Here is our Weekly Update
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teambalkans.com and almellinger.com are our web pages
Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles
May 28, 2020 - Another month has come and gone and we are still dealing with new realities. Here is a video that explains a great deal of it. Enjoy?
By the way an update on the church that was going to walk to Bulgaria - when I spoke with the organizer yesterday they were within 69 miles of their goal. Well done Hope Church Well done!
This week pray for any number of needs shared in the video above.
May 21, 2020 - A couple of stories to encourage you.
The Difference one Church can make.
Hope Church in Lancaster in the UK is a supporting church. They were planning to come but the COVID 19 Pandemic caused that trip to be postponed. They heard about what we were doing with our churches and the hungry people they were helping and decided to “Walk to Bulgaria.” Not physically to Bulgaria but the same number of miles collectively. People are pledging to walk so many mile and will get sponsors per mile or a donation toward their project of helping us feed the hungry. They will not all be doing this together some will do it on treadmills or in their back yard, some will get out on a trail or bike path. They will do it by themselves but will be working collectively for the cause.
You can see how they are doing, follow along or commit to helping at https://www.hopelancaster.co.uk/walktobulgaria/?fbclid=IwAR2RcK_QjJ6Jb6XvrcJkI_y2euKe6tn8JYykLkXpKpuK5nMrVkU6F2Bpkms
The distance is 1686 miles if they are able to get (as they suggest) 5 pound a mile that would mean 8,430 pounds or $10,200.00+
The Difference a Person Can Make.
About 6 years ago Stanamir was one of the first Micro Loans we handed out. He wanted to buy a tiller for a farming project. He had a vision to plant produce to sell and to share with the hungry. He started in the mountains, then a partner church bought some property in the valley, and last fall we harvested our first crop of potatoes. This spring, greenhouses were added and we have tomatoes, peppers, Onion, potatoes, and a few more crops growing. We are about to get a second piece of property and expand even more.
The idea was to bring folks to the land, train them, and have them help. Then they would be paid in produce, some of the products sold and others given to the needed.
The dream of one person is now impacting many for the kingdom.
Here is a video made a few years back about this project:
What Difference can you Make?
What has God placed on your heart?
What dream or idea do you have to solve a problem?
What are you willing to do to make that reality?
This week pray for ...
...the process of our churches resuming service in person as the restrictions are being lifted.
...plans as far as what to do with the store and livelihood groups.
...everything that is happening with our work in Michigan and when and how we can reopen there as well.
May 15, 2019 - During the lockdown we have had some time to try and design some new products some will go into production others won't. But here are some photos.
This isn't all there is but it show something that has kept us busy.
This week the churches in BG can begin to meet together again with precautions. Pray that all goes well
Pray too for the opening up of our businesses soon in Bulgaria.
May 8, 2020 - The current lockdowns – shelter at home or state closures (whatever you want to call it) has been hard for many but it has also brought out the best in many. Families are doing more together and finding they can function without everything that the world said they needed – rushing to get to the next scheduled event has been replaced by spending time together.
We have seen folks help those who have lost so much due to layoffs or job loss, travel restrictions, and loneliness.
We have seen the church get creative with online options and greater community concern.
All that said we have learned to live and function (at least for a short time) in a different way and for many they are learning to not only embrace it but also like it.
The news says we will return to a new normal –yet that is still being determined. When things open, how far apart we stand, how we greet each other when we meet will change. I hope the drive to be on the treadmill of doing more because we need more will also change – I hope we will slow down and see what is really happening in the world as a whole.
I hope that we can continue to show that we care about people not just during a crisis but that we realize that they are loved by God and we need to do our part to show them God’s love all the time.
We have realized that we are all have needs – Physical, Emotional, Social, Economic and Spiritual. (there are probably more but you get my drift). People all over the world have these needs.
The church (that is Christian people) during this crisis, came together in creative ways to address these needs: Online service and studies to address the spiritual needs, food deliveries to address the physical and economic needs, programs online for the kids for the social, Phone calls and texts to people who were alone to see how they were doing (Emotional), Drive by birthday greetings, and so much more.
But those needs will not subside when the crisis is over and we return to our new way of living. Some of the needs might regress as people return to work and have an income and can feed their families. Once activities startup again we will be back involved with them.
For some though they won’t go back as the new normal will have changed as their job will not return. Or they will return to a job that doesn’t really provide for their needs but it is all they have.
For many of the folks we work with in the Balkans it is that way. They are seasonal workers or day laborers. The kind of work they do will not be returning quickly, crops were not planted, construction not started, factory orders not placed (so workers are not needed to make the product).
The church has a great opportunity to continue to rethink and rebrand how they function. In a crisis people give to help us help the poor – but the reality is they are always poor and unless we can change the reason behind their situation, it will go back to the way it was (out of sight out of mind) and most will be worse off than they were.
During this time and over the last 18 months before we have been sensing God stirring in our hearts that the time was coming for us to move and work toward creating programs, ministries, training, livelihood groups and whatever we could to change the environment not only for the folks we work with but also for the folks who have sent us.
We want to pull together folks who know how to get things done with folks who want to learn. We want to challenge folks to purchase and shop in a way that can leverage what money they have for the good. We want to be a catalyst in the world we live so that what should happen is sped up.
The tagline of our company, Marketplace Manna is “helping the poor, disenfranchised, persecuted, disabled and unemployed around the world care for their families.” To do that we have to have folks in need and we have to have folks who can meet those needs.
We can easily find the needy (this crisis has shown us that). What we lack are folks who are wanting and willing to live their own lives in different way that make a difference beyond a donation every so often (we take donations all the time). We realized we are called to live our lives ON PURPOSE. We are taking better control and because of that we are making an impact for people who do not have a way to make their own lives better.
The church during this time has demonstrated that it can rise up and work together to make a difference – let us continue to do that so that the hurting and needy around the world will not only hear of the love of God but experience His love first hand by His body – the church – Christians!
This week pray for us as we continue to process what this all means and how we will rise up when the current lockdown ends.
April 30, 2020 - Our lives like many are pretty much the same - stay home except to get food. Work on the computer and make plans. Here is one of our projects a video we created as an update for our partner churches.
Here it is for you to see too.
This week thank God for how He is working and for all the churches as they try and serve the folks in their neighborhoods and towns.