International Ministries

Larry Serves Refugees in Greece

April 11, 2016 Journal
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Greetings from Greece!

We hope you are doing well and seeing much fruit from the Spirit's work in your life.

Larry and I have had an exciting spring so far: he spent most of the month of March volunteering with refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos, and he has just returned to Greece for another trip, this time to the ancient city of Thessaloniki. The following is an update of this work.

Responding to the Call

International Ministries emphasizes work with immigrants and refugees. As American Baptist Global Servants, we are honored to share with you our work in this area. Your prayer and financial partnership sends Larry to be the hands and feet of Christ to a group of people in desperate need in 2016.

IM has just completed a period of discernment, drafting our newest operational document called Respond to the Call. Work with immigrants and refugees is the first strategy listed under the Focused Impact Area #2 — Proclaiming God’s Reign of Justice, Peace, and Abundant Life:

"International Ministries serves immigrants and refugees, building upon the celebrated immigrant and refugee ministries of American Baptist congregations, regions, national organizations, and partners in order to develop similar ministries on a global level."

We are so excited that the Spirit has given Larry this opportunity that is aligned with the most current policy initiative from our sending agency! IM has no missionaries in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Larry feels he has a wonderful opportunity to send the light of Christ to the nations from our service point here in Central Europe.

All in a day's work

Picking up trash, digging ditches, pitching tents, spreading the gospel. Larry worked hard at the Moria refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece.

Larry said it hurt his pride to pick up trash until he remembered the King of the Universe stooped down to wash sinful feet. He changed his attitude, then helped dig drainage ditches and prepare the ground for more tents. The practical reality of welcoming so many people is hard work. Read one doctor's report on the state of the refugee camps across Europe: Often he worked crowd control during the hours-long lunch line. He says the people were hungry, desperate and scared. Most of the camps in Greece had been  transit camps, but now with Europe's borders closed, people don't know when they can leave or where they can go. Please keep praying for this desperate situation!

Wonderfully, however, Larry was able to talk about God's love with those in need. Seeing Larry's ABMen t-shirt, a British volunteer asked why he's Baptist. The man said he didn't believe in any religions and asked Larry to share what he believes! Later, Larry saw a young Pakistani man leaning against a tree sobbing. He had just found out his father died. Larry prayed with him. Please pray for these two men, and for Larry that he continues to receive and take great opportunities to share.

They called me "Uncle"

As Larry worked at the Moria refugee camp, he met many young Pakistani men. They called him "Mamoo" which they said means "Uncle." I secretly wondered if they weren't calling him "gringo" or some other not-so-nice slang, but one night at the coffeehouse here in Debrecen, a Pakistani economics major named Jamal confirmed what Larry had been told. "Mamoo" is specifically your mother's brother, and used as a term of respect for older men. My heart turned over when Jamal shared that his own Mamoo was killed in a hotel bombing in Pakistan in 2007. Please pray for Jamal, and all of those escaping violence and pursuing a better life.

At first I thought Larry went to serve Syrians; a bit of research confirmed a pressing need and great opportunity to witness to Pakistanis. According to the Joshua Project, Pakistan is 98% Muslim, 99% unreached with the gospel! Please pray for the lost and suffering in Pakistan and Syria and all across the world.

Larry flew home from Lesvos on Easter Sunday. Though it was hard to be without him for three loooong weeks, I feel my work on the home front is a necessary part of our work together for Christ, and a sweet compliment to my work in the schools here in Hungary. Many Hungarians are frightened by the refugee crisis facing Europe. I believe it is a witness when my colleagues and students here know about Larry's work. Please pray we continue to be salt and light together.

Larry serves in Thessaloniki

Like me, most of you probably recognize this Greek city from Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. Two thousand years later, this ancient city is in the heart of what may be the greatest mission opportunity of our time.

Thousands of refugees remain stuck in Greece in quickly made camps. Volunteers on the ground are requesting help. Larry left last Sunday for two weeks in camps near Thessaloniki. Some of the camps are organized by the Grecian military, but volunteers on the ground say they are spread too thin, overwhelmed by the sheer number of refugees and lack of organization, leadership, infrastructure and resources. Please pray for Larry as he tries to find the best place to put to use his ABMen Disaster Relief passion and skills!

Be sure to watch our Facebook page Stanton Global Servants for frequent pictures and updates.

Respond to the call of Christ with us.

If you would like to partner with Larry's work with the refugees, please consider making a donation to our work account. Please write "Stanton Work Account" on the memo line and mail to:
Larry Stanton
International Ministries
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482

Or you can make a donation through our page on the IM website, by writing "Stanton Work Account" in the "instructions" box.

And please, keep praying!

Pray for Larry's witness to the refugees.
Pray for his work with other organizations.
Pray for his health and joy.
Pray for me and the girls at home in Hungary and my continuing work teaching English and witnessing in the Baptist schools in Téglás and Debrecen.

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