Some of you asked what Abe was doing

PRAISE Some of you asked what Abe was doing in the picture I posted last time! LOL He was illustrating the Good Samaritan and, since the focus is on evangelism, relating it to reaching out to the needy people around us who are attacked and wounded by satan and need someone to help them. We rejoice in testimonies of people going out and evangelizing on the street. Not just waiting for someone to come to them. Just one example in these pictures of some creativity in reaching out. The sign says “Coffee and the Incredible”. Going to a village and offering coffee—and hope—from the back of their car!   Abe also encourages them to take candy with them andgive it to ADULTS as a way of connecting. The personaltouch!! Showing Jesus’ love in a tangible way. And people respond and listen and are willing for someone at least to pray for them.  So much more could be written.  Women who are using Immanuel Prayer and also learning the principles of evangelism      A group of young leaders being trained by “Abe’s” people (but more importantly “God’s” people) to evangelize teenagers. A two-day meeting that was blessed with God’s presence by their own testimony.     Yes, and people being led to the Lord and baptisms, with the vision of nurturing and discipling them and helping them to become workers in the harvest!     PRAYER Yes, and much to pray about. Abe is leading another workshop today (already) with his second year people. Pray that they will be strengthened and encouraged. One situation is very difficult. A couple working in Kyiv have been very successful in leading people to the Lord, but the “mother” church wants to claim that this is “their” work but does not want to help at all with their financial support. This is very concerning to Abe. Our goal is to help all of these couples move to a place that they are “weaned” off of western support. We are in danger of going back to the mindset that was here in Ukraine when we came 30 plus years ago. “We are poor. We can’t do anything. We just need help.” Indeed, they are poor. They do need help. But…they can do SOMETHING! Therefore this couple will be faced with the decision of continuing their ministry without our support, or moving to another needy place to start again. Pray for Eugene and Kathy. The next workshop, which is for “first year” people will be Feb 20-21. Abe and I will be going to Kyiv already on Saturday as I will have a medical checkup there on Monday. (And therefore will not likely send another message before that time.) He does not get home until tomorrow night and so will have only two days to make sure all is in place before we leave. Pray for the details! Pray also that God will continue to move in the hearts of those who have come, that He will bless them as they seek to evangelize, and that He will call those who should become leaders of a Center of Hope. As I have tried to explain before, some of them already are leaders, but have not completed the training to move to the next level. But others are experiencing this training for the first time. And we desire to see “many” of them become leaders of Centers of Hope. May this be the prayer of each of us (and you can pray it for these leaders and evangelists): Holy Spirit, stir in my heart and call me to my knees again and again until my life’s breath is prayer. May revival start within me and spread to every person in my sphere of influence. Shatter the darkness around me with Your holiness as You awaken Your people to the reality of Your power and Your Presence in our midst! From Harvest Ministries  

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We have a rental agreement for another 13 months!

PRAISE the Lord! We have a rental agreement for another 13 months! No increase in rent! All is good. And it gives us great peace of heart. (We have a long history with the house for those who don’t know. And in 2021 the landlord and landlady {brother and sister} died and the house has been in a nebulous state since then with the heir to the property living in Russia.) The workshop this week was attended by about 100 people, all of whom seem truly engaged. Many of them committed to seek to lead someone to the Lord in February. Towards the end of the meeting, on Wednesday, Abe told them that those who were not planning or already involved in starting a Center of Hope could be dismissed while he discussed specific details. Only one man got up and left!   If you have heard Abe speak then you know that he is dynamic and likes audience involvement. 😊 He came home feeling invigorated and excited about the future. Pray that God would work in the hearts and lives of all of these people. There were also a number of women there, so we are not talking about leaders for 100 Centers yet, but…probably as many as we can handle at this time to help them get up and going. Many different situations. Many beautiful testimonies of how God had been working, so many that Abe had to limit them. Psa 126:6  “He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Abe has been heavily burdened and certainly he is rejoicing right now! But pray now for these men and women as they go out to sow seed and—to harvest!

