Greetings Beloved,November 14, 2015 - January 9, 2016
Thank you so much for your prayers. God continues to bless us very much and I think greatly in response to your prayers for us. As I reviewed what happened over the time since we sent you our last prayer letter I noticed that God especially sent HELP IN TIME OF NEED. I'll give you some examples. Our new evangelization card took longer to get ready than we expected and when we took it to the printers the lady told us that since we only wanted one side laminated it would be considered a special order and therefore would be ready in two days instead of the usual seven. This was a blessing since we were able to get started sooner with our winter evangelization which was already starting later than usual. With a lot of enthusiasm and help from church members we were able to finish eleven towns plus our own by December 31st. This included a lot of work put in by many getting our devotional calendars and other literature bagged up and ready to go IN TIME for those who were going door to door. In two different towns as Slava and I were walking away from two older men we had just spoken and given literature to Slava said, “Think about your eternal soul.” One answered, “At my age I often think about it” while the other answered “I have been thinking about it every day for the past 62 years.” Our prayer is that they will see their need as sinners to trust in Jesus Christ, the sin-bearer for them IN TIME. The evangelization card we distributed this year encourages people to read God's Word daily to find the wonderful treasures therein, the most important which is the fact that Jesus Christ is the one and only eternal Saviour of everyone who will believe Him.
Our Bibles were just about ready to run out and we asked ‘Couriers For Christ’ if they could help us again and they provided the money for us to buy Bibles here in Ukraine which is the most economical way. We were able to get our order in just IN TIME before the New Year and saved 25% which meant we were able to get more for a total of 477 Bibles. After this I found out a brother from Washington State sent us $1,000 to be used in the ministry. Since we had just bought most of the Bibles we needed for a while we decided to use the money to buy mostly literature we need for evangelizing. This money also came just IN TIME since we had just about run out of the books and booklets we usually give to people who show a greater interest in knowing more about salvation. We were also able to get 45 children's Bibles and 25 more small print Bibles which usually go quickly.
On January 5th our church together with Bro. Kolya's church put on a Christmas play and a short skit at the community center in our town. It had been very cold the days before the play, but the day of the play it warmed some which was a blessing just IN TIME because the community center is not heated. Considering everything we had a pretty good turnout. Zhenya, one of the missionaries from our church here to Altai, Russia called me on December 30th and said he really liked one of the illustrations I had used in my message Sunday and it had come IN TIME so he could use it in his message that Wednesday. I did not even know he had seen the message which the church posted on You-tube, but I was glad it had been a blessing to him and that he could use something from it 4 time zones away from here. On my way to preach in a nearby town the radiator light came on in my van. I called a couple of brothers who I saw driving ahead of me and asked them to stop and help me. We had stopped just IN TIME since I had lost all of my coolant, because somehow the hose had broken loose. With the help of the brothers we got more anti-freeze, water and reconnected the hose and I was only 40 minutes late for the service which went fine. Please pray for Alek, a man in his 50s who attends services regularly, but who can't seem to come to a knowledge of the truth. He seems to certainly be oppressed by the devil if not possessed. We are going to try a second time of praying with fasting for him. Thank you very much for co-laboring with us here in Ukraine in this time.
God bless, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nik, John & Grace (Hebrews 4:16)
From Paul Gray: Greetings Beloved, Summer 2015
We have had a good summer with many blessings in the ministry and in our family. In June we were invited to a supporting church to be presented money their VBS kids and church had donated to help our church in Ukraine to do VBSes. With the nearly $1,000 given plus the money they already raised our church was able to buy a strong rechargeable speaker for outdoor use to be used in this year's VBSes in five places, but also in future VBSes and for outdoor evangelizations for years to come. It also was used to buy food, prizes, gas to get to and from the VBSes and other things needed. None of the money was spent frivolously and it was a special blessing because more children attended this year than usual and this year we had one more VBS. Next year another church has asked our church to help them do a VBS.
In the beginning of August we went to southern Michigan to mail 16 boxes of stuff to help us in the ministry and for our family, but we also went to Christian Resources International in Fowlerville. They allow missionaries to get up to 400 lbs of Christian literature and other ministry helps. Most of it is used, but it has been a great help to us over the years. We were also able to get a large and small flannelgraph there to be used in Ukraine. You might want to recommend it to any of your missionaries passing through Michigan. Although they don't have much foreign language literature we did get some in Ukrainian and Russian. Their best foreign language selection is in Spanish. If anyone has Chrisian books to give away its not a bad place to donate. They send whole containers where there are a lot of English speakers like the Philippines, India and Africa.
