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.

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.