April 2017 News Update
April 27, 2017
What a joy to serve our Lord Jesus Christ! We have been privileged to teach the Word of God in Ukraine and other places. I taught at Word of God Bible College in December, January, and February. In addition, we have hosted a monthly class for newlyweds and put on a family life conference for Word of God Church.
The church is doing well under Ukrainian leadership. The Bible College is also prospering and the students are being well taught by the men who come from the States to teach two-week modules, as well as the classes now being taught by former students.
At the end of March I flew to Brazil. When I arrived in Rio de Janeiro I was denied entry because I didn’t have my visa! I received a 10-year multi-entry visa three years ago, but it is in my old passport, which I forgot to take with me. The federal police in Brazil said that I could go to Venezuela and get a new visa at the consulate in Buenos Aires. This seemed to be a better option than returning to Ukraine to retrieve my old passport. Wrong! In Buenos Aires I found out that it would take at least a week to get a new visa because of a national holiday and the need to provide bank statements and other documents which I didn’t have with me. Not wanting to scrub the entire mission, we decided to have Phyllis fly to Argentina and bring my visa. Because of a storm near the coast of Buenos Aires, her plane was diverted to Monte Video, Uruguay. Oh, the adventures of travel. We finally got together and flew to Brazil, three days later than I planned.
The church that was hosting the conference in Miguel Pereira didn’t want to give up any teaching time, so I did five days of lessons in two days. It was demanding, but also exciting. The church was full to overflowing for all the sessions. From there we drove to Campinas where we had another five days of teaching, about four hours a day. I have taught there for at least 15 years, and this was the best-attended conference we have had there. We then went to Piracicaba for the weekend, teaching all day Saturday and three services on Sunday. The response to the teaching was so enthusiastic in every place we went, and several other churches have asked us to come to their areas next year. Already we are planning to add a week to our schedule for Brazil in 2018.
Back in Kiev spring has finally arrived. Trees are getting green, forsythias are in bloom and the tulips are open soon. The fruit trees are blossoming and the birds have returned from their winter resorts. The garden is shaping up, too.
The church went out on Sunday to do evangelism in the park. Even though it was a bit chilly, there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine. We were able to speak to a lot of people, share the gospel, hand out tracts, and invite people to visit our church. Both adults and teens are getting experience in talking to people about the Lord and their need of salvation. That is exciting to watch.
On May 1st, I will leave for Zambia for two weeks, teaching in Livingstone and Lusaka, and then going to Malawi, a small country to the east of Zambia. This will be my first time to go there. The men who are organizing the conference there anticipate that several hundred pastors and church leaders will attend.
A few days after I get back from Africa I will take a 16-hour train ride to the eastern border of Ukraine to a city not far from Lugansk. They have me scheduled to teach 8 hours a day for 3 days. After I finish there we will have our college graduation in Kiev, and then Phyllis and I will return to the US for 10 weeks. We need to get our annual check-ups, visit kids and grandkids, and visit supporting churches. This summer we will be in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. I hope we will be able to connect with many of you.
I am so grateful to the Lord that He has not only opened up all these places for ministry, but that He has also given me the strength and ability to do these things. I know this is His grace. I am also convinced that your prayers play a very large role in all of this. Thank you for all that you do to make it possible for us to carry on this work.
By grace alone,