A List of Needs

In response to several folks who have asked for a list of items we need to finish the new church building, we have compiled this short list. It is, for the most part, detailed and covers the items we have the greatest need of. It is also been recommended we provide the giving information to meet these needs. We believe every believer should give through their local church to support the needs of their missionaries, and we encourage those individuals who are led to help us to follow their church’s procedures. However, if you so desire to help meet these needs personally, please visit our mission agency’s website http://www.bimi.org and go to “Giving”. Our missionary number is #1474.

Right now, our greatest need is for finances to purchase and install new window shades. The front of the building has two very tall windows requiring custom shades. The initial number we’ve been quoted for the shades is 1200 euros and probably another 300-500 euros for installation. If you’re wondering why everything is so expensive, please remember we pay 24% VAT (value added tax) on all material and labor expenses in Greece.

The following is a list of items we would like to purchase from IKEA for the fellowship / reception area: Knislinge Sofa #503.458.39- 400 euros; Lack Coffee Table #001.042.91- 50 euros; Lack Side Table #200.114.08- 7 euros; (2) Ekenas Arm Chairs #502.766.52- 200 euros each; Trollberget Desk Stool #803.793.47- 99 euros; Gallant File Cabinet #603.651.53- 169 euros; Forsa Desk Lamp #001.467.76- 17 euros.

We also need a 55″ monitor for the meeting room for hymn lyrics, announcements, and lessons. There is a Greek electronics store that sells a private label brand called Turbox offering one that meets our needs for 450 euros. We also need a new computer monitor for the new computer we recently purchased for the church office- 200 euros.

Thank you for prayerfully considering helping us complete the building so we can open as soon as possible. I was at the building this morning to see the work our mechanic recently completed and it is really starting to look and feel like a church now. The emergency lighting has been completed, all the light fixtures have been installed, and the ventilation fans for the washrooms have been replaced. We will soon fix some of the plaster, touch up painting, thoroughly clean the floors- and we should be ready to start meetings!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. God bless!!!

Michael DeLuca

 

Family

Social media has been a blessing to me and probably a host of other missionaries who are separated from family and friends for what is often years at a time. This past weekend I saw pictures from a family wedding of so many people I love and care for deeply- I almost felt like I was there. I have to admit, I shed a few tears and wished I could have been to enjoy one of God’s most precious gifts, family. 

I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult to watch nieces and nephews you rarely see, grow up not knowing who you are. It hurts when you miss out on your own kids special life moments. Sporting events, plays, and getting a driver’s license are often taken for granted by some, but not all. Our daughter will graduate college and our son HS in May, but things being what they are, I probably won’t be able to attend because of God’s calling on my life to reach people here in Greece. One of the most difficult things is seeing loved ones pass away and not being able to share in those trying times with your family or friends. Still, I wouldn’t trade my life for any other.

I love my family and I love my friends, but I love Jesus so much more. And the best part is that He loves my family and friends far more than me. I just want my family to know and understand how much we love and miss each of them. I want them to understand the love of Christ personally so they too will understand why we are a continent away laboring to see others become members of God’s family… the most important family anyone can be a part of. 

“For I am not come to set a man variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” -Matthew 10:35-37

Count Your Blessings?

We are still experiencing some difficulties with getting our home WiFi system connected. We purchase our service from a telecom company who works in conjunction with the Greek national phone company called OTE. Some of you may have seen the name Cosmote while traveling in Europe or watching soccer matches- same company. OTE does all the line work and they’re usually not in a hurry to do anything for the other telecoms because it isn’t “their” customer. Anyway, I scheduled the transfer of our service 3 weeks in advance of our move based on the 4 weeks it took them to give us service last time. When they came, they said there wasn’t an available line at the box for us to have phone & internet. Calls were made and eventually they “found” one. The telecom came out to install the service and said we had a wiring problem in the house because they couldn’t get the signal from the box. The tech failed to see the wire connecting our home goes to a different box almost directly in front of our house, which we discovered by paying a private electrician skilled in these matters to come out and check the wiring. So they came out again and are now telling us we have to wait for OTE to come and move the line from the other box to the one we’re connected to. No one knows how long this will take. We started this process almost 7 weeks ago. In that time I’ve paid our bill and yesterday was forced to purchase a mobile hot spot so I can keep up with our responsibilities. In fairness, our provider did give us one but it quit working after a few days and after spending quite a few hours trying to get it sorted, I opted to purchase our own.

While we are definitely frustrated, it surely isn’t the end of the world. I am all the more reminded to be thankful for all the things we do have like a home, food, clothes, a car, and most of all- salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. I spend many hours a week trying to reach people here with the Gospel, and some of these people are reasonably well off. They have nice homes, expensive cars, maybe a vacation home on an island, and probably good internet service. However, they lack the most important and valuable thing in the all the world- a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is why we are here. This is why a few weeks without internet really doesn’t matter when people next door, all over our neighborhood, and across Athens are heading to a Christ-less eternity. We’re counting our blessings, not as someone who takes pride in them, but in gratitude and to strengthen our commitment to sharing them with others. Its truly been said, “You can’t take it with you”, but you definitely can take someone with you… whether you have internet or not.

