"Please pray for this window of opportunity for MCC to send people along with Outfitters for Adventures (church plant team ministry) to this particular nation. Pat, pastor, was invited by a pastor he met during a missions trip to teach at a school in Siberia in the summer of 2003; just like the one he and others has taught at in this part of this world."
From: "Patrick F.
Subject: Back from Georgia
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2006 10:30:10 -0600
"Hello Saints - I'm back in town, the trip was very blessed of God. I so much enjoyed my time with Ben Goodman, also with my translator Nino, and the pastors Wheecha and Schmagee. They are Godly people with a hunger for more.
Below is a note giving a window into our time. I mention in the note a meeting Sunday in Gori - it was blessed by God. I also mention an upcoming leaders meeting - which has 40 people, not 12! The Lord blessed that also. Blessings - Pat
Hello Ang -
" Greetings from Rustave (pron. RooStavee) where Ben and I have been doing a conference at the church pastored by Whicha, who is the overseer over this group of churches. Today Ben had a word over a young woman that spoke to many people and touched their hearts -- more on that in a minute.
Ben and I have been each speaking about 1/2 hour per session at this conference. We meet from 11-1 and then 4-6 each day, for three days from Thurs thru Saturday. Their worship is very good - they have 17 people on the worship team! The singers are all in sharp uniforms, the songs and instruments (drums, driving keyboard, and a bass) show that they have spent time practicing, many of the songs are contemporary such as Hill Songs "Everyday" song that I like. Only the words are in Georgian so I just sing in the Spirit to a tune that I know!
Today's meeting was a real blessing. Ben started speaking first, but he paused to share a vision of two song birds that had fallen from the tree limb due to a strong wind. Both birds had broken wings and one decided it could no longer sing because it couldn't fly anymore and it was hurt. The second bird decided it would sing even though it was hurt. Ben said it may be for several people but he pointed out one girl in particular and had her stand. He shared that this was for her, she had been hurt but that the Lord was calling her to sing and to worship Him. Many were crying. Her pastor came forward, a very learned man who has been trained as an engineer and an attorney.
He was almost speechless. He confirmed with Ben before the crowd that he had not given out any information to Ben about this girl, which Ben agreed no he had known nothing thru natural means. This man gave praise to God and was noticeably affected by the display of God's power in the meeting through the prophetic word to this young woman. Later the woman and her mother came up. Turns out the second "bird" had meaning, she had been married to a man who professed to be a Christian but was really not. Through much hardship, including losing a child and falling away from God their marriage ended. She returned to the Lord, he did not. Many in the church were familiar with the whole situation so they were amazed.
Ben has been speaking on the life of David, I've been sharing on Maturity -- a teaching that Keith Hazell gave a couple of years back at the mens retreat. Today I shared about dreaming a dream like Jacob, not giving up but being persistent -- I also shared about the experience that we had in Starbuck, how our response to adversity is so very critical.
We have a very nice 2 room flat in Tbilisi (2 million people, capital city) to ouselves -- a family is living with relatives while we're in town. Ben is impressed with the bathroom, apparently what he stayed in last time was less cushy. It's been nice to be able to spend time with Ben and get to know him better and to minister together is a treat. We were supposed to speak at a conf in Tbilisi but they couldn't secure a hall so we're in Rustave, which is like a suburb to Tbilisi. Whicha started a church there a few years back. His first church is in Gori, where Schmugee, his right hand man, is the pastor now.
Our interpretor is a quiet and sweet 33 year old lady named Nino. She received strategic ministry from Ben and Neil 1.5 years back and she's been loyal ever since. Some of our meetings have been intimidating I think for her since a handful of people know enlish fairly well and they'll speak up if she makes a mistake! For example, the attorney- engineer who is now a pastor in a city on the black Sea is married to an MD Gynecologist, and they both speak good English. Another guy is Baato who works for companies the government interpreting.
Our diet has been interesting. The food doesn't stop coming -- we had to put in a special request to have NO supper last night after a big breakfast and a really big lunch at a fancy restaurant! We got back late anyway being delayed 1 extra hour in traffic by an accident.
After our 3 day conference we will preach and minister in Schmugee's church in Gori, and we may see some sights Sunday afternoon and our day off on Monday. I want to get a little bit of history to share with the family. Tuesday we speak to the leaders in the evening - I impagine it will be a dozen or so people, pastors and spouses. I have been in very good health, our travel was quite easy with Ben's passes into 1st class lounges and such. I slept well on airplanes and in airports to catch up. The last 2 nights we've had good sleep as well, although we have both been up since 4:30 am today! We'll be ready for bed by 9 tonight I'm sure.
