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.