Brethren, pray for us.
I Thessalonians 5:25


The Rue Family
Missionaries to Ukraine
 

Field Address

A/R 60 Glavposhtamp

65001 Odessa, Ukraine

Phone: 011-38-048-533-1818

 

 


Sending Church:
Bible Baptist Church
1173 Jo Jo Road
P.O. Box7135
Pensacola, FL 32534
Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, Pastor

Support and Mailing Address:
Charity Baptist Mission Inc.
P.O. Box 692
Bristol, TN 37621-0692
 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  Phil 3:10

Email: ruemissions@yahoo.com  www.ruemissions.com

 

Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                             July – August 2014

We want to thank each and every one of you who has sent us notes of encouragement and for prayer. Several have voiced their concern for our wellbeing in light of the present situation in Ukraine. To be honest I am very concerned at the moment too. It has always been my opinion that if the conflict with Russia reaches the Odessa Region (Oblast) it will be the worst yet in terms of bloodshed and body count. If Putin makes a move to create “NovoRussia” he will try to join Prednestrovia and the Crimea taking all access to the Black Sea away from Ukraine. That makes our location right in the middle of a big mess. At this moment there is a buildup of Pro-Russian troops 20 miles away from our home as the crow flies. There are Ukrainian soldiers and tanks standing between our house and Prednestrovia about 10 miles away. If they invade they will try to take this town over with the help of the local Russian (not Ukrainian) Orthodox priest. If things start to move in that direction we will have no choice but to flee our home and get out. The reports we have heard from Eastern Ukraine of what the Pro-Russians do to Protestant pastors and their families is not comforting. We have only one evacuation route; get to the Kiev highway and head north to Kiev or western Ukraine. We are making plans for our safety along with our colleagues – the Klines. We are also doing all we can to prepare for the continuation of the work and the safety of our members if we have to leave for a while. Whether Putin slowly pushes east to west, or whether he invades Odessa and pushes inward toward Mykolayiv, Kherson, and Zaporizhzia, it is going to be a hard winter. We only have one heating source – natural gas, and they say it may be turned off. Many are starting to buy electric heaters and the power stations say the grid will not be able to handle it. Rationing electricity is expected to start soon. Please pray for us to stay safe and warm.

Brother Sasha is Home! We want to thank you all for praying for Brother Sasha Taraniuk, who returned home safe after serving almost twice the term of his contract and spent 40 days in Lugansk on the Russian border. He survived 40 days of bombings, missile strikes, and sniper fire from Russia. The Lord preserved him through the whole “caldron corridor” ordeal where a ceasefire and evacuation route were agreed on and then they were fired on from the pro-Russian separatists. He gave an amazing testimony of God’s protection and guidance during his time there. He was able to lead several soldiers to Christ including officers during bombings. He is now more determined than ever to serve the Lord!

Brother Taras Hamardiuk’s Homegoing. I received a phone call one morning informing me that Brother Sasha was on his way home! How relieved and overjoyed we were! Five minutes later I received another informing me that my long-time friend and brother in the Lord, Taras Aleksandervich Hamardiuk, went home to be with the Lord. He served the Lord as a translator, translating over 1,000 sermons in my early years here before I went off on my own. He translated for my pastor Dr. Ruckman back in 1992, which was the beginning of our relationship. He went on to translate for other men like Pastor Rick DeMichele, Missionary Gerald Sutek, Missionary Thomas Castellaw, Missionary Ricky Bolick, Don Stertz, and scores of others we have had the privilege to have with us here in Ukraine.

He was a very well respected man in our town and worked in one of the local schools as a school teacher. His wife divided his funeral into two services, one for those associated with him at the school and the other with our church. She did not want to cause problems by mixing the two. She was touched by our church service and told me that she will come to church. Please pray for her salvation.

Children’s Bible Club. In spite of the setbacks, delays, and problems the Lord allowed us to hold another Children’s Bible Club. Brother Casey Kline and his wife Sarah were key figures this year taking on much of the oversight. Without them I do not believe we would have had one this year. The timing worked against us and many kids were not able to attend as they usually do in July. We had the lowest attendance ever in all our 14 years of conducting Bible Clubs but thanked the Lord for the 25 faithful attendees and rejoiced for the 3 who trusted Christ as Savior for the first time in their lives!

Baptism and Salvation Sunday. Every fifth Sunday is dedicated to Salvation Sunday. We invite visitors, preach a simple Gospel message, and have dinner on the church grounds. While the ladies prepared the meal we took a group and passed out Chick Tracts at the local market and train station. We had several visitors and I was able to deal with lady named Fila for almost an hour about her soul. Please pray for her. We also had the privilege to baptize Yulia, a girl we have been blessed to watch grow up in our church. I still remember the day over ten years ago when her newly saved mother came to me crying because she was pregnant and the doctor said she was too old to have kids and pressuring her to have an abortion. She and her husband were afraid that they were too poor to care for the baby. I counseled them to do right, trust God (not the doctor), and promised to help out as God would provide. Over the years we helped them with doctor bills and clothing and such. Little Yulia gave a sweet little testimony before taking the plunge! The Lord is good!

Registrations are Finished...Almost! We have almost finished the last steps in the registration process. The hard part is past and we have been granted another year by the Lord to serve Him here in Ukraine! Thank you for praying.

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. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                      April – June 2014

At long last we are in Ukraine! We boarded our return flight on July 10 and arrived the next day. Looking back over our deputation/furlough time I’m left with a sense of great gratitude and wonder. If ever there was a chance for our enemy to derail the ministry and ruin us it was during this furlough. So much could have gone very wrong making it impossible to get back to the field of God’s calling but I can only stand in awe of God’s protective hand on us leaving me with more confidence and determination that He has ministry for us in Ukraine.

The last few months for us have been a whirlwind which is why this prayer letter is so long overdue. We received our paperwork and visas; Naomi’s arm healed with the doctor’s blessing on our return trip; other doctor and dentist visits were made; the house packed up; the vehicles sold; loose legal ends tied up; last minute shopping; not to mention while still travelling to meetings. The hardest part was saying our good byes to family and friends. The logistics of moving a family of nine overseas is not the easiest thing to do.

We would like to first thank the Lord for His goodness, mercies, faithfulness, protection, comfort and guidance to get us through furlough and back to Ukraine; for the souls saved, for those who surrendered their lives to Christ’s will, for friends made, reunions, and for the several hard lessons learned. Secondly, we would like to thank all of you who have prayed, supported, put us up, put up with us(!), listened, and helped us from day to day. A special shout out to Pastor Greer and all the church family at Branch Hill Baptist Church who helped us tie up loose ends and clean up the mess we left in our wake! Also to the men of Friendship Baptist Church who helped get us and our caravan of 17 pieces of luggage to the airport!

The trip back to Ukraine took 27 hours total. The kids did great and I have nothing but respect for my wife who endured the whole thing with little Joseph in her lap and no sleep. There was only one “bump” in the road on our last leg of the flight from Kiev to Odessa but they were able to get us to our destinations by splitting our family up and putting us on two separate flights. It was a little unsettling being separated and not having any means of communication but the Lord took care of it all. I tried hard to avoid Kiev altogether remembering the stings of past experience there but we were pleasantly surprised by the progress of the new airport. They actually checked our 17 pieces of luggage all the way through to Odessa! Wow! We were not looking forward to the five hour layover after 20 hours of travel but were graciously greeted and surprised by Brother Perry Demopolis and his family who met us there and brought us water and snacks (AND great fellowship) to pass the time! God is good!

Upon our arrival in Odessa we were greeted by Missionary Casey Kline and Brother Sergei Bekk who helped get us home along with our 17 pieces of luggage(!!!), which miraculously all made it to Odessa. Passport control and customs check were never easier. As I rode with Brother Bekk all he did was talk non-stop of God’s goodness and works that He has done. It occurred to me that such conversations were indeed rare and I thanked God for calling us to labor for Him in such as field as this. Brother Kline and his wife Sarah went over and above the call of duty preparing our home for our return. Sister Sarah filled our freezer and refrigerator with food and goodies and Casey worked long to get our water system cleaned up and filled. What a blessing they have turned out to be to us and the ministry here.

In spite of what was one of the best return trips ever the slap of the daily grind of life was waiting for us in Rozdil’na. Upon our arrival we found that a series of problems left us with only a day’s supply of water and a draught that has caused the city to ration it. It is turned on every other day, but on Saturday (our first day here) we realized that all our neighbors had water and we did not! Our main water line was busted, two of my pumps were broken and all I had to work with was some very bad two-year old water in the cistern. I found some chlorine shock tablets and threw about twenty of them into the cistern overnight.

The next morning I found that my submersion pump was busted but one of our church members brought one to the rescue! We were able to fill our reservoir on Sunday with enough water to last for three days. Oh the blessing of taking a hot shower!

The reunion with our church was sweet and the presence of God felt in the service. There were plenty of smiles and a few tears of joy. The experience was bittersweet; sweet from the fellowship of those present, but a bit bitter from the empty chairs that were once occupied by saints that have left.

Please pray for our water supply and for God to send us rain. As I write this letter it is amazing to think that tomorrow marks one week since our arrival and my suitcase is still packed and all it seems like all I’ve done is try to get enough water to get through another day. Even though the water has been our main concern, the Lord has helped us get our internet connected and our mobile phones turned on for communications. We also discovered that our washing machine and the backup machine were both broke and we had to load them up and take them to Odessa for repair. In addition we discovered that a family of mice had destroyed our oven and had to buy a new one and then the gas line was busted to our house. We were so thankful that it was fixed the same day! The only “spiritual” thing it seems we have done since our arrival is pass out a few tracts to the people we meet along the way. I hope this doesn’t sound like complaining but many people asked us what it was like in Ukraine and I decided to start trying to do a better job of explaining what life is like here.

There is still much to do to just get set up to function normally as a missionary family here and we look forward to another term serving the Lord who has so graciously given us such a blessed privilege as this.

In closing I want to mention, Sasha Taraniuk, my friend and companion in the ministry for the last 14 years. He was called up for duty in the military and was sent to the Russian border where casualties occur daily. He graduated our Bible Institute and has participated in every ministry our church has engaged in along with laboring in village evangelism and church planting. In short, he is a huge blessing to our family and church and we pray for him daily. I’ve seen his family go through hard times in the past but I’ve never seen his wife, Oksana, like this before. He reported that one of his fellow soldiers right next to him in the trench lifted his head for a look and was immediately shot through the mouth and exited through the back of the neck. He miraculously survived. This will give some idea of where he is at the moment. The army is hardly paying him enough to live much less his wife and two children so we are supporting them while he is away. Please pray for his safe return and for his family.

