Compassion for the Displaced

Written by Lee Heyward on Monday, 28 September 2015. Posted in Blog

Compassion for the Displaced

Dear Praying Friends,

It’s hard to miss the heart-breaking stories of the day-to-day crisis developing across the European Continent regarding the tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing oppressive regimes. The continent of Europe is facing enormous challenges politically, economically, ethnically, and even spiritually.

For many years, Europe has been known as the post-modern epicenter. Yet today, many experts believe there is a new spirituality emerging out of this post-modern context, and it is potentially favorable for the Christian Gospel. Did you know that church planting is on the rise across many parts of Europe? And a great many of those church plants are sprouting up among the various migrant populations that are flooding the continent.

Terry and I saw firsthand evidence of this new reality on European soil when we visited Athens, Greece in May. We spent an entire week ministering exclusively among displaced Iranians, Afghanis and Syrians longing to learn of Jesus, and eager to draw hope from God’s Word. What oppressive regimes meant for evil, God is using for good by ‘gathering’ those scattered to Himself.

Stories from Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Wednesday, 20 May 2015. Posted in Blog

Stories from Greece

Dear Friends,

Recently BrookLink was invited by 222 Ministries to teach and train a group of Iranian church leaders in Athens, Greece. All of them had a story to tell! For a whole week my friend Paul Sinclair and I were teaching these men and women about God as our Father—a heavenly Father, whose extravagant and costly love set Him apart from even the best of earthly fathers.Paul Sinclair

During one of our sessions I shared with those gathered about how God as Father knows everything about us—even our tears do not go unnoticed. I quoted the following Scripture:

“You have kept a count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8 (ESV)

There is a tradition in Middle Eastern cultures that a soldier going off to war gives his wife or girlfriend a small vial to be worn around her neck. Every time the woman would cry at night over the absence of her loved one, and as she wept, the tears would be collected in the bottle until her lover would return. This poetic imagery is the Psalmist’s way of teaching that God not only sees our tears, He preserves them too!

From the Field | Greece

Written by BrookLink on Monday, 11 May 2015. Posted in Blog

A Letter from Lisa Sinclair

Lisa Sinclair

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dear Friends,

As I write, I am looking out over a sky so blue and a sea even bluer that make the white buildings that stud the rocky coast startling in their brilliance. It is beautiful. The kind of beauty that almost hurts to behold, and it is so hard to reconcile with the evil that we have seen in our world.

It is a great privilege to minister here in Greece with Lee and Terry Heyward of BrookLink to Iranian and Afghan refugees. Actually, it has been a complicated trip, and we barely understand ourselves who we have been with! Lee and Paul have been primarily with Iranians who live in Europe now, having come to know the Lord from Muslim backgrounds. But there are also Armenians from Eastern Orthodox background. All have been blessed to learn more of the Father's character and love as Lee and Paul taught from Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal son(s).  Paul taught on characteristics of the Father from the lives of Moses, Noah, and Joseph to describe mercy, long suffering, and faithfulness. He was blessed to lead the closing communion.

Terry and I have been working with a different group. Every day after worship with the main group that Lee and Paul worked with, we left to go to another building close by to work with women currently living in the refugee camps. Every day we worked with Afghan refugee women, Muslims, who had come to Greece via Iran and Turkey, by land or sea. We taught them about the Lord's love for wounded women, and how He values women using the stories of the Samaritan woman, the woman with the issue of blood, Mary, and the anointing woman. We thought this would be a good subject for them, but had no idea how hungry they were, nor how oppressed by men they had been. We ended our time together by learning how to dance in an Afghan way! At least 2 of the 13 had come to the Lord, and others are on the Jesus road. 

