Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prayer Letter

November 17, 2014
Dear Pastor and Prayer Partners,

“I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.”

  It is amazing how the Lord works in our lives to bring to pass His will for our lives!  So often we don’t understand, but His way is perfect and His timing is always on time.
When Jessica and I surrendered to go to Ukraine 10 years ago, never once did we think or consider that we would ever go anywhere else.  We thought surely we will be lifetime missionaries.  We had surrendered our lives to preach the Gospel in Ukraine and we planned on being buried there.  But God had different plans.  We can plan and organize our lives the way we think He would want them, but nonetheless we must still be surrendered to His plan and His will for our lives even when it doesn’t go with our plans.

  When we came home from Ukraine this time, something different took place in my heart that I had not experienced before.  Every other time I had come back to the States, not only did God give me a peace and a desire to go back, but I really wasn’t happy being here because I knew God wanted us in Ukraine.  I just wanted to be back in the land of our calling.  This time, every time I have sought to buy plane tickets, God has hindered me and not given me peace.  At the same time, He has given me a desire to come back to the USA and serve here in the land of my fathers.  Every time that I would pray about God’s direction for our family, it seemed that God directed me to verses about Jacob and the Patriarchs going back to the land of their fathers.
   For such a long time I wrestled with God about this, telling Him that I was a “lifetime missionary”.  Finally I started praying about where God would have us serve.  God laid on my heart a particular church.  They are a good, solid, Fundamental, Bible believing church and their former pastor surrendered to the mission field of South Africa and announced his calling to the church in March.  This is the same month that God brought us home.  I started praying that if God wanted me to pursue being the pastor of Victory Baptist Church, that He would have the former pastor to call me, and I really had no reason to expect him to call me.  The very next day, he called me.  From that moment I started pursuing being the pastor of Victory Baptist Church.  I did not share this with many people because I did not want to share this until God confirmed that this was what He was doing. 

About 2 weeks ago on November 2nd we candidated, and this past Sunday, November 16th, they voted to have us come as their pastor’s family.  We have whole heartedly accepted for God has confirmed over and over again in our hearts that this is what he wants for our family.

   It is really quite amazing to me how God has worked out all the details.  As God was starting to move us to pastor, God was moving in the hearts of Mark and Donna Kuenzi to go to Vvedenka, Ukraine.  Our prayer was for them to come work with us and their plan was to be our co-laborers. I shared with them what God was doing in our hearts and he said although it wasn’t what we had planned, God has called them to go and we are going to go.  In fact, Mark and Donna are already in Ukraine.  They left on November 6th.  They have already had 2 Sunday services.  They had 6 Ukrainians out for the first service, which is very good since they do not have a car to pick people up with.  We have told Mark and Donna that our van (currently in Western Ukraine), our house, the church building, everything there we own will all be left for them.  This is our best means of helping them do the work that God has called them to and also to help them continue the work which God allowed us to start.  God has made it very evident that He has called them to Ukraine and that He has called us to the States for such a time as this.  Despite the difficulties they have faced and the ongoing violence in Ukraine very close to where they are at, they have said “God has called us and we are going to go.”  Mark and Donna have left for the field with almost no regular financial support.  They have sold most of their possessions and their houses and plan to live off of this money, trusting that God will provide a more permanent means of financial support.  The reason I am sharing this with you is because I would like you to prayerfully consider supporting the Kuenzi family in our place, as they will be continuing the ministry that most of you have already supported through us for the last 7 or more years.  They are being sent from our sending church, Grace Baptist Temple.

   We will be transferring into the pastorate by the end of this month, so we ask that you would discontinue our support the end of this month. Our email will remain the same.  My telephone number will remain the same for at least another month.

   Again, we would like to thank you for your faithfulness to pray for us and support us financially over the years of our ministry in Ukraine.  We have grown to love you all and to greatly appreciate each of you as you have teamed up with us to get the Gospel to Ukraine.  May God richly bless each of you as you continue to faithfully serve our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Eric, Jessica

Anna, Lydia, Samuel, Daniel & Abigail

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 2014

Our newest prayer card
Dear Pastor and Prayer Partners,

“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25
   Though the news coming from Ukraine right now is not always good, we have been encouraged by the news we have from the believers in Ukraine.  Vasily has a very good report among the believers and from our neighbors.  He opens the church doors every week.  Vladamir Vonovich comes every other Sunday and meets with him.  It is hard for any of the others to come without us there to transport them, but Vasily goes to their homes an meets with them.  They have been encouraged by his knowledge in the scriptures and said that he even councils them with scripture!  Hearing this was definitely “cold water to a thirsty soul..”.
   July 3rd, we received news that the train tracks 2 stops from our village had been blown up.  Many of our church people, including Lina and Max, used this to get to church.  We also used it to get back and forth from the city.  Gala, who lives near there, seemed in good spirits and not bothered by it.  She said everything was quickly repaired and the train was running as usual.
   Vasily said someone also sent some men to search our home for “contraband”.  Vasily was cordial with them, and after searching from top to bottom, they left apologizing.  We are praising God for protecting Vasily as sometimes the officials can be pretty corrupt.  Continue to pray for his protection and growth.  

