PRAISE We had a special birthdaycelebration for Abe on his 80th. It is always a privilege when we can be together with family to celebrate, but all of these things come even more precious in the light of the uncertainties of war.
PRAISE We just received word our new residence documents are ready! An extra note of victory considering all of the hangups with daily power outages in Kyiv and everything closing every time there is an air siren warning. Makes for few working hours per day for any business or office. Abe again found high interest for Centers of Hope in the areas he traveled to last week. These are regional meetings so they covered wider than the four different cities they met in. Superintendents and teams were invited from surrounding provinces. Abe found many people already doing a good work, but a great interest in opening up Centers in areas without an evangelical witness. PRAYER Abe got home safely on Saturday evening but the rest of the team had to go on to Kyiv as the last meeting was in Lviv to the west of us. Unfortunately a tire gave out on the van and so they were very delayed getting home. New winter tires have been ordered and are to arrive today and be installed tomorrow. It is quite critical because we do have snow on the roads now. Abe and I both have to go to Kyiv early Thursday morning to pick up our documents, and the weather report right now shows freezing rain that night. So pray that the tires would be get put on. And pray for safety on the road. Abe travels further east early Friday morning with the whole team—a 10-hour drive. Road hazards anyway when you go east, but winter is bringing the extra dangers. Pray that we would be able to both pick up our documents (there is supposed to be no power outages from 10 AM-3 PM) and that we would be able to get them registered the same day in Irpin, suburb of Kyiv, different office…They are supposed to have electricity from 12-4 PM!!! That means, pray they will keep that schedule, and pray that there would be no missile threats during the time we are there because all offices immediately close down for those. It would be such a blessing to get it done in one day. Otherwise Abe has to leave a day early next week and I would have to make an extra trip to Kyiv. This is a 4-5 hour trip one way. There seem to be many people interested in serving in Centers of Hope. Pray that God would move and call people to this ministry. It is strongly based on personal evangelism linked with meeting physical needs. We need couples who are in love with Jesus, overflowing with joy, and with a burden for the lost. (And willing for the hardships) Continue to pray for God to deliver Ukraine. This past month has seen much of Ukraine without power for about six to twelve hours a day, most days. The power cuts range from three to eight-hour blocks, two or more times a day. This may seem insignificant, perhaps a bit inconvenient, but in reality it is much worse. What Russia has done by destroying our electricity manufacturing capabilities, is to damage production of materials, limit times that stores can open, sell products and function properly. When there is no power, there is often no service on your telephone. You can’t call anyone. You can’t call for help. These times are difficult times for Ukraine. Russia is trying to destroy the infrastructure with a goal of getting Ukraine to compromise and give up their claim to—Ukrainian land! People in areas now controlled by Russia have no religious freedom and many are persecuted. Certainly this is a spiritual battle only the Lord can win. We have a time of physical darkness intensified by the short days of winter. We have a time of educational darkness when children can only be in school when there is electricity or during daylight hours, and the alternative is online…which requires electricity, plus equipment which many people can’t afford. Oh the joy of lighting a candle, or turning on a battery-powered light. The joy of hitting a light switch and having it respond. But spiritual darkness is much worse. Here are some precious verses about our transition from a kingdom of darkness into the Light of Christ: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” Colossians 1:11-14 NLT That is our prayer for you. And we pray that thousands of people in Ukraine will be transferred into Christ’s Kingdom where they can have spiritual light and thrive and grow and enjoy the abundant life He promises us.