From the Field | Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Friday, 08 May 2015. Posted in Blog

From the Field | Greece

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It’s Thursday afternoon here. I’ve just finished three hours of teaching, or should I say, leading the group in a robust exploration of Luke 15:11-32—the Story of the Prodigal Sons. They have gathered in small groups to study this passage in depth. Paul and I have also used Rembrandt’s famous painting, “The Return of the Prodigal” to engage their imagination! What a fascinating week it has been with these Iranian men and women. This group has been wrestling with Scripture unlike any other group I’ve ever been a part of. Their questions are penetrating, their observations are riveting, and their applications have been heart-warming.

Each day Paul and I have rotated teaching in the morning and afternoon sessions with the Iranians, while Terry and Lisa have worked with the innumerable refugees who show up each day (some are Afghans, some are Syrian, all with hard stories to tell). In addition, Lisa has been carrying an extensive counseling load each day (sometimes as many as 7 back-to-back one-hour sessions). While she is counseling individuals, Terry has been teaching, talking one-on-one, and even leading a children’s session (are any of us surprised?). If our pace seems full, it’s because it is! But we rejoice that God is using all of us according to our gifts and in a variety of ways. We’re tired, but it’s a good kind of tired!

From the Field | Greece

Written by Lee Heyward on Tuesday, 05 May 2015. Posted in Blog

From the Field | Greece

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Greetings from Athens, Greece! Terry and I, along with Paul and Lisa Sinclair, are here this week to teach and train Iranian Christians and to work with the refugee population. We arrived late Saturday night and after a day of rest, we began our weeklong meetings with 25 or so Iranians, along with Afghan refugees who have had to flee their homeland due to extremist violence.

Paul and I have been teaching and training the Iranian Christians in one location, while Terry and Lisa are meeting in a separate location with the Afghanis who arrive each morning from nearby refugee camps. In the evening the four of us gather to review the days’ events, adjust our teachings and share the amazing stories we are hearing from these people.

Our theme this week has been the “Fatherhood of God.” We are spending the whole week exploring the story Jesus told of the lost sons in Luke 15:11-32. Today the whole morning was devoted to just observing the details of the story.  Talk about a fascinating experience!! Imagine the electricity in the room as men and women brought forth one cultural distinctive after another from the text, enlightening all of us because of their unique Middle Eastern background. I saw a Middle Eastern story through Middle Eastern eyes today. I’ll never forget the incredible experience!

April, May, June

on Thursday, 16 April 2015. Posted in Blog

April, May, June

PLEASE JOIN US: Windows to the World

About 15 years ago I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Nabeel Jabbour at a missions conference in one of our local churches in the Milwaukee area. I was immediately struck by his personal humility, compassion for Muslim people and godly demeanor. Since that initial meeting our relationship has deepened, his books have impacted my thinking and I am very excited that he will be joining us for BrookLink’s 6th Annual Windows to the World event in Milwaukee (April 19th) and Chicago (April 26th).

Nabeel is originally from Lebanon. He lived with his family in Egypt for fifteen years before relocating to Colorado Springs in 1997. Although Dr. Jabbour comes from an Arab Christian background, for the first fifty years of his life, Muslims were his neighbors, teachers, friends, roommates, and students. He holds a doctorate in Islamics, lectures at five seminaries, and is considered by many to be a leading expert on Islamic Fundamentalism. You won’t want to miss hearing Nabeel share his perspective. Come ready to wrestle with some global shifts! Learn more about our upcoming Windows to the World events. 

OFF TO ATHENS: May 1-12, 2015

BrookLink has been invited by 222 Ministries to join their team in Athens, Greece. Terry and I, along with our long-time friends Paul and Lisa Sinclair, will equip and empower the 222 Ministries’ workers who minister amidst the soaring refugee population in Greece. Many of these refugees have fled or been forced from their countries because of violent extremist groups like ISIL and others. Thousands of men, women and children are squeezed together in small spaces, undernourished, without medicine or medical staff and without the possibility to go outside.

The four of us go with our “small loaves and fishes” asking God to multiply our efforts as we offer encouragement, share God’s Word and seek to presence Jesus among these dear servants. Please remember to pray for us during these important days!

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