   Our furlough has been going well.  We started in Maryland and have traveled down to Georgia and are now in Maine.  God has truly blessed us with some good churches and it has been refreshing to visit with them again.  We have meetings scheduled in New England until the end of August.  The Lord has even blessed us with a few new contacts.  The Kuenzi’s are continuing to sell-give away-and pack things.  They are hoping to fly back with us when we go.  I know they would also greatly appreciate your prayers.

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Update on Where We Are

It has been a busy few weeks for us.  The first two weeks was spent tending to sick kids.  They all picked up a stomach bug somewhere.  Then Jess’ parents came down to visit for 2 days.  On Tuesday, we headed down south.  We are now in Blackstone, VA and are keeping busy and filling up our schedule.  We are trying to keep in contact with our people in Ukraine and are excited to hear that they are still meeting together to encourage one another.  As far as the country situation, things still don’t look good and they have advised us to wait a little longer.  We are anxious to get back but know the Lord has a plan.  He has already blessed us so much this past year.  We think particularly in that we did not have to leave the country last year so had money for tickets.  Please continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and us as we minister here during our visit.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


I am sure many of you are aware of the situation in Ukraine, at least to some extent.  In the past few weeks, the violence has only been increasing.  Less than 25 miles from us, on the Russian border, Russian troops were gathering and about 10 miles from us the Ukrainian military was training.  From our home we could hear the explosions and even feel a slight rumble.  At night, the sky lit up and looked on fire.  Many of the Ukrainians believed that if war was to break out in the country, it would be in our front yard.  There may be no danger of a major war there, but there was still the threat.  Even the locals were becoming more bold in their threats toward us.  After much prayer and counseling with the locals, Pastor Scoggins (from ANTBM, our mission) and Pastor Rhew (our pastor), we decided that for the safety of the family we should come back to the States for a little while. 

We are keeping in close contact with people there and want to get back to them as soon as the Lord allows.  We want to make sure that we keep you as informed as possible and that we have an open line of communication.  To do that, we will be trying to email out a weekly update.  We also look forward to visiting with some of you during this short mini-furlough.  We understand that many of you may not have the extra finances for an surprise missionary visit, and we do not wish to be a burden to you.  We greatly appreciate your support over the years.  If we are in your area we may stop in just to be a blessing to you and if you would like, we would be more than willing to share an update with you as well.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

God Answers Prayer!!!

Shortly after we sent out our prayer letter, God greatly answered a few of our prayers.  We had mentioned that Vasily and Olea were completing their Bible lessons.  Olea's last lesson was on Friday evening. 

Following her lesson, we asked her if there was ever a time in her life when she had been born again.  She said no, then prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins and be her Savior.  We were all very excited and praising the Lord with her!  As she was leaving, she began listing off people she was going to call and tell about her salvation.  Pray for her as we continue to disciple her.

Sunday after services, we had the last lesson with Vasily.  It seemed like the closer we got to completing his lessons, the more God was working upon his heart concerning his need of salvation.  What a blessing it was when he said he wanted to pray and ask God to save him.  He had said at one time that he did not think he could get saved because he could not give up smoking.  Continue to pray for him that he will grow in Christ.  We will be continuing to do discipleship lessons with him too.

Another person many of you have been praying for is a man named Ruselan, the same Ruselan that I did Bible lessons with while he was in prison.  He is now out and living just down the road from the church.  He expressed an interest in doing Bible lessons again as he did not understand everything since the lessons were given through the mail.  But besides coming to a few services, he has been too busy to do them.  Friday he rode with me to the nearby city of Chagooiv to buy cement.  While there, his son, Bogdan, did not want to go with him anywhere.  Ruselan admitted to having gotten drunk the night before and was not feeling very well.  When he returned from the market, he also came carrying a bottle of beer.  I told him he was not going to get into my car with that.  So he said he'd drink it.  For me, that was not an option.  The only option if he wanted a ride home was to throw it away.  He was angry with me at first, but did it.  Later he apologized and said that he needed help.  He admitted that his son is scared of him when he is like that and wanted to start doing Bible lessons.  I have talked with him since then and he is still very serious about Bible lessons.  We will be starting this upcoming Wednesday.  Please be praying for this family.  The boys are very faithful to Sunday School.  We would love to see all of them saved.