Finally…

After months of meaning to get started revamping our website, we’re finally starting to make some updates. It is has been our desire for some time to produce a monthly 2-3 minute video update detailing what is happening in our ministry. Honestly, I’ve dropped the ball on that but we are in the process of adding a link to a new YouTube channel where we plan to regularly upload ministry updates and related videos. We will have a an update completed very soon!

We are also adding more Greek language content. We’ve translated our doctrinal statement in Greek and added it to the “What We Believe” page. As we continue to reach our community in Athens, this site will play a vital part, and using this platform in Greek is a must. We will continue to add more Greek content as the ministry grows and impacts the people around us. I’m looking forward to adding some Greek discipleship files and even some audio files of short Bible lessons as I work toward proficiency with the language. To that end, please continue to pray as I complete my Greek language instruction courses. I attend classes twice a week, working toward acquiring the C-2 level compentancy certification. I also am completing full TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification and plan to use English instruction as an opportunity to employ the Bible as a primary text while building relationships through the classroom environment.

Thank you for praying and supporting our family. Keep an eye out for a new prayer letter and that video update in the very near future.

Fam

 

Update Video

Wanted to post the link to our current update video which gives a brief glimpse of our first term ministry on Zakynthos and where God is leading us upon our return to Athens in March 2018. You can find it under the Video Updates page here on the site! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Time for a Change

It’s been six years since we created this site and I am ashamed to say that I’ve never updated its primary content one time. Sure, we’ve added our prayer letters and the occasional blog but we largely have not kept up with the site as we should have. Well, after much prayer and a renewed commitment to using the gifts of technology to reach people for Christ, we will be revamping and posting more information here and at our new Facebook page, @GrecoMissions (see the link at the bottom of this page).

Please keep an eye out for our furlough update video to be posted, sermons, songs (Joanna singing, not me!), and video updates. If you have any suggestions or ideas that would make our site more informative and useful as a ministry tool, please do not hesitate to send me a message.

We’re looking forward to the next phase of ministry in Athens beginning in March 2018. We’re hoping you will follow us along this amazing journey as we share the good news of the Gospel and begin a new Baptist church in the city of Athens.

The Road Ahead

I’m a planner. I like setting goals, arranging details, and sticking to the program. I’m one of those people who immediately arranges a place setting to my preferences and can instantly tell if something is out of place at my desk. When things go off plan, I tend to get a bit freaked out. It may not be visible on the outside but trust me when I tell you, my mind begins to race and my body starts to respond to the stress. And yes, with God’s help, I’m working on it.

When we learned my previous lawyer did nothing he said he had regarding my residency application, my mind went into crisis mode. “What are we going to do now?”,  I thought?  I had carefully planned out 2017 and loosely planned for furlough to begin mid 2018. Beyond that, I had planned for us to return to Greece and get busy planting a church. The big problem being that, “I had planned.” Although I prayed over these things, they weren’t God’s plans. He simply hadn’t revealed His plans to us until just a few weeks ago at which time  I asked myself  an important question. Who is in charge of my life, me or God?  It certain seems much clearer now than when I first faced these circumstances. My life isn’t my own. I am bought with a price. Yet, I began to stress when I should have simply trusted God.

Now that things have settled down and I’ve placed my trust where it should’ve been in the first place, God is showing us more of His plan… and it is exciting! Do I still need to make plans and attend to details? Of course, but it’s so much more peaceful following God’s direction than trying to blaze my own path. What seemed like a big disappointment at the time is proving to be a huge blessing.

The road ahead is definitely clearer now than at any time in the past three years. Because of my visa situation, we are moving our furlough up one year. We’ll be returning to the States at the end of June 2017 and returning to Greece at the beginning of March 2018. After our return, we will be moving to either Athens or Thessaloniki (the Lord hasn’t showed us that part of His plan just yet… and that’s OK!) to begin the preliminary work of establishing a new Baptist church! I’ve never doubted God called our family here to plant a church and now He is giving us the desire of our hearts sooner than we expected.

Things I figured would need countless hours of planning are falling into place even without my involvement. “Lord, please show me where we should look for furlough housing?”, I prayed. The next day, I receive an email that a family in our home church is making a house available to us for the duration. I didn’t even have to ask! “God, please show me what to do regarding residency.”- Done! Our new lawyer did some digging and made some recommendations which are so easy, she doesn’t even have to be involved in the process which will begin when we return next year. It’s so nice to focus on the important thing, getting the Gospel to the people God has brought into our lives, rather than sweating details of things God is already attending to.

I’ve heard the following statement many times in my life but I believe I never really understood how until now- “Let God be God.” I need to trust Him more without going in front of Him. I’m to be a follower of Christ, not one who goes my own way hoping to find Him wherever I wind up. The road ahead looks better than ever.