This song is about how Fred Potter got saved, written by Danny Minton.
It is our privilege to welcome you to the Charity Baptist Mission web page. We hope this will be a testament of what the Lord is doing in America and throughout the world.
In 1973, the Lord laid upon my heart to start Charity Baptist Mission Inc., here in Bristol, Tennessee. We started it because we were opening a children’s home in Mexico. From there the Lord continued to bless and increased the areas to other countries by which we could share the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour.
It has been truly a blessing to see how the Lord has used missionaries to reach the lost and see them saved.
We believe in the Authorized King James 1611 version of the Word of God. It has stood the test of time and we believe this is the only true Bible.
To God be the Glory!
Flour and Oil distribution in Bulgaria for 2018-19
The 2018 flour and oil distribution in Bulgaria was completed successfully. We thank the Lord for your generosity in assisting over 2,200 church families. Each family received 110 lbs. of flour and 5 liters of cooking oil. We would like to express our gratitude to all those who prayed and contributed to this ministry. The church families were very thankful for God supplying their needs.
Winter came late this year and many testified that the flour and oil reached them just at the right time. In one village there was a widow woman whose house had burned down a few years ago. Now she lives in a little room by herself. She had come to the end of her supplies for the winter and was out of food. She was going to start asking the neighbors for food when the truck entered her village and we began unloading the flour and oil. Praise the Lord, he does all things well. There are many others who have similar stories of God's provision concerning the flour and oil. Many poor and hungry children were able to enjoy freshly baked bread, through your faith and charity.
We would like to do the same for the upcoming winter of 2019. This will cost between 70 and 80 thousand dollars depending on the exchange rate. For $35 dollars we can purchase enough flour and oil to take care of a family during the cold winter months.
Again, thank you for participating in this ministry. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb. 6:10)
In Christ, Rev. Mike Nixon Director
Updates from Romania
Dear Friends in Christ, November 2018
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We hope you are all doing well. We thank the Lord for the prayers that go up on our behalf of which I am sure there are many.
When I last wrote, I told you about the dedication service that we held in Avren, Bulgaria, which was the realization of Brother Ralph’s dream to have a church and a printing facility in that village. All the missionary families gathered to honor Brother Ralph and to dedicate the new building to the Lord by having a service to praise and worship Him. It was a very good service – some tears, some laughs – as we remembered Brother Ralph’s many years following God and then leading us in the way we should go. Again, we want to thank everyone who either prayed or sent in the support that was needed to complete the church.
On the 2nd of October, we held the first Turkish meeting in the new facility. One of Brother Ralph’s oldest friends, Brother Gary Armstrong, a pastor from Massachusetts with his wife, came to celebrate with us the birth of this new church. Brother Gary told the Turks about working with Brother Ralph more than 40 years ago and reminded us all of how our faithfulness is rewarded with much fruit. God has surely been faithful to us and has blessed us beyond measure. One of our Turkish national pastors, Brother Alish, who was saved under Brother Ralph’s preaching many years ago, also preached. We had a great meeting and are excited about what the Lord will do in Avren.
Several weeks ago, a young mother who comes occasionally to the Romanian church I lead, came to the meeting and asked us to pray for her child. I had known this woman as a beggar who only came to the church when she wanted to ask me for money. I rarely gave her anything, not believing the stories she would tell about why she needed money. This time something was different. She didn’t ask for money, she asked for prayer. Seems her 1 year-old son, David, had been born with a place in his spine that leaked spinal fluid. There was an open place on his back where this fluid seeped out constantly and never healed. She had been told by a doctor that if the child did not have an operation to close up the place on his spine, he would likely soon be paralyzed from that point down. We prayed for her child in the service. She told me after the service she had been getting money together to have the operation done but was afraid it would be too late. I had a little money with me and I gave her what would be about enough for the train trip to Bucharest where there operation would be done.
Last week at the Romanian meeting she was there again…this time testifying about how the Lord had saved her child. Apparently, when she got to the hospital in Bucharest and checked in, she was told that the operation would cost her twice what she had understood. She said she broke down crying in the room knowing she must return to Constanta with her child not having the operation. She said a woman staying with her own child in the same room had overheard her conversation with the doctor and told her that they needed to pray. She said this woman prayed with her in the hospital room. As she was on her way out of the hospital a nurse stopped her and told her the doctor would do the operation for the amount of money she had. The operation was very successful and her little boy was with her at our meeting. She was beaming as she testified about how the Lord had helped her. I was reminded how the lame beggar went into the temple leaping and praising God. I am glad this woman saw the Lord has something much better than silver and gold! I thank Him for answering our prayers, strengthening the church and putting faith in the heart of this woman. As always, we thank you for remembering us in your prayers.
In Christ, The Turners
The Reed Family, Serving with Charity Baptist Missions to Eastern Europe since 1992 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Gal. 6:2
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, October 1, 2018
Greetings from Romania. We are honored to bring you a good report from Romania. In our last letter we spoke to you of a man named Elie. We asked you to pray for God to give him a good testimony as he drew near to death. We were truly blessed to have him leave word to his wife and relatives that he only wanted the believers to bury him. We have never been able to do this before and I was concerned. We were able to have a funeral service without any interference from the Greek Orthodox or Muslim priests. We were able to sing, testify, preach, and pray in four languages. Then we proceeded to carry his body through the village into the cemetery singing Turkish hymns and a short grave side service. The Lord gave exceeding above anything we could ask or think!
Teresa and I have an urgent prayer request about little Ricardo. He is in the town of Calarasi. He has leukemia and we have taken him and his mother for treatment several times in the last few months. The doctors aren’t giving him a very good chance to live. They also aren’t as concerned as they should be, because of the lack of plasma in his blood type and the fact that he is Turkish. His mother comes to the morning prayer meeting and cries out to God to heal her boy. Please ask your church and other believers to pray for this little boy. He and Nate have a special relationship and are good friends.
We’re so grateful the meetings are going better than ever. We have three
building projects going on in three separate towns. Jacob and I are very
busy as we prepare to suffer the unforgiving winter. We have been able
to stock our churches with wood. We have also been able to repair our
three cars and put snow tires on them for the winter roads. We have been
able to replace and repair a lot of things while painting our church in
Calarasi. We have been able to put flooring down in the two meetings in
Calarasi and this month, by God’s grace and continued prayer, to obtain
electricity for our main church building. After we obtain electricity,
we will have power to do some spot welding and we hope to put a fence
around the church property before winter. Please help us pray for these
things as the devil is always trying to hinder. We are so thankful for
everyone and the churches that have given to make this possible. We have
a lot more to do and will try to keep you updated as our Lord provides
strength and time to accomplish them.
