“The Holy Spirit is moving. There's a lot of anticipation for great things,”
observes Tom Schlesselman, an elder and member of the senior leadership team at Crossroads Community Church in Freeport, IL. Tom stands in a small Georgian village near what will soon become a church. “Twenty or 30 years ago people weren’t ready. God was ready but He waited for His perfect timing.”
Georgia is strategically located and has survived much over the centuries. “In Norm’s words [Norm Edwards, Area Director], Georgians have been protected by God for thousands of years, for such a time as this, because the church has a real chance to grow.” With the growth of the Pentecostal Church in Georgia and the number of lives changed, there is a real sense of momentum in the country.
To Tom, it’s simple. “The investment, whatever it costs, is absolutely worth it. Jesus paid the maximum price for us to allow us to participate in His plan. How can we do anything less?”
The passion, suffering, and joy to serve God are what Dary Northrup, senior pastor at Timberline Church in Ft. Collins, CO, sees in the Georgians he meets. “It puts the American church to shame. We want to talk about the temperature in the seats, but these people sit on concrete and don't even have chairs. They worship God and it's true beauty.”
To Dary, the essence of these people is felt immediately--they have an uncommon passion to share Christ with their neighbors who desperately need Him. He sees individual lives changed now and a country as a whole bursting with potential. “There's something happening. It’ll have a mushroom effect. Someone used the word ‘pregnancy.’ There seems to be a pregnancy in the church and it will grow. They still have to be careful, for the sake of persecution, but there is a desire in these small villages,” he says.
Dary sees the potential of Georgia extending beyond its borders. “It's such a Bible region, so much happened in this part of the world. To be a Christian and come to the place where all this began is amazing. Our roots are here,” Dary marvels. “The fact that it is surrounded by Muslim countries, this is a true lighthouse. Georgia and Armenia have the chance to be a symbol for the Muslim world,” he says.