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We are still in the afterglow of the meetings last week

PRAISE We are still in the afterglow of the meetings last week. Abe had an excellent meeting with the Center of Hope leaders who have moved to the next stage. Mostly now they are sharing with each other what works and –even what doesn’t! They all have different situations and are in different parts of the country. There are 7 couples in this group and he is working on helping them develop a bond, praying for each other, sharing together. Valodia, the soldier who lost his arm, was also there. He is excited to see what these groups are doing, has visited some of them, and also visited the church plants that have been established by men Abe was training earlier. One of these young men, David, lost his leg in a mine accident well before this stage of the war (yes, this conflict has been going on since 2014. Russia just stepped it up two years ago in an attempt to take over all of Ukraine). David, who attended the training with his father monthly even after he lost his leg, is now in Latvia and part of the leadership in a thriving church plant there. Valodia testified that he believes that a revival has started here in Ukraine. From those 7 centers at least 20 people were saved in December. For myself, we about 40 in attendance, and only about 4 had been there last summer. I can only say that the Lord gave me supernatural strength to teach from 9 AM Thursday to 8:30 PM 8 ½ hours that day, and on Friday from 8 AM to 1 PM, 4 hours. I honestly had no idea how I would be able to do that. So I can only attribute it to people praying and God pouring His strength through me. And that is affirmed by the fact that I was not tireder on Saturday than I would normally be with the hours of travel to and from Kyiv. Extraordinary! Praise the Lord. A couple ladies came who were recently bereft. One lost her husband on the front 6 months ago and the other lost her 33-year old son on the front recently leaving behind 3 young children. The sorrow. But both of the ladies said they were really helped, and Vera said that it was the first time she had seen the one lady smile. Others are involved with trying to help displaced people or ministering to children and orphans in distress. Some are just wanting to know how they can do it—because we will be dealing with trauma for years to come. One pastor came to me during the seminar and said he could not understand the materials when he read them through ahead of time. But when we actually walked through one of the exercises he said he encountered Christ in a way he never had before. At the end many people came up to me and shared that they had learned so much and had enjoyed it. We were able to leave them with a number of resources, including two books that have been translated into Ukrainian, Passing the Peace After a Crisis, and Joyful Journey: Listening to Immanuel, besides the material included in the seminar. In addition we have set up a social media group with some links for them and the opportunity to add more info and to be in touch. And so, we will press forward and probably have another seminar in the summer, both for those who want to repeat and new people. It is a lot of material to grasp. Next time, we plan to do it in 2 ½ days to give more practical time—and more breathing time! PRAYER POINTS We are to sign a new rental agreement today. Please pray that it will all go smoothly. We do not know if the landlady will increase the rent. But we are doing it through a lawyer. As you may remember we have had more than a little grief in the past. Pray that the process will be peaceful this year. We have had a quiet year living here and amidst all the other chaos it has been such a blessing. Abe has another workshop next week, the second in the training of new people, along with a group of people who are continuing training from last year. Last time there were some coming out of curiosity, some bringing friends to introduce them to some new ideas. Therefore there were 130 last time, but it is likely that number will be greatly reduced this time. Pray that God would lay it on the hearts of those who should be there. And pray specifically that He will raise up more leaders for Centers of Hope. Pray for the travel safety of everyone as we are in winter with different challenges throughout the country. Abe has been asked to help the Baptist Union in reorganization in some areas—specifically in regard to the committees. Every year the committees give good reports and good recommendations—and that is the end. So the desire is to move them from committees to action forces. Not an easy task with a large organization. That will involve monthly meetings for Abe, the first being Feb 6. Pray for him as he considers what needs to be done and how to move the committee heads into a new place that will be effective in bringing changes in different areas of ministry. Pray for practical steps that people will be able to grasp—and embrace. Pray for Diane as she follows up with the people from the Immanuel Prayer seminar and considers the future. Russia is relentless in their missile and drone attacks this past month. They spent the fall testing the weak points in Ukrainian defense. This is a war of technology above all. Russia's New Year attacks on Ukrainian cities are a "stark reminder to the world that President Putin’s objective remains unchanged.  He seeks to obliterate Ukraine as an independent state and subjugate its people, denying them their democratic voice and sovereignty". (Quote from Michael Carpenter, representative to OSCE) What can we say that has not been said? Continue to pray for the freedom of Ukraine—and pray for the light of Christ to shine brilliantly against the kingdom of darkness.