A Christian couple we know had to have their house renovated after it got struck by lightning, but through this they met Russian speakers who worked at the hotel they stayed at and now we are able to pass some of the literature we got to help these people come to know Christ. Two of them we met told me that what has happened in their lives is their destiny. Our prayer for them is that they realize that the most important part of their destiny is up to them. God wants them and everyone to realize they are a sinner and to call on Jesus Christ to save them as one of the thieves on the cross did. (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 1 Timothy 2:4-6 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.)
We praise God Angela is now a U.S. citizen with passport in hand. Although Andrew and Nik have U.S. passports we still must go through an interview on September 21st so they can be issued a certificate of citizenship and then we will fly to Ukraine. Please pray for us to get reasonable tickets and also that when we get back we can get some things printed that we need to use on the many evangelizations we have planned. We will also be needing to buy Bibles and get Bible courses printed upon our return. God has been so good to us here and we are sure He will bless us as we return to the field He has called us to in Ukraine. Thanks for making this ministry possible!!!
God bless, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nik, John & Grace (Philippians 4:13)
Greetings Beloved, May 9, 2014
Thank you very much for your prayers for us and for Ukraine. As far as our health goes our chiropractor said he can see light at the end of the tunnel as far as our visits to him go. Our kids no longer have the headaches they were having before and most of our neck, back and other pains from the accident are gone or getting much better. We still visit the chiropractor two times a week, but hopefully this will soon end and we'll be able to get on the road again for longer trips as needed. Also we are glad we finished with all the paperwork, vaccinations, translations of documents, etc. to get Angela, Andrew and Nick a green card. Lord willing we'll have green cards by sometime in August if all goes well. We also were very blessed by God with getting some things we needed. We had shipped most of our things to Ukraine and some Christians we know knew this and were used of God to replace most of the things we needed for now and more!
Over the years my family and I have noticed that the magnetic scripture signs we
put on our car get read whether it is in Ukraine, Moldova or here. Recently I
went back to my car in a parking lot and two men asked me what the Russian sign
they were looking at said. (I have signs in Russian, English and Spanish.)
This opened up the door for me to talk to them and to give them some gospel
tracts. When you have scripture signs on your car you always know that people
are getting the Word of God wherever you go and even when you take an unexpected
detour you don't get so upset because God was able to get some of His Word into
someone's mind who surely needed it. If you are interested you can check out www.magneticscripturesigns.com
As is seen almost daily in the news Ukraine needs much prayer. Some of the serious strife has reached Odessa Oblast where our church is located. We hear that many families and even churches are divided over the political situation in the country. In regards to all this we especially ask that you pray that our church in Limansky will walk in unity, keeping their eyes and faith focused on the Lord. Also please pray for the physical safety of our church and family there. Crime is much on the rise and there is a deepening and stronger anti-American sentiment. My co-laborer, Richard Maher and his family plan to come home on furlough in the next two weeks and need prayer, too, that God will keep them safe.
It is good to hear good reports from the Limansky church. Bro. Michailovich retired at age 60 recently and he is helping out with the preaching load more, especially at the meeting near the leper colony. Although the door to preach in the leper colony closed a brother with a house just outside it opened up his house for meetings so it is close enough to continue services with no big inconvenience. The Ukrainian army has stationed soldiers in our town and a couple of our men went over to them to offer them Christian literature and to invite them to our services. If anyone would like us to come or you know someone who might be interested please call us. My phone number is 513-917-1928 and my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
With love and prayers,
Paul, Angela, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Lamentations 3:25-26)
Greetings Beloved, January
As I began to look over my journal to see what has transpired in the last 2˝ months since I last wrote, the words that came to my mind were to Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. Surprised I was! Since our last prayer letter we have visited 12 of our supporting churches and 2 new churches in six states and one new one has taken us on for regular monthly support. As I went through my journal I was again reminded of all the hospitality, kindness and love shown to us by the churches we visited and also by the relatives and friends who put us up and took care of us so well along the way. We have also been encouraged again and again by the work Christians are doing to fulfill the Great Commission in their areas and beyond and also by the many who say they pray for us.
On Sunday evening January 15th we visited a church in North Carolina. Before we left the church parking lot we lost our driving belt and we were stuck. We decided to call the pastor and ask for help, but then we noticed that both our cell phones were not charged. I tried to stop a car to borrow a cell phone, but no one would stop until finally a Good Samaritan stopped. He knew the pastor, but when he couldn’t get through by cell phone he drove to the pastor’s home to get help. The pastor came and to make a long story short he and his church took care of everything for us from getting us to the motel to getting the van towed and fixed the next day. God is so merciful and we praise him for every blessing. Although in the end of January a car slid on ice and totaled the church van we six were in we know it could have been much worse. We are under chiropractic care and therapy and are getting better, but please pray Andrew’s, Nick’s and Grace’s headaches, Angela’s rib, which had two green stick breaks, and a few other of our aches and pains from the accident will get better.