We had a wonderful camp meeting in July. It was sad to be there without brother Ralph, but somehow, I feel he was present in each one of our hearts. We were able to travel to Bulgaria for the dedication of the church and printing house he had worked all his life to leave us. It has been over twenty years since we were able to be in an English meeting down there and what a blessing to dedicate this place as a perfect legacy to bro. Ralph. They hope to have the first Turkish meeting there next week. We just want to continue to carry on with the same spirt and desire he left for us and to get the gospel out through the Bibles and Hymn books he tirelessly labored on his whole ministry.
May God richly bless you the faithful! From Constanta and Calarasi, Romania
Nathan, Teresa, Nate, Jacob, Elmas, Rebecca, and Uriah
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh… were without Christ … having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13
The Jacob Reed Family Serving with Charity Baptist Missions to Eastern Europe since 2012 “And there they preached the gospel.” Acts 14:7
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, October 1, 2018
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I pray this letter finds you well in the nurturing grace of our Lord. We continue to thank you for your support and prayers.
On the 8th of June this year we buried our beloved senior missionary Brother Ralph Cheetwood. It was a bittersweet moment in time. But we have the hope of our precious Lord to reunite us on the streets of gold! We continue in the work that he left us to further the gospel to the Turkish believers here in Romania and Bulgaria. For over 35 years he has worked on the Turkish translation from the 1611 KJV bible and his legacy will live on throughout the ages.
In the past few months the Lord has given me the honor and privilege to watch over the meetings here in Romania for my father and family while they are on furlough in the States. It has been a blessing to serve these past few months and help further the gospel of Christ. I have had a burden to start a Turkish meeting in a small village called Pecineagra. This is the village where my wife grew up and we have started a prayer meeting in my father-in-law’s house where we feed and minster to them daily from both physical food and the translation and Turkish hymns Brother Ralph left us.
We have a great burden for a little boy in the Town of Calarasi. His name is Riccardo and he is five years old but has leukemia. My Father and mother have taken him to Bucuresti to have random checkups and treatments. They are very mean to the mother and haven’t given him much hope to live. Amelia is a strong believer and comes to the morning prayer meetings and cries out to the Lord for her son’s life. Just the other day she stood up to testify and said she had asked Jesus to give Riccardo plasma from his blood. They don’t have any in his blood type, so I ask you to give it to him from your clean blood. It really touched my heart when I heard her say this. This the second time this mother has had to go through this. Amelia’s little girl Alexandra had leukemia for years and was able to obtain plasma from her older sister, but Riccardo isn’t a match with his older sister. Alexandra is now cancer free, but it will take a miracle for Riccardo. We ask you to help us pray for this little boy and his family.
We also have a national pastor by the name of Bayhan. He is a great blessing to us and has a wonderful testimony. He has type one diabetes. We give him some money to try and help him every week with his family, but with the prices of insurance going up, he doesn’t have the money to pay it every month. He is raising two children that aren’t his just out of the goodness of his heart. If you would like to help a real national pastor, please let us know and I’m sure the Lord would bless you. Thank you again for all you do for our family and God bless you!
From Constanta, Romania, Jacob and Elmas Reed email@example.com
Dear Pastors, Churches, and Fellow Saints, July - August
"And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples." Acts 14:27, 28
In July and August we visited and presented our mission work at churches in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. We had not been to some of those churches in years. It was a blessing to gather together and rehearse once again what God has done on the mission field in Bulgaria and Romania. It was a blessing to also hear from them what the Lord has been doing in their churches and ministries in America.
It is good to be back on furlough and not only to visit with the churches but also with family and friends. I am especially thankful for another opportunity to speak to our lost loved ones about their soul's need of salvation. God is dealing with them and our prayer is that they will open their heart's door and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. It has been encouraging to see some who were so hard and cold to God and the gospel to give ear and listen with open heart and mind. I believe they are in the place of Isaiah 1:18 where the Lord says "come" and "reason".
I love dealing and talking with people about their souls, but how much better it is when the Lord Himself starts to deal with them. We have seen this verse, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32, work over and over again in the lives of so many in Bulgaria and Romania and also here in America. If we lift up the Lord Jesus Christ in song and sermon and tell of His great salvation then God will draw them unto Him. "Draw" means: to cause to move in a particular direction". May the Lord help us all to be like the Maniac of Gadara and take to heart the command that Jesus told him, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." Mark 5:19
If you are interested in seeing the work presented or having us come and preach please call me at (828) 592-1498. If you should not be able to reach me at that number I can also be reached at (423) 878-5800. We're looking forward to seeing all of you and fellowshipping and praising God together.
All Because of Calvary, Matthew Welch and Family
Dear Friends in Christ, September 2018
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So much has happened since I last wrote that I hardly know where to begin. We have had everything from wonderful experiences seeing the Lord work miracles in the lives of those around us to heartbreaking loss that shook us to our foundations.
We have a ‘campmeeting’ here at the Children’s Home three times a year. All the missionaries in our group, both in Romania and Bulgaria, meet for five days of preaching, praying and fellowship. We always hope to see the Lord really move in and do great things. In our meeting in March, He certainly did! Three of our children (two in the Home and one biological) got saved! Johnny 9, Kelebek 10 and Creed 8. Sometimes, when young children get saved, you might wonder “Did they really get it? Did they really understand?” In the months since the campmeeting, it has been evident that they REALLY got it. They pray every night and almost always ask the Lord to save the other kids that are still lost. We recently had a mission group from Texas visit. After they had been here only a little while, one of the men said “I really like this place. I wasn’t here five minutes and your boy (Johnny) asked me if I was saved!” The salvation of our children is something that we have certainly prayed much about and we want to thank and glorify our Savior, Jesus Christ that He would do that for us.
In June, we had the bittersweet home going of Dara’s dad, Ralph Cheatwood. He served as a foreign missionary for over 40 years before going to take up residence in his eternal home. Brother Ralph was the driving force behind the great work that we are part of here in Romania and Bulgaria. We learned so much from watching him seek the Lord and not being afraid to follow wherever that might lead. He blazed the trail that we and the other families involved with us are following and, by God’s grace, will continue on. About reaching the Turks he said, “Love them and learn their language”. He preached to them in Turkish and translated the Bible for them into the Turkish language. We certainly miss him now. There were, however, already many believers, whom he called his ‘crowns’, who had gone ahead and were waiting for him as he entered that Eternal City. Even our own little Noah Cross was waiting for his Granddad. We thank the Lord for Brother Ralph’s leadership and example for us to follow as we continue on in this work.
