The Spencer Family

Calvary Chapel Missionaries in Athens, Greece

Slow-Growing Fruit

“And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, ‘LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!'” – 2 Chronicles 14:11

Dear friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. A lot has happened over the last few months. We see steady progress in our lives and ministry here in Athens, but we also observe forces that work against what we’re doing.

Furlough!

In our last update we asked for prayer for provision for plane tickets to visit California over the summer. A few days after that, we found really affordable tickets, and felt that God wanted us to purchase them. Two days later, the exact amount we needed appeared in our bank account from a church that supports us, letting us know that someone donated a large amount that they distributed evenly amongst all their missionaries. God is so good, and He anticipates our every need. Thank you for praying. We are almost finished with our travel schedule for our time in the States, and will post in our website soon, for those who want to see us when we come to their area.

Down But Not Out

The last few weeks both Kristin and I have been in a deep depression. Though we have seen God’s provision each and every time, we are still struggling to find a way to stay in the country. After meeting with our immigration lawyer, we learned that the best chance for us to get the only type of visa available to our family is to have €45,000 to put into a Greek bank account. Before meeting, we realized God had already provided €16,000 which was put into our account in December and January through one-time donations. That encouraged us that God already knew what our need would be before we did. That means we still have to raise €29,000, which still seems like a lot, but we know that our Heavenly Father is able to provide all that we need. If you are interested in how you can help, please check out this page for ready-made letters you can take to your pastor or friends.

Slow-Growing Fruit

After a time of prayer and consideration, seeking the Lord to know what He wanted us to do about our visas and our desire to move to a new neighborhood here in Athens, God showed us that He wants us here, and we need to keep working hard. The next day we were telling our neighbor (who is now a believer) that we will be moving in the fall to Kerameikos. She then told us about a dream she had. She told us that in the dream we were moving to another neighborhood and she was very sad, but happy for us. She told us that she believes that God gave her that dream for us. In a second dream that we feel accurately describes our ministry here in Athens, she was picking peaches off a tree with her brother, and the tree was overloaded with fruit. The branches were so heavy from all the peaches, that they were bowed and leaning toward the ground. But one branch had little tiny peaches that were growing very slowly. She felt that she was supposed to take care of it and to help it somehow. I immediately thought of our ministry, because God has called us to reach out and minister to those that no one else pays attention to. In missions it is easy to get caught up in numbers and results, and to ignore the slow-growing fruit, but that is our calling. Then yesterday, a brother sent me a link to this article, which encouraged me that this is what God wants. Here are two quotes that stirred my heart:

 

“The gospel is eternally serious business, inextricably tied to the glory of God and the destinies of real people. Given the stakes, there has been a good and right recovery of the urgent task to see the gospel go to the world’s hardest places and least-reached peoples. And yet if we’re not careful, I fear we will wrongly identify urgency with speed, failing to remember that a task can be urgent and yet demand a slow, methodical approach that thinks in years and decades instead of days and months.”

 

“We have a great gospel to proclaim to a needy world. But if we’re not careful, we will undermine its spread. If we don’t trust that God knows best how to protect and display his gospel—through sound churches pastored by men who, in appropriate ways in their contexts and settings, aren’t novices (1 Tim. 3:6)—then we will stunt true growth.”

 

Please continue to pray for our family and for the ministry here. We know that God has a plan, and we’re waiting to see what it is, trusting that He will work everything out according to His will.

In Him,

Travis and family

 

Prayer Requests

1. For God’s provision and favor for our family.

2. For grace and compassion in the ministries where we work.

3. Health for all of us.

4. Encouragement through this time of trial.

5. Faithfulness.

6. Wisdom in planning our furlough.

Merry Christmas

Hey everyone,

We just wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for all your prayers and support over the last year and to say, “Merry Christmas!”

We want to wish you the best season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From our family to yours, may you have the most amazing holiday season, and spiritual growth during this time. Please keep us in prayer. We really cherish those prayers.