We were to leave February 28th, but after much prayer, advice and considering the bad political situation in Ukraine and our need to finish up our medical treatment here we had peace to stay. We then felt led to apply for a green card for Angela, Andrew and Nick who are Ukrainian citizens. Having a green card will mean that most of our family won’t have to be divided in the future if John, Grace and I, as American citizens, should be forced to leave Ukraine. In the area of Ukraine where we live there is much anti-American talk since many believe the U.S. is a big part of the present problems. Please pray that God will bless our daughter Olga who is still in the Ukraine and that God will bless the Ukraine with a peaceful solution to the present turmoil there and with Russia. We also greatly appreciate your praying for the green cards we are trying to get. Among other things, we will be staying busy trying to visit any of our supporting churches that would like to have us come as well as visiting new churches.
Praise the Lord we are still getting good reports from the church in Lemansky. They are still getting out evangelizing other towns and people are still getting saved. There is a new head doctor at the leper colony near us and he said our church can’t hold a weekly meeting there anymore, but praise God a brother from our church who has a house just outside the colon’s gates said they can meet in his home. What a blessing to know that when God allows one door to be closed he always opens another door for his children to go through!
Grace and peace from the Lord, Paul, Angela, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Proverbs 16:9) Paul Gray <email@example.com>
First I want to thank you for praying for
us and for the work in Ukraine. As you know I work with Richard Maher and his
family out of the church in Limansky. On December 21st at 6 p.m., ˝ hour before
the service a masked gunman came with a shotgun to the Maher's apartment which
is located on the second floor of the church building. Praise God no one was
physically hurt!, but since this is the second time a gunman has come to the
Maher's apartment in about a year we ask you to please pray for the continued
safety of the Mahers and our church members and that the guilty party(s) would
be stopped. Slava, one of our preachers confronted the man and Slava is 95% sure
he knows who the criminal is, but the police don't want to confront him without
more evidence. Please pray they will get all the evidence they need and that
those traumatized by this situation can get the comfort they need. Our church
building has been broken into several times in the last year as well and money
stolen from the offering box.
We are very pleased to hear that the fall/winter evangelizations we do in our area went very well even though we weren't there to help. Each year we try to get more of the Word of God out and to do it in a more timely manner. This year God has blessed again with the fulfillment of this goal. Before and around the new year we pass out new daily devotional calendars, a calendar our church prints up and other Gospel literature. As of December 31st most of our town and six other towns received our Gospel literature bags (one per household). It was a blessing to hear that so many took part. On one day over 20 church members showed up to help evangelize. On that day one of our church members came to go door to door for the first time. He said God had brought such a big group together because he had been so afraid to go. He said that he had even told someone before that he wouldn't go door to door even at gunpoint. He is a very reserved person, but after going out once he wasn't afraid and came back to help again! This year we have phone numbers people can call on our calendars and tracts and two men called. One came to our services with his son. They were new to our town and the other from another town called with a lot of Bible questions. Most of the 8,000 devotional calendars we received have been distributed, but please pray for the 500 Ukrainian calendars that are left. They will soon be passed out in some small Ukrainian speaking towns in the county to the north of us.
We praise God He has been so good to us these past three months. We've had safety on the road with two very near deer misses. We've been able to see many relatives, friends and dear brothers and sisters in Christ. We've been able to hear many good preaching messages at our home church, at other churches, at revivals and even on the radio. We've been able to be at my mother's 80th birthday party, go camping and see the stars and even the sun through a telescope. We've come into the possession of some good books to read as well as many things we can send back to Ukraine to use in the work. God has also given us good ideas to put to use in the ministry. We've had a young lady decide to come and help us for three months when we go back. On and on we could go. We are so thankful: thankful to God for all His blessings, especially the wonderful people like you through whom He works in our lives. Happy New Year and so it will be as we walk close to the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Word!!!
With love and prayers, Paul, Angela, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (II CORINTHIANS 13:14)
(P.S. If we aren't able to see you before we go back on February 28th we will do our best to see you on our next trip no matter how far we must travel. Our number is 513-917-1928 and our e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Greetings Beloved, January - February 2013
Our year here started with many having a desire to get out the Gospel. We still had about 2,000 devotional calendars left and these we passed out door to door in other towns with other Gospel literature. When these ran out we decided to use the rest of our New Testaments and to pass these out.