Before Brother Ralph became ill, he bought an old house with a small cheese factory attached. He had begun working on converting it into a church and facility to print and bind Bibles and hymnbooks. In his last weeks, Brother Ralph asked us to finish this project for him after his passing. We, along with the other missionaries, raised the money and the work was done this summer on the building. On Sept. 23rd, we had a wonderful dedication service in the new building with all the missionary families attending. The church is finished and we have made much progress on the other parts of the building. This is a fitting monument for a remembrance of Brother Ralph. He was all about the local church and getting God’s Word out to the people. We praise the Lord we were able to see this done and thank all of you who offered prayers and financial support that this vision could be realized.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our family and this work. May the Lord bless you richly.
In Christ, The Turners
Dear Praying Friends and Family, May – July 2018
Apologies: First of all, I would like to thank each and every one of you who support and pray for our ministry in Ukraine. Our prayer letters are our lifeline to you back home who are “holding the ropes.” Many of you did not receive our last prayer letter until it was about six weeks overdue. The fault was mine. I wrote it in a timely manner and sent it to everyone on our e-mail mailing list and forgot to send it to our mission board. The oversight was called to my attention when a church contacted me to let me know that they had not heard from us in a while. Thank you for your patience and I’ll try to not be so scatterbrained in the future.
Upcoming short trip to the US: After much prayer it is clear to us that this is the right time to take Miriam back to the US. She will be attending PBI and working towards her bachelors of business administration (BBA) with the University of Northern Ohio, the latter of which she has been taking online classes for the last year. She has been such a blessing and help to us in our ministry here. It is very difficult to let her go. She loves God and has put His will first, waiting patiently for His guidance in this chapter of our family and ministry lives. Please pray for her as we take this journey together to get her settled in. We will be in the US for all of August and September. I would love to stay busy preaching and try to be a blessing while in the US. If anyone is interested in scheduling a meeting please contact me by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone after August 1, at (513) 376-1011.
Bible Club: This year marked our 18th anniversary of holding Children’s Bible Club. God obviously blessed this year with a lot of new older kids, many of whom received Christ as their Savior during the week. We averaged about seventy children with our highest day being eighty in attendance. This year’s theme was “Great Questions of the Bible!” They all received a lesson, then did crafts and memory work that fit the day’s lesson. Every day they were fed a small lunch and our youth group did a skit for them. There were plenty of prizes, fun, and games. They loved the sword drills and Bible songs. This year we began teaching them about the prayer altar. On the second day five older girls were dealt with and received Christ. They came the rest of the week and brought friends. On the last day we had 11 children respond to the invitation who had not yet received Christ after giving them an object lesson demonstrating the imputed righteousness of Christ to the believer and his sins being imputed to Christ on the cross. My friend Earl Wafford taught me how to do this years ago and we have used it in Bible Club every year since.
Youth Conference: Our youth attended the youth conference held in Limonski for the second year in a row. This year was a special blessing because my son, Benjamin, surrendered to God’s call on his life to serve in fulltime ministry. All of my older children are growing close to the Lord along with several others in our youth group. On the second day of camp, Sergei (Mowgli – see our last prayer letter for details), asked if he could skip youth camp to attend our midweek prayer meeting because he likes praying with us. He said that the first day of camp was fun, but a little spiritually dry. I told him that he would have to enlist others to the task of praying for God’s blessing on the camp. They started praying together for over an hour at a time at night and God blessed it!
Church Update: The building program for the church is going slowly forward. We are still saving for the first phase before actually breaking ground. In the meantime we poured a new concrete porch and stairs for the entryway of the existing building. The old one was an eyesore which we tolerated thinking that it would be temporary. We also put a nice wide awning over the entry so that there is cover during the snow and rainy seasons.
We are very encouraged by the return of my old secretary who left after being offended at several people in the church. I dealt with her once about getting right with God, but she didn’t budge and eventually turned all her bitterness against me since I didn’t repeatedly beg her to come back. She finally did return a changed woman...seven years later! She joined the church along with her new husband and they are doing great!
From time to time I’ll have a sister or two in the church complain that our church is too chauvinistic, that everything is for the men. I’ve assured them that there is no male conspiracy going on, just Bible-believing Christianity! Coincidently, those that complain are all divorced and still unmarried! Anyway, just to prove them wrong, we scheduled a women’s retreat where they had a great time of fellowship together with a fireside picnic in the country. Funny thing is that they requested that two men from the church help them with the fire and to be within calling distance should any wild boars show up! Other than the usual goings on we have a wedding in the works along with a baptismal service for several new converts.
Future Plans: Over the past year I’ve been waiting for several things to be accomplished before focusing our time and energy on beginning the work in Odessa. First, there is the trip to the US to help Miriam get settled in. We’ve been waiting on the Lord and now it is time. Knowing that we would have to leave for a month or two, I did not want to start something only to leave it for such a long time. The second thing was our full time Bible Institute. Over the past three plus years we have taught every class that is taught at PBI with the exception of Greek and Hebrew. There are several classes left that I will finish during the upcoming semester. With that accomplished I’ll have much more time for the work in Odessa. Lastly, there was the issue of giving time to instruct and prove my assistant for the pastorate. He is doing very well and will have his first dry run at the helm during our two months in the US. Please pray for him and his wife during this time.
Answered Prayer: We want to thank you all for praying for our various health needs over the past year. Since returning to Ukraine over four years ago, Naomi suffered through four miscarriages, the last of which almost killed her. We are only now learning how devastating the loss of blood is on a woman’s thyroid. She has been studying and working with functional doctors in the US and we are seeing great improvement. We are so thankful for the Lord’s mercies. My various health issues are getting back to normal. I haven’t felt very comfortable talking about it, but I’ve had my own private battle with depression over the past ten years. The only time that I felt normal was when I was preaching. My blood work revealed that I had stage two stomach cancer, very low vitamin D levels, adrenal fatigue, and bad cortisol levels, among others I don’t care to mention. In short, I was a mess. My wife rolled up her sleeves and took on the task of doing the research to heal cancer naturally. I went on a total vegetarian diet and included several cancer healing protocols over the course of four months. I want to thank my God and Savior Jesus Christ for His mercies on me and my family. My cancer levels are now back to normal; the skin cancer on my arm is healed; and for the first time in a long time, I’m beginning to feel like my old self again. Also, thank you for praying for our vehicle situation. After two months in the shop, they were finally repaired.
