Dear Praying Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord, and growing in His word and work. It is hard to believe that summer is already over. The Lord gave us a fruitful summer both spiritually and physically. Our cherry and apricot harvests were amazing. Naomi and Miriam have been working hard canning and freezing the food we will need for the soon coming winter.
Season’s Blessings: Like the Lord says in Psalm 1:3 “… that bringeth forth his fruit in his season.” It was a great, fruitful season for us. We saw ten people come to Christ! During our Children’s Bible Club six children trusted the Lord Jesus as their Savior. We had an average attendance of 75 children each day. Of those who trusted Christ we’ve seen four of them come to church for Sunday services after the Bible Club was over.
This year’s Youth Conference in Limonski was a blessing where my son, Ben, received Christ along with our neighbor’s son, Sergei. In addition, there is a single mother and her two teenagers who began visiting our services. She is an English teacher and tutors one of our church members. During the lessons he continually talks about our family and how much he loves and respects us. She was interested and wanted to meet us for herself. She is staunch Russian Orthodox and is not saved but her daughter, Nastia, finally received Christ and is now sold out! Please pray for her continued growth in the Lord as she goes to college during the week days and comes home only on the weekends. A young man named Slava came to church one Sunday where he heard the Gospel for the first time. He heard that we were going to have a Bible Club and wanted to help during the week. Several of the workers came to me and asked if it would be okay to have an unsaved young man help and I told them that it would be a great opportunity for him to be exposed to more Bible even though it was more geared towards small children. On the first day of Bible Club one of our visiting missionaries took him aside and led him to Christ!
We also received news of the Lord continuing to use the testimony of our deacon, Sasha Taraniuk, who served on the front lines in Donetsk and was a part of the now famous “Kotyol” evacuation before it was overrun by the Pro-Russian Separatists. A few days before the evacuation Sasha along with a group of about twenty-five men were pinned down in a bunker which was being bombarded with “Grad” rocket fire. They thought they were going to die. Sasha gave an invitation call to anyone who wanted to get ready to meet their Maker to which about fifteen men said that they wanted to pray. He led them in prayer and after a few more minutes the shelling stopped and they were all alive!
A few months ago, Sasha was contacted by a journalist who wanted to do an interview with him about his experience there on the front. He told them about the bunker and required them to print the exact prayer they prayed word for word. The story ran in two different newspapers about a month apart. We just learned that the head of a nearby village told Sasha that she prayed to receive Christ after reading the article! It is very encouraging to think of how the Lord may have used that article elsewhere!
Bibles for Public Schools: We mentioned this in our last prayer letter and would like to ask you to continue to pray about it with us. The time is almost here to preach in the public schools to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. If anyone would like to help with Bibles for this initiative please contact Brother David Cagle at Operation Enduring Word, 527 Benjulyn Rd., Cantonment, FL 32533. His phone number and e-mail address: (850)607-4426; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visa Registrations: All the business and excitement of summer led to a big oversight on our part. Last year we renewed our visa registrations six weeks earlier than necessary to avoid the hassle during the demanding weeks of summer. The problem was that I still had it in the back of my mind that we needed to deal with it later. By the time I noticed that we had to renew we barely had enough time to get it done. To complicate things further, Sasha, who always handles our paperwork, was called back for military training for ten days. As a result we missed the deadline by one day!!! My wife, kids, and I had to leave the country on foot at the Moldova border at night and hoped that they would let us back in. For the most part all went well except that the border guard was confused about the law for Ukrainians verses the law for foreigners and would not let Benjamin leave. He said that the law required him to write up a protocol on him and send him to appear before court for trying to leave the country being 16 years of age! So, now we are here under a 90 day tourist visa and have to start our paperwork all over again. It requires us to leave the country and get a new religious visa at a foreign embassy before reentry. We are going through the process in October. Please pray that everything will be right and that we will get our visas with no problems.
Ministry of Mercy: There is a man in our church named Gresha who has struggled with pain ever since I’ve known him. He fell two stories from an apartment balcony and badly injured his hip. It is a miracle he can even walk. This shook him up and he ended up receiving Christ. His family has become regular members and help in various ways. It was always sad to watch him fidget and shift with pain during the services. The pain got worse and he tried to get help in the Ukrainian system of socialized medicine but was always disappointed. The bureaucracy led him in circles while he was getting worse and worse. The operation is expensive and we didn’t have the money so I told them to pray and see if they could get any help whatsoever and we would try to make up the difference. Our church saved money and took up love offerings for him and Brother Kline left a good chunk of money for his hip replacement before returning to the states but this was still not enough. Finally, we received some extra love offerings from you, our supporters, and together we were able to pay for their trip to another town and finally get him the help he needed. He and his family are very grateful. The surgeon said that his hip was literally bone on bone and was amazed at how well he put up with the pain for so long. Thank you to all who give so that this man and his family could experience this answer to their prayers.
We want to thank you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord that gives us the privilege and opportunity to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you as you serve Him. Until our next prayer letter or our meeting in the air!
That Ukraine May Know Him,