Psalm 133 reminds us of what it's like when brothers dwell together in unity. This past weekend I got to experience it first hand at our annual Organix leadership development and pastoral training event. Over 100 leaders and pastors from different churches in Alicante came together in unity and purpose. The Holy Spirit did some incredible things in the lives of these leaders as Keith Waara, Mark Colwell and myself had the opportunity to train them in leadership growth and self-care.
There is some amazing momentum in this city. Churches are starting to see growth, pastors are dreaming for bigger things, and young leaders are being released into ministry. This is the dream of the Organix event, a process that I developed over ten years ago when we worked with Next Level International. Since it's creation, close to 1000 leaders in different nations around Europe have been trained and developed as leaders who want to grow, connect and reproduce themselves in their churches, cities and nations.
Our national partner, Cesar Levarde, expressed his appreciation for the event by saying that when we come, we not only challenge their perspectives but we model a new way to lead with relationship. Another pastor told Mark Colwell that the training was so meaningful for him because it reminded him of how he had been trained as a young leader and now a new generation of leaders was being raised up. Another pastor from Valencia was so impressed by the quality of the event that we have been asked to do it with their leaders next year!
At the end of 2015, we had the opportunity to serve in two different refugee camps. The first was in Gabcikovo, Slovakia where over 500 Syrian refugees are waiting for their claims to be processed. As a church, we were able to bring over 130 Boxes of Love to give to the children for their first Christmas present. It was a wild and crazy time as we blessed the kids with gifts of small toys, sweets, and clothing. It was an opportunity for us to build more relationship with the camp and sense what God wants us to do in this location.
The other camp is in Austria and houses only adults. On December 26 we went with Slovak soup and the Christmas message. We were able to minister to over 40 Syrian men and women through food and the story of Christ's coming. We also heard stories from the people about how and why they came to Europe. Many of their stories are tragic, and yet the people are filled with joy and hope that they can start a new life here. We believe for more opportunities this year to share with them about how they can find new life in Christ.
Thank you for your ongoing and faithful support that makes impacting missional events like this possible as well as all of the other ministry we do.
Without you faithfully praying and supporting us financially, we would not be able to reveal the kingdom of God to the international community in Bratislava, to Slovak marriages, to refugees and young leaders all over Europe.
Sheldon and Anna Armitage, PAOC Global Workers to Slovakia