience quite often but this particular one, to me, encouraged me since I was involved in the prayer group and seen how God turned nothing, once again, into something. :)  A group of us prayed for Greece for sometime, before the riot took place…We didn’t understand why but our group formed within a day and this group was faithful in prayer. We prayed everyday for a month and took turns in fasting and praying while the others were out and about doing the Lords work.  We are still continually praying for Greece and now are spread all over the world.  I have no idea where some of them are at at the time being because being out on the field sometimes means no internet access.   Never the less, we are emailing when we can…”Team Greece” is what we called it, got together and prayed like crazy..we prayed for everything imaginable because we didn’t understand what to pray for so we thought, lets pray for it all…the people, the children, the government, the churches, the hardened ground, to send missionaries….the list goes on and on..we had prayer walks got ate up my whatever bug Hungary can muster up..we didn’t care..we all wanted to pray..but there was one particular person who stepped out with only a few connections that we prayerfully asked the Lord to give us..I am telling you He is sooo faithful.  Anyway, back to this person.  Her name is Steffany..my sweet Steffany whom I adore and have had so much laughter with.  She went..I was so excited but scared at the same time…Greece just went through some major turmoil and she said, ” I am going to go and pray for the country and ask the Lord what He wants us to do.”  WOW!! So, I am going to attach her letters on what the Lord is doing and opening up for His work through the obedience of His chilren..Enjoy!

Letter 1

I am about wrapping up my time here in Thessaloniki (was here Wed-Sunday) and thought I would send you all an update before heading out to a new town tomorrow morning. Tomorrow, I plan to go to a beach area called Kassandra for a few days and spend some time on the ocean, soaking in the sun/swimming…and of course praying. :) I will continue to give you updates along the way, if you’d like. After there, I hope to head down to Larissa and check out the church there.

So, to share a bit about Thessaloniki – my time here has been good and as usual, God is SO faithful. As you know I have been googling churches and/or contacts left and right that I could perhaps visit while here, but really didn’t have any luck. The morning after I arrived here, I head out to walk around the water/port area, see some sights, etc. and get handed a flyer by a lady on the street. I almost grab it and keep walking, as I usually do to be polite and throw it away when I’m not longer in sight, but the words ‘Are we living in the last days’ catches my eyes. I stop and read it and realize this flyer is from a local christian church who is having a 3-day seminar with a guest pastor from Holland, and that it started that night (Thursday). I turn around and begin chatting with the lady and it turns out she is one of 4 guests from a church in Holland that came to Thessaloniki to minister to the pastor and his family here, help out with the seminar, and just spread the gospel to the people on the streets of Greece. We immediately “connect” and I realize all the amount of googling in the world couldn’t have brought me what God brought me within 2 seconds of stepping outside of my hostel. She walks me over to introduce me to the pastor and we end up chatting for a while. He is from Los Angeles, his wife from London, and had felt a call from God to come to Greece 3 years ago. They were in Athens for 2 years when God called them up to Thessaloniki and have been here for 10 months. Long story longer, I went to the service that night, met his family, and went back to their Sunday morning service this morning. We chatted for a while this morning about life in greece, some of their experiences, and the incredible difficulty it is to be a ‘missionary’ or pastor here. After talking with him for a bit and hearing of their life there, I gained an even deeper realization for why there isn’t much in terms of christian churches planted here. Within 10 months of being in Thessaloniki he has already been arrested and put in jail for 2 days for fixing a leak in their church building w/out a “permit”. The lady upstairs of them is SO hostile towards another “religion” coming in that she has verbally vowed that she will do anything to get them out. This lady is one of many they have come against. His legal trouble for this is still pending, so please pray for that. Most Sundays, the church consists of the pastor and his family. He says he just keeps plugging away knowing that this is where God wants him to be and that no matter how difficult, the people of Greece need to know Jesus. I assured him that we have a small group that is committed to lifting them up in prayer regularly. This pastor, Joe Stephens, was also able to connect me with a couple other contacts that I plan to follow up on. One, is another local church here in Thessaloniki that I didn’t have a chance to visit (just found out about it today). The pastor of this church actually owns a hostel here too and charges around 8 euro/night (SO cheap for here…or anywhere for that matter). He said this is a great option for teams coming in to minister or help out w/ a church, etc. He also gave me the contact for a pastor friend of his down in Athens as well as a friend of his in Corinth that I plan to get in touch with too, as I head south.

