16 Years and Counting
On May 13th, our church celebrated their 16th anniversary. It seems like only yesterday that we arrived in Simferopol -- I can remember every detail as we stepped off the train. There were about a dozen deaf that met us at the train station and asked if we were going to stay and start a deaf church. You should have seen their faces when we answered "YES!"
As we rode on a trolley through town, I couldn’t take my eyes off the hopelessness expression of the people walking down the street. There was no joking, no smiling. I thought, “Oh Lord, how do we reach these people?”
|Deaf Church - 10:00 every Sunday|
Through these years, we have seen hundreds of souls saved, lives changed, marriages re-united, alcohol abuse abated; and what’s even better - we have experienced a family fashioned to love and serve together. A WORK THAT ONLY GOD CAN DO.
Last month, I flew to the states for two weeks to visit my mother. While I was in the Chicago airport, I had a conversation with a Christian man and his wife (they said they were Baptist). He told me that he and his wife were called to Azerbaijan in 2001. He said they sold their house and car and were ready to depart when 9/11 happened. He said they changed their mind and decided to stay. He said at that time, their two daughters had recently married. He said that he was thankful for the 11 years that he did NOT go because God had bless them with 11 wonderful years with his grandchildren.
I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to ask, “Were the 11 years with grandchildren worth the 11 years worth of souls that were not evangelized? What about the lives that could have been changed had you only gone?” All I could do was shake my head and walk away. I will have to confess (because I am a mother and a grandmother) that I did cry later. I cried for the 16 years that I have not had the opportunity to be there for my children and grandchildren. But I would not have traded places with this man - nor would I go back and do anything different. I know that we are right where God wants us.
I can’t begin to fathomed how missionaries many years ago handled the separation of family and friends where there was no internet - no phones. I know that back in the early years of mission work, missionaries would ship their belongings in wooden caskets because they knew they would not be returning. BUT I praise the Lord I have a phone, the internet and I have SKYPE - so that I can talk with my children and grandchildren and see their beautiful faces.
Thank you Lord for allowing me to serve you here in Ukraine. Thank you Lord for the 16 years that you have given to us. To God be the glory for all He has done!
|Hearing Church - 3:00 pm every Sunday|
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.