November 2014 Prayer Letter

Since our last prayer letter much has happened. Nadia, our neighbor, has continued to have a Bible study with David. They have been going through the book of Luke and recently finished chapter 19. From Nadia’s own words, she is trusting in Christ alone for salvation and not her works. She continues to show a hunger for the Word of God. Her daughter, Sofia, on the other hand, still is not settled on salvation.
Galia, the gypsy lady we mentioned before, has not been able to meet with Jacob and David very often because she is caring for her sick husband who is hospitalized in a different town. Please continue to pray for continued contact and progress with Galia.
We recently received an email from Ioan, a Romanian believer David met while on furlough who has worked on creating a Romanian hymnal with notes. Due to some complications at printing, it has yet to be published. Please pray that it would come to completion.
While at the market, I started talking to a vender and found out that she was a member of the Baptist church plant that was started a number of years ago but fell apart when the pastor left. They shared with David that, without having a church, they are not where they need to be spiritually. Please pray for wisdom as David and Jacob meet again with Oxana and her mother to hear their testimonies and how to further minister to these dear ladies.

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Our neighbor, Varvara

My parents are visiting us for about a week this month. Due to our house still not having an indoor toilet or shower and having only the one room where our family sleeps, it was best for them to stay at a local hotel. Through this, David was able to witness to several hotel clerks and find them very open to the Gospel. One in particular had already heard what David was sharing with her from another hotel guest in the past. We rejoiced to not just be sowing seed, but also to partake in watering. Please pray that God would give the increase.
David had the opportunity to witness to some of the construction workers that were here the past few weeks and even gave a few of them a Bible. We praise the Lord for these opportunities to share the gospel.
IMG_0732 (1)One of Abby’s friends Sabina has been coming over regularly for the past few weeks. She said she is not allowed to go to the Orthodox church on Sundays and she doesn’t have a Bible. Please pray we will have an opportunity to share the gospel with her and reach her parents as well. Her parents work a lot and she is often left to herself. I am glad she has looked for refuge here.
We applied for the gas line to be run to our house this past June. We were told we were scheduled for July, then August. August rolled by with no word from the gas company. After reminding the gas company several times and explaining the urgency of the gas for heat this winter and have children and a baby, they finally started the process in October. The gas line is now connected and our heating system is working downstairs.

This past August we were able to install a septic system with the help of our friends. We P1060294also have gotten the insulation put on the outside of our house. They were not able to finish with the final coat because the temperatures dropped too low, so it will have to be finished in the spring. We need to finish the flooring and some final details in the kitchen still before we move downstairs. Lord willing, we can move down by the end of the month.

Thank you for your prayers for us and for the financial support. Continue to hold the ropes there as we do God’s work abroad.

Another step…

We would like for you to continue praying for the people here in Soroca, Moldova.  Tomorrow I will be starting a Bible study with a lady named Maria.  We plan to meet at her work and talk when she doesn’t have customers.  Please pray for her as we begin this evangelistic Bible study.

Also, one of our neighbors, Sasha, came over today with questions about spiritual things.  While talking with him, he wife came over, whom we had not met before.  Please pray for Sasha and Silvia.  They are a very friendly couple and we seem to be off to a good start with them.  They were relieved to hear that we are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.  We may also be getting one of their new puppies in the near future, too, to raise as our guard-dog.  It would be the type of dog that would jump and bite your ankle 😉

Tomorrow I also start work with Boris, an electrician who will be working on finishing the first floor wiring and breaker box.  Pray for the work to go well, but also pray for him to have a tender heart towards the Gospel.  Thanks again for praying for us and those we are ministering to.

April Prayer Letter

What a joy it is to be back in Moldova! We arrived the evening of March 25th ,with all our luggage, and received a warm welcome back by Moldovan believers. The past 3 weeks here have been a mix of emotions, though. We’ve been tired, happy, overwhelmed, encouraged, etc. We would like to share with you some of these in detail.

