Astonishing Joy

by Bob Gerow

The hearts of Timo and Helen Vardalas are filled with "joy unspeakable and full of glory." They have been faithfully sowing the "precious seed" of the gospel, and their effort is bearing fruit. They are excited about what the Lord is doing!

For a number of years, Timo has been involved in a prison ministry in Athens, Greece. God has blessed wonderfully and many prisoners have come to know Christ as a result of this outreach.

The number of inmates thirsty for the Good News has increased. Timo and others in the prison have observed great changes taking place. Some who formerly carried guns and knives now come to the meetings with a Bible tucked under their arms! Not only do they bring their Bible to the meetings, but between meetings they share the Word of God with other inmates. Praise the Lord! Only the grace of God can achieve this kind of change.

One prisoner who came to a saving knowledge of Christ had been a notorious member of the underworld, both in Greece and other countries. Authorities at the prison are amazed at the wonderful change that has come over this man and they don't understand it. It is simply that they do not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He is a testimony to all that it is God who has changed his life and made him a new creature.

In addition to the prison ministry, Timo and Helen have been involved in small, house-church meetings. Attendance has continued to grow to 20 or more, as new people joined in.

It is particularly exciting when new converts are baptized. These public seaside events include the singing of hymns, and each one being baptized gives testimony to God's work in his or her heart. God's Word and grace are clearly declared. Those who have come to the beach for recreation now hear God's Word, witness the baptisms, and receive an invitation to trust Christ.

Timo has seen several prisoners baptized after trusting the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his record of responsible ministry, Timo has even been allowed to take some prisoners out on passes for a few days, and has taken the responsibility of seeing that they return.

This work is not without challenges from the enemy of men's souls, who has used every strategy to thwart this work. Among the challenges is an effort by some who oppose this outreach to restrict Timo's ability to minister to prisoners. As Timo writes, "This is a spiritual war, but God who is in us is greater than he who is in the world." God has shown Himself to be powerful.

Timo asks for prayer for new converts and that the Lord will perfect the good work He has begun in their hearts. Please pray for Timo and Helen and the outreach among the prisoners. Pray that the doors will remain open and many more will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

If you would like more information on the ministry of Timo and Helen Vardalas, and AMG ministries worldwide, contact AMG at info@amginternational.org, visit www.amginternational.org or call 1-800-251-7206 and ask to speak with Pat Ragan, missions director.

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