A couple days ago, as I was walking around lifting this city up in prayer God really showed me the importance of breaking ground in a place like this….with prayer. God was just giving me the words to pray and as I’m praying I realize that HE is moving and HE is doing a work here whether I ever physically see it manifested with my own eyes or not. This isn’t the type of place you can barge in preaching the gospel and really get the response you’re hoping for. They just simply don’t see a need for anything more than what they have. They don’t have physical and practical needs in the way some countries do, and they already have their ‘religion’ so they’re all good on all fronts. The hardness of the people I see here is exactly what I would have imagined the Pharisees to have been like. They have all the answers and to be told they need anything more is an insult. It all starts with the groundwork of prayer…it is a work that God is doing in softening the hearts and slowly opening the eyes of the people here and igniting a new found hunger for more. This is happening through prayer…LOTS of prayer. I don’t see it, I don’t know that my new pastor friend sees it yet, but it’s a matter of trusting that God is moving in our prayers and He IS doing it!

A couple things this pastor asked that we pray for:
A young local (greek) person to be saved so that they can have an “in” to reaching out and communicating better.
Ideally a translator to rise up within the church. Right now services are in english only.
Any help on locating inexpensive bibles in Greek. He said the bibles here are around 20 euros a piece and he only has a couple. This would be a pretty high expense when wanting to pass these out. He got his hands on a few New Testaments that were created when the Olympics were here. These are great because it’s in english and greek but it’s only the New Testament and he only has a couple of these left. He had heard there is a place in northern Cali that has the rest of the stash of these (for $5 bucks each) but he hasn’t been able to locate where they are. Any ideas??
And mainly, that the hardness of the hearts here would be broken and they would see their NEED for Jesus.
Sorry this is so long but I did want to try and keep you all in the loop. Thanks for your prayers and please keep them comin’!! Love you guys, Steff.

Letter 2

Hi again friends,

Just wanted to give another quick update. I fear this has the potential to get really lengthy so bear with me! Saturday morning I made my way down to Larissa and arrived last night (3 bus connections later made for a fairly long day). Needless to say, I was VERY excited to visit the church here this morning and once again, God did not disappoint. I arrived a little bit early so upon walking in, I was greeted by one of the most warm and friendly men I have ever met – pastor George. He offers me a cup of coffee and introduces me to a girl from Holland who was visiting the church for the first time too and had also arrived a little early. She is about 45 min. out of Larissa working at a hospital for medical studies for 4 weeks. She also found the church on the internet. The pastor was SO encouraged by both of our visits and by the fact that having his church on the internet has truly connected them to the outside world and has played a huge part in receiving visitors from all over the world. A young man from (and living in) Bucharest, Romania created the website for them and many of the people in the church haven’t even seen it. He actually was so moved by my random visit this morning that he asked if I would be willing to speak to the church and talk a little bit about my spiritual journey and what brought me here. I was SO happy to be able to do that! He gave me the floor this morning to tell the whole congregation about all of you and how God formed a little team to lift this country up (AND their church) and how God brought me physically to their country to just spend some time praying over it and that it is His heart to do a new work here. The body and the pastor were so touched and encouraged to hear this, so friends, PLEASE keep praying!!

The services are all in Greek, so a nice Greek man (from Canada but now living here) stepped in, sat next to us and translated the service. Pastor George preached out of Joshua and how God told the Israelites that in 3 days they would be crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The big, wide, over flowing Jordan River…another instance of making the impossible possible…for the greater good of His children. Are we willing to take that step into our own personal Jordan River, moving from desert to a land filled with HIS blessings, trusting that HE will get us across? He exhorted us to identify our own personal Jordan Rivers and make a commitment to step out in faith TRUSTING that no matter the impossibilities that we see, that we can trust in HIS ability to get us across. He also gave an illustration of a famous violinist, Joshua Bell, and an experiment he did in the states a while back. He is a world-renowned violinist, famous and performing in concert all over the world for ticket prices of generally around $100/person. He goes down to the subway/metro of a city in the states (didn’t say which one), leaves his violin case open, and plays for 45 minutes. During those 45 minutes he collects a total of $32 and 7 people actually stop to watch him play for a minute. Children even attempt to stop and watch, while they’re parents, grabbing their hands, hurriedly pull them away. During that 45 minutes all but 7 people rush passed him either ignoring him altogether or throwing money in without recognizing at all who he is or truly acknowledging his talent. During those 45 minutes he is the same man playing the exact same music he performs for large audiences around the world, but everyone is far too busy to recognize. This illustration was interesting to me, because before I left for church this morning I spent a little bit of time in prayer and God gave me a picture. Jesus, looking like a normal man today, was walking through the crowds of people here, in a mall, on the streets, wherever, and NO ONE recognized Him. Everyone busily wizzed right past as though nothing was different. Regardless of His physical appearance, being Jesus Himself, I believe we as His children, would stop and recognize Him if this scenario was to actually play out. But in my picture no one did. He made it through the crowd without anyone stopping and taking a double take, or sensing anything. This is what HE desires to change for Greece.

