Work in Greece
In Greece there are two churches we have been actively involved with. One is in Thessalonica (or Thessaloniki), Greece, and the other is in Athens, Greece. They both go by the name Glad Tidings International Fellowship (GTIF) followed by their respective city. GTIF Thessaloniki will celebrate their 12th anniversary in January! David Packer, pastor of IBC Stuttgart, a good friend of our pastor, and husband of Lana Packer who came to Norway in the spring to help revitalize our Women’s Ministry, will be the key speaker for this important event. The church is running well now, but is need of a pastor. Just last week our team identified a candidate who we will be interviewing on Monday night for the position of Senior Pastor at GTIF Thessaloniki! This is very exciting news, and if all goes well, you will be hearing more about him in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that!
GTIF Athens is the newer church plant. It will celebrate its 1st anniversary in January! Our pastor has been asked to come and have the honor of speaking at this important anniversary. The church is still small, but seems to have real potential. Once we have a senior pastor at GTIF Thessaloniki, Ernie Gutierrez who planted both churches and is supported by North Sea, will have the freedom to work in Athens permanently and build up this new work. Please be in prayer for him and his family while he is carrying the heavy load of pasturing two churches six hours apart!
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) was a great success again this year. One of our team members, Maria Gilje, has taken over as the lead on this project and will continue to do this for the foreseeable future. We again had multiple churches in Stavanger, the International and British schools involved, as well as churches in Bergen. We have plans to expand this further within Norway but are happy with the progress we have made in three short years of doing this.
Global Missions Offering
Our Global Missions Offering is going well so far. The first recipient from our giving will be the Tedim Baptist Convention in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). They had an annual pastors conference they had been doing that had to stop because of a lack of funds in 2007. Now, with our help, they will be able to resume having it again! The 200 plus pastors who will be served come from the same area that our Pastor Pum Za Chin comes from. Dr. Simon, who spoke at North Sea earlier this year, will be running the conference. Our goal is to raise 30,000 NOK for their support, and we are half way there since the women had such a successful fundraiser with their ornament auction. Any additional support that comes in will be donated to the IBC’s annual missions offering.
Our youth group will again take a mission trip to Athens, Greece over Easter break in 2011 and will begin planning for that soon. We are going to send Brandon along with David in January to go to Athens, so Brandon can get familiar with the people, ministries, and layout of the city before taking the youth there.
Additionally, we are hoping to begin having mission trips for adults in the future. In February, a portion of our team is planning to go to Swaziland and visit ministries there where we could tie in. They will meet with Pastor Absalom, an advisor to the king, who spoke at North Sea this spring. Assuming all goes well, we plan to have an adult mission trip to Swaziland toward the beginning of 2012. In the meantime, we are hoping to have a mission trip to Athens in the fall of 2011 for adults, so be on the lookout for that!