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Oh my, that was quite a break from writing memos!

Oh my, that was quite a break from writing memos! Although we did send out a Christmas newsletter. If for any reason you are not receiving our actual newsletters and would like to, please drop us a note and we will remedy that. PRAISE We had a beautiful Christmas with our daughter and family and some of their coworkers and friends, including the two refugees who still live with them. It was such a joyous time. A full meal at their church on Christmas Eve with over 130 people in attendance. Lots of fun and laughter and singing and sermon and gift giving. Their church has been growing steadily in the midst of all the sorrow and pain here. And, probably because of all the sorrow and pain as people seek meaning in life. I could write on and on about all the good things, and, Abe and I extended the Christmas holidays more or less until yesterday, although we did have to do some serious work last week. But still felt in the holiday mood. And, yes, our Christmas tree is still up! We still haven’t totally switched over from Christmas being on Jan 7!!! A great joy on Saturday was to have a cup of coffee with Nikolai and Maria. Some of you may remember we asked prayer for him as he had serious cancer last year and went to Germany for treatment. He spent six months or so there having surgery and treatments, but he was allowed to come home for the holidays. He will need another surgery and will probably have to be there for another two or three months. But what a joy it was to see him looking well and full of testimonies of the goodness of God. How God provided translators and treatment and funds. It was just so uplifting. Nikolai came to Abe’s training sessions in Kyiv back in the early nineties and then he went several times to eastern Russia for a month or two at a time as a short-term missionary when we were training Russian leaders with courses. He is a pastor and a very faithful man. We rejoice so that it seems the treatments have put the cancer at bay. They have several children and all of them are faithful to the Lord and serving Him in different ways.   PRAYER Most urgent is to pray for the workshop which is tomorrow and the next day (Tuesday and Wednesday). We asked you to pray many times all fall that God would raise up more people to start Centers of Hope. 130 people have registered! Praise the Lord! Being Ukraine—it does not mean that all of them will come but we praise the Lord for that high of a level of interest. Do pray for travel, we are having bitter cold right now. Pray for hearts to be open through the Holy Spirit to be challenged. And pray that God will call some of these people to start more Centers of Hope. WE cannot call. We can present the opportunity and need. So if you have opportunity to bathe these next two days in prayer, thank you. And yes, Ukraine is under heavy attack again from Russia. We have had 3 very major missile/drone attacks starting on December 29. The most recent was early this morning with country-wide air sirens. Destruction, injuries, death. It was anticipated, that Russia was preparing to do more damage. There is no let-up on their attack either in the east or in other areas. More men are being called up in Ukraine—they are looking for a half million new recruits. Many wives and parents live with that uncertainty. And so anxiety and fear are high. Next week I will lead another session on Immanuel Prayer for Healing the Heart. There is so much trauma everywhere. We cannot help but pray for it to cease. But mostly our prayers are focused on seeing God deliver people from the kingdom of darkness and bring them into the Kingdom of Light!!   Colossians 1:13  “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” PRAISE GOD! Be encouraged to keep on praying! Because, God wants all people to come to a knowledge of Him and to leave Satan’s kingdom of destruction and become members and citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is much more to write but that will have to wait for another day. People saved, people baptized, Abe leading a prayer meeting with the main denominational leaders again—and prayer requests as we go down the road. But, this will suffice for the day. Your prayers make a difference! We firmly believe that and have experienced it!