Since we saw these wouldn't last too long we called the German mission in western Ukraine and asked them to give us 5,000 New Testaments. They said they had just received 10,000 and they would be glad to help us with what we needed! Please pray we'll be able to get a connection closer to home for the next N.T.s we'll need. We are hoping to get hooked up with the Gideons or some other group to keep us in a good supply of N.T.s. We are still going to keep our gospel flyer evangelizations going, but when we won't be on the road with that we are hoping to get the Gospel out door to door to as many villages as possible.
Already this year we have gone door to door in eight entire villages. On January 2nd eight of us went to the first, Steppnoya. It is heavily infested with J.W.s and we expected a bad response, but we all came back encouraged since most of the people took the Gospel literature. One of the villages that was evangelized is the hometown of one of our members, Yeshan. When he went back and spent some time with his mother and grandmother they accepted Christ as their personal Savior. His grandmother later told one of our members that she had been planning to kill herself, but now she wants to live. Yeshan and his long ago deceased father both received Christ in connection with our correspondence ministry. Yeshan had backslidden for a number of years, but now he is back and seems very serious to live for God. Please pray for him, since he wants to finish up our Bible Institute he almost finished in 2004.
In February two people in Limansky made professions of faith. Both are men, one in his twenties and the other in his sixties. Both had problems with alcohol for years. Please pray God will bless Victor and Misha in their new lives with him. We also would appreciate your prayer for some others who have been visiting occasionally. Alona who got saved last year took in an unwed, pregnant, 19 year old orphan girl named Vicka. Vicka regularly attends the services.
One of our missionaries from Limansky to Siberia showed his slides and a couple video clips when he told about their work. I was amazed when I saw that at their baptism in September it was snowing. It was a blessing to see people wanting to testify of their faith by baptism even in such weather. The youngest of the four baptized was a 12 year old girl, who although her parents aren't believers allowed her to get baptized. One of the ladies baptized that day was an Altai woman who the people in her town had always gone to to make sure they were doing their heathen customs correctly. Praise God now she points people to Jesus Christ.
We found out Andrew has a couple ulcers. The doctor says its not unusual for teenagers here to get that type. She said to get some medicine, which we did, and to makes sure he gets a good diet. We bought a goat to make sure Andrew gets good milk, but our goat seems to be having some problems of her own. When people see us with a goat or hear we have some other farm animals and a garden and that our life is in so many ways like theirs it seems to make them more open to us. We also ask you to pray for us to get passports for Andrew and Nick. Last time it took us a year and we are hoping to come for a visit to the States beginning in August if we can get these passports and visas.
With love and prayers,
Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Greetings Beloved, November 20 - December 31, 2012
It is a great blessing to be able to tell you our blessings and some of our prayer needs. This year we decided to pass out daily devotional calendars and other gospel literature door to door not just in Limanksy, but also in the nearby town of Kuchergon. Even though we had about 40% more homes to visit this winter God blessed us and we even finished one month earlier than we did last year. I asked two sisters who hadn't planned on going out door to door to go with me and they thanked me so much after going and decided to do some more another day. One of my Sunday school kids went with me and his mom said he enjoyed it so much he couldn't stop talking about it. Our church fulfilled the forty day fast with at least one person praying and fasting on one of forty days. It was a great blessing and encouragement that Sister Luda who lives in Moscow joined us in this as did one of the ladies she led to the Lord there. Even one of our missionaries in Siberia took a day. Also two of our newer church members are so enthused about reaching others they want us to go to some other towns. This we are planning to do in the near future. Please pray for the Word that was sown and that will be sown.
On the tenth of December we saw God bless as we took Sister Lena to the train station. On the way there we had to stop so her daughter could get some fresh air. When we arrived at the station Lena realized her phone was missing. We realized it must have fallen out when we stopped and said we would look for it and send it by mail, but then we saw God work. Lena's train's engine had broken down and so we had time to drive back and get it and return. On the return trip we picked up a man who told us when he got in, You know I shouldn't be here right now, but I was called from work to return home immediately. We told him that we shouldn't be there either, but that we strangely had to return to the place he needed to go. To make this long story short we drove slowly back in a thick fog that had set in and Bro. Slava who was with us was able to witness to this man. We returned the phone to Sister Lena and the thick fog was all gone when we left and a man had received a clear Gospel witness! I never saw or heard of a train so late in Ukraine.
On December 19th Oksana a woman in her thirties who had been attending services for a few weeks told me she had accepted Jesus as her Savior at home. She wanted me to announce it to the church. She came to our town not too long ago and found out about our services through some new friends. By phone she had told her brother that she was thinking about receiving Christ as her Savior and he had told her that if she did she could forget his number. She told me that she was very happy with her decision to accept Christ.
