Sunday, August 14, 2011

Answered Prayer

Jessica posted this on her blog and I thought I would share it here...

What an amazing day - week - it has been!  We have truly seen Him work out everything for good...for HIS honor and glory, even if at first it just seems like another problem.

I'm so tempted to start with the frosting on the cake, but will try to start from the beginning instead.  In the last few weeks Eric and I have seriously been praying together that God would give us opportunities to witness and it seems like He has opened so many doors!  While Eric was driving into the city one day he picked up a man who needed a ride.  He ended up being drunk and kept asking Eric for money.  Eric told him no because he would just spend it on alcohol.  The man just gave him a knowing smirk.  Eric continued to tell him that what he needed more than alcohol was Jesus Christ and to read the Bible.  He kept saying what he needed was money.  He did take the tract and we pray that he will read it.

Then the other day as we were cleaning the church one of the church neighbors came by and Eric was able to witness to her for a long time.  She kept saying that no matter how hard she tries, she sins and because of this she has problems in her life.  She was not talking about big sins, but little things like talking too much.  She is already at a point where she realizes she is a sinner who cannot redeem herself.  The sad part is, she is so superstitious that she is not yet willing to come to church.  She believes that bad things happened to her because she threw out some orthodox icons and missed going to the orthodox church on a holiday.  She is afraid that if she comes to our church something else will happen.  Eric was able to give her a tract and a Bible and by the end she said that maybe she just needed to read the Bible more.  We pray that she will.  She has also invited the kids and I over for tea sometime, so I am looking forward to that and hoping that I am able to talk to her about doing Bible lessons in her home.
On Friday we went out to celebrate Anna's birthday (which I'll share more about in another post).  After a fun day, we headed back home with cake and ice cream.  We didn't get too far though before the car died.  It was extremely hot and took about 4 hours for us to find someone to help us.  We were able to witness some and give the taxi driver and tow truck driver a tract though, and figured that was God's plan.  Without a vehicle, we tried to prepare a little more on Saturday night for our walk to church.  On our knees later that night as a couple we specifically prayed that God would bring in one visitor to church.  Sunday morning we all loaded up and headed out.  We're quite a sight walking through the village for, not only are we all dressed up, but we have 3 kids so close in age!  Wow, huh? ;)  We met quite a few people on the road and passed out some tracts.  We also met a babooshka who we had previously talked with and given tracts to before.  We invited her to church and she said she would come.  We left, but didn't really think she many times have you heard that?  Once people started coming into church, we were pleasantly surprised with a visit from Elena and also Valodia.  Even though both have attended services in the past, we thought that might be our answer to prayer.  Because Sammy was having a very hard time, probably from heat and being overtired, I ended up having to take him out.  When I reached our front door I was shocked to see the babooshka and a man sitting on the steps!  She had been too shy to come in so had just waited there!  After she went in and sat down the man started talking to me a little.  He didn't stay for very long because he was visiting a friend, but he took the tract.  As I went back in to play piano for the closing song, I felt like crying.  How sweet is an answer to prayer!  And, OH!  How quickly we neglect that precious time on our knees!  Sometimes I am amazed at His patience with me and love in answering when I am so neglectful of Him!  Maybe the car should break down every week. :) 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Prayer Letter

Church & Bible Lessons
We are now officially in the village.  There is still a LOT of work to be done, but the ceilings and walls are finished in our main meeting area and hopefully we will be able to complete the other rooms by the end of the month.  Everyone came out to help paint the main room and are anxious to do whatever it takes to finish the rest.  Praise the Lord for willing workers!  We also greatly appreciate all of you who have sacrificed to help us purchase this property.  So far we have had $1,4050 come in towards the purchase which leaves us at $13,050.

Since moving to the village we have been faced with some discouragements.  Shortly before we moved out here a Pentecostal group started meeting here in the village.  Also, Valodia quit Bible lessons and coming to the services near the end of his lessons.  The Lord did open up the door for more Bible lessons with a man named Slavic.  He believes that he is saved (as do many here), but we are praying that as he continues the lessons he will come to see the need of true repentance.  Baba Shora, Yuri's mom, has also been sitting in for the lessons and is very attentive.  What a blessing it would be to see her saved!  She is known around the village for her drunkenness.  We are praying for her salvation and for God to completely change her life for His honor and glory.

Ruselan is on his last lesson and should have completed it by now, but we have not heard from him.  During the winter months, we were sometimes his only supply of food so it is possible that this was the reason he wanted to continue with his lessons.  I am planning on visiting with him this month and ask that you pray for me and for this young man's salvation.

Family, Health & Registration
We were finally able to get Samuel and Lydia's registration.  Other than making us wait a while, we had no problems.
In early July, Brianna also returned to the states.  We praise the Lord for how smoothly her trip went.

In June, Sammy came down with whooping cough.  We were not aware of what it was until later in July after the girls came down with it.  Needless to say, much had to be put on hold (including remodeling of the church).  It has been a very rough couple of months and we are praising the Lord that everyone is starting to recover.  We greatly appreciate all of you who have kept up with us through our blogs and let us know you were praying for us during this time.  Your prayers were greatly appreciated.

Lastly, we are excited to announce that we are expecting another little boy!  Jessica is about 18 weeks pregnant, putting our baby boy due around Christmas/New Year's.  Please pray for a healthy pregnancy, safe delivery and healthy baby.  Also strength for Jessica as she deals with the Ukrainian medical system and opportunities to witness. 

(More remodeling pictures here, and pictures from our first services in the new building here and here.)