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. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,

Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                  February – March 2014

The situation in Ukraine changes daily and the tension with Russia is only escalating making it very difficult to plan our departure date.  A few days ago I spoke with Brother Sasha who said that some type of military engagement with Russia is inevitable.  I was planning to return to Ukraine late March or early April but felt that the Lord wanted us to postpone a little longer.  The decision was made easy because Naomi fell and broke her arm while trying to step over a safety gate of all things!  We went to the emergency room and they found that she had a break right below her elbow.  It wasn’t until two weeks later that they discovered that she had also broken a bone in her wrist.  She now has a cast and a brace and we are told that the break in the elbow takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal and that the bone in her wrist is a bad break and will take anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks to heal if surgery can be avoided.

We are in a very difficult situation at the moment and really need prayer for the Lord to show us His will when we should return.  On the one hand the US Embassy has issued a statement warning all Americans not to travel to Ukraine except for emergencies and the people in our church have said that it would be better to wait until after the upcoming election on May 24 to plan our return trip.  Until the election we expect Putin to continue his attempts to destabilize Ukraine by trying to incite civil war in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, and maybe Odessa.  In view of so many that have expressed their concern for our safety I want to say that I do not intend put my family in harm’s way.

On the other hand we are ready to go.  The Lord has graciously helped us to report to all our supporting churches with the exception of three or four.  Our support is back up to where it needs to be and hopefully will stay strong for a long time so that there will be no need to return to the States till Jesus comes!  The Lord has also provided the funds for our return tickets. 

The only thing on our prayer list that was not answered was funds for a vehicle when we return to Ukraine.  In fact I had already accepted the idea that we were going to return to the field without a vehicle.  These delays caused me to book several meetings that I was not planning to make and what a blessing it has all turned out to be.  We scheduled a meeting with Pastor Ron Ralph in Carthage, TN and they took up an offering which covered half the cost of a van!  I am somewhat ashamed that I was surprised by God showing up and providing for our needs unexpectedly!  Then, two weeks later, Pastor Mike Veach in Staten Island also helped tremendously with a love offering for a van.  It was such an encouragement to us and further testifies that “where God guides, God provides!”

We finally received the “Letter of Invitation” from the Ukrainian Religious Affairs Office and can now proceed with filing the paperwork with the Ukrainian Embassy for a religious visa.  After we receive our visas we will be free to purchase our return tickets once we get the green light from the Lord. 

In spite of the delayed departure the Lord has kept my calendar pretty full with last minute meetings for which we are very grateful.  The last few months have taken us to Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, and Alabama.  We look forward to our future meetings in North Carolina, Tennessee, New York, and Ohio.  Please pray that the Lord will use us to edify the saints and we look forward to some opportunities to preach on the street now that the weather is good.

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.  Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!  

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil.  3:10

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Many have asked questions about what is going on in Ukraine along with my opinion on the situation.  I thought I’d take a few minutes and try to give a little input.

Sixteen years ago, while studying at the Odessa State University, I listened to a lecture on war and Ukraine.  It was fascinating and was a relief from the grueling lectures on verb aspects, participles, gerunds, the nominative, accusative, dative, instrumental, and prepositional cases; along with orthography, syntax, and rules of translation.  It was one of the top ten lectures that stuck with me till this day because I made a mental note of how much time we had to serve the Lord before war would break out again on Ukrainian territory.  One of the facts brought out was that there has never been 100 years of peace in the territory of Ukraine.  So, the clock started ticking in 1945.  The lecture went on to list every item that is now in play on the world stage with Russia.  First, there was the fact that Ukrainians have always been proud that before there was ever a Moscow there was Kiev, the first capital of the old Kiev-Russ Empire; a fact that Stalin resented and decided to break Ukraine by killing 10 million of them in the 1930’s.  The populations of their cities were replaced with Russians.  Secondly, there was the Crimean Peninsula which was originally taken from the Muslim Ottomans by Russia and was given to Ukraine as a gesture of peace by Khrushchev in 1954.  This became a problem when the breakup of the Soviet Union occurred.  In the mind of Russians it would be like our Pearl Harbor being given to the Japanese.  The Russian Black Sea fleet is there at the historic port of Sevastopol.  Then there was the issue of the gas from Russia.  Russia wants Ukraine to pay the same prices that it charges Italy even though it is much more costly to supply Italy and has only 1/3 the clients.  In addition, Russia does not want to pay Ukraine the same as it does Germany for the pipeline going across its territory.  All those elements: the old grudge against Russia, the Crimea, the gas and its pipelines, not to mention the Muslims that also want the Crimean Peninsula back, NATO and Russia’s efforts to use Ukraine as a buffer, together create a tinderbox with the potential to ignite World War III. 

I think it interesting that Daniel’s Image depicting “the times of the Gentiles” has two legs which represent the East – West division.  That division does not heal, but lasts clear to the end of the Tribulation.  Even the 10 kings of the Antichrist’s kingdom will be divided: 5 in the East and 5 in the West.  Daniel’s other vision in chapter 7 which describes the Gentile kingdoms before BOTH comings of Jesus Christ also give some light on Russia’s role in the world today.  That bear represents Russia and the feet of the Antichrist’s kingdom are that of the bear.  Feet are for locomotion and require ENERGY.  It is Russian natural resources that will play a big role in this “brave new world” to come.  Putin knows that he has the EU right where he wants them because their economies are dependent on Russia’s natural gas.

It is further interesting that the Scythians of Colossians 3:11 are mentioned in the same book of the Bible which also makes mention of the church in Laodicea 5 times!  The word Scythian comes from scythe, as in the farming instrument used to reap wheat.  The Scythians were located right in modern day Ukraine and are mentioned in connection with the Laodicean church period.  It is the “Bread basket of the former Soviet Union” because of its fertile soil.  Scythia was ruled by the descendants from modern Iran which connects them historically with Islam though they are presently considered Eastern Orthodox.

All of this brings any student of the Bible to look at Israel in light of what is shaping up in Eurasia.  I just had a very interesting conversation with a pastor about Psalm 83.  It could be that we are witnessing events in the end of the Church Age that will bring about an attack against Israel before the Rapture with Israel being victorious again, like in the Six Day War, resulting in an international unified outcry from all nations against her and setting the stage for the events of the Tribulation. 

            In the meantime we plan, by God’s grace, to fulfill the ministry given us in Ukraine and pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                    December 2013 – January 2014

The Uncertain Future of Ukraine. Many have asked about how the latest opposition and unrest is going to affect us and our ministry. The answer to that question at the moment is that everything is very serious and uncertain. There is much speculation about what can and will happen. All I can say for certainty now is that we are preparing to return to Ukraine as soon as our paperwork is ready. However, we are monitoring the situation as close as we can. We have been advised to postpone our return until this blows over. Please pray for one thing in particular, that the door to freely preaching the Gospel in Ukraine will stay open.

Update on Our Paperwork. Before applying for our invitation to return to Ukraine we first asked two Ukrainian authorities about the possibility for taking proactive steps for my daughter to get her missionary visa after she turns 18 without having to leave the country. After petitioning them for two weeks “no” was the reply. I had resigned to the idea that I would have to leave the country again after her eighteenth birthday to get her a visa. A month went by and now they have agreed to file the paperwork! One hurdle however, is that they now require proof of some sort of religious education in the form of a degree, certificate, or diploma. One of our supporting churches has vouched for her completion of our Sunday School program and will issue a certificate of completion for her. Once it is received we will continue on to the next steps in the long process of getting a religious visa and registration to minister in Ukraine. Please pray that all goes well.

Two Fruitful Months! “and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. (Psalm 1:3)” We were in New York City when a call came that a young man in Cincinnati had died of an overdose and the family requested me to do the funeral. We had a meeting to go to so I declined. A snow storm caused the meeting to be cancelled so I returned to Cincinnati and got the call. “We sure could use some Jesus over here!” was the request. I immediately went and spent some time with the family and did what I could to comfort them and make sure of their own salvation. The funeral was a little tense. A young man of eighteen years died after being talked into trying heroine for the first time at a party and trusted a grown man of forty plus years to “shoot him up.” A large, diverse crowd gathered. Most were unsaved and I was warned that a small tumult was likely because so many wanted to kill the man that shot the heroine into his veins. There was not a lot of time but the Lord gave great liberty to preach the Gospel and give an invitation where I saw at least ten people raise their hands as a testimony that they had just received Christ for the first time in their lives! The Lord graciously gave me two more souls who came forward in another meeting a month later! Thank you for praying for us and please keep it up!

Prayer and Blessings! We are very encouraged by the response to our last prayer letter. Our monthly support level is up to where it needs to be and the funds for our return tickets are in the bank! Thank you for your prayers and generosity. We are still trying to raise funds for a van to use in Ukraine. Please keep us on your prayer list.

Staying Busy! I want to thank God for His faithfulness to us over all the miles of travel. We have not been part of the tragic statistics that we often hear about. The past two months have taken us to North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee. While we wait on our paperwork we are staying busy updating those supporting churches that we have not yet visited. We look forward to the meetings ahead in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and New York. If you would like to schedule a meeting please contact me by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011.

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. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                  September – November 2013

Great News! We are excited and encouraged to report that the Lord has graciously answered prayer since our last letter! Our monthly support level is back up and we’ve made great progress in raising funds for a vehicle and tickets for our return flight!  Announcing the postponement of our return to Ukraine in our last prayer letter was a little discouraging. However, everything started coming together shortly after sending out that letter. It is yet another testimony of God’s gracious working through the prayers of His people. Please keep it up! 

We’re Beginning Our Paperwork! In light of the answered prayer we have begun the long process of preparing our paperwork to return to the field. Lord willing, we hope to return around the end of February. We first have to renew a couple passports and get a new one for little Joseph. We are also looking into the possibility of getting a missionary visa for Miriam ahead of time but it looks like she will have to leave the country after she turns eighteen in June and come back into the country with her own religious visa.  

Skymiles for Missions! My parents have been a huge blessing to us this furlough by donating their Delta Skymiles to enable me to take meetings that would otherwise be impossible to take. I’ve made trips to California, Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota only paying $35.00 for a ticket! It has saved much time and money for which we are very thankful. I thought I’d toss an idea to our supporters that if you have any Delta Skymiles that you are not using and would like to donate them towards helping us get back to the field please contact me by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011.

