Please take a second and read our latest newsletter. These are happy days, the Lord has risen, yes indeed He has.
Thanks for your continued support and prayers during this time.
As each day begins in life we are dealt new opportunities to change the previous day’s actions and events. The opportunity may be overcome by health burdens or financial worries or even spiritual battles to name a few. This last year has been no different for our family and 6 months ago I would have laughed at you if you would have warned me about having these types of problems.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
About six weeks ago our life took a change for the worst, so I thought. On November 10th I suffered a stoke which left me in a Moldovan hospital for 16 days, on an emergency flight back to America, and in the hospital in America for 6 more days. I had to leave Christy and the kids, my friends, and my life without completely understanding what was going on but I knew the Lord was in control.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and His willingness to stand in for us when we don’t understand. Over the course of six weeks we had to give up everything that we had acquired while living in Moldova… our apartment, our car and we truly had to rely on God many times I was separated from my family and had to trust that Christy could make the best decisions for our family. She appreciates your thoughts, prayers, messages, and phone calls. I also appreciate all the love that has been shown to my family during this time.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.
I left the hospital in early December to be cared for by my parents. Christy and the kids returned from Moldova later in December. I still have a long road ahead of me to be completely recovered. I don’t not understand God’s plan but I continue to trust Him completely. We can see God continuing to work in our lives. He has provided us with a van, and a opportunity for Michael and Mary to finish this school year at a private Christian school allowing Christy to continue to go with me to therapy and to the many doctors appointments I need to continue the process of recovery.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Please be in prayer for the availability of a house that we can rent that is affordable on out limited salary. This is greatly need so that we can get back to a normal routine for our family. Also be in prayer for direction and guidance as we occur medical bills that have already reached 60,000 dollars.
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Thank you so much for all of your prayers for our family. We know God had this planned long before it even started on November 10th. We trust that He will be with us every step of this journey
In His Grasp
For me, the first place I would call home was an old single-wide trailer on Jackson Highway in my home town. I was a baby of course and do not remember much about the place but I know for a period of time this was home, my refuge. A few years passed and my family moved closer to the city of Covington in a small but perfect three-bedroom house. I have many memories about this house for a few years this was home, my refuge. This house was across the street from Christy’s grandparents’ house where I first met her forty years ago. I remember how big the back yard was, but if you drive by the house today you can see, the yard was not that big. I was looking through a different set of eyes, as a child, you see everything in a different perception. We were living in that house during the ice storm of 83’, no school for a week and basically everything was shut down but I still had a place to call home. A few years passed and my parents built a house out in the county where there seemed to be more cows than people. This was all new to me but that house became my refuge. There I meet many new friends and the times we had together are still imbedded in childhood memories. From time to time I catch myself sharing and telling Michael and Mary stories from growing up in the house. Just up the street lived my uncle, aunt, and cousin and there I would spend time too. I remember one winter my uncle and my dad thought it would be a good idea to buy a tractor-trailer of uncut timber for firewood, looking back now I don’t think they would ever do that again. We had firewood that winter but I think they cut wood every day. Thinking back now there were several places I would call my refuge while we lived there. Just a place you could go where you felt safe, protected, maybe even a secret place no now knew about. We had a dog named Charlie, raised some rabbits for a school project, had many adventures through the woods, played ball in the street until the security lights came on and you heard your mamma calling you to come home. I guess you could say all of it was my refuge, the house, my family, my friends, the forest, etc. But something was missing and I was not sure what it was.