After the service the pastor’s wife invited me (and the girl from Holland) over to their home for lunch. I kid you not…BEST meal I have had in MONTHS! Authentic home cooked Greek food…GOD is GOOD!!! And the fellowship with them and their family was such an amazing blessing…truly a GREAT afternoon! I was also able to meet a gal named Ruth in the church who is from Switzerland but has been living here, working with OM, for the last 7 years. She invited me over for breakfast tomorrow morning so I will be spending the morning (Monday) with her at her home. Again…God is SO kind and generous! She has a few great connections in Athens, her OM colleagues that are ‘stationed’ there, so I’m looking forward to hearing more about that, as I will be heading to Athens on Wed. morning.

The pastor also invited me to save my money and stay at their church. Unfortunately, I paid for my place here online and through a 3rd party site, so it is non-refundable. However, I had only made my reservation through tomorrow night so I took him up on his offer for Tuesday night. Tonight, during evening bible study at the church, he gave me a key to the church and made me feel VERY welcome to show up anytime I want Tuesday and make myself at home. Again, praise God!

God is truly doing some amazing things here in Larissa and through this family. The church congregation is filled with people from all over the world and is continuing to grow. Everyone was so warm and friendly and I immediately got such an amazing sense of the pastor and his family’s love and commitment to spreading Jesus throughout this community. In July they are having their annual evangelizing campaign where they spend 10 days evangelizing to the people of Larissa. July 19-24 they will be evangelizing in the main square and on the streets in the center of town and the 25-29 they will be hosting a backgammon tournament, ministering to all the participants and spectators ☺, as well as having children programs and reaching out to the gypsy camps. His wife, Thespina, is organizing prayer coverage throughout the month of July for this event as well as just lifting up the city of Larissa in prayer. She came around after church with a sign-up sheet for who would be willing to pray and which day. I will be praying all day July 8th for God to fully and completely have His way during this time of evangelizing and reaching out. I really wanted ‘team Greece’ to be able to be involved with this as well. ☺ If you guys can take the following days and do the same that would be amazing…I truly expect God to do a GREAT work. And how amazing is it to have people literally scattered all over the world lifting up this event to HIM.
Katie – July 15
Danijela – July 16
Spencers – July 17
Greens – July 18

I am so blessed that no matter what is going on in each one of our lives, and no matter where, that we are ALL united in HIM. Through prayer and through having ONE Father. Regardless of location, let’s come along side this church as a family and remember them with the type of prayer that doesn’t cease!

Lastly, through my new friends Ruth and Thespina, I was told of a missionary conference that will be taking place in a sea-side town called Leptokaria June 18-21. The whole church will be going as well as all the OM workers throughout Greece. Jeff Fountain, (I think the European) director of YWAM, will be one of the guest speakers as well as Karin Schutz and Chris MacGaffe (and other Greek speakers). I am stoked to be able to attend this and plan to take the train up from Athens around that time. There will be missionaries and believers from all over so I am excited to see what other connections God wants to make! ☺

Thank you so much for continuing to pray – I can feel them and am SO grateful to have bro’s/sis’ in Christ expanding my family. Love you guys and I’ll continue to keep you posted. ☺

This is what obedience looks like, a willing heart, prayer, and an open door, and God working through us for His kingdom…Please pray for Greece and for the missionaries.

Love you all in Christ Jesus,

Dani

Sisterly love

May 22nd, 2010

We had our secret sister party on Monday! First, let me tell you a little about my secret sister. When I first came to Calvary Chapel I struggled a little and as I was sitting eating with my family Alisa came up to me with a smile and said, “Hey Dani! We are doing secret sister you wanna draw a name?” I thought to myself, ” Well, of course I am even though I don’t want to but since you put me on the spot..” This was my attitude! Ungrateful! Even thought I didn’t show it, my heart was so sick! So, to you who are reading this journal entry make sure your heart has pure motives. Phil 4:8! If not, it is NOT pleasing to the Lord and will hinder your relationship with God and others..