Fulfilling Prophesy! Every once in a while I will respond to the common question, “What have you been up to?” with “Fulfilling Bible Prophesy! It says in Daniel that in the last days…many shall run to and fro!” The past few months kept us busy on the road in Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Iowa, and Minnesota! We were able to update still more of our supporting churches and schedule a couple of Missions Conferences. The preaching has done my heart good. It has also been a blessing to see the Lord use us to minister to the saints. We look forward to the meetings ahead in Ohio, North Carolina, and New York. If you would like to schedule a meeting please contact me by e-mail  ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011.  

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. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                  July – August 2013

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “…name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9).”  The past two months have offered some good opportunities to serve the Lord.  It was good to hit the street again and preach in downtown Cincinnati before the local Reds baseball game.  For the most part, the crowds were not hostile, many took tracts, and some stopped to listen.  I was also given the privilege of officiating my brother’s wedding ceremony.  His fiancé, Bobbie, was saved over a year ago, so we had the added blessing of meeting several times for Bible study in preparation for her baptism and their wedding.  The wedding afforded a great opportunity to preach the Gospel to many who would not have come to church otherwise.

Change has come to our family.  My oldest son, Joshua, has left home for his first year at PBI.  It has been emotional for us all as we get our first taste of “empty nest syndrome.”  Please pray for him as he seeks God’s will for his life and that he will find a job that will help him meet his financial needs with coworkers who will help him as he grows into Christian manhood.  He is missed but we are glad that he is in a good place to grow in the Lord.

Some have inquired about our support level and fund raising for a vehicle and return tickets to Ukraine.  I compared our supporters list from 2005 with our bank statements from 2013.  It was a bittersweet experience.  It was sweet to see the faithfulness of churches over the years.  One by one, I thanked God for you and imagined the day when we will all be in Heaven and you getting to see the fruit of your faithful prayers and giving.  There was a bitter aftertaste to the experience to see those who, for various reasons, no longer support us.  We have received several “Dear Missionary” letters since 2005 informing us of dropped or decreased support due to doctrinal changes, financial struggles, diminished attendance, and church splits.  There were others, however, who dropped us without a word.  We lost three supporters who together made up over 15% of our monthly support.  We thank the Lord for our new supports since returning to the states but it looks like we are going to have to postpone our departure a few more months to raise additional monthly support.  We are very thankful for those who gave towards our tickets and vehicle but there is still quite a bit more to raise.

We covered a lot of miles over the past few months serving the Lord in Montana, Idaho and Ohio.  It has been a blessing to meet new pastors and churches and get to visit old friends who have prayed for and supported us for years.  We look forward to the meetings ahead in Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.  We pray that the Lord will use us to be a blessing and encouragement.  If you would like to schedule a meeting please contact me by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011.

Please continue to hold the men and the work in Ukraine up in prayer.  The Rozdilyanski church reports that they’ve seen a few people come to trust Christ as Savior.  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.  Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                        April – June 2013

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the “…name which is above every name (Phil.  2:9).” Writing prayer letters is a blessing because it forces me to stop and reflect on what God has done.  The writing of this letter just happens to coincide with the anniversary of when I first crossed the border of Ukraine in search of God’s will for my life.  That was twenty-one years ago! I cannot think of a better way to spend one’s life than to use it in service to the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Looking back at the times spent at His feet in private prayer, the reading of His Book, preaching the Gospel, the souls saved, the men trained for ministry, the literature published and distributed, the Bibles handed out, and the wonderful services attended with Gods’ people I am amazed that God would use someone like me.

I’ve come to understand that the purpose of deputation/furlough is not just for calling pastors for meetings to raise support, it is not just to visit supporting churches and encourage them with what God has done in the field.  Deputation/furlough is for one purpose – to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  Furlough/Deputation requires a lot of time on the phone, on the road, and behind the pulpit and has its share of ambushes, landmines, and traps.  We miss Ukraine terribly at times.  But, keeping Jesus Christ at the center of our purpose here sure keeps things simple and I’ve found that if you will be busy about His business He will take care of you.

We are thankful that our schedule has been pretty full with meetings in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  It has been a blessing to meet new pastors and churches and get to visit old friends who have prayed for and supported us for years.  We look forward to the meetings ahead and pray that the Lord will use us.  If you would like to schedule a meeting please contact me by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011. 

Please continue to hold the men and the work in Ukraine up in prayer.  The Rozdilyanski church is planning for their annual DVBS and Youth Camp.  I am very thankful to report that the family I have been holding Bible studies with have avoided divorce and are now reunited.  Glory to God! They have come to church with me and still continue to study the Bible.  Please pray that they will continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Also, please pray that the Lord will help me schedule meetings in the churches He wants us to be in and for the funds needed to cover our expenses for plane tickets and for a vehicle for the field.

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.  Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil.  3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                            February – March 2013

A New Name Written Down in Glory!  Last December my extended family got together during the Christmas holidays and asked me to preach.  There was a bit of a mixed crowd there but a friend of the family’s commented that he would like to hear more.  My travels kept me from visiting him but I was finally able to visit his home and lead him to Christ.  For the sake of privacy I’ll leave out a lot of details but let it suffice to say that the Lord is really at work in his life.  While I was out of state in meetings he sent me a message that he has been reading his Bible every day and asked if I would come and teach his family the Bible.  Glory to God!

Blessings on the Road.  The last two months have been very busy with meetings.  I do most of the travelling alone while Naomi and the children stay in Cincinnati.  This keeps costs down and allows the family a semblance of stability. My travels have taken me to Wooster, OH; Corpus Christi, TX; Pensacola, FL; Covington, LA; Lyles, TN; Sinking Springs, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Charlotte, NC; Canton, OH; and Talbott, TN.  The Lord graciously allowed us to be a part of five Missions Conferences.  We are thrilled that the Bible Believer’s Baptist Church of Corpus Christi and Harbor Baptist Church in Charlotte have taken us on for support.  We also had the opportunity to give a ministry update to seven churches that have supported us over the years.  In addition, it was a rare honor for two pastors to ask me back to fill their pulpits while they were away.  We have also seen several saved and others surrender their lives to the Lord.

We are still trying to raise additional support, as well as update all our supporting churches before we go back to Ukraine.  We would love to see you while we are on furlough.  If you would like to schedule a meeting please contact me by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com; or call 513-376-1011.

The Rue Crew Review.  From January to July we have at least one birthday in our family every month.  We celebrated Samuel’s tenth birthday in February and then in March we celebrated Naomi’s who turned, well, she’s still a young lady!  The newest addition to our family, Joseph, is a HUGE blessing and will be 3 months old on 4/6.  We battled an awful flu for over two weeks in February that attacked everyone in the family.  We are glad that everyone is healthy and well with the exception of homesickness.  We all miss our people, ministry, and home in Ukraine.

Prayer Requests.  We have many things to pray about but a few are of great importance.  First, please pray for one of our men in Ukraine who has been with me just about from the beginning of our ministry.  I’ve had to relieve him of certain positions in the ministry and I’m just concerned about him.  In addition, please pray for our ministry to grow in the Lord while we are away.  Second, we need the Lord to provide our airfare back to Ukraine.  A funny thing happened the other morning.  My son, Christopher, is constantly asking when we are going to “get on the plane.”  At one point we told him we would after Christmas.  He remembered and asked the very next day, “When are we getting on the plane?”  So, I told him we have to wait to get tickets.  He woke up a little grumpy one morning and mumbled something.  I said, “What did you say, Christopher?”  He replied, in a very loud voice, “WHERE’S THE TICKETS?!”  Third, in addition to the return tickets, we need to raise funds for a van in Ukraine.  We sold the one we had to help us cover the costs for our return to the USA and will need one when we get back.  This is not an option or luxury; it is a real need for us and the ministry.  Lastly, please pray that the Lord would use me to be a blessing and encouragement to others and win souls to Christ.

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.  Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                          November 2012 – January 2013

I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and rejoicing in His salvation. As you can see by the date above we have fallen quite a bit behind in getting this letter out. I hope that you will be glad to know that we still alive and well, looking for our Lord to come, and happy to be serving Him!

Please Meet the New Rue! We are thrilled to announce the birth of our seventh child and sixth son, Joseph Alexander Rue. He was born on January 6 weighing in at a whopping 11 lbs. 2 oz! Due to previous complications, Naomi’s previous C-section, Joseph’s size, and Naomi’s “advanced maternal age” (ahem!), they closely monitored Naomi and Joseph the last month. We should have just rented a room at the hospital. We could have saved in time and gasoline.

We could not have asked the Lord for a better delivery. Everything was great. This was the first time Naomi has ever had an epidural and all I can say is that it was not like natural childbirth at all. There was no weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth! Instead, we talked to the nurses about our work in Ukraine and were able to sow a few seeds for the Lord. The best part, however, was the Lord’s gracious presence through it all. He did something very special for us. Naomi went into labor naturally and delivered little Joseph on the same day that Ukraine celebrates Epiphany. This means that he will be very doted on by the Ukrainian babushkas! But that’s not the special part. It just happens to be the very day that we lost a baby to miscarriage eight years ago!

                                                                                                   

A New Name Written Down in Glory! The Lord opened the door for me to visit a distant family member by marriage named Patricia and lead her to the Lord. I was told on a Sunday that she didn’t have long to live and that she would see me. My great uncle said that up to that point she didn’t want to talk to anyone about the Lord. I entered her room and got right down to the Lord’s business. She heard the Gospel and called on the Lord to save her! I read her some passages in the Bible, prayed some more with her, and just as I got up to go Hospice came in. That was the last time I saw her. She entered into the joy of the Lord two days later! He daughter was there and witnessed the whole thing and I asked her if she had ever trusted Christ. She hadn’t and is open to hearing more. Please pray for her salvation.

The Work. Slavic, Sasha, and Casey report that the work in Ukraine is doing well. There were two weddings that I hated to miss but was glad that Brother Casey was there to help. The church in Razdelnaya is staying faithful and Missionary Sasha Taraniouk reports that the work of planting a church in Illichivs’k is slow but they are encouraged by little handfuls of purpose that the Lord gives.

Meetings. I have stayed busy travelling to meetings, giving reports to supporting churches and trying to raise additional support. In November, December, and January my travels have taken me to Washington, Idaho, Kentucky, Ohio, and Iowa. We have seen the Lord’s hand in many of the meetings and are very encouraged by one young man surrendering to be a missionary.
If you, or any churches you know, would like to have us in for a meeting please contact me. The best way is by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com. Or, you can reach me at 513-376-1011. Please pray with me that the Lord would use me to be a blessing and encouragement to others.

