22 December 2008

Report from Gori and Tblisi, Georgia

I just ducked into a little internet room by one of the metro stations here in Tbilisi, Georgia. I am here to discuss training and church planting issues with a small association of 22 Georgian churches, only recently formed.

Yesterday I preached in the town of Gori, where at the end of the service 7 people came forward to receive Christ as Savior! Before the services we drove through several villages where homes were bombed and others burned out by the Russian and Ossetian soldiers who came through. Many people are mourning and deeply disturbed about why the soldiers wanted to destroy their homes, since this was already outside of Ossetia in Georgia proper. The churches are reaching out in compassion, meeting their needs, and Bro. Vissarion, the Pastor in Gori, tells me that new people are coming to Christ every Sunday.

In the afternoon, we drove to Tbilisi where I met with several brothers from the association. We discussed many issues together and shared fellowship till about 11 pm. God was very present, and the brothers were very open about their troubles and shared many touching stories about reaching out to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the refugees from Abkhazia (250,000) and Ossetia (140,000).

Today, Bros. Anatoly and Ghia from the BMA (Baptist Missionary Association)of Georgia took me to a military hospital where three hospital buildings are filled with Georgian refugees, about 700 people in each building. Until only a week ago most of them were living without heat, one family to a room. I visited an 82 year old lady who wept over her home, passed down from generation to generation. "The Ossetians burned it to the ground, she said, so that we would leave and never return."

Another family of 6 told me that they were living on macaroni, and had no fruits, vegetables, or other groceries whatsoever, like most of the families in the building. "We left with the shirt on our backs on August 10th," one man said. "Most people fled during heavy bombing and automatic weapons fire, and like us, they did not even have time to pack a suitcase."

Please pray and ask your church to pray for the Georgian churches, that they will endeavor to please the Lord in meeting the physical and spiritual needs of the overwhelming number of needy refugees. I hope that our churches in USA will find a way to help them as well. May the Lord lead!

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