I recognize names of towns my father saw almost sixty-nine years ago at the end of WWII. I read the memoir of his battalion and imagine what his thoughts must have been. No longer is this a foreign country but a place that brings the memory of my father’s experiences to life. I can now appreciate what his battalion did in the final six weeks of the war. Riding bumpy trucks for hundreds of miles and fighting a resolute foe desperately trying to protect their motherland. It is no longer just stories told by my dad or accounts I have read in books. It is now a living and breathing memory that has opened my eyes.
We spent an outstanding week with Kim and Jenny Garrity of Greater European Missions. What a joy to learn of their family, ministry, dreams and their heartbeat for the Kingdom of God. We spent many hours listening, talking and sharing our hearts with one another.
Kim did not just tell us stories but showed us pictures of people they have come to know. One picture was a former member of the Taliban sitting at a table and reading the Bible. Refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq and other volatile regions have gathered in Greece and other more friendly countries to seek asylum from the oppression. Kim regularly visits a Persian speaking church to bring short-term ministry teams alongside this fledgling church to serve.
The pastor of this church has a death sentence on his life from radical groups and unhappy governments. Great caution must be taken when discussing their needs, location and names. It reminds us of the stories we have read about Christian martyrs in the centuries past.
We walked into a former jail cell where Christians were persecuted for heresy, witchcraft and other crimes. The walls were covered with drawing by the prisoners testifying to Jesus, God and His Word. Biblical characters and the Gospel was clearly shown on those walls. Dates going back to the 1600’s jumped out at my heart. Sometimes with their own blood they sketched these rough figures, scriptures and messages.
After spending time with missionaries in Europe we am convicted for their needs. Hopefully God will allow us to return and visit the people in the pictures we saw. It is no longer just stories told by CNN or accounts I have read in books. It is now a living and breathing memory that has opened our hearts
It is also Cathy’s birthday. Normally it is a day reserved for time with the family. That is one thing we miss greatly on the road. But we are deeply grateful that you sent us.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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