Please pray for us during the transition and for the ministry here to grow during our absence. God bless you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,

Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                June – July 2012

Plan A, Plan B, Plan C... The last year has been, as they say, “Quite a doozy!” Both ministry and family plans have gone from A to Z, it seems. First, I planned to travel back to the States with Joshua for a short visit to help him get his driver’s license, look at a few colleges, and leave him with some friends to work for the summer in NY. The plan also included him returning to Ukraine to stay with us till next year when we planned to return to the States for some furlough time and help him get acclimated to life in America. I also went to have my shoulder looked at by a doctor, which I injured back in February. Things for Joshua did not turn out as planned. We did look at one college, but he did not get to go to New York nor did he get his license. The Lord had other plans and Joshua is currently in Cincinnati staying with Pastor Joel Greer and was generously given work by a friend of mine. It doesn’t look like he is going to return to Ukraine for a year either. When I initially scheduled the trip with Joshua it was supposed to be a quick “get in, get it done, and get out” sort of trip. It turned into all of the above and more. After praying about it for some time we have decided to move our furlough up a year. This certainly is not what I wanted. My “Plan A” is to stay in Ukraine. However, several things point to the Lord directing us to do it this year. First, Naomi is expecting our seventh child. The due date is December 24th. The last baby was an emergency C-section and, after talking to our doctor here, we believe it is better to have the baby in the States. Secondly, it has been seven years since our last furlough (2004-2005). We have returned to the States several times to renew our visas and to have our last child, but they were not a full-blown furlough. During those quick trips I was able only to visit our churches in the Cincinnati area. Thirdly, ever since the Ukrainian government changed the laws requiring us to leave the country yearly to renew our visas, we have struggled financially to cover the costs. This and the fact that some churches have had to drop or cut our support, and the rising costs of living in Ukraine have made it necessary for me to do extra deputation.

Scheduling Meetings. I plan to call all of our supporting churches and visit all that would like to have me in for a meeting. We hope to schedule some new meetings as well. If you would like to have us in for a meeting please contact me. It would be a great help if you would contact me if you know of any churches that are looking to take on new missionaries. The best way is by e-mail ruemissions@yahoo.com. Or, you can call me in Ukraine 011-38-067-519-2934. Or, you can call me in the States after August 18 at 513-376-1011. Otherwise, plan on hearing from me sometime between September and October. Please pray with me that the Lord would use me to be a blessing and encouragement to others.

Children’s Bible Club 2012. The Lord has again blessed our church’s annual Children’s Bible Club. It was headed up and run by the nationals in our church, with the added help of Casey and Sarah Kline. This year’s theme was, “The Mountains of Jerusalem” and the kids seemed to really enjoy it. Our highest day of attendance was 56 and we had several parents visit during the week as well. We do not give mass invitations for salvation. Instead, we have our teachers deal with the children personally. The teachers reported 13 children receiving Christ as Savior during the week. One of the visiting parents was actually one of the girls who used to come to Bible Club herself. She came to church the following Sunday and has indicated that she is interested in knowing more about God’s salvation. One of the boys who received Christ was Seriozha our neighbor’s boy. My sons, Ben and Sam, have been praying for his salvation for over a year now. It was a blessing to see God answer their prayers.

Salvation Sunday! We are very thankful for the Lord blessing us with one soul saved during our last Salvation Sunday meeting. Lydia came to church as a guest of one of our members and received Christ during the invitation. She fits in very well and we look forward to helping her grow in the Lord.

Another Baptismal Service. In our last prayer letter I wrote about Nikolai and Valentina who received Christ. They attended our classes for new converts and decided to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and join the church. In addition, we have had several other young people come from a neighboring town to visit our services. Two of the young men were not yet baptized so they attended classes too. All together we had five follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. What a blessing it was! There was shouting, tears of joy, hugs, and HUGE smiles! It is good to be saved! It is going to be very hard to leave when everything is going so good.

Missionary Sasha. One challenge of the Gospel ministry in Ukraine has been working with nationals in the area of God’s call and the ministry. There are Ukrainian men in whom I’ve invested years of training only to come away realizing that their desire to help was more out of personal respect for me than it was the call of God on their lives. It is very frustrating working with such men in the ministry and has taught me to be patient and more thorough in dealing with men who want to serve in the ministry. I am currently praying with Sasha Taraniuk about his calling to the Lord’s ministry in Ukraine. Sasha is praying and seeking the Lord’s will for his life in the ministry. He has always been a GREAT personal worker. He constantly witnesses to his fellow countrymen and has a burden for the work of the Lord, especially that other churches will be established in other towns. He has been doing research and surveying other towns, mostly regional centers, passing out tracts, doing personal work, and seeking where the Lord would have him begin the work of starting a church. At the moment, he is drawn to the small city called Illichivsk, which is located about an hour south of Odessa. We are praying about sending him out as a national missionary to start a work there. Please pray for him and his wife, Oksana, for the Lord to make His will very clear to them both.

There is so much more I would like to say but time and space will not allow. Please pray for us during the transition and for the ministry here to grow during our absence. God bless you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord. Until our next prayer letter, or, until we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him,

Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                 May 2012

It is a privilege to once again write and tell what the Lord has done for us and the ministry here in Ukraine. A few weeks ago I revamped our mailing list and was reminded of each and every one of you. Great gratitude filled my soul thinking of all the churches and individuals who were faithfully praying for us and supporting us in this work.

From visas to registration. Upon our return, we immediately began the new registration process for missionaries. It took about fifty days to complete and we sure are relieved to be out of the paper jungle for a while. We are still waiting to hear if or when we will receive the “Vid na Zhitelstva” which would give us a five year residency status. Please pray about this with us. These new laws have really taken their toll on us and our ministry. We long to be able to tend to the Lord’s business without distraction from the bureaucratic jungle. We are very thankful that the Lord has opened this door for us to minister here and is keeping it open all these years. We pray He will keep it open till He calls us all home.

Abiding Fruit. One year, while tending to my fruit trees, the Lord taught me a great object lesson. I saw that our plum tree was just loaded with fruit. Too much, really, for it’s small frame. I went over and grabbed a branch and just gave it a gentle shaking. The fruit fell like rain. I thought, “This reminds me of some Christians and ministries I know.” They give a great appearance of being fruitful but all it takes is a little “shaking things up” and the unripe fruit falls away. I don’t want my life and ministry to be like that plum tree. I asked the church to begin praying for souls, this time, however, that we should pray for God’s Holy Spirit to convict and bring sinner’s to understand their condition before Him. We can work and labor but without the Lord’s Spirit we can do nothing. God wonderfully answered our prayers. Two people were saved within about three weeks and they were not unripe fruit picked too early. They literally fell into our hands. One Sunday four young people visited our church from a town about two hours away. Three of them were saved, one was not. A young lady named Victoria came to me and said, “I came to church today to get saved.”!!!!! Being the skeptic that I am, I questioned her to see if she really understood the Gospel and, to my surprise, she really was ready. Victoria got on her knees that morning and received Christ as her Savior! She has been reading her Bible and has come back to church. The fruit abides!!! Two Sunday’s later a retired army officer named Nikolai came to me and also asked what he needed to do to be saved. He had been visiting our church for about three weeks and started reading the Bible. He is a smart man and is very reasonable. I explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him and brought him to the part that he must call upon the Lord in prayer. Nikolai said, “I don’t know how to pray. I’ve never really prayed before.” So, I explained that the Lord was near and can hear him and that he should just talk to Him like he would anyone. He bowed his head and began praying, calling on the Lord to save him. As he prayed I felt the Lord’s Spirit with us in the room and knew that this man was experiencing the new birth. When he finished praying Nikolai said, “Something happened to me while I prayed! I’ve never felt anything like this before in my life.” I was rejoicing in my soul but containing my emotions and was somewhat amused by this newborn baby in Christ trying to figure out this new feeling like Wesely, who was “strangely warmed” when saved. Nikolai has been faithfully coming to church ever since and is growing in the Lord. The fruit abides!!! Praise be to God!!!

Water Baptismal Service. In the month of May we enjoyed the Lord’s ordinances in the local church. It was my privilege to baptize six young people: Maxim, Vlad, Lydia, and Anya. Also among them were my two middle sons Benjamin and Samuel. They are growing in the Lord, in prayer, and in their understanding of the Scriptures. They are also praying for their friend next door, Sergei, who has been coming to church for about a year.

Graduation Banquet. We are very thankful to announce that my oldest son, Joshua, has graduated High School. Every year we have a special service for our Graduates in the church and this year we made it even more special with a Graduation Banquet. It was a blessing to hear all the young people’s speeches and also to have some unsaved people in attendance. It was good for them to see how well we love and take care of our young people. (Continued on the other side…)

Funeral Service for Dina. One of our dear ladies in church, Babushka (i.e. “Grandma”) Dina, went home to be with the Lord. I wrote of her salvation in a prayer letter about seven or eight years ago. She had a very hard and even tragic life up to the time that she received Christ as her Savior. She was sold, as a fifteen year old girl, to be the wife of a thirty year old man who was of the Gagaouzi people. They are the Turkish people who settled in Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. She was an alcoholic and had to live with the death of a two-year old grand-daughter who died of an overdose while under her care. She was drunk and didn’t notice that the child had eaten a whole bottle of aspirin. She was a diabetic and contracted gangrene which caused her to lose her foot. It was during this time that the Lord answered our prayers and she received Christ. There was a visible change in her after she was saved. She went from a hard, cursing, hateful woman to a tender, kind, and loving Grandma! She is with the Lord now and I am reminded how important missions is. I tried to deal with her son who is unsaved and he cried saying that his last memories of his mother were those of her sitting by the window reading her Bible in the sunlight! I told him that, though she was poor, she left him a great legacy – a true Christian testimony. I told him that if she had not met Jesus Christ his last memories would have been of her in a drunken stupor. Oh, what a change in our lives the Lord makes. Please pray for his salvation.

Family matters. Please pray for Joshua and I as we travel back to the United States for him to work for the summer. He is preparing for college next year and needs to work to save money. He is not allowed to work in Ukraine for money because he has a missionary visa. I am travelling with him also to get my shoulder looked at that I injured last February. Please pray for our family while we are apart from each other. On May 31 Naomi and I celebrated our 19th Wedding Anniversary! She is very dear to me and I hate to be away from her for very long, especially in her condition! We are happy to announce that the Lord has blessed us again and Naomi is expecting. This truly was an unexpected blessing and we will have a lot to think and pray about in the coming months.

God bless you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord. Until our next prayer letter or we meet in the air!