Tuesday evening Nov. 15 Well, Abe walked out the door less than a half hour ago. Ivanka, our office manager, was chatting awhile and went out to close up the warehouse. I was standing in the kitchen getting a drink and watching her out the window, and suddenly I saw her move and look up to the horizon, and there was a glow and a soft boom—and the electricity was off. More missiles. She came back and said that they are hitting all across Ukraine again. It is 4:30 PM, so getting dark. Our generator is here but we did not get it finally hooked up. (I know how to start it though!) So I assume it will be a quiet, dark evening. I immediately filled pails with water because undoubtedly it will go off. Usually when Abe leaves on a trip I fast for the first 24 hours. Now I shall have more time to pray. I won’t be ironing or dusting, or listening on the internet to the women’s Bible study I’m doing with a group—tomorrow (well, that was the plan). I won’t be working on my website. All these things were in “the plan”. Plans don’t mean much in these situations. I sit quietly in our central hall, our “safe space”. All supporting walls, no windows. Because we have no internet connection of course I have no news of what is happening. Or not happening. Lots of time to wait on the Lord. Listen to His voice. I will light some candles in awhile and write in my journal. The one between me and the Lord. I have about 8 hours on my laptop which will be more than enough for today. But I won’t be sending out the emails that were to go yet. Well, they will be prepared for that time. Wednesday Nov 16 Well, today the world is right side up again in our area of the country. Millions of people were without electricity yesterday after al of the missile strikes. When I awoke at 2 AM our electric was back on. I switched our furnace back to running with a pump (much more efficient) and went back to sleep. There will be rolling blackouts in our city today, probably at least for the rest of the week. We will see if they will come to us or not. Last time we had not blackouts after the original hit. Russia spent almost 1 billion US$ yesterday for…. This was the largest attack on Ukrainian infrastructure since the first day of the war. Almost 100 missiles and drones. About 80% shot down. I can’t imagine what the damage would be if they all successfully hit their targets. So, just a little life experience. Praise Abe and I interviewed a possible new member for our team. It looks like a good fit. She has a complete command of English and seems to have a willing heart. She is 21 and a college graduate. Wants to study further because she loves to learn. The “love to learn” part was important to me because some of the work that would be so helpful to me is definitely on the learning end. She is a pastor’s daughter and is active in her church and helping also with refugees. She is here right now because—she feels her country needs her. Thank You Lord for bringing this young woman into our lives. Prayer requests Do pray that in this ongoing chaos our documents for living here would be processed and finalized. Usually they would be done in two weeks but we have not heard anything, nor are we surprised. But it is an issue for various reasons. Continue to pray about our house. For those new to our updates, we have lived in the same house for over 20 years, but the landlord died and the inheritor lives in Russia. We tried to buy it last January but she reneged on it. We have paid rent until the end of the year, but we have no idea what will happen. Obviously we would love to stay here. We definitely don’t want to pay exorbitant rent. And if the opportunity presents itself again, we don’t know if we should buy it or not. Just pray that God would be in this, open doors, close doors, protect us from evil. We do trust Him to provide, whether this house or someplace else. In some ways it’s a small matter in view of the war. But…we do have to have a place to live. And…a place for our office and warehouse. The following is not original with me (I think I have few “original” thoughts!) but it spoke to my heart. From Headington St. Ebbe’s Church in Oxford, UK. 'When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.' (Isaiah 43 v2) Someone has said, reading those verses: 'There is no bridge.' In other words, God's people will have to walk right through floods and fires; we can't avoid them or scoot past or over them. We will have to endure difficulties and dangers, sorrows and trials as we go through life on the way to the new creation. But this says that God himself will be with us at such times. Our sorrows and strains may rise to extraordinary levels and test us severely, but the Lord is equal to every occasion and present with us. We can be sure of his presence and faithfulness in this regard, because he gave his Son to go through the waters of judgment on our behalf. What a God who is with us! AMEN!
P RAISE As we wrote last time Abe made a trip to a couple more areas last weekend. When the driver came to pick Abe up he was maybe 5 minutes late and apologized. And then showed us this picture. The garage where he stores his car had burned down that morning. Someone had the presence of mind to move it out quickly, but the other car in the garage was…. God’s grace upon Sasha. And upon Abe and his team. Sasha had committed to driving Abe all this winter. Another provision of God! Abe felt the presentations of Centers of Hope were well received on the trip. As always, he does not just present but challenges people with new ideas! His reputation across Ukraine is on his side as far as people listening and considering what he says. His trip this weekend was moved to next week, so we had all week to work on office work, cleaning up a lot of things that were hanging because of our long absence. It was very fruitful! There is great rejoicing in Ukraine today as the city of Kherson is officially again under the control of Ukraine. Kherson is in the southeast and was the first major city taken over by Russia early on in the war and the only regional capitol. What this means as the war progresses---? But rejoice in an important victory anyway! And we have such faithful people whom Abe has already been working with for a number of years. In spite of power outages, they are going ahead with holding Bible studies with seekers! PRAYER REQUESTS Abe now will be leaving Tuesday and traveling through Saturday next week, covering 4 provinces this time. He will again be presenting Centers of Hope to these leaders from probably a total of 8 regions. He has also been asked to lead the 45-minute devotional time with each group with a focus of praying from the Bible. This is a great joy to his heart as we want every ministry we are involved in to be based on prayer. Pray for safety on the road, a good response to Centers of Hope, and wisdom in presenting fresh and dynamic ways of praying. A major focus of prayer right now, and it will be ongoing in the weeks and even months to come, is for God to bring us the right couples to open Centers of Hope. What are we looking for? Husband & Wife teams Dynamic Relationship with Jesus Passion for lost Souls Willing to move and live on site Self-motivated Willing to learn Showing the character traits of Colossians 3:12-14: compassionate, kind, humble, patient, forgiving, full of the love of Christ And yes, we do have people who are already interested. Abe will be holding an initial meeting early in December to make a full presentation to them. Thank you for standing together with us in prayer! To Him be all glory