Our first week, we stayed with a Moldovan family in Chișinău, the capital, which allowed us to get some needed work done there before heading up to Soroca, which is 3 hours north of the capital. Caleb and Daniel helped me put on our summer tires, I renewed our annual car inspection that had expired during our furlough, and Stephanie had her doctor appointment with Dr. Natalia, who has become Stephanie’s main doctor since the miscarriage of Enoch. Dr. Natalia shared with Stephanie that she and her daughter are reading the New Testament in the Bibles we had given them and that her daughter has been asking her questions from what she is reading, which has been causing Dr. Natalia to consider things more. We were very encouraged to see these steps and ask that you continue to pray for her and her daughter.

Our first Sunday back, I was asked to preach in Romanian in the Chișinău church, which was something I have not done much over the past 8 months. It was great to see friends and faces again but we knew our stay was short. On the following day, I left Stephanie and the children to head up to Soroca to P1050974quickly prepare two rooms in our house. Since the places to rent were no longer available, we considered the idea of starting out living in two rooms upstairs in our house while we work on the first floor, rather than renting during the construction. Igor and I put some sheets of OSB on the ceiling joists for the ceiling, put in some outlets, lights, and switches, put insulation above the room we would be sleeping, and put plastic up as the door to that room. The other room was setup as our kitchen, dining, and wash room. It took us all week, but we were able to move up to Soroca on Sunday evening. We are officially now living in Soroca.

Considering all the work that needs done on the house and seeing that some P1060011things that the previous owners had done needed to be corrected was discouraging. Quite frankly, I just didn’t know where to begin. I also found out that the city water was not going to be up and running until this Fall. Thankfully, we are blessed to have a public well right outside our gate. During a time of feeling overwhelmed, a group of 8 young people told us they were coming on the next day to help us at the house. They drove the 3 hours up and spent the P1060010 day taking down the drywall, cleaning the downstairs, helping us organize our belongings, and then they drove the 3 hours back. They brought food and a wonderful spirit. and encouraged us in a most tangible way. God knew we needed that.

We have met most of our neighbors by now and they have been very friendly, helpful, and welcoming. Please pray for Sasha, Anton, Varvara, Anastasia (she’s 95 years old!), Iuri and Lucia, Jenia, Boris and Vica. I have also started witnessing to a man at the piața (market) named Andre. He said he believes about 50% that there is a God. Please also pray for a lady named Maria who works in a little convenience store. Russian is her first language but she also is very conversant in Romanian. She asked me to bring back some Russian Bible literature. I met with her this week on Wednesday and gave her an evangelistic book and two brochures that deal with the deity of Christ. She has read a lot of Jehovah’s Witness literature in the past. She asked me a lot of questions in between times when she had clients. On Tuesday, I am scheduled to visit again and begin a Bible study with her. Please pray for Maria to see the truth from God’s Word.

After getting the drywall down, we were ready for the next step of getting the wiring finished. Much of the rough wiring was already in place, but there needed to be some additional outlets and the breaker box installed. Today, while working on the garden, our neighbor Iuri showed up with his neighbor, Boris, who is an electrician who is back for a short time from working in Russia. Lord willing, he and I will have the downstairs wiring completed in a week. Please pray for our talks about the Gospel to be used of God. Also, please pray for wisdom as we work on choosing our heating method and resolving some other insulation issues.

Ministering to people who speak Russian as their first language has made us yearn even more to have the Hughes join us in the work here. Please continue to pray for them as they finish up their furlough and arrive back here in the middle of June, Lord willing.

There is so much work to be done here, not just on our house, but more importantly in the hearts of the people here. May we partner together to see Christ build His church and change lives for His glory. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. What a joy it is to serve our Lord and Savior!

March 2014 Prayer Letter

    How to you measure a furlough to be successful or not? Our main goals were to report to our supporting churches and visit friends and family. God helped us reach those goals but blessed us with even more than we expected.