Several years had passed while living at that house and I was now in my early teens, I had found what was missing, I repented and accepted Christ as my savior. I understood and believed in my salvation but never knew how much I would depend on it and Him as my next season of life began. A short time later the idea of a home or refuge was turned upside down and I found myself confused, embarrassed and even some days felt at fault for all that was happening. My parents separated and were in the process of divorce but I knew one thing for sure I found my refuge in God. This was a hard time and it seemed it may never come to an end. Then one day it was all final and finished, Mom and I moved to a new apartment. Life continued, it was during this time that I realized my refuge should be God for He is my rock and places of worldly refuge would not last.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield
and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalms 18:2 NIV
I write all of this to ask, where do you find your refuge? I began thinking about this and Psalms 18:2 while we were in the village of Nicolaevca for Love Moldova B outreach. Each day while we were in the village we presented a program to the children, even on Sunday. The program was held at the same place every day, a beautiful ridge up above the village where there was a cleared area for a soccer field. As we traveled this old road that was barley passable each day I thought more and more about this place. It was a place of refuge and the children of the village held this place close to their heart. It was a place where they could just grow up and be kids, do kids’ stuff but at the same time know they were safe and protected. The distance you needed to walk to this place was far away from most of the kid’s homes. Kids in the west would never go the distance but these kids would have walked twice as far for this is where they could come to get away from danger, drunk and loud parents, or even someone who might beat them. With each passing day, you could see it in their eyes so much that I began to feel the same, this place was a place of refuge.
These children had impacted us so much in a short period of time. Every day as we arrived at the field they would be waiting, some 40-50 of them and many parents too. They would be sitting calmly over in the edge of the trees where it was cooler patiently waiting for us to unload the Sprinter for the program. We would take out the balls, the parachute and sports equipment watching them run to us as if they were trying to win a race. This nearly breaks my heart every time, you find this in most villages there are no balls, jump ropes, frisbees, etc. nothing to play with. The program started every day like this, but each day more children came. We would start with free time, then team games, then after 30-45 minutes we would bring them together with an attention game to settled them down before the main program began. The game was followed by a couple of songs with motions much like a VBS song. After the song came the clowns, who presented a skit that was funny but also had a serious meaning to tied into the Bible story they would hear. The skit was followed by the daily Bible verse reading, it always amazes me in a children’s program, how quickly the children learn the verse and want to share what they have learned. The word of God is being instilled in their hearts through these activities. After the verse comes the Bible story in which our team acted out the story keeping the children’s attention at the highest. When the story was finished the team came together and prayed over the children and their parents. The program ended each day with the children completing a handcraft that went along with that day’s theme. Then we would give each of them some bread, fruit, and juice as they were leaving. As they walked they would turn to look at us almost as if they wondered if we would return tomorrow. You could also see the expressions on their faces knowing that their place of refuge was over for today and it was back to reality.
Each afternoon the team would go into the village to make some family visits. We would see some of the children along the village streets and they would smile and some would even wave. We visited some of them to see their family and take them a food parcel. In their homes, it was a different atmosphere they were not as relaxed and open to talk or listen to what we had to say. The Lord was up on that hill and I felt as close to home as I ever felt.
Goodbyes are always hard when you leave the village. It is truly amazing to see God work in your life so fast but knowing you are only there for a few days is tough. You begin to wonder how will God really use you in that period of time. We have to be prayed up and seek Him for our refuge so we will feel peace when we are doing ministry in the village. Then God will bless you through the children, their families, and other team members, we must turn to Him, make Him our stronghold, our rock, and our refuge. He wants this and His arms are wide open for us to run to Him. I pray you find refuge in Him and not worldly materials for they will not last nor bring you happiness. I also ask you to pray for the children of Nicolaevca, for seeds that were planted to grow so that they realize God is their refuge and no matter what happens, with Him, they are safe just like they felt with us up on that old hill.
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While on Love Moldova B we went to the village of Nicolaevca. Nicolaevca has a small church, that has been planted from the church in the next village. It is a small house with two rooms that are very dirty and smelled of mold. Work to reconstruct the house is underway but has a lot to be done. There is a need for the church in the village because the people are open to the Gospel and want to learn more about God.
Our team spent five days in this village doing children’s program and family visits. At the children’s program, I met a boy named Maxim. He came to the children’s program every day and we became friends. We played together every day. On the fourth day, we went to his house for a home visit. His father and mother live at home along with his grandmother. His father works in the fields and his Mother works on Sundays. So this is a positive thing that he has both parents at home and they both work. However, it doesn’t make Maxim’s life any better. His parents are not believers. So they don’t attend the evangelical Church because his Mom works on Sundays. Sometimes his mother goes to the Orthodox Church.
