Interview with Pam Markey by Story4All – Part 2

book-897834_1920“Pam Markey, continues her story, talking with Bryan about the joys and pain of serving on the field, especially after her husband died. The story clearly covers the amazing grace and comfort of the Lord and how the story continues today..”
Click HERE for the link to part two of the interview.
Click HERE for the link to part one of the interview.

Interview with Pam Markey - Part 1

Pam Markey Interviewed on Story4All

The Living Story“Bryan Thompson from Story4All interviews Pam Markey, who, in this first show of a two-part series, tells how she and her husband and their family moved to the former Soviet Union to begin a new life, leaving behind the farmlands of the American Mid-West.” Click HERE for the link to part one of the interview.

Interview with Pam Markey - Part 1

A Camping We Will Go!

One Year in Georgia

The end of this month will mark one year of our family living in Georgia (the country not the state). It has been quite a year–full of change, excitement, frustration, new experiences, and your basic cases of the ups-and-downs. Although we have labored in learning the language, we never seem to be able to learn it fast enough–that’s a down. But as we meet people, begin to have conversations, and share about the Word of God, our hearts rejoice that perhaps there is actually hope of us getting acclimated enough to be useable for the Lord–that’s an up.sharing I know these things are not necessarily true, but feelings don’t always coincide with what I know to be true. That is why we pray, trust in the Lord, pray, wait on the Lord, and so earnestly covet the prayers of the saints around the world.

Since last fall we had been praying about a way to meet people. So, this spring we began a conversational English club for people over the age of 13. We weren’t really sure how it would turn out, but we have been blessed to have had the chance to form friendships with the 15-20 people who are consistently coming (and the bulk of those who are coming are classmates of our two elder daughters).Cartwheels English Club How good it has been to play games together, watch movies and discuss them, and basically have fun times together. However, it has been even more rewarding to teach English using the Bible, and see many of them hear the Word of God for the first time.

Deeper Fellowship

Although times in class with these students have been encouraging, I longed for the day when we would have even more time to share more of our hearts. And so about a week ago we took some of the students camping. Hanging AroundWhat was doubly exciting was that some of their parents went along as well. Spending hours together walking, wading in the river, getting stuck in the mud, making camp, fishing, cooking over an open fire, were all moments that deepened our relationships. What was even more special was that I was able to share quite a bit about the Lord and with some of the parents.

With more times of camping planned for this summer, we are eager to get to know these wonderful new friends even more, and have opportunities to share the Great News of Jesus with them. As the Lord brings it to your mind, please pray for the Distant Field of Georgia.

  • for hearts to be open to the Gospel
  • for the beginning of a Bible study
  • for us as we continue to study the Georgian language
  • for an even greater vision of what the Lord wants to do

On a side note, I heard a rumor that one of the more Western stores in Tbilisi has received a shipment of marshmallows. I know where I am going tomorrow. Got to get all them s’more fixin’s ready for our next adventure, for a camping we will go!

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FYI – Free ESV Study Bible Right Now for Kindle!

As a missionary, I always like free stuff. When we moved from Kyrgyzstan to the country of Georgia I had to get rid of most of my library. What difficult days. So now I am on the prowl for free resources. Whenever good, free books pop up in my email or Facebook, I try to take advantage of them and build up my digital library. I must admit that it is still hard for me to go completely digital, but I take comfort in the fact the my kids are asking for real books too, as opposed to just more digital downloads. Maybe the love of the printed book isn’t just a generational thing?ESV Global Study Bible

Anyway, here’s a resource that is free right now. Although I have not read this study Bible yet, I am looking forward to checking it out. The ESV Global Study Bible is free right now for Kindle. (Make sure you click the Kindle version and check to see that it is still free.) I have been reading the ESV version along with my regular version for the past several years. I think it is a good translation, and I like the commentaries of the ESV study Bible that I already own.

As we are beginning a new church here in Tbilisi, we have started an English Club where we offer free lessons for students, and soon for adults. It has been a very fruitful way to meet people and share the Word of God. For part a part of each class we use stories from the Bible. I have been using the ESV version in my classes, even though it is not as easy of a read as the NIV.

I just wanted to pass along this free resource to world-minded people. Have you read this study Bible? Any thoughts?

$1.99 – Distant Fields – Read an Excerpt for Free!

Distant Fields is on sale from now through Valentine’s Day!

The following is an excerpt from the book describing the arrival of George and Pam and their eight children to Ukraine:

USA DepartureIndependence Day

Flying into Kiev on July 4, 1992, was an unforgettable experience. As the wheels of the plane touched down, dilapidated shacks, old planes, and trees and overgrown bushes surrounding the airport seemed to race by. Thuds were felt every second as the plane rode over the concrete slabs that had been laid down for a runway. The tall grass growing up in between these concrete slabs left one wondering how many flights actually arrived into this airport. Eventually the plane came to a stop at the Borispol International Terminal.

