Dear Praying Friends and Family,
Family Update: We had a rare treat the last two weeks of May…visitors! My parents finally came for a visitafter years of invitations and we enjoyed every second of it. They came with their pastor and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. John Niehaus of Mt. Hope Baptist Church. Our church gave them the traditional Ukrainian hospitality and we are glad that they actually enjoyed themselves so much that they want to come back!
About two years ago I picked up an old hobby for health reasons and started training in Kajukenbo. We train as time allows and always did it mostly for family time and to help our kids know how to handle themselves in tough situations. We always emphasize the need to never be caught alone in Ukrainian society because it can be a dangerous place for foreigners. Benjamin forgot the rule and went for a run alone one afternoon and was jumped by a man wielding a knife. He brandished the knife in a threatening way and demanded money. Ben put his hands up while insisting that he had none. The thug came closer to check his pockets and Ben would not allow it. He cut Ben three times on the arms and hand. Two were light and one was deep enough for stitches. Ben stepped back and when the man came closer he got a good Kaju-kick between the legs! He immediately dropped the knife and went down on one knee and that is when Ben kicked the knife out of reach and then kicked him in the head. Ben ran home with adrenaline surging. Naomi took care of hiswounds and we were all very thankful to the Lord that it wasn’t worse. Needless to say, the kids now have a newfound respect for the rules of the house, “No travelling alone!”
Naomi and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and spent it in Kiev sandwiched right between seeing my parents off at the airport and Missionary Keough’s missions conference where I was invited to preach. We are currently trying to get caught up with office work and picking a bumper crop of fruit. We harvested cherries and are now up to our eyeballs in apricots!
New Converts: One of our member’s neighbors, Ephrasina, has been in contact with our church for years and finally received Christ. Sasha and his wife have witnessed to her for the past ten years. She used to be the director of the school in Yakovlevka, a nearby village. She left the school and began selling insurance. I witnessed to her on one occasion while discussing insurance options. She was having marriage problems and came to church seeking help and responded to the invitation for salvation! She bowed her head and received Christ in the church office after services.
One of our members, Kolya, who has been saved about five years, led his father to Christ! His parents have come to church several times over the years and I have dealt with them on several occasions at church and in their home. Every time I tried to lead them to Christ his wife, a staunch Russian Orthodox believer, said that they would do it their way. We were all very burdened after hearing that his father had a stroke. Kolya visited them and had his wife take his mother into another room and distract her while he dealt with his father. After about an hour his father received Christ with tears streaming down his cheeks. Kolya and his wife came to our house to tell us the news. What a blessing it was to see this former army captain tell of his father’ssalvation, while his wife who brought him to Christ stood crying. It is moments like these that make the years invested worth it all!
Bibles for Public Schools: The open door to preach in the public schools continues to stay open and we are preparing for our presentation in several schools this September. 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.
Church Update. The church received a tremendous blessing from the preaching of Pastor Niehaus and we look forward to another having Pastor Dema from Dnepropetrovsk come and preach in July. We have been putting time into our youth lately trying to get them involved in the ministry. We took them to Odessa one Saturday where they passed out 1000 Chick tracts and then had some fun jumping on trampolines. Ourchurch’s lighted Scripture sign board is now giving a constant testimony to the town night and day. We’ve hadto go back to the drawing board with our new building plans. It turns out that our foundation is not strong enough for a second floor so we will have to build the new building separate from our existing one. We areexcited about the upcoming children’s Bible Club and village evangelism during the remaining summer months.
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,