In Him,

Travis Spencer

Sowing Seeds

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” -Galatians 6:9-10

Hey everyone,

Thanks for praying for Kristin’s surgery. It went really well and the doctor told her he did his job perfectly, now it’s her turn to remember not do things to mess it up before the mesh adheres to her tissue. When the doctor opened her up, he found a surprise. She had a 10cm hole in her linea abla, which the doctor told us is extremely dangerous. We are thankful that God protected her, since we didn’t even realize she was in danger. My dad came to visit after a work trip to London, and watched the kids while I took Kristin to all of her follow up appointments. She is doing her best to rest without getting cabin fever. I was able to take her to her writer’s workshop on Sunday for two hours. It was her first time out of the house without a doctor’s appointment and she really enjoyed it. Please continue to pray that she would heal well and remember not to lift anything that could tear her inner stitches. Her overall recovery time should take around two months.

travis-make-a-wish_update

Make A Wish

As you may know, we really love sci-fi and Star Wars. I was invited to be a part of an 8-year old’s dream to become a Jedi with Make-A-Wish in Greece. Teams from Athens and Thessaloniki came together to give Giannis a Star Wars Rebels themed party. I dressed up like Han Solo from A New Hope. The smile on his face will always be in my heart. It was such an honor and privilege to be a part of such a special occasion. One year ago we put together a Star Wars party and God used our faith in such a silly idea to create lasting relationships and give us special opportunities to be a light for Christ.

Ksena and Kati

The girls are back in school, and this year they get out at the same time. This is the first time we have ever experienced this, and it’s really nice not to have to go back and forth to the school several times a day. Please pray for Ksena and Kati to be lights for Christ in school, and for God’s grace in their lives. Timo is still at home with us until next year.

Prayerful Changes

Since Kristin had surgery, we have a delayed schedule in starting up with ministries that went on break for summer. The problem we are facing is that we have to cut some things out if we want to focus more on counseling and discipleship. Please pray that God would give us wisdom on how to arrange our schedule, to know which things we should keep, and to know what things need to go. I will be focusing on Nea Zoi (reaching out to transvestite prostitutes), individual counseling and discipleship, and the Alliance Relief refugee center. Kristin will still be volunteering at Threads of Hope and has new ladies to counsel in addition to the people she was counseling before summer break. Her counseling schedule is officially full. In addition to that she will be tutoring our three neighbors in English several times a week (she tutored the oldest boy last school year, and he is making a lot of progress). We will also continue to do counseling for married couples.

Greek Geek

We will be making a more focused effort to grow our social club which meets bi-monthly and once a year for a large event to celebrate our mutual appreciation of geek culture. We rented a booth at AthensCon and will be sharing it with Greece & Cyprus NaNoWriMo, a writing club that Kristin joined last year. We have met so many amazing people through Greek Geek and it’s events, and feel led to keep it going. It was through the club that we met the people that invited me to be part of the Make-A-Wish project I mentioned earlier.

Furlough

We are attempting to plan and purchase tickets for a trip to the States for the summer of 2017. We are still searching for a new sending church, and there are so many friends and families we miss. Please pray for provision for tickets, and God to prepare our hearts. Honestly, we are both feeling nervous about going back and facing further rejection and reverse culture shock.

Thank you again for your love and support.

In Him,

Travis Spencer

Prayer Requests

-A speedy recovery for Kristin, and wisdom to know when to rest.

-The girls in school, diligence in studies and homework, and godly wisdom in different social situations.

-Continued vision and spiritual growth for us and the people we counsel and disciple.

-Healing for the survivors of sexual abuse we are ministering to.

-Provision for our family in general and also for airfare.

-Time and diligence in studying Greek for Kristin and me.

-More opportunities to build lasting relationships through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Greek Geek, and whatever else God brings into our lives.

-Please continue to pray for Kristin’s Aunt, Ellen, that God would be with her and touch her body through this long and difficult trial.