2017 March Prayer Letter

What else can I say other than God answers prayer!  Join us in thanking the Lord for the blessings mentioned below and petitioning for the following requests.

Jacob and Viola made it back to America safely for their furlough. We thank the Lord for the safety thus far in their travels (I believe over 3,000 miles thus far in the span of just about a month). Please continue to pray that the Lord will strengthen, encourage, and refresh them during their time visiting churches, friends and family.
I had specifically requested prayer for help in using my time wisely and keeping up with my responsibilities during the Hughes’ absence.  Thus far, the responsibilities are being fulfilled, in part due to the Lord providing some Moldovans to help in different aspects. Please continue to pray for me in this area as a number of unexpected but good responsibilities have been added to my schedule recently.

Thank you for praying for us to find a van.  After much searching, praying, and seeking counsel from many sources, we decided on a van to purchase for our family.  As I write this, a friend of mine from Soroca is on his way to Germany to check out the van and Lord willing make the purchase.  The trip is about 25 hours each way, non-stop, add in the times to fill up, cross through customs at borders, and it is over 30 hours each way.  Please pray for him and his co-driver to arrive there safely, the van end up being what we are expecting, the money transfer to arrive without problems, and for them to make it back safely with the van. 

We thank the Lord that we were granted the two year residency permits.  I always rejoice to see the new residency cards in hand, thankful for our service to Christ to continue here in Moldova. Though we will not be attempting this in the near future, please pray for us to receive permanent residency permits in the future. I inquired further at the migration office if this is a possibility for us.  I was given a paper with the list of requirements, which we currently could meet, if we took a language test and worked on a couple other documents. This is a goal of mine within the next 6 years.  Our lawyer said they don’t give out permanent residencies.  Maybe the Lord would see fit for us to be the first.

During our ministry team retreat in August of last year, we specifically began praying for two things. First, we saw the need to gain entrance into people’s inner circle.  We had people coming to services but not willing to come over for a meal or allow us to personally disciple them.  We also saw that people we witnessed to through day-to-day life or visitation were not interested in us going further with the Gospel than the first visit.  We began asking the Lord to allow us to enter into people’s circle of influence.  Second, we started praying that God would raise men that we could disciple and lead along for Christ.
Over the past couple months, we have seen answers begin to both of these requests.  One lady who had visited us our second year started coming regularly with her daughter to our Sunday evening Bible study.  She was facing a very serious decision in life. Through a couple long conversations and much prayer, she chose to do what was right.  Another man has started coming regularly each week and was also counseled in an important decision.  He also has seen the validity of the biblical counsel he received and is following the Lord.  On a weekly basis, I have been meeting with another man, going through a discipleship course.  He lives outside the city in a village and would like to see a church planted in his village.  I am also working to start a weekly discipleship with another young man.  The majority of these have been men!  Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in the lives of these dear people and to raise up strong, male, godly leadership.

Over the past couple weeks, I had tried to call a young man in another village to see if we could meet and talk about salvation.  Both times I called, the young man’s father answered the phone. He asked me numerous questions very rudely and refused to let me talk to his “child,” a young man in his 30’s.  I was told to never call again, and he made some threats.  I thought that the door was closed. Much to my joy and surprise, the young man showed up at our house Sunday evening!  He did not have time to talk much, but we did get to start talking. Please pray for this young man, who is strict Orthodox, to meet with me again and allow us to open the Bible to see what salvation really means.

Thank you all for praying for us and the work here in Moldova.

January 2017 Prayer Letter

I am still dreaming…and praying and working, along with the others in our team. Sometimes our dreams seem to fade and other times seem to take steps towards fruition. I dream of our church plant becoming a full, unified body of believers serving Christ whole-heartedly. I dream of seeing people becoming disciples of Christ and then leading others to follow Christ. I believe in this dream, because I believe it is God’s dream, too.

On November 20th, Caleb followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. Due to the colder weather, we rented the Adventist building for a Sunday morning and used their baptismal. Please pray for Caleb to continue to grow in Christ and follow Him.

ESL Ministry
In the past, Ala was the only student who consistently stayed after the English lessons for the Bible study. Another lady has recently been staying more consistently.

For our last ESL meeting before the holiday break, we invited the students to a special Christmas lesson. We announced the week before it that we would be talking about why Christ was born and how one can be saved from sin. Thirteen students came and heard the Gospel! Continue to pray for our students to repent and trust Christ.

Bible Club
Shortly after writing our last prayer letter at the end of October, all the children stopped coming to the Bible Club at our house. We prayed for wisdom to know whether or not to stop it altogether. Last week, I saw three young teens near our house and invited them 30 minutes before the Bible Club. They came that day and came back again this week, along with two of Abby’s friends who had stopped coming last Fall. Please pray for this ministry to continue.

Back in September, when we started holding a Bible Club at a children’s home in town (“Azimut”), we were told that it would be closing down after a couple months. Well, the home is still open, and we continue to teach them the Bible each week. Even though we are going to be a blessing to the children, we feel the children are a great blessing to us as well.. The 15 or so children there range from age 2 through teenagers. We appreciate your prayers for these children to come to know the Perfect Father.

