Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Change Can Be Growth


Things are beginning to change here in Kremenchuk. I hope all for good, but some because of summer and some because of the change in attitude about COVID.

First, our Family English School has come to and end for this spring and will start up again in the fall. For most of March, April, and May we held classes online on Zoom. During this time, we had two groups of adult students: a beginners 2 group of 4 and an intermediate group of 3. I worked very closely with my two Ukrainian English teachers and translators. They did an exceptionally good job. This past year we covered much of the gospel stories and with the intermediate group we got into Acts 1-6. We had 2 classes a week with each group. The English and Bible progress was good! Right now our plans are to start up our school again about September 15th. We will do a large advertising program in August in September to kick off the school year!

For the same period, we continued to meet online with Zoom for our Sunday Bible Class and Worship and Wednesday night Bible Study. This past Sunday, May 31, 2020 we had our first meeting together at the church building in almost 3 months! We had 9 in attendance with several more choosing to stay online for the worship. It was great to be back together again!

Unfortunately, because of all the COVID, we will not have the Bible Camps that we had planned for this summer. The start of those will have to be next year.

Even though the numbers of COVID continue to grow, the numbers have flattened out and are not increasing. The number of new people with it are between 400-500 daily. In our city, the numbers have been relatively low.

The government offices opened today for me to get my temporary residency papers done. This will take 2-3 weeks to finish. After that I will fly back to the USA, Lord willing to get my hip replacement done and then to return to Kremenchuk about October 1st.  Very few of my plans have worked out so far this year, so please be praying that they will now!

Friday, May 1, 2020

Freedom From Isolation!


I feel trapped. I feel trapped inside my apartment in Kremenchuk, Ukraine where the number of COV-19 cases is growing in Ukraine by 400-500+ a day. Oh, I have Christian friends and neighbors that are taking care of me. I have started going out for early 5:30 in the morning walks when very few are out and about. I’ve been in isolation, like many, for nearly 2 months now.

I feel trapped in a body that wants to be useful, but my low back and hip hurt a lot. I guess that is what age will do to you! The going for the walks does help. I don’t sleep very well any more.

I feel trapped in my mind because I feel I have a lot to share and to teach, but it is harder than ever to get that done. I am much better face to face with people. I am going a bit crazy. Some of my friends and family would say that’s nothing new!

The difference is that I know that I have been set free in my soul through Jesus Christ! I hear God speaking to me through His Word every day and I can talk to Him about all things with trust and confidence that He hears and answers my prayers. I have been set free in my apartment because we are worshipping together online and teaching English Classes there too! I can call and talk to my children and friends in the US when the time difference is right without much problems. I have outlets of entertainment that is good and clean on my computer, iPad and phone that was unheard of 20 years ago! I can get any book I want to read and a lot of them are free! I have all the food I want and all I need is the incentive to get up and do some cooking.

One day I will be set free from this world to go home to be with God forever! I will no longer be trapped in this world, but I will be with Him with no pain, sorrow or hunger. Praise His Holy Name!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Encouraging in a Time of Stress

I started writing daily encouragements a week ago to give people positive, Biblical messages to lift our spirits in trying times. In the following post you see 7 of these for a weeks worth. I hope that they are blessing to you. I found that writing them and searching out God's Word was definitely a blessing for me!

ENCOURAGEMENTS March 16-22 2020


Monday Encouragement
Read your Bible every day! Read God’s Word and let Him speak to you to encourage you and convict you to live your life better so you can be more like Him as the day of Jesus’ coming comes close to us. Read not to fulfill duty, but to learn what God wants to tell you. God is waiting for you to pick up His love letter to you! Today, be filled with Him and His love for you!

Tuesday Encouragement
Prayer holds me together and keeps me connected to God. Sometimes it “seems” like I’m all alone. In reality, I KNOW that is not true. When it seems that way, I know that God is always there.
Psalms 142:1-5 “I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord; I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk, they have hidden a trap for me.  4 Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me; there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul.  5 I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, "You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.”
When we rely upon the Lord and cry out to Him we can know that He knows our path and our walk in this life! We know that He is righteous and Holy for He is our refuge! I know God is true for He cannot lie!
Then as the writer finishes this Psalm in verse 7, "Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me." God, without doubt surrounds us with the righteous and is bountiful to us! Praise God!