MORE TOOLS FOR MINISTRY
In January, a dear family had been given the complete Betty Lukens Through the Bible flannel graph set by a missionary with the desire for them to pass it on to another missionary family. We already had the Betty Lukens teacher manual in Romanian and the print-out coloring and activity pages but just lacked the flannel graph. Thanks to the Lord’s provision, we now have the flannel graph set, too!
Later on in January, I had the pleasure of meeting a Romanian believer, Ioan Cernucan, P1050564who had worked with a team to develop a portable device that plays hymns and corresponds with a hymnal that they published. The device, named “Gloria,” allows one to select which instruments, key, and even tempo for each of the songs. It is currently available in English and Spanish hymns. Over the past 10 years, Ioan has worked on compiling Romanian hymns, creating the music files and also the musical scores for the printed hymnal that will accompany the device. We already have a ladies’ group from a supporting church that is saving up for us to buy some of the hymnals, once published. As of now, we do not have hymnals for the church-plant. Most song books there only have words, but no musical notes. Please pray for the printed hymnal to be published this summer.
The first week of March, Jacob Hughes and I met in Murfreesboro, TN to attend the P1050694Reformers Unanimous Training Conference. In addition to being personally fed spiritually, we learned more in detail how the program works. In essence, it is a discipleship program that preaches the Gospel and then teaches the believer how to walk in the Spirit. Please pray for Jacob and me to know if, when, and how to utilize the tool of RU in Moldova.

MORE CHURCH SUPPORT
While on furlough, we had the privilege to present our ministry in several new churches. Just this past week, we heard that two are going to team up with us, not just with prayer, but also financial support.

MORE CHILDREN
We joyfully announce that Stephanie is carrying a little girl back with us to Moldova. The due date is August 4th. With the last two miscarriages, please join us in praying for a safe and healthy delivery, if it be the Lord’s will.

MORE LUGGAGE
We came with 5 pieces of luggage and will be returning with 10. When you add in our clothes, baby clothes, homeschool material, tools and supplies for finishing our house, and the home decor (like family pictures) that we were not able to take with us last time, you can fill 10 suitcases easily. Please pray for wisdom on what to take and what to leave.

MORE CONFLICT
Most of you are aware of the conflicts in Ukraine and with Russia. While this currently does not directly affect us, Soroca is right on the border to Ukraine. Some of the same inner values among people in Ukraine that feed the divisions are also in the hearts and minds of Moldovans. Please pray for peace in Ukraine.
Thank you to all who prayed, gave financially, and fellowshipped with us this furlough to make it a blessed one. Please pray for safe travel as we fly to Moldova, Lord willing, on March 24th.

December 2013 Prayer Letter

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.

October 2013 prayer letter

Though our hearts yearn to go back to Moldova, we know that God desires to accomplish different things in and through us during our furlough.

During the months of September and October, we visited our supporting churches in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Canada, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and South Carolina. We thank the Lord that we were able to stay in Grace Baptist Church’s prophet’s chamber as a “home away from home” for most of September as we visited supporting churches in that area of the country. You will probably hear us write this again in the future, but we have truly enjoyed visiting and reporting to our supporting churches. The churches have been very gracious and generous in their love offerings, which help cover travel expenses and will go towards us finishing our house to the point of being able to move in next year. We thank the Lord for how He supplies for our needs.

Though I cannot list every highlight over the past two months, I would like to mention a few.P1040845 We had the privilege to be a part of New Life Baptist Church’s “Round-up Sunday,” which we thoroughly enjoyed. In addition to enjoying the western festivities, we also had the joy of meeting one of the visitors, Tatiana, who was adopted from Russia when she was ten years old. We did witness to her, and it was wonderful for us to speak to someone from our region of service. Pray for Tatiana’s salvation.

With the east coast cities being very multi-cultural, we were eager to meet someone from Moldova or Romania. We finally did meet a very sweet Romanian family while at Faith Baptist Church in Fredericksburg. After getting to talk with them in Romanian, Stephanie said she was feeling homesick for Moldova. While eating at a food court in Canada, my ears perked up when I heard a woman speaking Romanian with her son and mother. We went over to them, talked with them in Romanian, and were able to talk to them about Christ and leave them with a Gospel tract in Romanian.

