We talked to our grandson Jesse

PRAISE  We talked to our grandson Jesse a few days ago. He is the one for whom we’ve asked prayer as he virtually had become an invalid. Praise God he has been steadily improving over the past few months! He figures his strength is about 80% and he managed to finish his seminary studies and will graduate in March. Meanwhile he has taken on an internship at a church in Brisbane. And God has provided reasonable and pleasant housing for them for the next year in a very tight housing market. Thank you for holding him up in prayer for these many months when he went from someone who seemed to be dying to almost fully functioning again. (No, I don’t think doctors ever knew what was going on.) The picture is Daniella(top), his wife of 3 years, his sister Miriam, who has fought a battle with an immune illness since she was 16, and is excited to be leaving for a ministry opportunity in another part of Australia soon, having finally gained enough health to stretch her wings. And then there is baby Quintus, another sister, Marie, and of course Jesse. Their smiles in this photo are representative of their joy in Jesus and how He is working in each one of their lives. And I will add a note to say his parents (Daniel and Priscilla) hope to return to Australia for his graduation—and to see their precious children and grandson. (Daniel also has a sister who is getting married. A good very family-centered break!) Over the last week Abe has received reports of at least 10 people being saved through the people he is working with now! What a joy in Heaven! And meanwhile we get regular reports from the men Abe has worked with for a number of years as they continue to reach out, hold evangelistic Bible studies, and train new believers to follow Jesus. Praise God for faithful committed people!   PRAYER Abe left today for the next workshop to be held tomorrow and Thursday (18th and 19th). He has spent hours in preparation. Pray for him as he teaches and trains. Pray for receptive hearts. And always hearts that are passionate for Jesus. In the end we are not talking about what people can do, although the Lord needs people as His instruments. But we are talking about what the Holy Spirit can do through them as they have faith to reach out and touch lives. One of their initial assignments was to prayer walk the area where they are ministering, praying for people, businesses, schools, and for open hearts. And we want the Centers of Hope to focus on prayer, in all of their people contacts whether individually or in groups, or in church services. Pray for the Lord to move. Abe feels after this workshop we will have a better idea of who exactly is committed to having a Center of Hope. And even so there will be a 3-month trial period to make sure each couple or family is on track. Sasha was not able to get his car repaired in time for this workshop so another man came to drive the team to Kyiv. Abe just called me. He found out that this man, Ihor, did not actually own the van. It belongs to someone who has emigrated and wants to sell it for what sounds like a very reasonable price. And so, the issue comes, should we buy it? It would most likely be a situation where Sasha would actually buy it with money we loan to him and which he would repay to us over a period of several years. Evidently several people have counseled him to get rid of his own van. This is just a thought. Please pray for Abe to know whether it has merit, and if so, that all of the pieces would fall into place. We are still living in our house. We still don’t have a lease. We had not had any word from our lawyer at all. But this has been a holiday time so… Well, today one of the ladies who represents our landlady (who lives in Russia!) showed up at the door after Abe left. She asked if we actually wanted to continue living here, which I confirmed. So she said Abe should contact our lawyer. Abe won’t do that until he gets back. When he is doing ministry he is singularly focused on that. So, continue to pray that the Lord would work this out to His glory. Final prayer request. I go into Kyiv myself tomorrow to the eye clinic where I had surgery for a detached retina a couple years ago. I had a few disturbing symptoms in my other eye a couple weeks ago. They have settled down somewhat, but I will go and see if anything is happening. Eye sight is precious isn’t it? I still have distorted and somewhat limited vision in my right eye. Which of course increases my desire to be careful about my left eye. At the same time, I know full well I’m in the Lord’s hands. Russia You may know there was another attack across Ukraine last Saturday. Many electrical stations were damaged. And more horrendous, an apartment building was hit in the city of Dnipro, and 45 people were killed. Civilians, some of them children. Ukraine is braced for ongoing attacks, and ongoing devastation and attacks on power stations. The roar of generators was very loud yesterday when Abe and I went downtown as more and more businesses have them. The Ukrainian people, led by Zelensky, stand strong with no intention of backing down. “We are free, we are strong, we are together,” is a recorded message I hear on the phone when a call does not go through. People consider freedom worth fighting for. Today I also saw a message that our province has received equipment to protect against the destructive killer drones Russia sends and to enforce our border with Belarus. This equipment is from Poroshenko, our former Ukrainian president. Ukraine is not just waiting on western help. Many wealthy Ukrainians are contributing to the cause. This has become rather long. I’m hoping that as I get some of the paperwork and communications under control I can write a bit more frequently again, and less in length. I’m very aware of how limited we are as human beings in what we can effectively pray for. I always hope that when you read these messages, rather than saying a “blanket” prayer over them all, that the Spirit will give you one or two items to focus on, even to pour your heart into. I will leave this message for you, posted by our church a couple weeks ago. We have men from our area, from our church, who are on the frontlines. Lord, bless the 64th brigade and all the running of missile defense, air defense systems!  🙏🙏 They want to plunge us into darkness and chaos again!God will help us get through these attacks!We went through almost a year of war, resisted, got stronger, grew!The Lord continues to build His Kingdom even under fire! Ps.  17:8-10: "And protect me,like the apple of His eye!Hide me under Your wings from those people who want to destroy me,from mortal enemies who surrounded me.  They close their hearts to pity;with their mouths they speak arrogantly.” Church, we continue to stand in prayer for our cities, for our army, for our government! Peace and tranquility to all!