Wednesday Encouragement
I don’t know about you, but I am a planner. I like things ordered and planned out for today and for the future. However, most of our plans have changed or at least been altered by the circumstances of life. James 4:14-15 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” This is one of the keys about life and time. That key is putting everything in the Lord’s hands and realizing that it is the Lord’s will we need to be trusting in.
Another key to understand time is found in 1 Peter 5:6-7. It says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Did you get that? Humble yourself to God and give Him ALL your anxiety! Why? Give Him your time, your life and your future because He cares for you!

Thursday Encouragement
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” God is speaking to Christians that are under trials of life. Now our world is under trial. We as Christians need to stand strong and faithful through these trials so that the world can see our strength comes from faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
In the same light, Christians, when we stand faithfully, obedient and strong in Jesus Christ, God promises us the crown of life which is eternal life! This promise is for those who love Him! Jesus said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

Friday Encouragement
It is time for Christians to really make a difference! What a great opportunity God has given us! That means to stand up and proclaim Jesus. That means it time to serve and give. That means it time to love like God loves us. It’s time show the world that we are who are and what we stand for. The world needs faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love!

Saturday Encouragement
I was thinking how great it would be when everything gets back to normal. I don’t want that! I don't want things to get back to normal, I want the world to be better than ever! To turn to God! To be kinder and more loving! The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Let us become greater than we are and become all that God wants us to be!



Sunday Encouragement
Everyone is loved and important to God. We all know that all people don’t care about God, but maybe more and more people are starting to turn to God than ever before. I recently read that because of the very difficult times in Italy, many of the atheistic doctors and nurses are turning to God for help. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (read the whole context of 1 Timothy 2) says, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
God wants ALL to come to Him and be saved through Jesus Christ! True righteousness is life in God. Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.” As Christians, we have our part to play to remind the world that God does love us and care for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us to take our sins away!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN!


My Dad always told me to “Plan your work and work your plan.” Sounds good, right? That great advice didn’t really work out for me – at least NOT like I planned it!

In my last blog, I said I was going to the USA to visit my family in 4 different states and visit some supporting Churches, right? That’s about all that worked out! Let me tell you a little bit of the “rest of the story!”

I arrived in the Dallas, TX late December 2nd where my oldest daughter, Jenise and family live. On the 6th, I saw my new hip doctor for I needed a hip replacement. He sent me to a family Dr. to get an EKG, x-rays and blood tests. The EKG showed something abnormal in the left part of my heart. I was going to stay with Jenise through the hip surgery – that now cannot happen because of the heart. So Jenise & I decided that I should see the rest of the family and then come back for the hip surgery after I got the heart thing straightened out! Not quite how it worked out! I had a great time with Jenise, but my time there was too short.

I flew to Janessa, my youngest and family in Bettendorf, IA and I would get the stress test done there. Easier said than done! I was there a little over 3 weeks and finally got the stress test done – not good results. I did have a wonderful Christmas time with Janessa and family, but now I had to move on.
From IA I fly to York, NE to be with my youngest son Ben and family. I also had made an appointment with a Cardiologist in Lincoln, about 45 miles from Ben. The Dr. told me that I had blockages in the 3 main arteries and that 2 of those needed help. There was blockage of 80% and 90%. On January 24th I had 2 stents put into my heart. While in Nebraska for 5 weeks, I also spent about a week and half with natural path Dr. doing some treatments on my heart, lymph system and liver. I am thankful that I did that and feel it was of great benefit! While with the family, I again had a great time with the family even with all the heart stuff I had to do!

On February 13th I flew into Spokane, WA to visit supporting and overseeing Churches. This was a wonderful time of renewing old friendships in Spokane, Ephrata and Cashmere. On Sunday afternoon I met up with my oldest son, Douglas Jr. and family! I’ll be here for 10 days and fly back to TX on March 5th. I know that I will be blessed here too.

I will see my hip Dr. on the 6th, get a shot in my hip for pain on the 10th, fly back to Ukraine on the 11th and arrive back in Kremenchuk on the 12th! I’ll have to wait at least 6 months to a year before I can have the hip replaced because of my heart. I would really appreciate your prayers!

The work in Kremenchuk has done very well while I have been gone! I’m so proud of Artur our preacher, Olya and Yulya our teachers and my co-worker Michael! Michael arrived back in Kremenchuk mid-January and will leave on March 12th. Unfortunately, we will not see each other! They have been doing such a great work and I’m excited to be back in the mix very soon!