Throughout the months here, my secret sister has given me encouraging words in her gifts, chocolates on those days of emergencies, scripture verses in her artistic creations, and her prayers! I knew she was praying for me! Every time I prayed and had a petition the Lord answered them with my secret sister gifts…no, not money but her words and thoughts of love! Things like, I NEED A CHOCOLATE BAR LORD!!! At one time I was so focused on trying to figure out who it was I forgotten the main purpose of it all..and started to think about what will I get this time..how selfish we can become. I lost focus on what was true, the love God has for us. Because she prayed for me diligently the Lord spoke to her on what I needed and yes at times He blessed me with things a wanted, even to her it didn’t make sense however, she remained obedient to His guidance and gave me the right verses for that day, and a simple chocolate bar for another. Isn’t He just amazing how He cares so much for the little details of our lives?

Matthew 6:32-34 For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.   But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.   Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

During our party they asked if we would like to share any blessings during our months here. A few of us shared and it was so beautiful how these girls just poured out their hearts and thankfulness. I had a chance to share and the interpreter, Vivian Farkas, translated for me..She seemed a little different with what I had to say, she seemed “brighter” I can’t explain it I guess you had to of been there. I explained some of my struggles and the blessings I found because of my secret sister and how Sophia was blessed with half of the chocolate bar. How she blessed more than one person through her gifts to me. How the Lord just works through those prayers for others.

Now the time was at hand where we went to reveal our secret…and guess who was mine?? Yes, it was Vivan! No wonder she have a different look I basically told her how much she blessed me…I of course screamed with joy and gave her a hug..it was amazing! At the end she shared how it’s not about the gifts..as Paul explained in Philippians, but the heart behind it..And how sometimes when God asks you to do something or to get something for someone..just listen and obey…He knows exactly what He wants to do with it. My encouragement to all, listen and obey you will be blessed and you will bless. God loves us so much and cares for us so much that He will provide even the simplest things we just need to open our eyes to it..

A Girl Named Esther from South Korea

May 21st, 2010

Imagine yourself going to a country and not knowing the language.
Now imagine yourself going to a different country to an English speaking college.

Yes! This is like home, people know my language. I can communicate! I understand the teacher! Easy as 1..2…3!

Not for a named Esther. She is in our Missions Training Program. She is from S. Korea. The first day of class our teacher asked us, “Where do you think the Lord is leading you?” One by one we answered with excitement, then it came to Esther…In broken English she replied, “It…very..hard for me…I don’t speak good English. But..I pray..and God WILL hear.
I was just sitting there in awe..WOW! This is just walking with tremendous faith. Basically, it shut me up I couldn’t fathom it. Yes, it takes tremendous faith and it is hard but in all reality we do take the easy route, going to where we are familiar, safe, going to where it is beautiful, and secure. For Esther all this is new! During our speakers week the college provided excellent speakers, speakers who have been through tough times and hardships and also seen the Lord follow through with endless promises and rescue.
The following week we were back in our MTP class. The teacher asked, “What did you learn? How did the Lord touch your heart?” One by one we answered and then it came to Esther…In tears she replied, “I couldn’t understand hardly anything and I was frustrated, I prayed, I cried, I plead, Lord PLEASE help me to understand I want to know YOU more!” And then the Lord answered my cry with this scripture verse…Romans 5:3-4…Pam, our teacher, told Esther. “It’s okay you can read it in your language.” And she did and our class read along with her in our English bible.Rms 5:3-4 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character and character hope.”
This is the exact message we were taught all week and the Lord spoke to Esther through His word..He spoke to her!!! Oh man, this is, such a blessing!!! For all of us..As it is written…The Lord will answer if we seek after Him. Guys! This was witnessed first hand by all of us in this situation and we were all so blessed by it.

On Thursdays we have our church services and on this particular Thursday I saw Esther on stage. Esther playing the piano. Her eyes closed her fingers moving across the keyboard praising God in the gift He gave her in a language she understood. She might not speak our language, she might not understand it all (I believe the Lord is giving her the English language pretty quickly)..one thing I do know is her life is filled with the love of God, a joy that I haven’t seen in quite some time, and an abiltiy to communicate from the heart by sitting at His feet in complete humility and surrender. Oh Lord that you will grant us the same heart as we seek Your face in complete humility and surrender. I hope this encouraged you, pray for Esther. As we are here pray that the Lord will do the same in our hearts as well and in yours.

With our love to you and praying for you that you will receive the same blessings in your walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greens