Maxim is twelve, so that means I am only 3 years older than he is. When I look at our lives side by side there are many differences. The one that stands out the most is the amount of “stuff” we have. I have a room filled with many nice toys, and he doesn’t even have a room for himself. He asked me to play with him at his house and we played cars. He had a pile of sand, a fork, a spoon, and three small cars. These were all the toys he had to play with. We sat in the sand together for 45 minutes while our parents talked. We made roads in the sand and drove those cars around, we didn’t need anything else we had his toys and each other. While playing in the sand I realized that I could share God’s love with Maxim and other kids just by being friends and playing with them.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV
We had so much fun, Maxim doesn’t have many material objects, but he has so much joy and he is so happy. I am trusting God to watch over Maxim and his family. I am praying that he and his family will come to know God. I think we planted seeds in him and his family while we were on this outreach. Please pray for him with me.
As summer approaches OM Moldova begins a summer Outreach program called Love Moldova. We have four opportunities to join a team of foreigners who come from all over the world to tell the people of Moldova about God and His love for them. Our family went on Love Moldova A, we were joined by a team from America. Our purpose was to visit families: where we would give them a food parcel, talk with them and share God’s love with them. The visit that impacted me the most was when we visited a lady named Mrs. Vera. She lived in the village of Bravicea in the summer and during the winter she lived in Chisinau. Mrs. Vera is 69 years old and is battling breast cancer.
She has to travel to Chisinau to the hospital where she has had several surgeries and has taken treatments for her cancer. Her cancer is in stage 4 and the doctors have told her she doesn’t have much longer to live. Her body is tired and she fights an awful pain every day. However, I would have never guessed that because she was so happy, she always has a big smile on her face, and she treated us with so much hospitable. Her story made me very emotional. After, hearing her story I know why she was so happy and didn’t let cancer get her down… because she was a believer, she had Jesus living in her and it showed through her actions. Her story makes me think of how I live my life now and how I should be living my life. It makes me examine my relationship with Jesus and shows me that I need to live my life so that others can see Jesus living in me. As we ended our visit with Mrs. Vera we prayed over her, I prayed that God would continue to give her courage to face each day and that God would help me live a life focused on him.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 NIV
Please join me in praying for Mrs. Vera in the days ahead, thanks.
We arrived in Bravicea just before lunch with our minds and hearts ready to serve the Lord. We planned for this outreach to be different, we were accompanied by a team who wanted to encourage and share the Gospel with as many people as possible. We did not waste any time in doing so, just after lunch, we headed out for two family visits. The first family was a husband and wife who were believers and caregivers for ten children, we came to encourage, but we were encouraged instead. We left their home and continued our walk through the village.
We arrived at the next gate, as we entered we were meet by an older gentleman smiling as he greeted us. His wife was in the house cooking walnuts to make jam. This always amazes me, you never know what is on the other side of the gate and Mrs. Vera’s house was no different. As we passed through the gate it was much like you had walked into heaven. You were greeted with roses of all colors on your left and on the right, there were wildflowers of all kinds. As you continued down the narrow but well-defined path passing the winter house and coming to the entrance of the summer house. There she was standing at the stove cooking, she turned out the light on the stove and walked over to greet us there on the porch. She said my name is Vera, I am a believer and the good Lord takes care of me. As I stood there all you could see was this beautiful smile, I think for the first time in my life I saw what it looked like for a heart to smile. She was happy and thankful we came to visit, she even said: “You should have called me and I would have prepared some food for you”. We said no, we wanted to come to see and visit with you. We continued down the path passing the summer house to an area where the ground was worn and smooth from all the days past as they talked and fellowshipped with friends and family. The area covered by a makeshift roof that protected you from the sun, there was a small table surrounded by four benches and many stools here and there. It looked like a place you would call home, from the table you could look down into the garden that was a sight in itself. She brought out cookies and the baked walnuts for us to enjoy as we found our spot around this theater table where life was lived. We were surrounded by so much nature. Her husband returned from the cellar with compote but she wasn’t pleased with what he brought and ask him to return and to bring only the best for this day was special. She then took the cups from the kitchen filling each of ours with this juice and offering the cookies and jam to us. She said welcome to her table, this is where we have breakfast together every morning. I thought to myself a lot more time than just breakfast is spent under this old tree. There was a fly swatter within reach along with a slingshot to keep cats out of the garden, this is a place you would call home.
