Two weeks ago we received the news that our visas were denied. I can’t say that we were surprised, but it still came as a shock. Each time we applied for a visa over the past eight years a denial was a real possibility. Of course Melanie’s and my first reaction were to push through this seeming set back like we have so many times in the past. As many of you know this has not been the first time we have faced resistance here. The day after receiving the news I left for the usual two day trip to visit the new church plant in Kara Kol, a six hour drive away. This gave me time to think and pray. The next evening when I returned I was surprised to find that Melanie was feeling the same thing I was. We felt that God was telling us it is time to leave. Almost over night God gave us peace that He was doing this to move us on. As we started to share the news with the missionary team we all felt that this was the beginning of a transition for the church here. As we shared with the leadership in the church, although sad, they also agreed that God had been preparing them for this moment over the last year. Although there is the possibility for us to apply for a different type of visa that would allow us to stay longer we believe that God is calling us to move on and hand the church over to the locals who have been raised up.
HANDING THINGS OVER
It is hard to believe that Melanie and I moved here about eight years ago. Much has happened during that time. There was just the two of us when we showed up here, now we are a family of seven. Over the years the Lord has brought a wonderful team of missionaries who we have been blessed to serve along side of. The Lord has taken the church plant from a couple people in our apartment to several hundred. As the church has grown the Lord has called faithful men and woman who have stepped into all of the major areas of ministry within the church. We have labored to equip them in the Word for the work of the ministry that God is and will continue to do here in Kyrgyzstan. Now the time has come to take the final step of handing over the oversight, teaching, and pastoring of the church here to the local leaders. Although this is in many ways sad for us it is also very exciting as this is the goal we have always worked toward from the very beginning. We look back in amazement at all that God has done!
> WHAT’S NEXT?
> We will be in Kyrgyzstan until the 23rd of September. That is the last day our visa allows us to be here. We will then fly to Hungary where we will be at Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe for a time. We don’t have any concrete direction at this point so we would appreciate your prayer for God’s leading. Melanie and I still feel God’s call to plant churches in areas that have been largely unreached, specifically among Muslim peoples, so we are seeking the Lord’s leading in that area. I will be attending a Christian workers conference for the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan the second week of October to help get an idea of the work going on in that area of the world.
Our last month here as there is still much to encourage the church leaders in.
The transition of handing everything over.
Much love and grace to be shown as many changes are ahead for the church.
God’s leading, provision, and peace in the next months.
Paul and Melanie Billings
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