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Abe had a great workshop

PRAISE Abe had a great workshop with about 70 people on Thursday and Friday. The theme was “Renewing the Mind” because they need a fresh approach to ministry with non-Christians. People were very responsive, very receptive. The next workshop will be held Dec 27-28 and they expect between 25-30 couples to come. This basically means they are committed to starting a Center of Hope. It is an overwhelming response!! Abe said it is going to run the gamut from working with university students to working in small villages. Right now he is not turning anyone away. Thanks for your prayers!

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We received our residency documents

PRAISE  We received our residency documents for another year and got them registered! So that’s something we can put behind us! Abe was in Kyiv last week to make a major presentation for Centers of Hope. This was with the main leaders and committees for the Baptist Union, about 100 people there. Everyone is excited about the Centers and talking about them. People are offering materials, Bible studies for unchurched kids, SS materials, etc. Abe is thrilled with the response. Right now we have 29 potential couples who want to serve in Centers of Hope coming to the introductory workshop this week. A wonderful number! How many of those will actually commit is another matter, but word is spreading! Abe was also honored at this meeting for his 80th birthday and his 33 years of service here in Ukraine. One man came to him and said, “You are a pillar of hope to us.” The president of the BU said, “We don’t know who will be here next year or in 5 years or in 2050—but we know Abraham will be!” 😊 (Well, he did have a grandmother who lived to be 106.) PRAYER So…please pray for this workshop being held on December 8 & 9. There are many issues. We don’t know if there will be heat. There is a generator, so hopefully that works for projectors etc. This is a huge organizational effort because it is the first workshop since the war, with a fresh emphasis on new opportunities for evangelism. There will be a vetting of candidates. Basically everyone willing will be on trial for a period of about 3 months. But the most critical issue to pray about is that God would call people to this ministry. They need to have a calling, whether strongly or softly. Some may hear a loud clear voice. Others will be finding there way tentatively as they seek God’s will. And the other prayer is that everyone who comes will be encouraged in their walk with Christ and have a renewed sense of urgency about evangelism.   Ivan (in black) has been working with Abe for a number of years, since Abe first developed the concept of Centers of Hope. The sign says “Welcome to the Center of Hope”. This is what we hope to see all across Ukraine! Pray as we are purchasing many “helps” for people. Battery-operated lights, back up batteries, systems to keep furnaces with electric thermostats running. It is a time consuming and difficult process because everyone wants these things. Prices keep escalating. Our focus right now is helping co-workers so that they are maximally functional. But this will be an ongoing need as we begin to open Centers, to help the leaders to be functional. You may have heard that there was a fresh attack from Russia on Ukrainian infrastructure on Monday. Out of 70 missiles sent, 60 were shot down. But everyone only expects it to get worse, and are preparing for the worst. All of this jumps our costs up considerably. Pray that we would be wise in our ongoing preparations. And always—pray that God would deliver Ukraine. And a personal prayer request. Those who have followed us for a couple years know that we have had a lot of stresses regarding the house we’ve rented for over 20 years. In June we paid rent until the end of the year but have heard nothing about the intent of the “landlady” (who lives in Russia) yet. We have been putting ministry first, there has been so much to prepare and get oriented to, but obviously we need to pursue this shortly or we may be sitting on the street come January 1. Right now we don’t even know if our lawyer is still here or if he joined the army! Pray that the Lord will guide us, help us, protect us and give us the opportunity to continue to live here. This not just for ourselves. Actually we could live anywhere, but we have a whole office and warehouse full of materials. Over and over this past week or two, my Bible reading reinforces that God is the Judge and His throne is established on justice and righteousness. He works righteousness and justice.  Not willing that any should perish. Also judging the wicked. When things seem upside down and evil seems to flourish, the Bible reassures us that the wicked will not end well. But those who fear God, the righteous, will end very well. No, it’s not talking about worldly riches or an easy life. But it is talking about all the things that God promises us that have eternal value. That encourages my heart when darkness threatens to overwhelm me. Let us take courage together! Rom 12:12  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

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We just received word our new residence documents are ready!

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.

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