Time has flown these last few months and so much has happened. Here’s a month by month account of what’s we’ve been up to.
At the beginning of June, Féy attended her first International Leadership Team (ILT) meeting for ECMI. The ILT gathers twice a year to assist and support the International Director in providing the essential direction for and coordination of the various spheres of operation of ECMI. Féy appreciated being part of this group, and having the opportunity to grapple with a variety of issues ranging from opening new Fields (Greece & Malta), developing new partnerships, and candidate & member issues.
During the last week of June we both went to Macedonia to facilitate ‘Prayer Days’ for the ECM missionaries in Albania, Kosovo and this year the Bulgaria team joined us. 16 adults and 13 children gathered together for three days. The kids had a ball in their programme, and the adults really appreciated the opportunities they had together to learn, pray and get to know one another better.
In July Murray and I visited the ECM missionaries in Bulgaria that we have been caring for over the past year. The drive to Sofia is about nine hours, but we were able to break the journey to explore Skopje (Macedonia), which we really enjoyed.
After our return we enjoyed some visits from a number of New Zealanders who were travelling through Albania. In between our travel and visitors we both continued to meet regularly with church members, and especially our small Bible study groups. We also enjoyed meeting up with our ECM team members at the swimming pool when the temperature rose to around 40°.
During the first week of August Féy flew off to Portugal to teach at the ‘Foundations’ Course, which is designed to help missionaries after they have been on the Field for around a year. This time we had 11 adults and 11 children, and they were from Australia, The Netherlands, and Brazil, and were working in Spain, Germany, Portugal, Croatia and Bulgaria, which made for an interesting group.
Shortly after that a team of eight young Americans arrived to serve in our church for a few months. Murray has had a role with their orientation, and setting them on their way to build relationships in our neighbourhood, with the goal to run an English speaking ‘Christianity Explained’ course towards the end of their time. They have made some contacts, and the course will began a few weeks ago.
September was a busy month of travel, especially for Féy. It began with another trip to Bulgaria for both of us. Féy then went to Ukraine to teach at another Foundations Course for 17 Ukrainians who joined ECM at the beginning of the year after another organisation merged with ECM. One of the main ministries the Ukrainian folk are involved in is supporting Christian families who have adopted children out of the orphanages. Over the past 12 years they have had a part in over 500 children being adopted.
After just two days at home, Féy took to the air again to visit the missionaries in Romania. She facilitated Prayer Days in Sibiu for all the missionaries, and then took part in discussions about new ministry partnerships the missionaries are developing.
Church Ministry update
Over the summer we continued to be encouraged with our discipleship groups, and the growth we see in a number of people. Some of the men that Murray has been working are showing real leadership potential. One of them, along with his wife recently join the (re-structured) church leaders meeting.
The men have had a growing concern for the church in the hometown where many of them first became Christians. Murray is supporting their plans to visit every few months, to encourage the men that still live there.
Greek Short-term Team
From 12 – 20 November Féy is taking a team of nine Albanians on a short-term mission trip to Athens to serve alongside the 2nd Evangelical Greek Church, which has a significant ministry to refugees and to many Albanians.
It is hoped that through this project, not only will the ministries of the Greek church be supported (many of their ministries function because of short-term teams), but that the team members will experience God at work in other people’s lives, and in their own lives.The weekly ministry will include about 20 hours a week of scheduled activities, as well as more hours of building relationships by visiting people in their homes, tutoring kids, and doing bible studies.
ECMI recently approved ‘opening’ a field in Greece, and they are currently seeking personnel to work in Greece at the invitation of the Greek church. After Féy was appointed as the contact person for ECMI in Greece, and hearing of the opportunity for short term ministry, the idea of taking a team from Albania took shape.
We will be in New Zealand from the middle of December, initially taking our annual leave with our family. Then we will be spending two months catching up with as many people as we can, and will be speaking in churches in Nelson, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
Before we head to NZ, Féy has a trip to Croatia, another ILT meeting in the UK, the short-term team visit to Greece and then will go to Germany for annual leaders meeting as well as a week of training in Cognitive Coaching. Murray will visit the team in Bulgaria, and both of us will visit the team in Kosovo a couple of times.