Upon exiting the plane, the family discovered that looking for a baggage carousel was an effort in futility. While pondering the status of their belongings, the Markeys and everyone else from the plane were herded into an empty room and left standing and wondering. Soon the sound of a tractor jolted everyone into alertness. Gazing around the room, local people soon began to congregate around an open area in the middle of the room. The sound of the tractor grew louder and then finally emerged from new beginnings the back of the room. Behind the tractor was hitched a trailer, and on the trailer was a huge mound of luggage. Before the tractor even came to a halt, people from the plane were climbing up onto the trailer and hunting for their luggage.

As the engine of the tractor finally shut down, George climbed onto the trailer and began searching for their belongings, passing them to his children. All of the bags were gathered and the family was once again left standing and wondering. A line was forming, meandering into a dark corridor over to their left. The all-important matter of lines would be something that the Markeys would learn over time. For now, the 10 family members got into line, amazed at the pushing, shoving, and trampling as people rushed to cut in front of them. To their right stood a small glass-encased display cabinet offering “duty free” items, and to which no one seemed to be paying attention. A solitary light bulb dangling over their heads was the only source of a dim and insufficient illumination to the path before them.

After passing through customs, the family followed the other passengers to a set of doors. As the doors opened, all that could be seen was a wall of humanity. The passengers ahead of them walked directly into this mass of people, and as they did, a small crevice emerged through which they then inched forward. Not wanting to miss out on their chance, George led the charge, the people in the crowd seemingly not phased by the commotion, elbows, and other body parts clashing into each other. Any apologies offered for bags rolling over shoes went unanswered by people who were returning only empty stares and confused expressions…

Continue reading.
Get your copy of Distant Fields today for $1.99!

DistantFieldsKindle

Does Missions Separate Families?

Reblogged from Barren to Beautiful:

Tomorrow, my brother-in-law and his family will get on a plane, and fly to Africa. I won’t see them again for three years, except by some emailed photos, or maybe a choppy Skype connection.

I joke that I am going to sabotage their trip to the airport. And part of me really wants to. Because deep down, I really don’t want them to go. I have enjoyed having them and their three sweet girls around the last six months. They were the first to teach her how to have a proper tea party, and make elephant noises, and sing “Let it Go” at the top of their lungs. As they ran barefoot through the grass in the summer, she chased them. As they danced wildly in the living room in the winter, she imitated them. She adores them, as if they were her own big sisters. They take her by the hand, they whisper in her ears, they burst into laughter at her expressions, and pull her in for a second hug. And now, they are going away.

Does missions separate families?

I think the impulse answer is: yes.

They left for Africa three and a half years ago. And in that time, they missed births of new nieces and a nephew. The death of a grandparent. They missed all the Thanksgivings and Christmases and game nights. They missed heartaches and victories. They missed life here, for three years.

And not for an easy life. But for oven-like heat, and dirt, and difficulty. And constant sweating. And risk. Risks of violence and persecution. Risks of disease, and illness. Risks of terrorist groups, and wild animals. Risks of kidnappers, and poor health care when it really matters.

I see these three fearless little girls, whose mom is pregnant with their first little brother, and tremble that he will be born there.

The question inevitably crops up: Why are they doing this?

One night after dinner at our house, as we pulled apart the last remains of the garlic bread, I asked my brother-in-law, “So, how did you…get over all of the fear?” I think he made a few cracks about my fear of Ebola. And then he just looked at me, and said with such simplicity, “I am afraid of some of those of things. I’m actually really afraid of flying. But I’m more afraid of not obeying God.”

And that’s the difference. I see the risk, the danger, the loss. He sees the reward. The gain. The joy.

He and his wife see hell as a reality. And love as a command. And the gospel as real. And they are doing it. They are living it. They really love Jesus. They really believe He’s coming back. And they really love bringing others into His family.

While we feel like we are losing a brother and a sister, they are actually rescuing lost brothers and sisters and bringing them into the Kingdom of God.

While we will miss their daughters and son, they will be rescuing daughters and sons and bringing them into the family of God.

They leave us in order to rescue others, to bring more into the family, the family of God. The family that will live on forever. And the gates of hell will not prevail against this mission. Because it’s the one Jesus called us to.

Does missions separate families?
Yes. For a time.

But it also expands them. By inviting the lost into a family. Those who had no family, no hope, who were on the outside and separated from God. (Ephesians 2)

There may be a few empty seats at our next Thanksgiving dinner. But by those seats being empty, it will mean that other place settings are being made ready for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Because lost brothers and sisters who live across the ocean, whose skin is darker than ours, whose language is different than ours, will be invited into God’s family, and will be called for the first time sons and daughters, and will be given a place at His table forever.