Recently we heard that home invasions are on the rise in America and I guess they're on the rise here, too. I was just getting ready to go to church on the 28th of December and my partner, Bro. Richard who lives on the second floor of the church building called and told that me five minutes earlier a masked man with a gun had entered their apartment and robbed them. Later we learned that the same thing has happened to at least two other homes in our town. We thank God everyone is okay, but we ask for your prayers for God's continued protection and grace in our lives. We thank God for you all and pray God will also bless you in 2013!!!
With love and prayers,
Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Deuteronomy 23:5)
September 18, 2012
First we want to thank you again for your prayers and support for us and the work here in Ukraine! God always works so much good for us and others here. We averaged about 70 kids daily to our VBS in July. What a blessing it was to see so many happy kids. I had the blessing of helping transport many of them in the van with which God blessed us. Bro. Rue wasn't able to do the youth conference this year so we sent our youth to another conference in the Crimea and two of our youth accepted Christ as their personal Savior there. One teenage girl who couldn't go got saved at the same time, but at home. God really blessed our own 3 day youth conference in August. Our theme was God's Vision for Your Life. We had eight different preachers and each one used some Christian who fulfilled or is fulfilling God's vision for their life. I spoke of George Mueller. Pastor Dima from Dnepropetrovsk called the day after they left and said one of his teenage girls trusted Christ.
On August 2nd I filled in for our guys at the leper colony. As often is the case there were first time visitors. This time from Moldova. Its a blessing to see how God brings all kinds of people to the home of our sister who desires to see the gospel proclaimed to as many as possible. From August 7th to 17th Slava, Andrew, Stas and I were on an evangelization to western Ukraine. God allowed us to put up our fliers in 41 towns and villages. We were also able to pass out a lot of gospel literature and some CDs, DVDs and talk to a good number of people. With the extra room in our van we also were again able to give some a ride and personal witness, as well. The churches we visited while we were there also had us preach. At one church they had heard of the song Amazing Grace and asked us to teach it to them. Before we left we picked up a van full of calendars, etc. Our van sat low from the ton+ weight, but it carried it with no problem.
In August and September we had four get saved through the witness of the Limansky church. Vera who is in her 60s got saved between services after being witnessed to for a long time and also having attended services for several weeks. Katya for a long time has taken care of a 92 year old man in our town. When she began taking care of him he told her, Don't talk to me about God! I don't believe in Him! She said, God has sent me to be your caretaker and God wants you to know about Him, so I will tell you about Him! Finally after hearing much about God this man finally accepted Jesus as His own Savior. Katya asked him, Where will you be when you die? With assurance he answered, With God in heaven. An old school friend Tanya hadn't seen in 45 years came to visit her from Russia. He visited our services while he was here, got saved and returned to Russia. Praise God he has already found a church there to attend. Last week I heard Tanya broke her knee when she was trying to help a drunk stand up. At first I thought what good can come out of this? In the hospital Tanya led another woman with a broken leg to Christ. She's staying in contact with Tanya and wants to find a church to attend in her town.
God blessed us with a windy, but warm day on September 9th for our baptism. Five adult woman, two teenage girls and two men got baptized in our lake. It was a great time of rejoicing for all of us as these testified of their faith in Jesus Christ! Please pray for us as we plan to travel on at least two long evangelizations in the next two months. We also would appreciate your prayer for our plans to make new gospel fliers and to get other things we think will help us to spread the good news of the totally free salvation we have in Jesus Christ!
May we all be faithful to Him who loves us so!
Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Psalm 108:3-5)
Greetings Beloved, March 13 – May 15, 2012
Another two months have quickly passed. We've gone from freezing temperatures to hot weather. After being off for two months our water came back on on April 3rd for which we are very thankful. Thanks for your prayers for Slavik, 33, the man who got pushed under a train, but miraculously lived after losing an arm and badly breaking his neck. Since coming home Slavik has been coming to church, but he still needs to be saved. God answered our prayers and I passed my driving exams and received a Ukrainian driver's license. Please pray God will lead us to the van He would have us to get. We've been looking and others have been helping. We are really praying to find something soon!!!
Please pray for an evangelization Lord willing we will be helping Bro. Kolya from our church with. It will be in the town of October from May 25th – 27th. Also please play for all of the unsaved people who will come to Olga's graduation service at our church on June 8. I'm planning to preach. Olga is graduating from homeschool and also from Ukrainian evening high school.