As we all drank the juice and ate the cookies we each shared with Mrs. Vera and her husband our names, where we were from and a little about ourselves. She was overwhelmed that so many people came to visit her that day. She said again she would have cooked if she had known we were coming but we reassured her we were good and her hospitality was the best. Then she began to tell us her story, she said I am 69 years old and I have stage four breast cancer and it is terminal. Then she said do not be sad for I am a believer in the Lord and He will take care of me. She told us she still has some treatments but not so many now, they live in the city in winter and return to this house in the village where she grew up for the spring and summer. No matter how defined I write I cannot explain to you this level of comfort this lady displayed, she was dying but she was okay with that.
As we continued to talk with her, we tried to speak encouragement into her life, but she was the one encouraging us for the Lord had placed her in our path on that first day to set the emotional pace for all the days to come during this outreach. We talked about life and their past, her spirit was unlike anything I had ever seen. Then as I turned away from the table just behind me was Michael, he too had stepped away caught up in some emotions and I looked into his eyes with tears falling down his cheeks he asks how can she be so strong to carry on each day? For it is about faith, a strong faith, not like any I have sent before. I mean she was so emotionally positive you would have never known she was dying of cancer. She lived 1 John 5:5 to the fullest.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:5
As our time ended she wanted us to see the garden, almost as if she knew this was the last year she would see it. I must say it was some garden. Mary was happy because Mrs. Vera said to her pick a large bowl of strawberries. There were also many other things, like snap peas, cherries, choke berries, apricots to name a few. Then we all gathered around and prayed over Mrs. Vera. She thanked us for the food parcel and waved goodbye for what might have been the final time as we exited through the gate to the street. I realized that day the Lord has blessed me, but I want to live like Mrs. Vera.
In the days ahead as a family, we talked about Mrs. Vera. I even looked up the meaning of the name Vera, and was surprised by what I found out. According to Wikipedia, Vera is an old Russian name meaning Faith, how fitting is that. This lady named Vera will forever be etched in my mind and on my heart. I do not think I will ever see a smile again like hers. She believes and trusts in the Lord like no one else. She may not have realized how much her example impacted my life. Please keep her in your prayers as she finishes this life. Just as Hebrews 12:1 says, run the race with endurance and keep your eyes focused on Jesus, Mrs. Vera lives this out each and every day, she is still pressing on for the prize ahead of her. Be blessed Mrs. Vera for you blessed me.
The power of prayer, do we fully understand what that means in our lives as Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ? Has our life or another’s life been affected or changed as a result of the power of prayer through our personal prayers or someone interceding on our behalves? What is the power of prayer? According to the Bible, the power of prayer is quite simply the power of God, He is the one who hears and answers. The Lord Almighty can do all things, Luke 1:37 says, For with God nothing shall be impossible. The Lord Almighty wants us to pray to Him in Faith, just as James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. The Lord Almighty also hears our prayers, Psalms 18:6 says, In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into his ears. Lastly, The Lord Almighty answers our prayers, The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles, according to Psalms 34:17. So do you believe in the power of prayer, according to these verses we should believe and never doubt the power of prayer.
As a family, we believe in the power of prayer and have seen the results of praying first-hand. We are thankful and grateful for all the prayers lifted up in our name along with many answered prayers but I wanted to share with you about how the power of prayer has changed one man’s life here in Moldova. His name is Alex and he lives in the village of Bransesti located in the eastern region of Moldova. I always say everyone has a story but Alexi story is different, his story is the result of the power of prayer. Some may remember him from previous social media posts and or emails but I have never written a blog about him. I felt it best to write his story now and feel as thou his story will be an encouragement to many who are struggling now with health issues, relationship difficulties or spiritual warfare for God will answer our prayers.