Sundays and Thursdays
At the end of summer, a man who was faithfully coming on Sundays and Thursdays suddenly stopped coming and did not respond to our phone calls. For months, we have been praying for him. Recently, he started coming again and brought another young man with him, too! What a joy it was to see him again. Please pray for “V” to grow in the Lord and for us to have a part in it.
We have another older man who started coming. Jacob and I will be starting discipleship meetings with him this week. Please pray for us as we find out more about where he is spiritually and lead him in the next steps for Christ.

Odds and Ends
We would also ask for your prayers on several other areas:
Please pray that we will receive two-year residency permits. We turn in our documents for this over the next week.
Pray for us to find a good 9-seater van at a good price.
Pray for the Jacob and Viola Hughes as they head back to America for a 4 month furlough (and pray for us as we fulfill their roles in their absence).
Please pray for the government here in Moldova. The socialist president won in November and is already pushing to close some ties with Europe and press for a close relationship with Russia. It is hard to tell what the future ramifications of this will be on us here in Moldova. As Scripture says, please pray for the leadership and for us to lead a quiet and peaceable life here.

Thanks again for the thoughts, prayers, and support. We LOVE serving the Lord here and count it a privilege to represent you and our Lord in Moldova.

August 2016 Update

Much has happened over the past three months so buckle up as I whisk you through the update. During the summer, we broke from some of our regular scheduled events and focused on special summer outreaches.

May was the last month of our English Ministry before summer break. Though many did not come on a regular basis, 40 different people came during our 20 week course. About 7 people stayed at one point or another for the Bible study after lessons. No decisions for salvation were made but seed was planted and watered. Please pray for this outreach as we plan to begin again next month.

Each Friday in the month of June, we held a “Family Evening” outreach next to the Soroca Fortress and park. We offered games, crafts, and pamphlets of biblical advice for 20160617_194009husbands, wives, parents, and children which also included the Gospel. Though few actual complete families came, a myriad of children and adults did come by and participate. We were able to talk to some individuals about the Lord, too.

During the last week of June, my mom, brother, and his wife came to visit. This was my first time to meet my sister-in-law DSC_0334edited2face-to-face and my mother’s first time to be with our two youngest, Ana and Simeon. We enjoyed getting to be with family again.

Shortly after my family left, we drove back to the airport to pick up Deanna, a friend of Sarah Bodaly, who came to help out for a month, primarily with VBS.

Last year we did 3 days of VBS near our house in the forest. This year, we decided to do a 5-day VBS at our house and also redo the 5-day VBS in Soroca at our meeting place. Our theme was Creation with the Gospel being the focus on the end. I had a confrontation 20160721_111408with the Orthodox priest from our neighborhood. He wanted us to take down our VBS sign that was outside our house and to leave the children alone. We continued along without any further conflict with him, thankfully. Both weeks combined, we had 45 different children come. Please pray for these children and for us as we plan to start a one-hour Bible club each week at our house to continue to influence the children that came.

August 1-4, we had our annual team planning retreat. We spent time praying and planning for the next year. We thank the Lord for the team God has brought together to serve Christ13901622_10201811223160501_1134238816_o here in Soroca.

In the past we have requested prayer for our elderly neighbor Varvara. Anastasia, a lady in her nineties, who Varvara cared for in her home for many years, died recently. This has been hard for Varvara and has made her more receptive. I was able to have another conversation with her about the Lord after this and she listened better than any other time. She may be moving in with her sister to a different village in the next few months. Pray she will accept Christ before it’s too late.

Just yesterday, we found out that Sarah and Viola’s Romanian teacher decided to move to the capital. This has left them without a Romanian teacher (and me without a Russian teacher, since the same lady was my instructor). Would you please pray for the Lord to provide a really good Romanian instructor for Sarah and Viola?

Please note that BIMI has a new mailing address: P.O. Box 9, Harrison, TN 37341. Thanks and God bless you.

“Arrivals” – April 2016 prayer letter

We usually like the word “arrival.” It often accompanies positive events. With the arrival of Spring, the children have enjoyed being outside and even working in the yard. In addition to Spring, the Lord has blessed us with some other arrivals.

Our new team member arrived on March 17th, Sarah Bodaly. We have loved to see the 20160317_213701Lord orchestrate so many of the details. The Lord provided a nice place to rent and wonderful landlords. The Lord provided a Romanian teacher for her. The Lord also provided a way to get her belongings here cheaper, quicker, and more efficiently than originally expected.
     Please pray for Sarah as she adjusts, begins Romanian lessons, and awaits the approval of her residency permit application.

