At the end of the year, we often look back to see how far we have come. Regarding our furlough, that could be answered by stating we have traveled over 13,000 miles in 5 months and visited 37 churches. We have more miles ahead and more churches to visit before we head back to Moldova in March, but we the majority of our travels completed.
We thank the Lord for the safety and health that He has given us during our furlough. Daniel keeps asking us, “When are we going back to Moldova?” We enjoy the time we have with family, friends, and churches, but hearing from our children that they are excited to go back to Moldova encourages us.
In between our times of reporting to supporting churches, we have had time of being with family. Our first term in Moldova showed us that some good-byes to family at the end of deputation were our last. We have both had grandparents and family that passed away during our 3 ½ years in Moldova. This has made us appreciate and value the time we have with family and friends during this furlough. It has also made it harder to say good-bye, knowing that we may not see some of them on this side of eternity.
In addition to vacations with both sides of our family in November and Thanksgiving, God gave us some additional highlights. The Sunday morning before Thanksgiving, we were at the Romanian Baptist Church near my parents’ town in NE Ohio. Since I had not preached in Romanian for almost 4 months, I was very nervous. All went well in the end, and we even had the joy of joining them in a Thanksgiving meal fellowship after the service. We really enjoyed eating Romanian foods again. It truly was a little taste of home.
In our travels, we witness to and give Gospel tracts to people we meet. Some listen, others don’t want to even talk, and sometimes someone else initiates the contact. While walking out of a fast-food restaurant, a man approached me and asked if I would pray for him. He saw the “Baptist Missionary Transportation Ministry” printed on our van and was in need. He was going around town collecting aluminum cans from waste bins to turn in for money. He asked me to pray for him to find work. When I talked to him about salvation, he gave testimony to having trusted Christ as Savior but has been going through a number of trials. We encouraged him through a gift card for a place where we were so he could buy a meal for his family, and I prayed with him. I left him our number for him to call me when he finds work. He may never call, but please pray for Gary that he would find work and get back to where he needs to be spiritually.
The same night that the deadly tornadoes ripped through Illinois and Indiana in the middle of November, we were in Cincinnati, giving our report to Open Door Baptist Church. Right before we were going to show our furlough video, the tornado sirens came on. We all rushed over to get all the children in the other building and head over to the parsonage basement. I preached there while we waited out the storm. We thank the Lord for the safety and still using the message despite the circumstances.
Jacob and Viola Hughes made it safely back here to the States for their furlough. Please pray for safety, refreshment, and that God would use them in churches during their 6-month furlough.
Thank you all again for your prayers for us and support this past year.