We want to thank you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord that gives us the privilege and opportunity to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you as you serve Him! Until our next prayer letter or our meeting in the air!
That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10 Click here for a printable PDF.
Dear Pastors, Friends, and Churches, May-June, 2018
It is with much sadness that I write this newsletter. My Dad, who was a pastor for many years, went home to be with the Lord in May. He had leukemia, then had a bone marrow transplant and lived about 17 years after the transplant. This was a miracle within itself to have survived that long with such an aggressive treatment and take chemotherapy. It is always a shock when someone whom you love departs from this life. He was a soldier for sure. God bless you Dad!
We made a trip to a Hispanic island in April and had a great Institute with approximately 80 attendees. Our American pastors taught, wept, and encouraged our Hispanic preachers. It is always a blessing to sit and enjoy the Word of God when it is preached, taught or just discussed, whether in English or Spanish. It’s also getting easier to enter in and exiting out of this country now.
I recently returned from Panama. We were preaching in the city and in the mountain Indian villages. While visiting a new work we crossed a huge river by a hanging bridge that spanned 75 to 100 yards. The community there had a very large stove with a cheese cloth hung over a pot for their coffee, and a hewn out tree trunk that served as a huge bowl to grind the rice with a pole. We gave out Bibles and gospel tracts and preached. Three people were saved, and it was only their 4th service. We also had a service at a building which “Help Ministries” assisted with in constructing. Around 150 children attended the classes and had a meal of rice afterwards.
Over the years we have seen this particular work become a base assisting several other works that exist in these mountains.
We now support several of these national Indian preachers. We also gave out Bibles and commentaries to our preachers and to several young men who are studying and preparing for the ministry. It is exciting to see what the Lord is doing, and the future that lies among these Ngöbe-Buglé Indians in Panama. Thank you for your prayers.
Joyfully Yours, Farren Caeble 1 Sam. 12:24
Important update from South India.
Dear Friends, August 17, 2018
We write to you with an urgent need for prayer. As some of you may already know, Charity Baptist Mission has a Children’s Home in South India. It is now monsoon season in where the home in is located, and this region of India is completely flooded. There is no electricity; schools are closed, airports are closed, stores are closed and some hospitals are closed. The dams were overflowing and the gates had to be opened to relieve some of the pressure; but it’s still raining, which is causing more flooding. On Wednesday August 15th around midnight Eastern Standard Time, the Children’s home was flooded with waist-deep water. The children and staff were able to get to a higher floor salvaging some items, clothing and school supplies for the children.
As of this writing on Friday August 17th at 8:00 P. M. EST, the Children’s Home is still flooded with water. It is very slowly beginning to recede. Right now the greatest need is to get food and clean water into the home. Thankfully, some friends in neighboring communities (located on higher ground) were later able to get in through the back of the home in order to get much needed essentials for the children and staff.
The home was opened in 1975 and has never experienced anything like this. This is the worst flooding South India has experienced since 1924.
Please pray for their safety. We know there will be a lot of repairs to be done after the water recedes. The home’s financial support has been really low lately, and there are no funds available to do this much-needed work. Please pray about this.
Sincerely, Mike Nixon, Director
“And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and
thy father hath killed the fatted calf,
because he hath received him safe and sound.” Luke 15:27
Our praying friends and family in the Lord,
Greetings from Dabravino, Bulgaria! It’s been close to a month since we were received “safe and sound,” and while we’re not quite back in the swing of things, we’re certainly closer. Every return trip requires readjustments. Returning to “life as usual” in Bulgaria is a relearning process. The first night in country, trusting adrenaline to overcome travel delirium, I went into town grocery shopping. Ambling through the store, filling my cart with what I deemed as necessities, I eventually made my way to check out. Placing my items on the conveyor, the attendant began setting certain things aside, eventually accumulating quite a pile. She then informed me her scanner wouldn’t read these items and asked if I wanted to put them back or allow someone else. Somewhere inside me, a voice said, “Welcome back!”
A week after our arrival, we headed north to Romania, to Casa Julia, for our Missionary Camp Meeting. It was the first meeting we’ve had without Bro. Cheatwood. Things were notably different, not bad, just different. Things change. We wish they could remain comfortably the same forever, but they can’t, and won’t. Change isn’t necessarily bad. Change awakens us to what is missing, and what was, and forces us to forge onward. No one felt more keenly the loss of Elijah than Elisha, and yet he didn’t wish him back, but rather sought the God who made him the man he was. We missed Bro. Ralph; every message reflected that, but we met to worship God. While there was a definite loss felt, there was also an unmistakable presence. I preached the first service on “The Empty Seat and the Missed Servant” from the twentieth chapter of first Samuel: David was gone, but he left a binding promise of perpetual kindness to Jonathan and his house; he exhibited a surpassing love; and he eventually enjoyed a glad reunion. It is a comfort to know that when inevitable change comes, it brings to light things we’ve missed. When temporary things pass, eternal things shine forth. It was a good spirit-refreshing, soul-restoring meeting, and I bless the Lord for it.
A few days following our camp meeting, we were invited to a Sofra in the village of Zlatna Niva. As you may recall from previous prayer letters, a Turkish Sofra is a meal of thanksgiving. When the Lord has done something extra special in someone’s life, to show gratitude, they hold a supper. They bid all who can, come to the feast. The supper is preceded by a service. Hymns are sung, then the individual is given the opportunity to declare the reason for the Sofra. In this case, national pastor Alish’s oldest daughter, Emine, wanted to give thanks to God for a clean bill of health from the oncologist. After her testimony, many others testified of God’s great kindness and mercy in relieving their distresses. Young Alish brought a message from Matthew on “Ask and ye shall receive,” regarding our heavenly Father’s love for His children. A young woman, herself battling cancer and touched by the testimonies and preaching, begged for prayer. We cheerfully obliged and are trusting God for her help. The service over, like all good Baptists everywhere, we eat. We dined on young goat, wild rice, cucumber-tomato salad, and fresh rustic bread, with a side of hot peppers. We wish all our believers would be that thankful.
We held our first big meeting of the summer last weekend, our first Bulgarian meeting without Bro. Cheatwood. We had planned for a modest crowd, around one hundred people, thinking most would be working. When the count was made, we had over a hundred and fifty. Pastor Demir called me that morning and informed me more people wanted to come than we had planned. So, we changed our plans and made accommodation for them. The service was excellent, with Bro. Zach preaching from the first chapter of John regarding the baptism of Jesus. That afternoon, four souls who had professed Christ in their village church were baptized in the Kamchia River. The Kamchia was flowing particularly swiftly that day, and after almost losing the last candidate and a few of the missionaries, no one else felt the urge to enter the baptismal waters.