Simeon David Gross was born on Saturday, March 19th at 3:15 am. He weighed in at 3.03 kg (6 lbs. 11 oz.) and 50 cm (19.6 in.) in length. Not only did we see the Lord’s provisions with Sarah’s arrival, but we saw His hand in Simeon’s, too.
20160319_120409     We had planned to go to the capital city on Stephanie’s 36 week appointment and stay there until the birth. The day before, I was leading the Sunday evening Bible study at our house, and Stephanie started to have regular contractions. When they continued for an hour and a half, many being only 5 minutes apart, we quickly loaded up and sped to the capital. The entire way there, the contraction, though not the strong, painful ones, were consistent. When we arrived at the hospital, though, they stopped and did not begin again. While waiting in Chișinău, wondering how this would all work out, we were able to do some other preparations for the baby and pick up Sarah from the airport. The evening after the Hughes picked up Sarah and her luggage to take her to Soroca, Stephanie began to have contractions again. This time we went to the hospital, the contractions continued and Simeon was born.
We were grateful to the Lord for providing the Buck family to help watch our children during the night of the birth. The Lord met so many needs through working out the many details.

Over the past couple months, we have had some visitors come to the Thursday and Sunday meeings. This past Sunday, some believer friends had sent several people our way. One man is Ukrainian and speaks only Russian. He was very happy to find out that Jacob preaches in Russian and we also sing Russian hymns along with Romanian ones. He said he plans to come back.
Three years ago, when shopping for a home to buy, we were considering buying an apartment from a couple who went to the Pentecostal church in town. She and her adult son came this past Sunday after being invited by a friend of ours who works for her. Please pray for these individuals, some who have been saved and some who we do not know about their salvation, to know and follow God’s will.

A week ago, we had the joy of getting to move upstairs in our house. The bedrooms are now finished. I underestimated how long it would take to finish our house. What I had hoped would be done September of 2014 was not done until April of 2016.
We moved upstairs just three days before Stephanie’s parents arrived for their visit. The children are enjoying their time with “Grammy and Papa.” We have also enjoyed having the finished room in our house for company.

After the English lessons on Tuesday evenings, we have a Bible study for those who wish to stay. The study lasts only 30 minutes. Though some have come only once, Ala has been the only one to faithfully stay for the study. We have spent the past four lessons studying “How we do NOT become a child of God” and then “How we DO become a child of God.” After this past week’s study, Ala said that she had repented of her sin before but was unsure of actually being saved. Please pray for Ala as she thinks through what we have shared from her from the Bible regarding salvation.

February 2016 Prayer Letter

February has come to a close and this year has already been full of activity and encouraging fruit from past and current labors.

At the end of last year we started renting a meeting place in the middle of town that serves 20160219_140558for Sunday and midweek services as well as Tuesday English classes. This past Sunday, a man who lives nearby joined us for the morning service. Years ago he had attended the Adventist church and has since not been a part of any church. Please pray for Victor as we find out further where he is spiritually and help him take the next step.

Over the past year, Jacob and I have been going door-to-door, wondering when we would see some fruit. Recently an older man from town visited our services. It was a man we had met in our door-knocking. He is Baptist, but his wife is Orthodox. She did not even want him talking to us at his own door. Under the guise of going to the market, he visited for part of one of our services. Please pray that he will continue to come to grow spiritually and be encouraged.

About a year ago, we had talked with a man named Ioan, who was open to talking further about the Gospel. Due to him not being home or working in other cities or Russia, we were not able to follow through with a follow-up meeting until last month. We finally were able to meet with him and share in depth the Gospel. He may be leaving to work in another country again soon. Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in his heart.

photo (4)A couple months ago, we started giving free English lessons in order to meet more people and share the Gospel with them. We have had between 15 and 20 people most weeks. Some are Pentecostal, some unregistered Baptists, and some unsaved. We have a Bible study after the lesson in which students may participate. While we were expecting the young adults to be the ones to stay, our only student to join us for the Bible study is a 70 year old woman. Though only one person, we rejoice in her hunger for God’s Word and to learn more. Please pray for Ala and our students.

We have seen the Jehovah’s Witnesses around town for quite some time but have had few encounters with them until recently. We even had a meeting at my house with two men who have been JW’s for a number of years. They said they have never heard the Trinity explained that way before. Please pray for us to have wisdom and answers for the JW’s we now know and for the Holy Spirit (not an impersonal force) to work in their hearts.

Recently Stephanie has been having complications with her pregnancy. She started having contractions at thirty-three weeks. We made an emergency trip to Chisinau where she was hospitalized for observation over night. For the next week she stayed in Chisinau and visited the hospital several more days for shots and ultrasounds. The medicine stopped the contractions and now she is home on bed rest and taking medicine for the next few weeks. Please pray for me as I care for her, the children, the house, and my own responsibilities.

We have been anticipating the arrival of Sarah Bodaly, our new team member. She is scheduled to arrive mid March. The Lord has already provided housing and a language teacher for her here, which are harder to find that you might think. Please pray for her safe arrival and adjustment.

Though someone has been working upstairs, he is still repairing problems that were left after the hired construction team completed their work and left. Cracks keep appearing, so our worker has been mending all of those. He should be able to start priming and painting very soon. We should be able to move upstairs within a matter of a few weeks, Lord willing.

All-in-all, please pray for us all to handle all that is going on right now. I am behind on some work from last year and working through the unexpected issues that are popping up. Please pray for us to love, train, and nurture our children and prepare for the little boy we hope to meet within the next month. Thanks again for your prayers for us and the financial support.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.