International Missions Update:

World Outreach

May 2022 | Compiled & Edited by Steve Moberg

     This picture shows Greg and Elizabeth with their children, Hermione (2 years old) and twins Silas and Naomi (born February 9th this year). They are missionaries to Lebanon as members of a church planting team working with World Outreach, part of the EPC denomination. The team mission statement is: “Partnering with others to cultivate a reproducing church of Syrian refugees in Lebanon through evangelism and discipleship.”

     This mission statement describes what Greg and Elizabeth do with their team. They say they work primarily with Syrian refugees. “Almost all of them are of a Muslim background and live in poverty in Lebanon since fleeing the civil war in their home country. Most of those with whom we interact are blue-collar families or farmers of some sort in their home country. They desperately want a better life for their families. Many of them are interested in speaking with us about God, and several families have already believed in Jesus in the past few years. Our team’s desire is to partner with the local church and believers to continue to spread the Gospel and make disciples who make other disciples. We want to see believers multiplying among these people.”

     In order to reach people with the message of the Gospel, Greg and Elizabeth say “we primarily use home visits among the networks of families that we serve. Hospitality is a big part of Arabic culture, and the people love having visitors. It brings honor when a guest, especially a foreigner, comes to eat at someone’s home. We feel honored to be invited. We use this time to share about Jesus with families, pray with them, and show them care and kindness. We pray that these relationships show God’s love to them. We also have a couple of Bible studies that we attend at the church or that we have started. Our goal is to see those studying begin to start their own studies with friends and family.”

     Greg says they also have a men’s football ministry.  “We play soccer weekly with guys. It’s a great way for them to let off steam and enjoy themselves.” The women are involved in a crochet project started by the team. Elizabeth explains: “This pays the women money and the blankets they make go to other refugees for the colder months. We’ve even had some blankets (with Bible verses) make it to Syria through a connection in Lebanon. A few of the believers take blankets to their coworkers and neighbors as well in order to share God’s love with them in word and action.”

     Greg says there are some challenges involved with their ministry.  “A local pastor has been threatened with death several times. Some new believers or those interested in Jesus are sometimes threatened with persecution by family members. All of them live in extreme poverty and have no hope for

the future outside of a long and difficult process to claim refugee status in Europe, Australia, Canada, or the U.S. Even the Lebanese are now living mostly in poverty due to an economic collapse and deteriorating conditions. It has rapidly become a very difficult place to live.”

     Despite the challenges that those who live in Lebanon face, Greg and Elizabeth still see God moving among the people. “Our language helpers are a young husband and wife who have been believers for a few years. This past year, after much encouragement, they began to try and start their own Bible study among friends and family, focusing especially on those who don’t believe. There is a family our team is close with who were interested in hearing more about Jesus but started to hear strong threats of persecution from a relative. For a while, they asked not to talk about God anymore because of the fear of these threats. But after a period, they began to ask questions again. The wife has believed for a while, but the husband is not quite there yet. He is very curious and says that despite the threats, he wants to know about what we believe. Pray for these families.”

     Greg and Elizabeth say “we thank Gashland for praying with us and supporting us. Continue to lift up our family and Lebanon regarding all of the things we’ve reported here. Pray for us also as we have three children 2 years and younger—it’s a lot of work! Pray for our team as well as we work for the glory of God and strive to bring his kingdom to earth.”