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,     February – March 2012

I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and enjoying His blessings.  It is again my privilege to tell of what the Lord is doing as we serve Him in Ukraine.  As mentioned in our last letter we spent six weeks in the US applying for new long term visas, getting doctor’s check-ups, and renewing other documents.  It was a blessing to have the opportunity to preach in several churches and even preach at the Branch Hill Baptist Church’s annual Sweetheart Banquet.  I was very encouraged seeing that Maineville Baptist Church, one of the first churches to take us on for support, has a new pastor, Mark Sage, who is doing a good job leading the church to grow in the Lord.

We received our visas!  Thank you for praying for our visas.  We came very close to not receiving them in time.  I applied for the new long term visas and submitted all the documentation they required after checking ALL FOUR Ukrainian Consulate websites.  I waited several weeks for a reply only to have our paperwork and passports returned with the note, “Please submit all required documents.”  They didn’t say what was missing.  Time was running out so we drove all that night to Chicago to apply in person.  The consulate wanted a copy of our churches paperwork proving that it was a registered religious organization.  It seemed ridiculous to me seeing that it would be impossible for me to receive a letter of invitation without a registered religious organization in the first place.  The consulate stood firm.  I told him I did not have our church’s documents with me and that we would lose our return flights.  He said that he would accept a copy sent via e-mail.  I promptly called our church treasurer who, at 7:00 p.m., still “happened” to be at his office and had the church documents with him.  The copies were sent to the Embassy within ten minutes!  Glory to God!  We were on our way home the same day with the new visas in hand.  We made it out of Chicago just as a snow storm hit.  The Lord took care of us on the road as we were literally a few feet away from a car that lost control on the highway in front of us (Prov.  21:31).

Souls!  The entire time we were in the States I prayed for the Lord to give me souls.  In most of our meetings people came to the altar, and a few young people offered their lives for missions, but it was very disappointing that souls were not getting saved.  I’ve had a few health problems and had a checkup with a Jewish doctor, whose staff was not busy at the time!  After the checkup I spoke to them all about being a missionary and went straight for him.  It was a captive audience!  They listened carefully as I told them of God’s dealings with Israel and His plan of salvation.  Twice the doctor said, “You’ve almost talked me into becoming a Christian!” Doesn’t that sound familiar (Acts 26:28)? I took him some literature a few days later and continue to pray for his salvation. 

Our time in the States was coming to an end and I was very disappointed that the Lord still had not given me one soul.  Then I had an opportunity to talk to my brother’s friend, Bobbie Jo, about salvation.  My brother was concerned about her and asked if I would talk to her.  I invited them to come to Mt.  Hope Baptist Church, where I dedicated my life to Christ over twenty years ago, to hear me preach.  She came to church that Sunday, for the first time in her life, but did not get saved.  The Lord gave me another opportunity to witness to her the next  Saturday evening.  Both Steven, and Bobbie Jo came to church again the following Sunday evening when I preached at Bible Believer’s Baptist Church in Loveland, OH.  I had called Pastor Wilson a few weeks prior and he was booked up, but he called me back several days later and said that, while praying that morning, he felt that he should invite me to come and preach.  That night I preached, gave an invitation and she did not respond.  I took a seat in the front row, discouraged that not one soul was saved during our visit to the States.  Then my wife tapped my shoulder and said, “I just prayed with Bobbie Jo.  She received Christ!” What a blessing!  She and my brother  have been attending services faithfully ever since.  Please pray for them!  One of the great things about writing prayer letters is that you get to relive moments like that!  I’m getting such a blessing, even “goose bumps” writing about it!  All praise, honor, glory, and power to the Lamb of God!

Return to Ukraine and registrations.  We flew back to Ukraine on March 1.  As usual, the return trip was brutal but the reunion with the saints was sweet.  We’ve begun the process to now get our long term registration. 

We have submitted all the necessary paperwork while looking into a second option.  The opportunity to obtain “Residency Status” called a “Vid na Zhitelstva” has been offered to us. 

Brother Sasha, our church treasurer and local missionary, has connections that may be able to get this done for me, Naomi, Joshua, and Miriam.  

Things here are done in a “special” way.  To illustrate, several years ago I got a crash course in how to do business in Ukraine at the local train station.  There was a special window that was for foreigners to obtain tickets.  I would go the lady at the window and say, “I need a ticket to Kiev.” She would say, “We don’t have any.” I would walk away and then a young man would approach me asking, “What do you need?” Again, I’d say, “A ticket to Kiev.” We would agree on the day and price and then he would go back to THE VERY SAME WOMAN and buy the ticket for me.  I had to buy tickets like this on at least four occasions.  It is kind of the same situation with Residency Status.  I sent a guy to inquire for me the normal way.  We were denied, however, if you have connections and money you can get it done.  It is expensive on the one hand, however, on the other I cannot afford buying tickets for me and my family every year just to renew our visas.  As it is, our credit cards are “maxed-out” paying for the last tickets.  Each “Residency Status Card” is about the same price as a plane ticket.  Please pray that we can get this “Vid na Zhitelstva” which would allow me to stay here for five years without having to leave every year.  That is big savings for a family our size.

Small town recon.  We visited a small town an hour away named Beliavka for passing out tracts and looking the town over for opportunities possibilities of a new church plant.  I’ve been working with Sasha Taraniuk, who is our new local missionary hoping to help him get some Bible studies going in other towns.  The tracts were well received and we had a few good conversations with the locals there.  Please pray for souls to get saved and that the Lord would guide every step in this ministry.

More souls!  We are very thankful to report that two other people have been saved since our return to Ukraine.  One boy named, Vlad, the younger brother of Vika, received Christ and has been faithfully attending church since.  Another middle aged man, named Oleg, has also received Christ, though I have some doubts about him and his motives.  I’ve dealt with him for about a year now.  He was never convinced that he was going to go to hell.  So, he would come to church (I think because he is interested in a certain woman) and I’d preach at him every chance I had.  He came to me last Wednesday and said, “I’m ready.” I asked, “Ready for what?” He said that he wanted to get saved.  I asked if he knew how.  He said, “That’s why I’ve come to you.” I explained salvation and asked if he would like to pray to receive Christ, to which he replied, “I’ve already done that.” He called on the name of the Lord at home while going through some of our literature.  There is a noticeable change in him and I look forward to teaching him in the future. 

 Family matters.  My oldest son, Joshua will be turning 18 in April and graduating High School this May.  We are planning on him going back to the States to work for the summer so he can make money to further his education.  Please pray for us as we all go through the tough transition.  Please pray that God would make His will for Joshua clear and help him grow during this transition to life in America.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and friendship.

 That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil.  3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,     December 2011 – January 2012

I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and looking for His return.  It was my desire and intention to write a separate prayer letter for the month of December, but I could not find the time while preparing for our departure to the United States to renew our visas.  It is never our intention to make a trip back to the States without first notifying our supporting churches and asking for prayer.  The new visas laws in Ukraine are throwing hurdles in our way that cause unforeseen problems.  In addition to the preparations for the trip our family came down with whooping cough which made us sick for many weeks.  Now I know why whooping cough is also called the “One hundred day cough.”  An epidemic hit Ukraine and affected several people in our church.  Joshua, Miriam, and Christopher had a pretty bad case, but it seemed to hit me worse of all.  The trip back to the States further weakened our immune systems so I also came down with a few flu bugs and walking pneumonia.  Thankfully we are all on the mend and trying hard to get our immune systems back up.

After praying about the need to apply for new long term visas we decided that it would be best to do so after the holidays, during the low key winter months.  Spring and summer is our busiest time, when ministry, home, and schooling schedules are full.  We also had the hard decision of whether it would be best to try to go somewhere in Europe or the States.  Both are very expensive.  Knowing that the situation with the new laws would be unchartered territory we decided that it would more profitable to fly to the States.  At least we had a free place to stay in the US.  Food and lodging in the EU for my family would be extremely expensive.  I am so glad that the Lord led us this way.  He knows what the future holds.  After buying our tickets I tried to renew my driver’s license online only to find out that they required that I appear in person.  If my license were to expire while on the field, it would have caused a lot of hardship on our lives and ministry.  We also felt it would be best to get a few medical tests done there in the States for my four year old son Christopher.  The doctors here have been a big help and diagnosed him has having a genetic disorder that makes his joints hyper-flexible.  He may have injured a disk in his back, but we cannot know for sure without an MRI.  We are thankful to the Lord that there are no broken bones.

Ukraine is a very reactive society; not proactive.  Laws are passed and everyone reacts.  Knowing this I applied for a letter of invitation six weeks before our departure to allow enough time to get it before leaving for the States….six weeks to receive a signed piece of paper!  Trying to book a return flight is much like shooting blind in the dark.  So, I allowed six weeks in the States to apply for the new visas at the Ukrainian Embassy.  It took close to nine weeks to get the letter! American efficiency, on the other hand, is amazing.  I was able to renew my driver’s license in ten minutes! I have filled out all the necessary paperwork and applied for the visas as soon as the letter arrived here in the States.  Please pray that we will receive our new visas before our return flight.

The months of December and January have been a great blessing.  We’ve had several girls consistently visiting as a result of our last summer’s Children’s Bible Club.  The church prepared “goodie baskets” for the shut-ins and sang Christmas hymns upon delivering them.  We also visiting the local orphanage and dropped off some goodies there.  We are still praying for an open door to minister there.  Our church prepared a street meeting and had a great time signing and preaching on the street.

 The Lord also gave me a longtime desire of my heart in opening the door for me to preach in the local public school.  Our homeschool group prepared a Christmas Cantata and were able to present it in two different schools in Odessa and Rozdilna.  After the children presented the Cantata to the auditorium I was able to tell them all about Jesus Christ using the candy cane as an object lesson.  We also passed out the Chick tract “The Greatest Story Ever Told” to them all.  This is a great open door that we hope will allow us more access to the children in our area.  The children and parents are much less likely to be afraid and suspicious of us if we are allowed in the schools by the director.  They have invited me back to the school in Rozdilna for “cultural exchange” between Ukraine and the United States! Please pray that the Lord will keep this door open and that these children will come to know Jesus Christ though our efforts there.

The logistics involved in even a short term visit to the States can be very complicated.  My parents were gracious to let us stay in their house while they were down south, so, a cheap place to stay was taken care of.  However, obtaining a vehicle with insurance has always been somewhat of a challenge.  We thank God for the Friendship Baptist Church lending us a vehicle and taken care of the insurance! The Lord has allowed me to take a few meetings in several supporting churches in the Cincinnati area.  Please pray that the Lord will use us to be a blessing to the saints.  We wish we could see everyone, but time will not allow.  Please pray for our church in our absence.