In April God blessed us with an encouraging letter from the city of Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine. A woman wrote, “Thank you very much for your noble service for the glory of the Lord. It is great that there are such faithful children of God who give their hearts for the salvation of people. Your lessons help very much to strengthen people's faith in God. Many of my acquaintances who get your lessons thank you very much. They get to know God deeper. The members of the church of which I am a member discuss your lessons and I also study them with my husband at home.” This woman went on to write that her husband isn't a Christian, yet, and asked us to send her some interesting books which might help him. We are really hoping and praying that a lot more people will write as we travel around Ukraine this year putting up gospel flyers, pass out literature and talk to people.
From approximately June 11 to June 23 in western Ukraine and from July 2 to July 14 in the Crimea in southern Ukraine Lord willing we will be helping with vacation Bible schools and gospel flyer evangelizations. We thank God and you for making it possible for us to be able to serve Him here. Please keep us in your prayers.
May God greatly bless each of you in your lives for Him, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (John 15:5)
Greetings Beloved, January 8 March 12, 2012
These last two months, as always, we have been seeing God's goodness and encouragement to us and others. Although our water froze on February 3rd and hasn't run since we thank God that we have places we can get water from in the time being and that at least our sewage system didn't freeze, too, as it did for some of the people we know. Angela, Olga and I were able to get into a driver's education class together. Lord willing I should have a Ukrainian driver's license by mid May in time for our busiest evangelization time of the year.
On February 10th we finished passing out daily devotional calendars' and tracts to every household in our town. This year we more than ever heard and saw how some people very negatively responded to this outreach, but the opposite was true also. One day when Bro. Slava and I went out the last house we visited was the house and business of one of the richest men of our town. He asked us to wait while he waited on a customer and then he asked us to come into his office. He knows me and he asked me to explain to him how I became a believer. I told him it would take some time and he said that was fine. He said he was taught to hate anything connected with God and to seek to destroy it, but he was interested. It was a blessing to be able to finish giving this man my salvation testimony before his next customer came and to hear a thank you from him. We really had not expected an open door with this man (Sergei), but God gave it! It was also an encouragement to hear that when recently an old man with no relatives died in our town that next to his bed on his nightstand was our devotional calendar and tracts. We are encouraged that although many refuse God's Word many are at least considering it. Let's just pray God will open their eyes to see their need however that might be.
About three weeks ago Slavik, 33 a very bad alcoholic was pushed under a train and had his arm severed and broke his neck. When he came to after five days he had the doctor call his wife who is a member at our church. Although her husband deserted her and their kids more than two years ago she came to his aid. Four doctors told her that it was a miracle he survived since the place he broke his neck is usually fatal and that it was a miracle he survived the operation he had to go through. His wife told him that she hopes he will wake up now and seek what is right. Please pray for his salvation since he has heard so much in his life and Christians are regularly visiting him in the hospital.
Recently I was also encouraged from a letter we received. Vlad, who is in prison wrote to thank everyone connected to our correspondence ministry. (That's you, others & me:)) He wrote, May the Lord bless you in your good work, and I hope that you will bring a lot of fruit into the Kingdom of God in order to please Him. He also said that soon he will be released from prison, and that I thank God that it was in prison that I received real freedom in Christ Jesus.
Thank you all so much for praying and, or giving for us to buy a van for the work here. God gave us the amount we prayed for with overflowing. We went $50.94 over the amount we prayed for. Please pray as we search for the van the Lord would have us to get. One Christian brother from Odessa offered to go with me to a city where there is a big choice of vans if we don't find one in two or three weeks. What a blessing and encouragement it is to have such a big and wonderful family in Christ which looks out for each other. We thank God for each of you and pray for you and your needs, too!
God bless, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (II Chronicles 35:2)
Greetings Beloved, May - June 2011
We live in a town where it seems everybody watches everybody and we have noticed this even more since we live in a house now. Sveta, who lives on one side of us, has been asking Angela many questions about our faith, although when we moved in she told us she wanted us to be good neighbors and therefore we shouldn't talk about our faith. Sveta even took a Jesus our Destiny book to read. She watches us closely and what she has seen so far has made her thirst to know more about what we believe. Please pray for her salvation since she realizes life could end at any time and she's not sure she is ready to meet God in judgment. Our neighbor boy, Kolya, from across the street plays with our kids, eats with us occasionally and even visits our services sometimes. The lady behind us said she has told her friends that we take good care of our ducks and geese (They're not pets.) and she said our cabbage is doing good. Unknown to us, Tanya, the lady who lives on the other side of us noticed we gave muffins to Sveta one evening and when shortly thereafter we brought her some she said, I see you don't just look to one side of yourselves. Our neighbor who lives diagonally to us told others that we have good kids. We all know that the Bible tells us not to give offence to anyone by the way we live, but I, like many others, often forget how much we are being watched and how careful we must be to walk close to the Lord. (I Cor. 10:31-33)
We're really thankful for the new Sunday School program we are using. It works like a catechism and covers all the main things any student of the Bible should know. Our adults are covering the same areas in their class and families are trying to learn the weekly memory verses together. We have already seen good results and we've only covered 11 of the 150 lessons so far. We thank God for the brother who wrote it and allows us to copy his lessons and send them out to other churches through our correspondence ministry.
