We had our Pamper Evening today. Sandra (who runs her own beauty shop in town and comes to Holy Trinity) came with her friend and colleague, Anastasia, to set up makeup and tables, which we decided last minute to move outside.
It was a wonderful atmosphere! Aside from the three of us, Jules, and Sandra and Anastasia, we had a family from church come (Nicola and Peter and their two daughters, Andrea and Lydia, who were a delight), as well as a few other women. One of them was Sandra’s best friend, who Sandra had been asking to come to church for ages. Once she got there, she started asking questions about God, and now Jules is going to do some follow-up with her. Amazing!
We also have more of a clue as to why the youth here frequent the courtyard…
We had church this morning. The Holy Spirit was so present, and as well as the regular church congregation there were young people from Holland visiting – they were on a Christian holiday, and church was optional, so a group of five of them sat towards the back. After the service, we chatted to them, and noticed that one of them (a guy called Yespen) was wearing an arm brace that he’d had since birth, so Mel and I prayed for him. We got chatting to an American couple (Matthew and Cindy) who are pastoral missionaries – they feel called to offer pastoral support to other missionaries, and have travelled extensively. They are renting a beautiful house just outside of Corfu town, and they invited us for lunch on Tuesday. It was such an encouraging morning for us, and hopefully for the church, too.
In the evening, we ran a worship session. Chris, Jules and I led worship, and Mel preached on Jesus (and Peter) walking on the water. Again, the Holy Spirit was powerfully dwelling among us, and at the end Mel suggested that we pray with purpose for anyone who wanted to be prayed for. Matt and Cindy were there, and another lady called Anne (who had preached during the morning service on the same passage). We prayed for all three of them for pictures and words for them. Jules had to leave early, but he described it as like “leaving a warm fire on a winter’s evening!” It was an amazing time of fellowship for all of us.
This evening we had our first movie night, watching Disney’s Moana. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about a girl (Moana) who’s destiny is to become chief of her island of Motu Nui, but she wants nothing more than to explore the ocean beyond the reef. On the night her grandmother dies, she sets sail to find Maui, a demigod, and together restore the heart of Te Fiti (Te Fiti being the goddess of creation).
We set up the downstairs room with a projector and speakers, popcorn, drinks, and comfy pillows and chairs. Andrea and Lydia came with their parents, as well as a girl called Nisha (I think that’s how it’s spelt…) and her grandmother. It was a great evening that involved a lot of experimenting with snacks (including popcorn with Nutella which I’m still uncertain about, but everyone else seemed to like it).
It feels like a lot of the things that we’re doing are helping to build community within the church.
We finally had some youth at our youth café! Lisa brought her son Jamie, and we sat and chatted and played games. Jamie has been teaching himself how to do card tricks on YouTube, so he wowed us (me) with some of his skills. We argued about which was harder: learning Greek or English!
After the café, Matthew came to pick us up and take us for lunch. Cindy had made Mexican food, and we spent a few hours eating and sharing our stories. Matt and Cindy help to run the World Race, which is an extreme form of mission trip for young people: 11 missions in 11 different countries in 11 months. You’re sent for 6 weeks of training (including how to haggle in foreign markets and not get yourself kidnapped or trafficked) and to meet the rest of your squad, and then you’re off to partner with local mission projects in the countries you visit. (I think I’ll stick to Corfu for now, although Mel and Chris seemed more than up for the idea!)
Tuesday evening was our second discussion, looking at the evidence for Jesus being alive. Mel kicked us off this time, and approached it by showing us a video created by a student historian who argued that the disciples must have seen something (whether it was the risen Jesus or not). Alexi and Amandine came back, and Jules brought two of his daughters, Katie and Amy. We all ordered pizza, and it was another interesting discussion (with less philosophy this time). Mel shared her testimony, and towards the end Alexi asked about prayer. We even had an opportunity to pray generally at the end of the meeting. God is good!
• Again, we are continuing to see God’s goodness and provision, and he is building us up as individuals, but also the church community
• We are all still in good health, which is great!
• Please pray for Alexi and Amandine (especially as the next discussion is on having a personal relationship with God), as well as Amy and Katie; Sandra’s friend; Anastasia; Nicola, Peter, Lydia and Andrea; Yespen and the Dutch group on holiday here; Nisha and her grandmother; Lisa and Jamie; and Matt and Cindy (who are now in Nepal visiting one of their squads)
• God seems to be diverting more and more from what we had planned, so please pray for us that we would hear what he is asking us to do, and then go out and do it!
I hope these updates are an encouragement to you all!