We are scheduled to return to Ukraine on February 29.  Please pray for travelling mercies and that the Lord will help us get this new long term visa.  We are given 45 days to complete a very complicated process.  Thank you for your prayers, support, and friendship.

 That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil.  3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                    November 2011

I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and looking for His return. The Lord blessed us in the month of November with two people coming to know Jesus Christ as Savior. Ukrainian custom requires that you greet someone the first time you see them each day. It is considered an insult not to do so. This is what led to Sveta receiving Christ. I was on my way to Sunday evening service and stopped to pick up some of our church members who were talking with a woman and her two daughters. The mother’s name is Sveta and her two daughters used to come to our church, where one of them was saved. It was a little dark, but I rolled down the window and said, “Dobri Vetcher.” They just ignored me and walked on by. This is considered an insult, but I figured that she was upset for some reason. I drove on down the street to pick up some other members and upon turning around I saw Sveta waving frantically for me to stop. She was apologizing profusely for being so rude and that she did not see that it was me. We invited her to come to church, but she refused because she and her girls were in pants. We convinced them to come anyway, and, to make a long story short Sveta responded to the invitation to receive Jesus Christ. This was the last opportunity that I had to win her to the Lord, for she was just days away from immigrating to the United States. In the past I tried visiting her twice to win her to Christ and was only successful in engaging her in light conversation because she was always in a hurry to go somewhere. She is now already living in the United States. Please pray for her and her daughters as we try to help them get into a Bible Believing Church in Oregon.

It was again a blessing to gather our youth with those of other missionary churches in Ukraine for a one day Youth Conference. Missionaries Perry Demopolis and Mike Ireland preached to the youth. We still rejoice in what God has done in the past in these meetings and work and pray that they will help our youth “sell out” to God.

It was my privilege to be invited to take part in an ordination service of Pavel Ivanovich, who is now pastor over a church that was started by Missionary Mike Ireland. I preached the charge to Brother Pavel, Brother Richard Maher preached a charge to the church, then we laid hands on him. The Lord’s presence was definitely felt and testified that God is going to use this young pastor. While I was away at this meeting a man visited our church on his way to a rehabilitation center. He heard the Gospel and responded that morning. He came back that evening before his train left. He has since contacted us to let us know that he is doing well. 

The church is preparing a Christmas presentation for the town of Razdelnaya. We have a choir and a children’s choir of bells. We pray that the presentation will soften hearts for the Gospel. Brother Casey Kline has been a big help to us with this and is also showing improvement in his Russian. Please pray for him and Sarah in their language studies.

We are again facing some tough decisions regarding our visa situation here. Naomi and I renewed our visas just two days before the new visa regulations were enforced. No one knew the details of the new laws. It is a trickle down set up where the top makes the laws and it takes about six months to a year before the details move down through the ranks and everyone is on the same page….then they change them again! Joshua, our eldest son, will be turning 18 this April and will need a visa. Our original plan was to purchase a multiple entry visa and then Joshua and I could leave the country together for some father/son time as a graduation gift. Our plan is for Joshua to stay one more year with us at home before we all go back to the States together for a furlough, where we can get him settled into American life and a good church home. In the meantime he can take online courses in preparation for college or university. We thought it was a good plan, but there is one glitch. The new visa laws state that all existing visas will be automatically cancelled once one leaves the country. So, we are praying about what we need to do. On the one hand it would be better for us all to do this at the same time during the winter months while there is a lot of down time. The new visa laws require us to produce over 16 different documents and only allow 45 days to complete the task once entering the country.

For us to split this up into two trips would mean that I could potentially be doing nothing but running documents from office to office as a full time job for three months. The flip side is the expense we would incur for us all to leave the country. It is not an option for Naomi and me to leave the country without our children anymore. Please pray for God to show us what He wants us to do and for perfect peace with the decision.

This past month has been a little hard on the family by way of illnesses. Christopher seems to be getting the brunt of it all. He came down with something that resembled salmonella and was very sick for about a week. He also injured his tailbone and maybe his spine after a pretty bad fall. Praise the Lord everything is okay and he is back to normal.

It was again our privilege to host a Thanksgiving meal for all the missionary families in the Odessa area. This year we had some from Kiev as well. We ate, sang hymns in ENGLISH, and prayed for our families, churches, and country. The Lord is good!

Thank you for your prayers, support, and friendship. God bless you all as you serve the Lord and celebrate Christ’s First Advent! We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                                                            September – October 2011

New School Year Underway. We are glad to say that the Rue Family Home School finally began another school year. Joshua is a senior this year which places us on the threshold of some major changes in the near future. Miriam is a sophomore, and Benjamin and Samuel are finishing up elementary school. Travelling abroad to renew visas, putting up food for winter, “winterizing” the house, etc…keep us busy this time of year. In addition to this is the problematic task of selecting, ordering, and shipping the homeschool materials. We are trying to work out some problems with the curriculum we ordered. The Ukrainian Customs Dept. stopped our shipment and sent it back to the States. This is a huge setback and financial problem because the company we ordered from will not offer any help to replace the materials. In the meantime it is approaching winter and my children do not have some of the courses they need. Please pray that we can solve this soon.

Church Update. Ukraine has come a long way in some areas. It is especially obvious when you compare today’s Ukraine with the one in which I began my family and ministry back in 1994. Ukraine still seems to be about ten years behind several of the other former Soviet countries in the Baltics, but I sure am thankful for the progress. I’d give it all up in a moment for the people to be as receptive today as they were then. We had 80 to 100 people showing up every week. Souls were saved weekly. Visitors came every Sunday and Wednesday. I took it all for granted. Today, all of that has changed. The Lord, however, gives us “handfuls of purpose” along the way and encourages us in the thought that we may be ‘the last hour laborers’ of the church age. A young man named Svyatoslav came to visit our church from Odessa. He is the son of the lady who bought our old house in Odessa. I’ve witnessed to her on several occasions and she even came to Bible Club with her little girl but she still doesn’t “get it.” She is steeped in superstition and astrology. She is convinced that God hears my prayers so she thought I could help him with his eyesight. He is in danger of losing one of his eyes. The doctor here thinks that he needs to remove the one to save the other. I dealt with him after church for over an hour. Knowing him and his mother I figured that this might be my only chance to really deal with him. I didn’t push him into a decision but I certainly did ask if he would like to receive Christ as Savior. I explained the Gospel and asked do you understand. “Yes,” he said. “Do you want to pray and receive Christ right now?” He answered, “Wait a minute, what does this mean again…” After three times going through the Gospel he finally got on his knees and prayed asking God to save him from sin, not failing eyesight! He rode the train from Odessa for three weeks to attend services, in spite of the fact that it takes about two hours of travel time to get to church. Then he stopped. His mother was a little spooked by it all and, I think, began to influence him. Naomi and I visited her and did what we can to sow some more seed. Natasha is a self-made success story. She owns several jewelry stores in Odessa and has a lot on her plate. We have an open door to go back. Please pray for her salvation. Sometimes I get such a blessing just looking at our church members. I remember who they were and what they were like before they got saved. It is just a blessing to see how far they’ve come. The Lord has shown me that I can often miss such a blessing by concentrating on the problems. Believe me, we’ve got plenty. Our folks are witnessing, praying for the salvation of souls, singing loud, and still hang around after services for up to an hour. What a blessing and a privilege it is to serve Jesus Christ here in Ukraine. We are trying to saturate a town about an hour away with Gospel tracts. We’ve been there twice and still have to go back again to finish. We are praying that God will give us some open doors to start a Bible study.

Tracts and Literature. I am thrilled that we finally have a good supply of quality tracts to pass out. We finished the translation of the Chick tract “Mad Machine.” It is well received. People immediately identify with the title. The tract, “Moving On Up!” is translated and is being printed. We are now working on “Who Is He?” and “The Bully.” Please pray that this work will be used of God to bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I am also very glad that we have begun the translation of the book, “Sure Word of Prophesy” by Dr. Ruckman. Please pray for its translation, publication, and distribution here in Ukraine.

Church Planter’s Mission Society. In the area of church planting we’ve had a few, what I’ll call “good attempts.” This is not including our church in Razdelnaya. It is doing very well and has weathered many a storm over the years. So, with the exception of Razdelnaya, each time we have tried to plant churches in other towns they’ve failed when I’ve completely entrusted them to national leadership. The question that has bothered me over the past five years has mainly been whether to turn this church over to national leadership and move on or stay and use it as a base for a larger church planting ministry. In the past, each time that I got ready to turn it over, the Lord stopped us. The problem is that I’m not happy concentrating all my efforts on one church. After some prayer and consideration I believe we have found an answer to the problem. We are currently in the process of organizing a Ukrainian missionary society for the sole purpose of training and equipping nationals in the work of evangelizing and starting local churches here. It is nothing new to what we’ve been doing here over the years. It is just a different approach. So, I’ve already begun the process of organizing it and I’ve already had a meeting with our first “candidate” who is eager to get to work. He needs a little more training and direction but he has the heart to serve Christ and see sinners saved. Please pray for God’s blessings and provision as we try to get more churches planted.

Let me close with a word of testimony of God’s goodness and answered prayer. When it came time to purchase the curriculum to home school our kids we ended up doing something that I don’t like to do – go into debt. It was a big order. We also ordered the extra workbooks to go with the textbooks so that we could reuse the textbooks with our other children. (They are always putting out new editions to make you buy more books and workbooks!) It was weighing on my mind a bit and then I realized that I hadn’t asked God to provide for that need. I actually felt ashamed for not asking. So, I prayed for God to help us pay off the curriculum. Some friends contacted us a few days later asking how they could help. The rest is history. What a blessing it is to watch the Lord use the body of Christ to answer prayer. Thank you for your prayers, support, and friendship. God bless you all as you serve the Lord.

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                      March – April 2011

 I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and rejoicing in His salvation.

 Family Matters! It is a funny thing that we have birthdays each month beginning in January and continuing through July. In April we celebrate two birthdays, Joshua’s (now 17) and Christopher’s (now 4). I turned 44 this past January and celebrated my 23rd year serving the Lord Jesus Christ on February 18. Samuel turned eight in February; and Naomi had a birthday in March making her…still a young woman! We will celebrate Ben’s birthday in a few days when he will turn ten. I wish to thank all of you who sent us birthday wishes and words of encouragement. I want to testify and say that the best thing that I ever did, besides getting saved at the age of eight, is selling out to Jesus Christ at 21 years of age. The Lord has been very good to this unworthy sinner. The Lord has given me a remarkable wife and six children. Everyone is in good health and all but the two youngest are saved. Best of all, I’ve had the privilege of serving Him on the mission field for the past 17 years, preaching the word of God, leading people to Christ, watching them grow and do the same. The Lord is good!