Please pray for us as we hopefully will finish our gospel flyer evangelization in Odessa Oblast in the next two months. Also pray that God will supply the rest of the needed funds for the van we've been praying for with you. At the end of June our van fund total was $14,259.39 which is just over 70% of our goal. Also pray for our VBS (July 25-29), youth conference (August 1-5) and my setting up meetings for September “ November 2011 to raise more prayer and financial support to help to really expand our gospel flyer and correspondence ministries in the years to come. Please pray with us that Olga will get a visa to go with me if it is the Lord's will. Lord willing with our soon to be "new" van we will be able to get out and sow the Word of God more throughout all of Ukraine. Thank each of you for being so kind to read our prayer letters and for helping and praying for us! We pray for you, too!
God bless, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace â€śAnd the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23
2011 March - April
Greetings Beloved, In Titus 2:14 it says that Jesus "gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." We thank God for all those who are saved, but especially for those who are saved and zealous of good works. When we went on the evangelization to Dolinskoe about five weeks ago a number of those who volunteered to go with us took time off their regular work so they could do the good work of evangelizing. From this trip Ivan, who is about 65, was reached and he has been to every Sunday service since. He even has offered his home for a mid-week service. It was a blessing to give a few Bibles and New Testaments to those who were really interested.
A woman came to our service on April 29th and told us how she had come to be with us. She said she was having a hard time walking back to her home and stopped at the community center to rest. There she prayed, "God if you exist prove it to me. Give me the strength to walk home." Bro. Yuri and his wife saw that the woman looked exhausted and invited her to rest inside where they were working. They then offered her a ride home after she rested a bit and she accepted. When she offered them money for the ride Yuri said, "No, I did it in the name of the Lord." She thought to herself that if he is doing this in the name of God then I should go where God is and that is how she came to visit us the first time. When (our sister-in-faith) Marina's house recently burned God blessed by one of our church's families taking her and her sick and elderly mother and her sick sister in until other members of the church could quickly fix up another place for them to live. It also was good to see the church come to the aid of a poor family whose son and daughter used to come to our Sunday School. The son, Kirril broke both arms. The parents had forbid their children to come anymore, although the kids like coming to church.
God has been adding to our van fund as different people continue doing the good work of giving. We presently have $13,813 or 69% of our goal.
We praise God for the professions of faith of people who professed Jesus Christ as their own Savior after Christians fulfilled the good work of witnessing to them. In the beginning of March Sergei's (our former translator) mother accepted Christ after her granddaughter, Anya, 9, (herself recently saved) who is also from our church witnessed to her. Oleg, 13, accepted Christ at our church in March. Now, to be with us for our Wednesday night service he rides his bicycle 8 miles one way. Valery, who is in his late thirties, was hit by a car. He thought he was going to die and so he called some of our church members to come to him. He said, "I know I have a lot of sins and I have to get right with God before I die." He made a profession of faith, but sadly since he has gotten much better he hasn't made much effort to know more. Griesha, 52, had visited off and on over the past year and about four weeks ago he announced he had accepted Christ as his personal Savior while visiting his sister in Moldova. He comes regularly and often testifies how God is good to him. Since March our church has been working with a church from Odessa to reach school age soccer players with the Gospel. In exchange for getting training from a Christian who is a former professional soccer player these boys must attend a one hour Bible study each week at our church. Please pray for these souls, the newly saved and our evangelizations. Thank you for co-laboring with us, Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Titus 3:14-15)
Greetings Beloved, January - February
We are glad to bring our prayer requests and some answers to prayer to you again. God has been blessing our door to door evangelization in Limansky with some visitors coming as a result. At one home a 72 year old blind man and his wife came out. At first they refused our Christian literature, but after they listened they asked us to leave it. Later we sent them some of the Bible on cassette tapes for the man and he gladly received them. Please pray for the Word being sown in our town and for the towns of two national missionaries as we will now be helping them to go door to door in their towns.