I first met Alex is November 2015, I thought there was no hope for Alex but many people began to pray specifically for him. He lives in the village of Branesti where he grew up. His mother died when he was a teenager resulting in both him and his father turning to alcohol as a source of relief from the pain and poverty. The death of his mother became a pivotal point in Alex’s life going forward. Some years later Alex was beaten which almost caused him to die and he lost the use of his legs. He has been confined to a wheelchair since this and he began to drink heavily. In September 2016 while visiting with Alex he prayed and repented of his sins. This was the first time I had seen Alex smile. He said he felt a heart change but could not put down the bottle. We would take him food parcels and he would trade the food for wine. We continued to pray for him and asked many others to join us in prayer for him. With the help of the local church and OM in early 2017, Alex was able to go to a 6-month rehab program. Through this program, he confirmed his salvation and his body was cleaned from alcohol. He returned to Bransesti changed and had a new outlook on life. Many people in the village said it would not last. They were wrong, Alex began making the journey to the church every day in his wheelchair then climbing the church steps on his fists, asking what he needed to do to be baptized and what he could do at the church. He was given the requirements to be baptized and he began working on them. In the spring of 2018, he asked for a single burner stove so he could prepare his own food on Saturday and Sunday, he receives a hot meal Monday thru Friday from the Elderly Center. Wanting to prepare his own food was a big step for Alex. In April 2018 I took him the single burner he requested and someone provided the gas bottle to cook with. Now he cooks every weekend and gives extra food to his needy neighbors. People still were praying. Alex completed the requirements for baptism was he was baptized on July 1st, 2018, he has become heavily involved in the church and is now the Sunday school teacher for the children at the church. He helps anyone he can in Branesti. Alex’s story and salvation is a result of faith and prayer. People continued to pray, in late 2018 another prayer was answered, we had been working for the past two years to prepare all of Alex’s documents so he could get a passport. Once he has his passport he can receive a pension each month. He received his passport on December 7th and will begin receiving a pension soon. Our GOD is faithful and Alex is living proof of this. Please continue to pray with me for Alex
As I close this entry I cannot help but think about another example of the power of prayer. In October 2018, Branesti held its annual harvest market, at the close of the market the people of the village wanted to help someone in the village. The people asked the mayor and the pastor who could they help. Alex’s name was raised and the people of the village gave enough money to Alex for a new window and door at his house. The Lord changed one man’s life and now the entire village is changing, never doubt the power of prayer.
Currently, Alex is living in Branesti and he is heavily involved in the local church. We are searching for a place he can go for rehab because the doctors say he can walk again but finding this place has been a struggle. I know the Lord will provide an answer to this prayer too. Most rehab centers here in Moldova do not offer the extra care Alex will need in the beginning so I ask you to pray the Lord opens the door to a center that will help. In the meantime pray for the village of Bransesti this summer, Alex will help with a day camp throughout the summer for the children of the village and church. Lastly, Alex is getting around somewhat better he has been provided with an electric wheelchair, this makes travels to and from the church each day better, this is an answered prayer.
The power of prayer does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. The power of prayer is not based on a certain direction we face or a certain position of our bodies. The power of prayer does not come from the use of artifacts or icons or candles or beads. The power of prayer comes from the Lord who hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer places us in contact with the Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results, whether or not He chooses to grant our petitions or deny our requests. Whatever the answer to our prayers, the God to whom we pray is the source of the power of prayer, and He can and will answer us, according to His perfect will and timing. So good or bad God is there right beside us and He listens to our prayers for this has been a reminder of our call to serve Him and His love for us.
