Outreach Partner Update – Feb. 2024

The Wheatons

Update from the Wheaton family, EPC missionaries to an unreached people group in North Macedonia:

We began 2024 in the middle of our team’s planning retreat. Many good discussions were had and it was a joy to see deep alignment on values which impacted what goals we have for 2024. As we prayed, processed, planned, and reflected several things became abundantly clear that we are excited to share.

1. Our Team- When we first came to the Balkans, we were just us- one couple and were volunteering some of our time to another group in the city. Since then, our team has grown to five adults. With that in mind- it was high time we had an easy name to use and identify ourselves. So we would love to “introduce” you to the team.

We are WOT (short for World Outreach Tetovo). We are a small, but growing multi-generational team. We are comprised of veteran workers with decades of field and ministry experience. We also have first-term workers who are learning language and bringing with them their administrative and outdoor education skills. Finally, we have a retired public school educator coming as a finisher when she completes her pre-field training. Together we are WOT.

2. Our Missiological Approach – We also thought it was good to write up and communicate a bit of our impassioned principles and priorities that guide our engagement strategy and decision-making. It is our team ethos: We are a Kingdom Focused, Gospel-centered, Contextually Driven, Peace-building, Prayer-filled people oriented to creating opportunities to encounter Jesus and to prioritizing genuine Spirit-led transformation that results in communities of whole-hearted Jesus followers.

3. Our strategic framework – The B.L.E.S.S. Tvo Initiative. After much prayer and consideration in 2023, the EPC WOT team is launching a new initiative born out of a desire to see Tetovo transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The WOT “B.L.E.S.S. Tvo” initiative is a multi-phase, multi-level framework of ministry. The first phase of this initiative is a comprehensive and concerted prayer effort that intends to strategically tear down spiritual strongholds and barriers that obstruct Gospel breakthrough. We will systematically blanket the city in prayer and worship. Our inspiration comes from God’s instructions to Joshua regarding how to take the city of Jericho. After a 40-day period of seeking God for WOT efforts in Tvo, one message was abundantly clear: PRAY MORE. It was not the answer we were wanting to hear—as we were honestly hoping for something a little more “exciting and groundbreaking”. But it is the ONE thing the Lord clearly and adamantly laid on our hearts as we asked Him to show us what was needed in Tvo going forward. So, to this end, we are dedicating 2024 to significant and radical prayer – asking God to break strongholds and soften hearts to receive Jesus.

So, why is a year of dedicated prayer so important? There have been decades of collective missionary efforts in this town, but little to no fruit has resulted in a town of 80,000+ people. We’ve heard how hard Tetovo is since our first days in Albania from other expat missionaries, from Albanian Christians, and from North Macedonian Christians alike. It is clear after a couple of years of active participation, observation, and learning, that two significant spiritual issues need to be addressed in prayer.

– Tetovo is besieged by several spiritual strongholds which obstruct Gospel messaging and receptivity, and impede Christian witness. We have seen first-hand how deeply entrenched these strongholds are in Tetovo and all the ‘workers’ have been impacted by them.
– Tetovars have an Eastern heart heavily influenced by Islam, but it is a “Western-oriented” Gospel message that is proclaimed. Much prayer is needed to unveil the “eastern-ness” of Jesus.

We know it is only through prayer and fasting that true breakthrough and understanding will happen. We invite you and hope you will join us in continued intercessory prayer.

In Christ,
Todd, Pru, Brennen & Corren