The Lord has provided us with a great house and yard that helps us live more and more efficiently off the land. We are debt free. Our chickens give us fresh eggs every day and we now butcher our own cows every three of four months. We have a calf that stays on one of our church member’s property getting fat for his appointed day. We have fresh milk, straight from the cow, delivered every morning by a neighbor lady down the street. Naomi makes our own cottage cheese and yogurt from it. She also bakes our own bread.

       Well, I guess it has happened, I’ve become “Ukrainianized.” The Lord sure does have a sense of humor taking a city boy like me, born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and putting him out in the outskirts of Odessa Ukraine. The Lord is good.

Church Matters! With the coming of spring we have had several work days on the church property getting things in shape for the upcoming services. Please pray with us about our neighbor who has been trying to steal a big piece of land that gives us access to our property. When we purchased this property he had already claimed this land and put up some gates through which we needed to pass to gain access to our church property. He is a surly man and should have been named “Nabal.” We’ve been praying for his salvation and have tried to witness to him, but, he just needs to be put in his place. Some people understand nothing but force. He once put sharp rusty spikes in the ground where children walk to keep them out and he also once shot a dog that wandered on our (not his) property when the gates were left open. He started putting locks on the gates, which I busted  off and told him I will do it again if he tries to lock us out. He threatened me with his gun, but backed down when he saw that I would not be intimidated. I finally sent one of the men in our church, Sasha, who runs a business dealing with privatization of land to find out what’s up with this land situation. It turns out that the land is supposed to be a road joining two streets and he and the neighbor have taken and fenced it off for their own. The city came and took a look and sent him a written notice to take down his gates. Please pray for Slavic to get saved.

Missions Conference. In April we held a mission’s conference for our church to kick off the establishment of a Ukrainian Mission Board for supporting nationals who are engaged in church planting here in Ukraine. Missionary Perry Demopolis was our guest preacher and we had three nationals present their work. Each night our church took up a good love offering and pledged support for these men. Please pray for more laborers!

Bible Study in Odessa. I met with the dean of the Christian University in Odessa, who graciously offered us the use of one of their rooms for weekly meetings in Odessa. He also asked me to teach Theology once or twice a year to the students there. We haven’t discussed the details, but if I can teach anything I want I will jump at the offer. Most of the students are unsaved! What an open door! Please pray for these meetings which start in a few weeks.

 Chick Tracts. The Ukrainian customs are holding our order of Chick Tracts until we pay customs tax on them.  It involves a trip to Lviv, commissioning a broker, paying the taxes and fees all totaling around $1000. Chick Publications graciously agreed to pay for the fees. It is a good thing and just in time because we would not have had the funds to get them released. Everything has been taken care of. Now we are waiting for their delivery so we can pass them out. The tract, The Empty Tomb, was very well received around Easter time here.

 Child Training Seminar. The Lord opened gave me another opportunity to teach a child training seminar in Dnipropetrovsk at Pastor Dema Pishenetski’s church. We had about twenty young parents in attendance who all seemed to get something out of the teaching. We were able to give everyone a copy of our book “Growing Up God’s Way” by John Stormer and “To Train Up a Child.”

Prayer Requests. Please pray for a young man named Maxim. He is a former Jehovah’s Witness and has been coming for the past couple weeks. I spent a lot of time dealing with him last Sunday. He has a lot to think about now. Please pray for his salvation.

 Also, please pray for our upcoming trip to Kiev to renew four of our family’s passports.

 Of course, a big part in our ministry is the body of Christ that supports us in this work. Thank you all for your prayers and financial support that enable us to serve the Lord here in Ukraine.

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                         January - February 2011           

I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and rejoicing in His salvation. It is hard to believe that two months have already passed in the “New Year.” It seems like we just winterized the house and now it is time to get ready for all the work of Spring. The past two months of winter have been somewhat of a down time but we thank the Lord for the opportunities He has given us to minister here in Ukraine.

Child Training Seminar. For the third time, the Lord has opened another door of opportunity to teach a Child Training Seminar in yet another church – the Trinity Baptist Church in Odessa. In addition to teaching the seminar Pastor Masato Funakoshi asked me to write a syllabus and prepare a quiz at the end. He wanted to give those that scored well a free book that we translated and published with European Missionary Publications entitled “Growing Up God’s Way” by John Stormer. The seminar took about five hours and went very well. As usual, the time for questions and answers revealed what the average Christian family faces trying to raise a family for God. The challenges here to do it by the Book are many and complex. This society, set up by atheists, is an enemy to the biblical institutions of church and family. Their system of control frustrates parents and makes it very difficult to train their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” During the days of the Soviet Union, the fad in child training was the teachings of Dr. Spock. The results were in many cases catastrophic and the “fad” persists to this day. Most give in to the collective pressure of society accepting the mentality “That’s just the way we do it.” However, there is a remnant of Christians that take their God given responsibility seriously and do not want their children to end up like that average child in Ukraine today. We thank God for them and do what we can to help.

Sunday School Seminar. I received another opportunity to minister from my good friend colleague, Richard Maher, who asked me to teach a Seminar at the Lakeside Baptist Church. He wanted me to introduce and instruct them in the use of the Sunday School program we’ve been working on for the past four years. We are very pleased that the Lord is getting this program into other churches. That’s exactly what I want and pray for – for God to do the work. The program is still pretty much in “rough draft” form, but usable. We have already given it out to three other churches that use it in their Sunday Schools. It consists of 150 lessons which cycles every three years. It was originally geared toward three age groups, then I added lessons for an Adult Class. The parents of our kids began saying that their kids knew the Bible better than themselves. We also hope that the adult lessons will be useful in planting future churches. We have about 15 lessons left to write, along with worksheets for each group, then the project will be finished. Please pray for God’s blessing on this important project.

Youth Conference.  In February we hosted a one day Youth Conference. It is always a blast spending time with our youth. Missionary Casey Kline was the guest preacher and he did a fine job dealing with them where they are. We have no high pressure invitations for them to make their “decision for Christ” just to report numbers and such. In fact, our building is too small to even give an invitation to “come forward….” I can practically reach the first row of chairs from the pulpit! It is enough to know that we had about 75 young people whom the Lord dealt with and that some responded to Him. Many of them are at that age when they are looking for “the one.” We pray they marry in God’s will. These Youth Conferences provide a place where they can be with other believers and just be comforted in knowing that they are not the only nuts in the woods. Please pray for this upcoming generation of Christians in Ukraine, they do not have an easy time here going against this world system.

Sweetheart Banquet. Well, we did it. We had our first “Sweethearts Banquet” hoping to encourage and be a blessing to the married couples in our church. Missionary Jeff Christian and his wife Helen were our special guests. It was a good time and, of course, the ladies enjoyed getting dressed up and going out with their husbands. Our church youth served the banquet which was an added blessing. One of the best things about it was that sister Nadia’s husband, Dema, came. Brother Jeff preached a great salvation message and you could tell that the Lord was dealing with him. There was a time when he said he would never ever “cross the threshold of our front door,” but he came! Sister Nadia has completely changed in her new found Savior Jesus Christ. Dema, on the one hand, loves having a changed wife; but on the other, hasn’t yet made up his mind to get saved himself. The biggest hindrance is “the offense of the cross.” More and more, there is a stigma attached to those who are anything but Russian Orthodox. Please pray for his salvation.

 Bible Study in Odessa. We have submitted the paperwork to begin a Bible Study in a university in Odessa. Please pray that it will be approved by the Dean and council. This would give us access to more young people and begin planting the seeds for a Bible Believing church in north Odessa.

 Prayer Requests. We are still waiting for our shipment of Chick Tracts to arrive. Please pray that they make it here safely and soon; and that they will be used of the Lord to bring souls to Christ. We have some prayer requests regarding the formation of a Ukrainian Missionary Society for the purpose of enabling young men to plant churches here in Ukraine. We are also praying about starting a Bible study in a town an hour away called “Velika Michaelivka.” Please pray for God’s blessing, guidance, power, and wisdom.

 Thank you all for your prayers and financial support that enable us to serve the Lord here in Ukraine.

 That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                          November – December 2010

A Ukrainian Sister Goes Home. One of our long time church members, Luda Ghiroon, went home to be with the Lord. She was a simple sister with an interesting testimony. Several months after she got saved she told me that she watched me for almost two years before she finally believed that I really was a Baptist Missionary! She was convinced that I was a spy for the USA! She could not figure out why anyone would leave America with wife and children and come live in a place like this! However, the preaching of the Book got to her and she received Christ. Two of her children were saved, but manifest only a little growth. Her oldest son, Ruslan, has come to church and heard me preach the Gospel for over a year. Sometimes, it looks as though he got saved on his own, but he is naturally very quiet and shy and does not like attention. He and his younger brother, Dennis, now work out in the Russian Tundra and had quite a time trying to travel back home for the funeral. We preached the Gospel as plain and simple as we could trying to undue all the superstition and unbelief of what happens to one’s soul when they die. They learned of the difference in the destinies of Christians versus unbelievers. The details of the funeral were handled by an unsaved friend of the family and, as usual, some Orthodox traditions crept in. An Orthodox cross led the procession to the cemetery. Like a boxer who obviously lost the match, but raises his arms in victory before the final announcement, I knew it was the desperate attempt of my enemy pretending he won her soul. Oh to the contrary! That was a victory for Jesus Christ! Sister Luda is with Him in glory right now!

Baptismal Service. In November it was my privilege to baptize two more Ukrainian believers and receive three new members into our church family. We hold classes for candidates for membership and water baptism, which takes about four hours. In the classes I go over the Gospel with them making sure that they are saved. We also review the meaning of water baptism in addition to covering who we are and what we believe as a local New Testament Baptist church. This gives me the opportunity to deal with people on a more personal basis and gives them a relaxed atmosphere to ask questions. It also helps me deal with those who may embrace heresy – usually baptismal regeneration. Nadia and Galya both gave a good testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ before being baptized and the church was overjoyed to receive them in addition to Raya into the church family.