For the foreseeable future, I’m helping national pastor Demir. He’s been ill for the last couple of years, suffering the after effects of a number of mini-strokes. Due to his health, he hasn’t been able to shepherd his meetings as he’d like. Prior to his initial stroke, Demir was as faithful a pastor as we have, always in church. Now he’s uncertain what the day will hold or whether his strength will sustain him. Still, he doesn’t complain. Rather, he says his change in health is the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time. In every meeting this last week, he’s testified that it’s better to have no strength and rely on the Lord than to know everything and be able to work but miss God’s will. He said for years he preached from the shallow pool of his own understanding. Then he had his stroke. He couldn’t speak hardly, and he wasn’t strong enough to walk unassisted. All he could do was lie in bed. He returned to his Bible and prayed for strength. He said the Lord opened His word to him, and everything was sweet, fresh, and new. He’s a different preacher now. He said today, “Sometimes when I come back from meetings, I can’t remember how I got there or how I got home. But in the church, during meeting, I feel like a young man, like I could do anything, and all I want to do is preach!”
The meetings have been strong, though sparsely attended. The other day in Venelin, four people came out. Still, we had meeting as if there were a hundred in attendance. We closed the meeting with an invitation for prayer. While praying, a horse wandered in. Demir, without missing a beat, said, “Lord, grant this horse whatever he came for!” The woman of the house, embarrassed, hurried the horse out. On the way home, the ladies who came with us were lamenting the size of the crowd, wondering aloud where everyone was. Asiye, Demir’s wife, said, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, only four people!” “Six,” Demir said emphatically, “the horse counts as two.”
The Lord sure has been awfully good to us. Before departing America, money came in to be put toward a future home, while still other money was designated for a vehicle. We’re a ways off from both, but closer than we were. We thank everyone who gave, and bless the Lord who put it in your heart to help. He’s a good God, and our eyes are upon Him, trusting Him to do what’s best. We miss you all. Pray for us. We love you and look forward to hearing from you. Believe for us when our faith wanes, and we’ll do the same for you. The good Lord bless you all out of His abundant riches in glory.
Because of a living Savior, The William LeFevre Family
Dear Breathren, July 2018
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15
Missionary Ralph Cheatwood, hero of the faith, went on to be with the Lord last month. He was our Field Director and Pastor figure but also like a father to so many of us. Our children even called him Grandad. His presence will be greatly missed but we fully intend to carry on the work he began all those years ago.
Time marches on, and we strive to “Redeem the time”… The churches continue to do well. In Zlatina a lady stopped us outside on the sidewalk to inquire after the church there because she had heard about it from a believer she met while working in Western Europe. What a blessing that the testimony of the church stands strong even as it travels. Our family is doing well. I remain busy tending the flock with Pastor Ismail while Carrie and Cherith stay home on weekdays so Cherith can finish her home-school work. Esther is in America for a few more weeks – she had an unexpected opportunity arise to visit a university, work a summer job, and spend a bit of time with some children in foster care. Our older children are doing well also but could always use your prayers.
In my last prayer letter I wrote at length about our vehicle situation. The situation remains unchanged and we continue to pray the Lord keeps this car going while we wait, but some money has come in for a new vehicle. Of our $18,000 goal we now have a little over $4,000.
There are so many financial needs of the ministry but at the moment I feel compelled to highlight this one: Winter Firewood. The mindset here is to always be preparing for winter, and at this time firewood (which is controlled by the government) is more available and 20% cheaper. The closer winter gets, the less available firewood is, and it gets more expensive with each passing month. I would like to see Pastor Ismail and the church in Novi Pazar get firewood yet this month. My family also.
In closing we ask that you pray for the following: 1) The upcoming American camp meeting: the first without Brother Ralph. There are many young people yet unsaved. 2) Our children in America. Guidance. Wisdom. 3) The ministry here. Pastors and families, missionaries, churches, believers. 4) Avren. Work is going on in Avren as we strive to follow Brother Ralph’s vision and carry on what he started.
Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support. Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.
Dear Praying Brothers and Sisters in Christ, May of 2018
Feb.18-25th: The I.C. National Ukrainian team and I made visits to 14 Churches in the Chernigovsky Region (just below Russia and Belarus). In Preparation for our visits, on Sundays during the months of September - November, I travelled to seven different Churches in both the city of Chernigov and in the surrounding villages of the region to stir them up by preaching on Evangelism and Intercessory Prayer. During our February visits, the Lord worked on many hearts and also saved many souls. I made visits in two difficult villages and saw four souls receive Christ. Two Sisters, who have been praying for their lost daughters and live in other towns, had me call them to explain the Gospel by phone. As the Lord was working in one of their hearts, you could hear her sniffling and crying. In all, the people listened well. It was obvious that the Lord was working on lost hearts through your prayers.
April 7-15th: Preached in six different Churches in different towns and taught two Bible studies in a town called “Unmovable” in the Sumskoy Region. Eugene, a 26 yr. old Missionary who is trying to Revive a small declining Church, invited me there to make visits and present the Gospel. We saw four people “moved” to repentance, and although many others were close, we left it up to the Holy Spirit to convince/convict them of their sin and need of salvation. 35 yr. old Alexsander complained to his mother that he couldn’t sleep all night because of my visit. 30 yr. old Michael who got saved, works for the Government to help released prisoners acclimate. He got approval for Eugene to start Bible studies with his parolees.
April 19-24th: I held a four hour Evangelism Seminar in the Chernovetsky Region with groups from five Churches. Many were challenged to be faithful in fulfilling their Ministry of Reconciliation and very happy to receive Brochures to Evangelize with. Afterwards while making visits in two villages, the Lord worked to open the hearts of two ladies, both of whom were recovering from broken hips. One received Christ after an hour of explanation, but the 79 year old Anna listened for over 3.5 hours on three different visits and finally said, “I never knew that I needed to ask forgiveness on the basis of Jesus’ Death as the payment for my sins”. Hallelujah! God opened her eyes and heart to receive His Eternal Salvation. On this trip I also travelled into Northern Romania to challenge two Churches about Evangelizing the lost.