We thank the Lord that we have seen several trust Christ after meetings we’ve had in churches. While at Valley Baptist Church in Coatesville, PA the pastor led a visiting lady to Christ after the service. While in Byron, MI, a young boy trusted Christ as Savior. God is still convicting hearts and drawing the lost to Christ.

Since we have been in the States, Stephanie has also had the privilege of speaking to three different church groups of ladies. This has been a wonderful opportunity for her to encourage ladies and share her experiences on the field.

Some events in life are bitter-sweet. Our visit to Paul Pelletier in Laval, Canada was as such. We rejoiced to see the fruit God has blessed through the labors of the Pelletiers. In the very multi-cultural area of Montreal, there is a body of believers that reflect that same diversity of the city. The church, started by missionaries now supports missionaries themselves. In the midst of rejoicing over what God is doing there in and through the church, our hearts were heavy for the Pelletier family over the battle Bro. Pelletier is having with cancer. We were humbled to see their faithfulness to the Lord and peaceful trust that they have in the Lord through this trial. We left our short time in Laval being reminded, through the church and the Pelletiers, that God is faithful. Please pray for their work to remain strong and for Bro. Pelletier’s healing and continued faithfulness.

August 2013 Prayer Letter

“How does it feel to be back in America on furlough?” We have been asked this on numerous occasions, now that we’ve been here for almost a month. To be honest, it is mixed feelings. We are really enjoying the time with family and friends, but we really do miss being in Moldova, too.

In the blur and rush before leaving for furlough, the Lord allowed some wonderful blessings to take place. For one, we were able to get the new roof on the house, and the preparation for city water was completed and should be connected to our house by now.

Some additional sowing and watering of the Gospel gave us refreshment in the exhaustion of furlough preparations. In our December prayer letter, we asked you to pray for Oleg, the man with a van who helped us move to Chisinau. In July, we needed to move to Soroca items we left stored in a garage in Hincesti and hired Oleg again. He had read through the evangelistic book I had given him in December and had many questions for Jacob and me as we rode with him to Soroca. We thank the Lord for another opportunity to water the seed of the Gospel in Oleg’s heart. Please continue to pray for Oleg.

In addition to witnessing again to Oleg, I was able to witness again to Ioan, the man with the tumor. In our June prayer letter, I mentioned that he had listened well but gave excuses, such as hypocrites in the church, as to why he had not repented and trusted Christ as his Savior. I found out that he ended up having cancer surgery to remove the tumor and went to see him at the hospital two days before we left for furlough. Because part of his tongue, jaw, etc. were removed in the surgery, he was unable to talk; but he was able to listen. I went through the Gospel once again with him and encouraged him to repent and trust Christ. I told him that we and many others in America are praying for his healing but even more for his salvation. Please continue to pray for Ioan.

During one of our final trips to Soroca to put belongings into storage, Jacob and I were able to witness to Ala and Nelia. Both of them listened and asked questions as we went through the Gospel. In the end, they both said that they had never heard what we shared with them. We have their contact information for us to talk further with them after furlough. Please pray for the Lord to work in their hearts with what we were able to share with them.

After going through the experience of buying a home and preparing for furlough, we realize what a task it really is. The Hughes will be returning to America this December for a six month furlough. Please pray for the Hughes as they finish their first term as well and prepare for their furlough.

With the many miles we will travel over the next seven months, please be in prayer for us.

  • Please pray for safety as we drive.
  • Please pray for the Lord to use us as we witness to people we meet in our travels.
  • Please pray for Stephanie and the children as they adjust to homeschooling on the road.
  • Please pray for God to use us to be a blessing to the churches we report to during our furlough.

We are looking forward to seeing the majority of you face-to-face during this furlough, Lord willing. We thank the Lord for you all and your part in our lives and ministry.