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This is a bit the “family” time

PRAISE This is a bit the “family” time of the year with our many November birthdays, so we enjoyed Daniel and Priscilla and Ellie coming to celebrate Abe’s birthday this past week. And, an extra blessing, they decorated the whole house for Christmas! You may remember in other years how we have written that Christmas in Ukraine is celebrated January 7. Well, Dec 25 is now an official holiday, although many people will still observe the 7th. But, it does mean we feel a little more pressured to be timely in our decorating! PRAYER Right now we are dealing with some beleaguered marriages. Of highest concern are two church planters that Abe trained some years ago. Their wives want divorces. They are greatly different situations but we feel the burden heavily. Pray that we will have wisdom and opportunity to speak into their lives, that God would bring healing to their hearts and to their marriages. Divorce is now becoming a greater and greater problem in the church here. When we first moved to Ukraine it basically did not exist. …and how devastating when it’s leaders’ families who are breaking up. The last workshop of the year is on Dec 5 and 6 (Tuesday and Wednesday). We have winter weather now with snow so pray for safety on the road for everyone. There will be a major emphasis on prayer. Pray that the Lord would speak to the needs of each heart, and that they will be open to listen for His voice. Prayer goes much better if it’s a two-way conversation! Pray for Abe and Vera as they try to encourage, counsel and direct.     Abe made some good contacts at the conference a week ago to keep the word out there as we look for more people to start Centers of Hope. Continue to pray for God to bring the people He is calling. And that they will be* responsive to His call.

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Yes, that’s what praise means

REJOICE! Yes, that’s what praise means. Every day, all the time, rejoice, praise The last workshop was a fruitful and spiritual time for all the participants. Several of the men did “examples” of how to lead a vibrant worship service—minus the sermon. Times of singing, times of prayer, times of testimony, times of discussion, times of fellowship. What a blessing for one and all!     And a time of growth for everyone as they learn from each other and from Abe. Our documents were all fully processed! Another year in Ukraine secured. Joy! 😊 We had a wonderful few days at our daughter and son-in-law’s—Priscilla and Dan. They live in a very picturesque part of the country and we got to enjoy the outdoors several times with a picnic or just walks! Incredibly warm for this time of year. They live on the Dnipro River which is THE major river in Ukraine. And it was so restful for us.   We listened to a sermon online about generosity yesterday. It was so inspiring. And then this morning I saw a message with a chart from the mayor of our city. Five years ago, Ukraine was in 81st place in giving. A blessing of war? Certainly people are giving, giving, giving and helping wherever they can. No, not everyone. But, nevertheless, as we look at the Biblical principles, another opportunity for God to bless Ukraine. (Study by Charities Aid Foundation)   PRAYER The most critical prayer request from now until the end of the year is that God would bring forward people who want to be involved in Centers of Hope. As we have said so often, people who have a heart to reach the lost and needy, compassion, and at this point, freedom from being drafted. We have lost some men who were drafted. Abe will be going to a conference on Nov 24-25 to acquaint people with what we are doing and invite them. Other leaders are also involved in trying to find these people. We need couples who have the Holy Spirit’s call upon them. Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide us in making the right contacts, and pray that He will call people, and that they will heed that call. Ukraine continues to fight for freedom in the east. You know, territory is one thing. And legally that territory is Ukraine, which both Russia and the US agreed to honor some decades ago. But our concern is the spiritual impact where Russia rules. Here is a recent update: On 22 September, a court in Russian-occupied Donetsk Region found two priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine guilty of violating Russian law on missionary activity. The Judge punished each with a fine of 30,000 Russian Roubles (a little over $300 US—a month’s wages) and "deportation beyond the bounds of the Russian Federation". Russian occupation officials earlier tried to pressure the priests to transfer to the Russian Orthodox Church. Armed men raided two Baptist churches in Zaporizhzhia Region and ordered a third to close. These are just a few things that have been reported by a religious liberties organization. There is no freedom for evangelism in Russia. And churches are monitored closely. We praise God for the years we could minister there, always having been aware that it was a window of opportunity. Pray for freedom for the Gospel—in Ukraine, and in Russia. So, we pray together don’t we? We rejoice in what God has done and is doing. And we pray for His Kingdom to continue to spread through this suffering, sorrowing world. Here is a prayer from Harvest Prayer Ministries that says it so well: Precious Holy Spirit, You give vision and passion to those who long to seek God in prayer for the sake of and advancement of the kingdom through the preaching of the gospel.  Thank You that You trust me with the “highest ministry of all human offices” – the ministry of prayer, and may I be courageous and bold as I intercede, so that spiritual eyes are opened and hearts are prepared to hear and the good news of Jesus Christ and respond to His love. 

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