***June 23 - July 1st: The I.C. National Ukrainian team and I will be visiting lost souls in Mariupol, Ukraine which is nearby the War zone. We will be visiting many families who left their destroyed homes and moved to Mariupol to survive. Most of these have no work and are reaching out to the local church there to help them in any way they can. These people are very needy and desperate! PLEASE Pray the Lord will soften and prepare the hearts of the lost through prayer. Also, Pray for the Churches and the Christians we will train as we go on Soul Winning visits with them and teach them how to testify and present Christ. * Also, Please pray for the five Bible Clubs which Lakeside Baptist Church will be holding in Ukraine and one in Northern Romania. We also thank you for praying for our Family, especially for my back and hips.
To God be the Glory, Richard, Oksana, Elisabeth and David Maher
Update From Bulgaria and Romania
Dear Friends in Christ, June 2018
As you have probably heard, Brother Ralph Cheatwood went home to be with the Lord recently after serving as a missionary for the last 42 years. Many of you have faithfully supported him and his ministry over the years. There were both lean years living in Turkey, learning the language and culture of the people God called him to serve, and also the wonderful years of harvesting in Bulgaria and Romania when the Lord brought an awakening after the fall of communism. The Lord used your prayers and financial support, through Brother Ralph, to establish a strong church community in these countries where before there were only scattered remnants from earlier generations.
In Brother Ralph’s years of service, he translated the KJV Bible into the modern Turkish language, he preached to tens of thousands of Turks, started over 100 churches - the vast majority of which are still led by national pastors who were raised up under Brother Ralph’s teaching. He also established a children’s home in Romania where children are being raised to God’s glory and he fed and clothed countless of the poor and needy as he strived to show God’s love to the people he cared so much for.
This is the legacy Brother Ralph is leaving behind. This is the work that he loved and asked those of us who labored alongside him to continue. His wife, Sandy, who has an invaluable role in the children’s home in Romania, will remain with us and continue to serve.
As this ministry has grown over the years, each of the missionaries working under Brother Cheatwood has tried to carry his share of the financial burden, because it far exceeded what Brother Ralph could do alone. Brother Cheatwood used very little of his financial support for himself, rather choosing to put that money into the work...printing Bibles and hymnbooks, building churches, making sure the national pastors have gas money to get to their meetings, helping widowed grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren and much more. Brother Ralph’s passing means those of us who remain will now shoulder the financial burdens that he, and many of you with him, have been carrying.
We who will continue to serve in the field that Brother Cheatwood plowed and reaped for over 40 years will carry on the same way Brother Ralph would were he still with us...preaching the Gospel, establishing churches and caring for the flock that God has given us. We ask that you will prayerfully consider continuing your financial support so that we are able to do this and, by God’s grace see many more souls added to the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Christ, Dave and Dara Turner
"If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be..." John 12:26
March - April 2018
“Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee”. Psalm71:18, 19
Dear Pastors, Churches and Fellow saints,
We send greetings from all the believers that are among us in Christ Jesus our Lord. It was in early March of 2018 that our senior missionary, dear friend and God's man called us all together to let us know that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. All of our hearts were deeply saddened by this unfortunate news. We understood the time had come for Brother Cheatwood to be able to say, as the apostle Peter said, "Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle”. 2 Peter 1:14
It was 1993 the Lord called us to "Come over into Macedonia and help" (Acts 16:9) in God's work under Brother Ralph. It was he who greeted and welcomed us to the mission field. From that time until now Brother Ralph has shown us God's strength and power as manifested in the New Testament, and that without it, God's work cannot be done. From the beginning he has put emphasis on the Word of God, on holding church services, worshipping God, and on prayer. Through these things we have experienced and witnessed God's strength and power.
God has done great things here through Brother Cheatwood. He has translated the King James Bible into the Turkish language and put together a hymnal containing 250 songs that worship God and His Son. He also started over one hundred churches and a children' home in Constanta, Romania.
I would like to thank the Lord for a man of God like Brother Ralph. His desire is for everyone to come and know and experience God's strength, power, and righteousness, and to behold His great things.
Thank you Brother Ralph for all you have done to make this possible. Phil. 4:9 and John 4:38 and 17:3
All because of Calvary, Matthew Welch and family
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh… were without Christ … having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13
Our praying friends and family in the Lord,
Paul states in the above verses that as Gentiles, we were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.” While those two facts might not seem a reason for dismay, we are reminded by Scripture that: “salvation is of the Jew”; that Jesus Christ was the “minister of the circumcision” to “confirm the promises made unto the fathers”; that Christ was “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” He sent out His disciples with this charge, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles… But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” He said of Himself, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” John said, “he came unto his own,” and Matthew stated, He came to save “his people from their sins.”
Now then, we see the terrible significance of being Gentile aliens and strangers: We were “without Christ.” We were left without a Savior or even the promise of a Savior. We were wholly alone, resigned to live and die in our sins. “Without Christ,” we were “without hope, and without God.” “Without Christ,” we were left as dead men walking, subjects of Satan, doomed to wander the course of this world with the children of disobedience, seeking fulfillment in the vanity of our flesh and minds, left to our own sinful lusts, under the awful condemnation of Heaven, awaiting the righteous judgment and wrath of Almighty God.
We were without Christ, without hope, without God! But God in Heaven was not without love. Israel, as a helpless newborn loathed by its mother, was cast in an open field, discarded as trash: navel uncut, lying in afterbirth, covered in blood, repellent to all who passed by. But beholding him, God pitied him, and in love flew to his relief. That great love that provoked God almighty to intervene on behalf of helpless Israel would not allow Him to forsake us in our hopeless estate. He who is rich in mercy made a way on Calvary to welcome every Gentile into the family of God. By the blood of Jesus Christ, we who were strangers and foreigners, outcasts and enemies, are now sufficient to sit at the same table with the saints. Our sins having been atoned for by the same Lamb, we are now fellow citizens of the same country, fellow heirs of the same inheritance, fellow occupants of the same exalted state, and fellow partakers of all the spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. We enjoy the same access to the Father and fellowship with His Son. And we patiently wait for this same Jesus to return in the clouds and take us home. In the meantime, we preach everywhere the same glorious gospel that opened the hearts of those first Gentile believers and trust the selfsame God to accomplish the same thing today. Now we not only have Christ, but are in Christ, and, as such, we have the hope of glory, and by the Spirit of His Son in our hearts, we cry unto God our Father.
