It is with great joy that we share we arrived home safely. Our transition has been good so far, it helped a lot to have our family, friends and A2J community welcome us home. They not only threw us a welcome home party but also cleaned and organized our house and filled our cupboards and fridge with food. What a gift! It was an amazing 395 days in Europe. Our time was very fruitful and through the grace of God we accomplished our goals serving as the President of Antioch Network. We also experienced so much wonder and beauty as a family. We trust that in the days, months and years ahead we will continue to experience the fruit of this time both as a family and in our work.
Thank you for supporting us prayerfully, personally and financially in this time. We could not have done the work without you.
We will send a comprehensive report later and plan to host a time to share in person this Fall. Until then, below are a few highlights from our last two months
Visiting our team
Most of the past two months was focused on connecting in a deep way with our team member in Europe. God has blessed us with a strong and beautiful team.
Celebrating Pentecost in Rome
It was a surreal experience to be on the stage with Christian leaders from around the world. We were diverse yet one in Christ. There were Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Anglicans, non-denominational and even Messianic Jews. There were five Cardinals and of course at the center was Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome. It was very meaningful to participate in this monumental event, standing side by side with my friends and fellow co-laborers from Wittenberg 2017 and John 17.
Pope Francis began his Pentecost celebrations at an ecumenical vigil June 3 with some 50,000 Catholic charismatics and Pentecostals from more than 125 countries gathered for praise and worship at the site of the ancient Roman Circus Maximus
“We have chosen to meet here in the Circus Maximus,” said Pope Francis, “where so many Christians were martyred, just for laughs. Today there are more martyrs than in those times. Today’s martyrs are not asked ‘Are you Catholic? Orthodox? Coptic? Pentecostal?’ before being killed. They are killed because they are Christian. We are united by this ecumenism of the blood.”
If those who want to kill Christians believe they are one, he said, it is urgent that Christians be
“united by the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer and in action on behalf of those who are weaker. Striving to Walk together. Work together. and Love each other,”
Pope Francis shared with us that, being baptized in the Spirit and knowing how to praise God, “are not enough” if we as, Christians don’t also help those in need.
Here is the Big Question:
In this year marking the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s protest, can we seek to be united simply as followers of Jesus Christ?
Meeting Pope Francis as a family
It was an amazing honor to be able to be with Pope Francis as a family, we were the only family in this meeting. We thank God for our friend Julia Torres, who made it possible. Our kids were so moved by this experience. Pope Francis was so excited to greet our children.
John 17 Meetings
This was our second John 17 Gathering in Rome to visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican. This gathering included roughly fifty participants, predominantly from evangelical and Pentecostal churches in the United States, and was initiated by the gracious invitation of Pope Francis and the Vatican, geared towards building bridges between Catholics and Protestants for the glory of Jesus, relational unity of his people, and good of the world.
If you would like to read the transcripts from our meetings with Pope Francis that a friend put together you can do so by clicking here
Two minute video summary of our time in Rome
The love and peace of Christ to you,
Ryan for the Thurman family