Again God used Couriers for Christ to fill our need for Bibles. They supplied us with 204 regular print Bibles and 180 large print Bibles. Someone else gave us funds to buy 28 children's Bibles for younger aged kids. A parent who won't come to church will often read a children's Bible to his child and, as we have witnessed, sometimes get saved.
Three children, ages 9 and 10, from our church asked Jesus to save them since our last prayer letter. One of them, a girl named Anya, soon after she got saved came up to me after I preached on a Wednesday night and said, "Thank you for the message. It really spoke to my heart." It was good to see that this 9 year old girl now had a heart interested in the Word of God.
On the evening of January the 13th while I was out on visitation Angela called and said a tractor had come down our hilly street and hit the above ground gas line in front of the house above us and the one below us rupturing the gas line. A quick thinking neighbor turned off the gas and another stopped a drunk who was standing nearby from lighting his cigarette. We thank God He protects all in so many ways! Please pray for Alosha, 30, his wife Alona and Dima, 26. Each has a very bad drinking problem, but each one has shown a desire to hear what the Bible has to say. Our van fund rose almost 3% since the last time I wrote. We now have $12,568.62. Please pray God will supply the needed funds to buy, register and equip a good used VW van by the beginning of the summer. We are praying for a total of $20,000.
I am planning to visit the States between August 25 and November 22, 2011 to try and raise some more prayer and financial support. Last year our total income (i.e. for the work and the family) was down by about 20% from the previous two year levels. We also would like to have more people praying for us as we try to increase our evangelization efforts around the country. While in the U.S. I will also be learning how to make magnetic scripture signs and getting a new driver's license and passport. If anyone can recommend any churches to contact please let me know. To save money, etc. I will come back alone, although if God opens the door I may bring two of the children with me. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support!
With love and prayers for you,
Paul, Angela, Olga, Andrew, Nick, John & Grace (Phil. 4:19)
January - March 2003
WOW, have I been encouraged since I got back! Some of our Bible Institute
students have been continuing to follow God in His leading and are using the
training that He has provided for them. Several of them have been continually
faithful in going to different towns and preaching in their bazaars. And some
of the other church members have been going with them to help pass out
literature and witness to people. Not only have all of our people been
encouraged and Christians that have walked by have been encouraged, but some
people are hearing of salvation by grace for the first time.
I was also encouraged by the dedication our young preachers have shown to the other works that God has given them. On a snowy Sunday when hardly anyone was traveling on the roads, two of our preachers hitched several rides, and then walked more than 7 miles through the snow to go to the village that God has opened to them. The people there were amazed when they arrived and asked them, "How did you get here?" When they said that they had walked, the people were even more amazed because the area they walked through has wolves. And this made the people praise God even more for how God had protected his servants. And God again encouraged me when I heard some of our younger preachers asking prayer about opening up new services.
I want to thank everyone again so much for being so good to me while I was in the States. I appreciate all that everyone did for me. It was a blessing and encouragement to see everyone again. I hope to get to see everyone that I didn't see this time the next time I come in. Many people and churches gave me love offerings while I was in. I thought you might like to know how this money was and will be used...1. $2,000 for the missionary trip to Siberia this summer; 2. $500 towards missionary trips in Ukraine this summer; 3. $1,250 towards Bible courses; 4. $1,000 to ship to Ukraine boxes of donated clothes, shoes, scripture signs, etc.; 5. $850 towards Bibles; 6. $500 towards a computer and printer to be used for the Institute, church, etc.; 7. $400 towards medicine, food and shoes for those greatly in need. Those going on the missionary trip to Siberia are encouraged that God has already supplied the money for the trip. I'm glad we already have some money towards our bigger missionary trips in the summer. We were already out of some Bible courses and this money met an immediate need. The donated clothes and things have already arrived and the people are extremely thankful. We were already borrowing Bibles so the money for Bibles came at a very needful time. The computer and printer have already greatly helped me in the Institute.
While I was in America, God blessed me with one or two more churches who promised monthly support. This is a great blessing because as God expands His work here He provides for it. Letters have been gradually increasing in number. One lady wrote that her mother asked the local priest about getting a Bible. He said for about $10 he would be glad to get her one. This woman cried for two days because she so much wanted the Bible and couldn't get one. Her daughter said that often they even go without food for a day or two, so that much money for a Bible was totally out of the question. She heard about us and asked if we could send her mother a Bible. I can't find the words to describe the joy with which we send such people Bibles. Thank you so much for praying for us and for being a big part of God's work here. Please pray because our adversary the devil is against this work, but if we'll just be faithful, God will bless!
With love and prayers, Bro. Paul Gray John 16:33
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