Does that excite you? It certainly does me. Wherever I am, whatever I need, through Jesus I can obtain help of God. What else could anyone want? Maybe a prayer letter every now and again. It’s been a good while since I’ve updated you on our furlough. Here’s my update: It’s going well and is almost over. My wife (who once more begs me to make up my mind whether I’m writing devotionals or updates), informed me a day or two ago that we’d been in forty meetings in the last forty days. We’ve been in many meetings, some with great rejoicing, some that fed our hearts and stirred up our pure minds, but all good. I’ve been encouraged in the last few meetings, as several people have mentioned reading these letters. One preacher mentioned an object of prayer I thought no one but the Lord had noticed, and informed me he was earnestly praying for its fulfillment. That means more to me than I can express. I trust that, through your prayers, the good God of Heaven will grant all our petitions.
A few weeks back, I was preaching about our God being a personal God, knowing our desires, and working on our behalf for His glory. Well, I preached myself under conviction. After the service I thought, I’m not allowing God to be my God. I’m not consciously giving Him place to work in my life. I found a quiet corner of the church, pulled out a pen and paper, and wrote out a “Honey-do” list. I wrote out things I needed done in my heart, home, and in the work of God. In short, I renewed our relationship and invited Him to renew me. What do you expect followed? If you guessed “health, wealth, and prosperity,” you’re probably reading the wrong missionary’s letter. Spiritual warfare took place. I reckon the devil must have been looking over my shoulder, reading my list, and listening to my prayer. We’ve been in good meetings since, don’t get me wrong; they’ve been blessed meetings, but hard-fought meetings. The work of God doesn’t come without spiritual opposition and oppression. Nevertheless, I believe God, that everything shall be well. My beloved Savior knows our needs and will be pleased to supply them. Furthermore, He knows us and will be glorified in us. My Lord will work when all hell is raging, and spread a table for us, laden with the delectables of Heaven, in the very presence of our enemies, and they won’t be able to do a single thing about it. O what a Savior is mine!
I close as last time, with the verse etched on my dear old Dad’s gravestone: “Sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Pray for us. We depart for Bulgaria July 9. Keep us in mind as we reach the home stretch. We love you and look forward to hearing from you.
Believe for us when our faith wanes, and we’ll do the same for you. The good Lord bless you all out of His abundant riches in glory.
Because of a living Savior, The William LeFevre Family email@example.com www.lefevrestoeurope.org www.facebook.com/bulgarianlefevres
"...there was one Anna..." And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for the redemption in Jerusalem. Luke2:36-38
Dear Pastors, Churches and Fellow Saints, January - February 2018
Greeting from all the saints among us. Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Fatme lives in a village called Sadovo. We started meeting for church in her home years ago. Her husband became ill and couldn't walk to where we held services. Therefore they asked if we could hold the church service in their home. Fatme's home is not very big, but it was sufficient and there has always been an open invitation to all.
This last week we all celebrated Fatme's 97th birthday. After the church service we had cake and gave presents to her. She was very happy and gave a good testimony about how God has been with her and helped. You couldn't but be blessed from her encouraging words.
I believe she is doing quite well for 97 years old. She never misses a church service and she is so blessed. Her children and many of her grand-children and great children attend church.
If someone famous was to come to Sadovo they wouldn't be attracted to the beauty of Fatme's home. And yet the Great I AM, the Lord Jesus Christ has been pleased to come over and over again.
Fatme is a widow now and up in years. She doesn't leave her home, but she serves God with prayers and continually gives thanks to Him. She has spoken to all that would listen about her precious Redeemer Jesus Christ.
All because of Calvary, Matthew Welch and family
Dear Brethren, April 2018
“Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with the new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10
Brethren, I won’t sugarcoat it – it has been pretty rough over here. While getting ready for the day I was talking to God and pouring out my complaints before Him and asked for some strength through the daily verse on my Bible app on my phone. The above were the verses that came up. I looked up various words in the Websters 1828 dictionary and found that these verses refer to more than tithes and offerings. It also refers to our labors and our time. The Lord impressed upon my heart to turn my complaints around and honour the Lord instead and He would take care of everything else. That’s the purpose of this letter – to honour Him because He is worthy.
Last week I took the car in for routine maintenance, having a feeling in my gut that there was something wrong. Sure enough, there was so much wrong that they had to keep it overnight and charge $1,200 for all necessary repairs. But the head mechanic took me to the side and said that I was “lucky” because he couldn’t believe the oil pump was even holding on and not spraying everywhere. Also, that bolts in the front end hadn’t broken entirely while driving down the road. We know, however, that it was not “luck”. I thank God for his hand of protection. Also, though we had to borrow the money to pay for these repairs, money was there to pay. I’m thankful for that as well.
Two days after the major car repairs, I went to have the tires balanced because the car was shaking at higher speeds. When they took the front tires off it was obvious that the front end troubles had shortened the life of the tires and had worn the inner tread past the warning bar. The attendant there thought us “lucky” to still have one of the tires at all. Again I thank God for his protection. And again, the borrowed money was there to buy four new tires.
Our lawn equipment wouldn’t start this spring and I just knew it would mean another repair and another bill. I prayed all day while working on the lawnmower and weed eater. And all day the Lord was with me. Little things I never would have thought of came to mind and by the end of the day, both machines were fixed and running well. It seems such a small thing but I’m so thankful.
This vehicle is definitely on its last legs and we remain in need of a new vehicle but God knows the need. We’ve been in this place before and He has provided. We trust Him to continue to provide.
I want to close with the best possible news I could share: Three children at the Home in Romania were born again. God is still saving!
Thank you all for keeping us in your oft prayers. We do not take prayers for granted.
Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.
Important update From Bulgaria and Romania
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Tim 4:7,8)
Dear churches and praying friends, March 2018
Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As spring comes to Bulgaria, we are thankful for a new season of sowing and reaping. The Lord has been good to us these many years. Here in my office, I have about two hundred Turkish New Testaments that I have bound by hand, and ready to be distributed. Last month one of our national pastors went to the hospital for a week’s stay where he witnessed to all those around him. One man, although unreceptive at the first, said, “Why don’t you give me a Bible so I can read it for myself? Then I might believe.” Last week this same pastor went back to the hospital for a week, and this time he took Bibles with him. In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
It’s been five years since Brother Ralph Cheatwood purchased a house and small building in the village of Avren. Each year we have worked on preparing the building to be a church house, a workspace for producing Bibles and also a storage facility for the coat distribution in the winter. It is our desire to finish the work this year. Brother Cheatwood was recently diagnosed with cancer in the lungs and kidneys. He has refused chemo therapy, choosing to live the rest of his days in the Lord’s hands. Paul told Timothy, “The time of my departure is at hand.” That’s where Brother Cheatwood is now. After forty three years of service on the mission field his departure time is near. He called us missionaries and national pastors together to tell us. “…neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” His last request is that we finish the work on this church house and Bible factory.