I ask you to take a few minutes, click on the following link, and watch this video about prayer and its importance (The Power of Prayer). This video is several years old but listen to the words, I think all problems we encounter in life is mentioned in this video, God listens to all our prayers equally. For there is power in prayer and there are many more Alex stories out there that were the result of prayer. God wants to do amazing things for us but we must ask in prayer and then believe. If you have a God story anwered through prayer please feel free to write to me, I would love to hear your story for I will be encouraged. Thanks for your time and prayers especially for Alex, I pray now that you and your family will be blessed. Remember pray, believe and receive.
I’ve been trying to put these words on paper for several weeks now, I type and delete. When we arrived back in Moldova I was super excited to make the journey up the street to the Cancer Hospital to see Maria. Why was I excited? Because I hadn’t seen her in 3 months, because I had some really cool cards to share with her that some children from America had made her, or maybe it was the fact that I had heard some really great news her tumor had shrunk. Whichever emotion it was quickly escaped my mind as we entered the hospital room where Maria sat in a chair waiting to receive a ratio active treatment. For a slight moment, she had a smile that quickly turned into a frown and her eyes filled with tears. Was she upset that we were there to visit, was she scared that she was about to endure this treatment again the answers to these questions I will never know. We stayed with her for a moment read a few of the cards to her, gave her a small gift that someone had sent her, and decided that we should leave so that she could regain her composure before her treatment. My heart broke I couldn’t hold back the tears I hugged her, told her I loved her and we walked out.
As we walked into the hallway her mother (Christina) followed us. She begins to apologize for the way Maria reacted. We explained that there was no need to apologize, and we begin to ask all the routine questions. You know all the ones you would ask the doctor if your child was in the hospital. Christina confirmed that the doctor had originally told them the tumor was 4 centimeters and was now less than 1 centimeter. Kelly begins to tell her how great this news was, that many people in Moldova and America had been praying for Maria and their family and that God was doing a great work in Maria’s life. That’s when the culture that we have always heard about here in Moldova became a very real voice to us. Christina looked right at Kelly and I and told us that God had done nothing for Maria.
She had been to the Orthodox Church in Crasnaseni, taken Maria with her, given the priest money, taken communion with him, and he had prayed for Maria. She was very persistent that the Orthodox priest was the one who had shrunk Maria’s tumor. Kelly begins to explain to Christina that she doesn’t have to go to the priest that she can talk to God anytime she wants, and how this is a gift that God gives us freely. She listened to every word Kelly spoke, however, her facial expression never changed and she never showed one bit of emotion. Her mind was settled, she never wavered, never even blinked an eye. We ended the conversation and prayed for her and Maria. Christina thanked us for coming and told us we were welcomed back anytime.
The 2-minute walk back to the car seemed like a 2 mile walk. My head was spinning as I thought of the words Christina had just spoken. How does it feel to live in such a world where you are so oppressed that you live as a slave to them. You wear blinders so dark that all you see are the many lies; you can’t see the truth. Then my heart begin to crumble, as I thought of Maria, an innocent 12 year old girl who’s mind must be so confused. She lives everyday in her village where this type of oppression is common. She came to a summer camp where she was told, how this God is a good good Father and will never leave her or forsake her. Yet it was during this time she discovered she had a massive tumor on the base of her brain, that has caused her so much pain and completely turned her world upside down. We come to visit her in the hospital or at home and tell her how much we love her, how much this same God loves her, yet she still suffers. Then her and her mother visit the Orthodox priest and the next week her tumor has shrunk. No wonder this child was upset to see us once more, however, we will continue to visit, check in, and pray for Maria. I know God is not finished with Maria’s story, I know He is continuing to write it.
As we returned home I began to pray. I ask God to show me exactly what He was trying to teach me. His response was very clear. We have been serving Him here in Moldova for the past 5 years, however, there are many things in this culture that we don’t know about or that we dont understand. More specifically the Orthodox Religion, it’s beliefs, and what it teaches the people who follow it. Learning this will give me a greater understanding of how deep the oppression runs, new insights on how to share Jesus with them, and a deeper understanding of what their repentance means to them. Please continue to pray for Maria and her family that the blinders are removed and their hearts are broken so that they can see Jesus is the only true healer. Also, continue to pray for me as I seek to understand more information about the Orthodox Religion.