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 23:05:36 -0500
From: "The Hansons"
"Tuesday news from Thielkes in Republic of Georgia: We are staying in Gori (Wikipedia)in the Republic of Georgia, and traveling to churches in the area and having meetings in the church here. Monday we were in a house church where Neil taught about getting free in our spirits from doubts and fears. I shared a little from what we have been going over in our mentoring sessions from the book, Telling Yourself the Truth. The people all wanted ministry afterwards, and we had a long counseling session with the couple who had been pastoring the church.
Tuesday we were in another city very near Gori where there is a woman pastor. Neil preached on overcoming strongholds in our mind. Shmuggie, our host pastor from Gori, encouraged us that these were very important messages for the people in Georgia who grew up under communism and have been so beaten down in their emotional and spiritual lives. We hope they will be able to latch onto the teachings and put them to use to get free within their hearts.
There is much work to be done here encouraging the leaders of this network of churches in how to shepherd their pastors and the people in their churches. They need good teaching. They could really use one of our schools of ministry for their leaders, but we will have to see how God leads.
The internet cafe we are using is very slow, so I will keep this short. We are doing well. This afternoon Neil will be teaching on prayer regarding the personal nature of relating to God with our specific needs as well as building our relationship with God himself in our prayer life. Prayer has been a formula here, and it is meant to be so much more vital to the daily life of the Christian. Tomorrow we will be teaching the young people here in Gori. Saturday we return to the capital city of Tbilisi (Wikipedia) and will be teaching in the nearby city of Rustavi (travel-images).
Thank you for your prayers. If you are praying for our health and good sleep, it is working. Please also pray for grace as we relate to the people, and especially to the leaders here.
Jenny, thanks for your message. It is the only one I was able to get into, and it was so good to hear from you. I am thankful that your back is better. Please let us know the name of the church you work with in Amsterdam. Our friend David more than likely knows people in your church, and it would be good to know of those connections.
Friday news from Thielkes in Gori, Republic of Georgia: Neil & I just got back from Kashuri, a small village about half an hour from Gori in the Republic of Georgia where a woman from the Gori church has started a home church. She travels there twice a week for their weekly church service and a weekly prayer service. She really knows how to care for the people, and the church is healthy. They are very poor, because there are few jobs in the village. The men were gone looking for jobs in Tbilisi, capital city of Georgia, and to Russia and even the Ukraine, where conditions are rather in turmoil politically at the moment.
We have been visiting outlying churches this week, and have had a couple of meetings in the Gori church to encourage their prayer team and their youth. The young people wanted Neil to address their rights and responsibilities. Translation: Please help us get along better with our parents, and help our parents give us more freedom. We gently helped them come to a deeper appreciation for their parents and encouraged them to find one encouraging thing to say to at least one person in their church each week. The young people said we had helped them.
Today we got a good view of the breathtaking mountains that are on both the east and west borders of Georgia. The mts have a new layer of snow, and the peaks were still hidden in clouds where it is snowing yet today.
Tomorrow morning we have our final meeting in the Gori church, and then will be heading back to Tbilisi with Whicha, the pastor from Rustavi who oversees this network of churches. Please continue to pray for grace and wisdom as we help them through their current transitions. Tonight we enjoyed a Sauna/Banja in Gori, which was a "first" for our interpreter. The men were in one room and the women in another. After the sauna, the people came to the church office where Neil and I have been staying. People like to hang out there in the evenings, visiting, eating, and using the church computer. It is party every night while we have been here. We have been trying to get used to the women who come to cook and clean up for us, loading the table with food and telling us to "eat, eat", which we are trying to keep to a reasonable level, but we are still adding pounds. We scared a woman the other morning who came to fix breakfast. We were trying to make motions to explain we had already had our oatmeal, but when I rubbed my tummy, she thought I was sick. Then Neil puffed his cheeks, and made a face like he was really full, and she thought he was about to throw up. She rushed to find someone to help, and another woman came. Soon they were trying to call Nino, but she was already on the minibus coming to get us for the day. The next day the woman we frightened invited us to her house for a warm bath. We were able to explain through Nino's interpretation, and we had a good laugh. We also were able to minister to her daughter who has gone through a painful divorce recently from an alcololic husband who also used drugs and would beat her. There aren't many Christian men, and the women have been marrying non-Christians and suffering.
Pray for them. This morning Neil will speak to the leaders of the various churches and several of their members at their weekly gathering in Gori. We have been praying for wisdom. They are arriving now, so I need to run.
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