I believe the work needed on this building will cost at least ten thousand dollars. Would you pray for this work? Brother Cheatwood has given his life preaching the gospel to the Turks and translating the Bible into their language. Although Paul told Timothy that his departure was at hand, he also gave him some final instructions. Those instructions included bringing his winter coat to him, the books, and especially the parchments. This is Brother Cheatwood’s final request. To prepare a place for the winter coats that we give the poor children each winter; to have a meeting house for a Turkish meeting, Bulgarian meeting, and an English meeting; and to have a place to print and bind the New Testament that he has translated. We believe there are some people who would believe, if only they had a Bible in their hands. Please pray with us about finishing this work.
In Christ, Zachary LeFevre
Dear Friends in Christ, March 2018
I am writing this at the request of my father-in-law, Ralph Cheatwood. He has been my pastor, mentor, and example of a true man of God for the 25 years that Dara and I have been on the field.
Besides preaching to thousands of Turks in Romania and Bulgaria, planting over 100 churches, founding Casa Julia children’s home, and feeding and clothing countless children of God, he has worked tirelessly and faithfully to translate the King James Bible into Turkish so that the people he loves so much can have the true Word of God.
Brother Ralph was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer – a tumor on his bronchial tube and several other places in his body. The doctors have said that there is nothing they can do besides, when the time comes, make his passing as comfortable as possible. At this time, his only complaint is a persistent cough which makes it difficult to concentrate on his translation work.
We are pursuing some natural treatments that are said to have success in shrinking tumors, which may give him some relief from the cough. Brother Ralph is at peace with his inevitable passing. He is 79 years old and has been blessed to be serving the Lord for the last 43 years on several different mission fields. His prayer now is that the Lord will give him this summer to read through his Turkish Bible a final time to have peace that he has done the best he could.
Brother Ralph also wants to finish the building in Avren, Bulgaria that will be home to the church in that village. It will also house the printing workshop for Bibles and hymnbooks and “Coats for Kids” which collects and distributes coats for poor children. He wants to leave that building completed so that we missionaries who have served under him all these years can carry on the work that the Lord laid on his heart to do.
The missionary families here got together and are resolved to see Brother Ralph’s vision realized. This will take some money and each of us will shoulder a part of that burden for him. I am asking each of you to pray and, if the Lord leads you, to help us with the work that we will be trying to do before the end of the summer.
I know Brother Ralph is thankful to all who have supported him and this work over the years. By God’s grace, we will stay faithful to see that work continue into eternity.
In Christ, Dave Turner
But he stood in the midst of the ground, and
defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory."
(II Sam. 23:12)
Dear Churches and Praying Friends, January 2018
Greetings in the name of our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust this letter finds you persevering in the work of God by faith. As the New Year rolls around, we always think about what we've seen in the past year, and then what the New Year might hold. Reflecting on the events of 2017 we are, first of all, bound to give thanks to each of you who have supported this work faithfully through the years. Without your support we would not be here. You labor with us in your prayers. We are fellow laborers. Our burdens are your burdens. Our prayer requests are your works of faith. The victories that we see are your victories. Another year now has passed, a year of standing like Shammah in the midst of the ground and defending it, as mentioned in the verse above. Victory is experienced after long battles. Much of our work here is simply standing, refusing to move or leave the battle. Ralph Cheatwood, the senior missionary with whom we work, when asked “what was his greatest accomplishment in forty years on the mission field”, responded simply, "I stayed." During those forty years of staying he was able to translate the Bible into modern Turkish and preach to thousands of people all over Bulgaria. Many of those thousands believed the gospel and obeyed the command to be baptized into the Christian faith.
So, we have stayed another year. Our year has been filled with preaching to little crowds in house churches. The saints have been edified, or built up in the faith. National pastors have been able to faithfully travel to the villages, week in and week out because we've stayed, and because you've stayed faithful. Hungry children have been fed. Had we not stayed faithful, what would they eat? Just today at the children's meeting there was a girl that told my wife, "I don't come here for the food. I come to hear you talk about Jesus." Many poor people have come to church and experienced the blessing of answered prayer in times of sickness and disease. Just today there was a lady that came to our house and asked prayer for her mother who has cancer. Had we not stayed faithful, where would they be? Last year there was a town drunk who started coming to church. He professed faith in Jesus and proclaimed his drinking days were over. Had we not stayed faithful, what hope would he have?
So, we have stayed another year, and the Lord gives a great victory. The victory is in the hearts of the people here. When they see God answer their prayers, when the truth of the gospel enlightens their hearts, when their faith is manifested in the baptismal waters, which is a great victory.
In 2018 we look forward to more battles and more victories.
In Christ, Zachary LeFevre
Bulgaria and Romania
Coats for Kids 2017-18
Please click on the above link for a printable version
“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” John 6:9
When we were in America last year I was asked to tell a congregation about Coats for Kids. After service a boy came to me and asked if there were winter hats in Bulgaria. I said yes. He then asked if I knew where to buy them and I said yes. He further asked if he sent me money would I go buy them for the kids. Smiling and crying at the same time, I said yes.
Aden was true to his word and sent money for winter hats. Instead of birthday presents he requested his friends and family give money to put hats on kids in Bulgaria this winter. This one lad shared what he had to help take care of many. It has been a blessing to give out over 300 hats for Aden.
“The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2
I’ve written about Eforie before. Eforie, where castaways are cast even further away: out of sight and out of mind. But when I tell you that in this tiny container village at the city landfill live some of the sweetest, most loving children I have ever met, I truly mean it. Hugs. Smiles. Conversation. And not just when we bring coats and socks - no, they’re like this all the time.
So you just have to ask yourself: are they really the poor among us?
Sheker is a precious girl who lives in the Children’s Home in Romania. She and some of her sisters came to our house to spend time with our family. We met them at the mall in Varna where all the girls proceeded to spend Christmas money. Sheker bought a pair of boots that ended up being too big for her. I felt strongly we should buy them from her so she could get a pair that fit and we could give this pair to someone in need.
Today we met that someone. Her story is tragic - she was born into the lap of luxury and used to have huge bags full of Italian leather boots, but after her parents died and she turned to alcohol she lost everything. The woman we met did not look like she had ever been rich... but then again, maybe she’s richer now than she was before because she is open to her need for Christ. Pray for Petya.