Putting Shoulders to the Plow Together
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12).
People ask me why I go to Eastern Europe. This is my answer: Caring for the souls of our pastors/leaders is more than a passion for me. It’s my calling. God has opened many doors for me throughout Eastern Europe to attend to our pastors and leaders there. In the midst of Muslim neighbors and atheist governments, there are isolated pastors and their churches who are thankful for every bit of encouragement and spiritual aid that we are able to provide.
During my trip this September, I was at an outside cafe in Istanbul, Turkey. Surrounding me were people: tourists and locals…walking, shopping, eating. I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s going on with them?”
Like all of us, each person I saw had a magnitude of issues, objectives, and problems. I wondered, “Where would I be without God in my life?” I wondered, “Have they heard of God’s GOOD NEWS that they are wonderfully created for relationship with the One True God of this universe?”
It is far more rare in these countries than in the US to be exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and even more so to be exposed to the Bible. I was thankful that God had given me the opportunity to visit these people. I was thankful for the many wonderful and kind people who had supported the pastor/leader retreat that I was traveling for. I was thankful as well for the help from my interpreter, who is fluent in Russian and helps me when I’m in Russian-speaking countries like Uzbekistan.
She, along with Pastor D, who ministers to many pastors in Uzbekistan, met me in Uzbekistan when I arrived from Turkey. After warm hugs and smiles, Pastor D took us to a restaurant where we were treated to Ösh”, a favorite Uzbekistan dish served to guests.
We spent two hours discussing many of the needs of the Church in Uzbekistan. It was good to pray with Pastor D, listen to his heart for his pastors, and to encourage him in his ministry.
I was thankful for the safe travels, God’s strength He gave me, and the blessing of working together with brothers and sisters across the world to spread Christ’s message of hope and the meaningful work of building God’s kingdom.
I wondered, “Have they heard of God’s GOOD NEWS that they are wonderfully created for relationship with the One True God of this universe?” – Richard Parrish
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