Prayer Letter

March 18,2013

Since our last prayer letter, we have been busily preparing for our ladies’ meeting/banquet.  March 8th is a big holiday here called Women’s Day.  We planned our banquet for the 9th.  The Lord really blessed the meeting and about 12 ladies came.  Almost all of these women are not saved.
We are continuing with the Bible lessons.  The young lady, Nastia, has not been coming for her Bible lessons because she said she can’t get out of work in time but has continued to come to Wednesday evening services.  She says she is interested in continuing.  Her sister also hasn’t been allowed to come back to church in a few weeks. 
Olya and Vasily have continued with their Bible lessons and only have one lesson left.  We are earnestly praying that they will be saved.  They both seem very sincere.  Please pray for them.  Olya’s lesson is on Friday and Vasily will have his on Sunday after services.
Ruselan and his wife Katia have not been coming very frequently to services.  I have visited with him a few times, but they don’t seem very interested in Bible lessons at the moment because of her new job.  Work is the biggest reason most people either don’t finish their Bible lessons or never start in the first place.  You may remember Valodia.  He almost finished his lessons, then got work.  He still faithfully attends services when he is not working.
We have had two new ladies start coming to services.  Their names are Zoya and Sveta.  Sveta has stated that she is searching and very interested in learning more about the Bible.  Zoya has brought her granddaughter to services last week.  Pray that God would work in the hearts of some of these people and save them.
The Sunday School class has been doing pretty well too.  In the past two months we have had 6 visiting kids come to Sunday School...just not at the same time.  Two of those are our neighbors, Nastia and Masha.  Some of you may remember Anna asking for prayer for their salvation.  Anna has been praying for them constantly that they would come to church and get saved and she has been very excited the few weeks they have come.  Pray that their parents will continue to let them attend Sunday School.  Bogdan and Nikita, Ruselan and Katia’s sons, have continued to be regulars.
During Sunday School, I have been teaching the adult class in Russian.  This has been challenging, but I feel like God is allowing the message to still be clearly presented. 


Everyone is doing well.  Jessica has had a few doctor’s visits and even though I know they are exhausting, she doesn’t get as discouraged by them as she has in previous pregnancies.  Thank you all for your prayers concerning the visits and the pregnancy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Prayer Letter

January 14, 2013
We have only been here 2 months but already there is so much to fill you up on!  Since returning to Ukraine, the Lord has opened up the doors for us to do 3 Bible lessons.   A young lady named Nastia has hers on Wednesdays.  She listens intently and has started sharing what she is learning with her grandmother.  Her grandmother wasn’t very happy when she first started attending a “cult” and I think she was even more unhappy.  Even with that, Nastia said her grandmother almost came to church on Sunday with her!  Be praying for this family.   Nastia’s mom comes to church, but Nastia and her sister live with her grandmother.  This past Sunday, Nastia’s sister was allowed to come.  We think this is mostly because Jessica started an English class after church.  That may be, but she will be hearing the Gospel from Sunday School, church and in Jessica’s English lesson. 
The second person who asked for Bible lessons was Olya.  She comes every Friday afternoon.  A man named Vasily is the third.  His lesson is Friday afternoon before Olya’s.  Both of them seem interested, but especially Vasily.  He always has questions and he has talked to me about how he feels God is working in his life. 
We have had a good group of adults and kids coming to the services, most of whom are not saved.  Please be praying that those coming to services and to Bible lessons, who are unsaved would be convicted of their need of salvation.
New Year’s Eve we had a special service.  Ruselan, the man I did Bible lessons with, and his wife Katia both came.  Their sons have been attending regularly, but they have only come once.  Katia also came to our Christmas service.  The boys, Bogdan and Nikita, were in our Christmas skit and also played in our bell choir.  She has said she would like to meet with us as she has some questions about salvation, but she has just started a new job so said she is too busy now.  Pray for the salvation of this family.  What a testimony it would be if they were saved and serving the Lord!


The Lord has greatly blessed our family since we have returned.  We received our registration with minimal problems.  This means we are free to stay here in Ukraine for a year.  Our passports expire soon after so we most likely will not be given another year extension.  Another big blessing is a VAN!  After living here years without a reliable vehicle, we were greatly appreciating the little, blue car the White’s left us, but our family is quickly outgrowing it.  Also, I was having to make several trips before and after services to transport everyone.  The van has saved me many trips.  Even with the van, sometimes I have to make more than one trip.  The Lord provided the van at the perfect time!  After paying for the church building, we have been saving most of our love offerings for a van.  We greatly appreciate the many sacrifices you made! 
Shortly after we arrived in Ukraine, we found out that Jessica is expecting!  She is now over 13 weeks and the morning sickness has lightened up a lot and she is not as exhausted now.  She will be visiting the doctors soon and I know would appreciate your prayers.