One day we will come together, all of us, those who were far off, and those who were brought near, as one family, with exploding joy.  And there in the presence of Christ, we will see that missions never separated our family at all.

It only ever made it grow.

Barren to Beautiful

Selah meeting her cousins for the first time.

Tomorrow, my brother-in-law and his family will get on a plane, and fly to Africa. I won’t see them again for three years, except by some emailed photos, or maybe a choppy Skype connection.

I joke that I am going to sabotage their trip to the airport. And part of me really wants to. Because deep down, I really don’t want them to go. I have enjoyed having them and their three sweet girls around the last six months. They were the first to teach her how to have a proper tea party, and make elephant noises, and sing “Let it Go” at the top of their lungs. As they ran barefoot through the grass in the summer, she chased them. As they danced wildly in the living room in the winter, she imitated them. She adores them, as if they were her own…

View original post 569 more words

Skipping Thanksgiving?

I faltered this year. I suggested to my wife and kids that we celebrate Thanksgiving by eating out at a restaurant. Can you believe it? I actually had Renee talked into it, but those children…

Thanksgiving in Bishkek

Thanksgiving with Grandpa George, Kyrgyzstan 2006.

Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday for our family. Wherever in the world we have found ourselves over the past 20+ years, we have had friends and family with whom to celebrate this special Day of Thanks. With lots of planning for the occasion, the locating of just the right ingredients in foreign countries, and the grand times of feasts and fellowship with friends and family, each Thanksgiving holiday was highly anticipated, a labor of love, and left us with lasting memories.

However, this year we find ourselves in a new country and missing our friends and family. I mean, we are still trying to figure out where to buy life’s essentials, let alone the necessities for a festive celebration. So the Grinch (me) entered into our family and woefully suggested an alternative menu and a different locale.

scrooge alley

Unacceptable! There were no mean words, but looks of wonder and astonishment. My children were aghast. “Father, how could we?” Although they are missing loved ones this year as well, they were ready to celebrate this special day with just our family. And so I find myself doing what I don’t want to do–shopping for a ham (which should be a bit easier since we are not in a Muslim country this year, but I am still having difficulty). I do have a secret though–since the kids haven’t mentioned sweet potatoes, I think I am off the hook on that one.

The main purpose of Thanksgiving does not change. In fact, perhaps the adjustment for us this year gets us even closer to the heart of the holiday. Yes, Thanksgiving is a time of gratefulness for family, friends, and loved ones. But when those things are stripped away from us, we see the need to continue to give thanks to a God who created us, saved us, and wants to be glorified in and through us. “Oh give thanks to the Lord…and make knows His deeds among the peoples!” Psalm 105:1. If you find yourself a little short on family or friends this Thanksgiving, join with us in reading though Ephesian chapter one–a list of all of the spiritual blessings that are available to us in Christ. And then, find ways to get involved in sharing those blessings with the nations.

  • We are thankful for the priceless gift of salvation, and the many spiritual blessings in Christ.
  • We are thankful for the privilege of serving the Lord overseas.
  • We are thankful for the many who partner with us in making His deeds known among the nations.
  • We are thankful for the legacy of those who have gone on before us.

By His Grace,

Jed Gourley

P.S. If you would like to read our latest newsletter, please click here to download it.

Updated: Partner in the Distant Fields!

George & Sharon Markey and family

George and Sharon Markey & family

The work in the Distant Fields continues. Take a look at the updated “Partner in the Distant Fields page.” Read brief updates from war-torn Ukraine, northern Russia, the Middle East, and the Republic of Georgia. Through your partnership in the Gospel, lives are being transformed and churches are being planted.

St. Cloud Worship & Missions Evening

CC St Cloud Worship & MissionsIt was an honor to be included in the Worship & Missions Evening at Calvary Chapel St. Cloud. Well, although we were not there physically, our informationWorship & Missions and copies of Distant Fields were available.

Thank you Calvary Chapel St. Cloud for sharing about the past and present work that is taking places in so many parts of the world!

Free Kindle Book – “A Story of Grace,” by Phil Metzger

Download A Story of GraceI wanted to let you know of a book that is FREE right now on Kindle! “A Story of Grace” is a history of the missionary work in eastern Europe, and the beginning of the movement of Calvary Chapel in Hungary. It is written by long-term eastern European missionary (and friend), Phil Metzger. You can download it now here.

Phil Metzger is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Budapest and is also the director of Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe (CCBCE). Pam Markey is the director of the missions training program at this Bible college. CCBCE a remarkable place for young people to receive solid Bible training while getting their feet wet in practical missions.