Thanksgiving. It may be odd but the celebration of Thanksgiving always seems so much more meaningful when observed here in Ukraine than in America. We again had the privilege to host a missionary get together in our home on Thanksgiving Day. We always enjoy the time with other missionaries. We sing hymns in English and set aside a special time when the head of each home prays for our families, ministries, and especially our country. Of course the food is good too! I still love and thank God for America as she was founded. However, anyone who understands Daniel chapter seven knows how she will wind up. In the meantime we continue to thank God for her and pray that He will continue to keep the doors open for the churches there to send missionaries across the globe until the Lord comes.

Christmastime ministry. Every year during the Christmas season our church looks for ways to witness and minister to others in the name of Jesus Christ. Our children’s Sunday School put together a play about the birth of Jesus Christ and presented it to our church, the local children’s orphanage, and the local nursing home for the elderly. Slowly, the local orphanage is warming up to us in spite of the obvious interference from the local Russian Orthodox priest.

The first time we offered to help the children at Christmastime we were told that we could do a small skit about the birth of Jesus Christ and sing some hymns but we were not to pray with the children! That was due to priestcraft! We continue to request access to these children once a week or even a month to talk to them but we keep getting the run around. The response is always “the authorities forbid it!” Nonetheless, the Lord gave us a good time with the kids this year and we were able to give each one of them the Chick tract “The Greatest Story Ever Told!” Our church took up an offering and gathered toys, candy, and shoes for them. The kids were thrilled to get all the good stuff and I was overjoyed to watch our church members get excited about giving and doing things for others in Jesus’ name. Our church also gathered together and bought material to make warm blankets for the elderly in the local nursing home, which is visited by our members several times each month and presented the play of Christ’s birth. We continue to pray for their understanding of the Gospel so they can be saved. They are all on the brink of going out into eternity without Christ and their 70+ years of Darwinism, Atheism, and Communism doesn’t make it easy explaining the Gospel to them.

New Year’s Eve Watchnight Service. We again brought in the New Year with our annual watchnight service. All the preachers took turns preaching, we had some great fellowship and food. At 11:00 p.m. we have testimony time of God’s goodness to us over the past year and end the year with prayer for God’s blessings on our church and families in the coming year.

Chick Tracts. I am so glad that the Lord has and is answering my prayers concerning the provision, publication, and distribution of Chick Tracts. So far we have edited and/or translated the following: The Empty Tomb, Creator or Liar, The Word Became Flesh, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and The Mad Machine. Most of them have been printed already and are on their way here. We are looking forward to passing them out and will pray that God bless us with the fruit of many souls saved. It is our prayer that the Lord will provide us with 10,000 tracts each month in 2011 and that we will get every one of them into the hands of the Ukrainian people who so desperately need the Lord.

Prayer Requests. Please pray for our upcoming events and meetings. We are hosting a one day Youth Conference in February. I will also be teaching a four hour seminar for raising children in another church in Odessa as well as a Sunday School Seminar for teachers. Lord willing, it looks like we will finally be able to hold weekly Bible studies in the university in Odessa. I am really praying that this will turn into another church plant in the future. Please pray that the Lord’s will be done.

We want to thank you all for your prayers for us as we serve the Lord here in Ukraine. God bless you in the New Year as you pray, read and study the Bible, witness, support your local church and pastor and missions; in addition to fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil. Keep looking up. Maybe today!

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                              July – August 2010

 Family Update. School is out! Those words were spoken by my wife with a sigh of relief and shouted by my children with joy. Naomi now has a little time for canning before beginning to plan next year’s curriculum and ordering all the materials. Michael, our youngest, turned two in July and looks like he is going to be the biggest of them all by the time he is 10! He is already as tall and heavy as Christopher, who is three! I’ve decided to start doing pushups and pull-ups in anticipation of his 14th birthday! The kids are all enjoying the summer break and are a big help with daily chores of life in Ukraine. Another blessing we had this year was a visit from Naomi’s mother, Sarah Witter, for several weeks. This is her second visit with us and she is always a help with the kids during the busy summer days. She also helped with the daily devotions with the English speaking girls during the youth camp, which she really enjoyed.

Youth Camp. The Lord tremendously blessed this year’s Annual Youth Conference in Odessa. We had around 120 in attendance representing about ten churches. We were privileged to have Missionary Gerald Sutek from the S.W.A.T Team for Christ, along with Missionaries Perry Demopolis and Paul Hamilton as our guest preachers. The Lord dealt with many youth during the week and many made some life changing decisions to sell out for Jesus Christ. For many of these young people, the Annual Youth Conference is the highlight of their year. That is all they talk about during the rest of the year!

 New Recruits Have Arrived! I remember praying many years ago for help with the ministry. It did not matter to me if the Lord sent a young Timothy or an older Paul, I just wanted help! Well, it has pleased the Lord to send us Brother Casey Kline and his wife Sarah and their newborn beautiful girl Kayla. We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord will do with the combined effort of our lives lived for Him here in Ukraine. Casey is presently looking for a place to live that will serve him over the next several years. Please pray for the Klines as they make the transition from American life to Ukrainian along with language study and all the bureaucracy that goes with life here.

 Visa Renewal. Please be in prayer for us as we return to the US to renew our visas. We decided to go ahead and do it early because our entrance into Ukraine would set a precedence as to the timing of future travel, seeing that we now must leave the country every year to renew. We could have waited until December, when our visas expire, but we did not want to interrupt the school year with a long trip, nor did we want to have to travel in winter with six children and all the extra bulky luggage. In addition, we are not sure what we will be facing when we return because it is not clear if the new law for work visas, requiring foreigners to stay outside Ukraine for three months for every two years spent in Ukraine applies to those with religious visas. We were told the last time we left the country and came back in a few days later that if we leave and come back again they may deny us entry for three months. Most problems with the passport officials that other missionaries have had, however, have been reported as taking place in the Odessa airport only. So, I have arranged to fly to Ukraine via Kiev and then take a domestic flight to Odessa. Please pray for God’s blessing on our trip and paperwork.

 Prayer Requests. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless our work here to the glory of Jesus Christ. Please pray for the people that are witnessed to by our church folks daily, for the tracts that have gone out, and for the Lord to bless the ministry in our absence. I also have a very important personal unspoken request that would bring some comfort knowing that people are praying to God on our behalf. Thank you for your friendship, prayers, support, and help. May God bless you.

 That Ukraine May Know Him,   Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10

 

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                                      March - April 2010

 

Ministry Update. Sensing the need for more emphasis on soul winning, I put together a series of Sunday School lessons on the “how to” of bringing people to Christ. The whole church was included – all ages, all classes – even the little ones! For those who wanted more training we added soul winning classes on Saturday before visitation. The effort has yielded some fruit and I hope there will be more for the glory of Jesus Christ.

    It was my privilege to lead Maria, the mother of one of our members, to Christ. Her daughter, Oksana, has been praying and fasting for her mother’s salvation. During a visit I spent three hours explaining the Gospel to her. Maria had tears in her eyes when she finally prayed to receive Christ. She has a lot of baggage from the Orthodox Church but she’s been reading her Bible every day since. One of our young men led a man to Christ who was recently paralyzed in an accident. His wife has also gotten right with the Lord and started coming to church again. A couple members continue to visit them every week for prayer and Bible reading. One of our young ladies has taken on the ministry of visiting the elderly in the state-run nursing home. It is a blessing to see Olya’s burden for souls and faithfulness to win them. We are also encouraged by the addition of two young ladies and a young man that come every service and are very close to receiving Christ.

    The Lord gave more fruit during our revival services with Missionary Paul Hamilton. One young lady named Nadia has been coming to church for almost a year but never truly understood the Gospel. What finally opened her eyes to her condition was when one of our Sunday School teachers used the soul winning lessons to show her that, though she prayed to God for temporal things, she was not His child. She was trusting in her righteousness, not Christ’s. She thought she was saved just because she believed in God’s existence and prayed to Him for help in life. Oksana explained to her that the prayer God would receive is the prayer of calling on the name of the Lord to be saved from Hell. Only then would she be His child. Nadia received Christ during the revival services and now trusts Christ alone for salvation! She is a big blessing to us, while watching her take persecution without flinching from her friends and family to confess Christ.

    For a long time I’ve wanted to try something here that the Lord used in my own life years ago. Shortly after rededicating my life to Christ I found a way to witness to my co-workers using Chick Tracts. I worked for a small company in Cincinnati that had about 75 employees. Every Wednesday night before prayer meeting I would buy 75 copies of one title from our church’s bookstore. Every Thursday and Friday I would pass them out to the employees as we passed each other during the day. I promoted it as the “Tract of the Week.” I said those words over and over again till it caught on and they started coming to me every Thursday asking for “The Tract of the Week!” There are so many different titles that I was able to do this every week for over a year. You should try it at your workplace!

    After years of opposition, we are trying, again, to find a way to order 10,000 copies of one title each month. Several issues need much prayer to see this through: translation, financing, and shipping. We are going over the translations, one tract at a time to make sure they are good and will be well received. For example, we tried to pass out “The Empty Tomb” but the title was mistranslated to “The Empty Coffin” and resulted in people being “creeped out” and refused to take them. We talked with Chick Publications and they agreed to change the name to “Christ is Risen!” which is on every Russian tongue on Easter Sunday. Since the US post office discontinued the cheap “M-bag” option, shipping costs have doubled the cost of the tracts themselves. We plan to ship the orders to Mt. Hope Baptist Church in Ohio which has so graciously agreed to store them and ship them to us here, in boxes of 1000, as we need them. Please pray for this project. I’m looking forward to passing out “The Tract of the Month” in Russian!

Family Conference. The Lord opened a door for me to do something that I’ve never done before. I was given an invitation by two churches to teach an all-day seminar on raising children. It was a good time and several families and parents appeared to get some real help in their callings as parents. As is usually the case, I think I benefited the most from the preparation time and thinking about my own family.

Guests! We have been blessed the past few months with the rare privilege of having guests in our home and ministry. A young missionary couple from Selma, CA, Joshua and Adrianna Breazeale, stayed with us for about a month, while preparing to go to the country of Georgia to start a new work there in Batumi. We greatly enjoyed the few days the Lord allowed us to have with Missionary Paul Hamilton, who stayed with us during our revival services. We also enjoyed a day of fellowship and preaching with Missionary Richard Maher and his family, before their return to the States for furlough. We all were edified by his preaching and will miss him and his family. The Lord also gave us the privilege of having Sister Debbie Meyers spend two weeks with us as she prepared her things to return to the United States. She was a great blessing to the missionaries in the Odessa region and will be greatly missed. We pray that the Lord will continue to use her there as He did here. We are especially excited about Brother Casey Kline’s soon arrival with his wife, Sarah, and new baby girl to work with us. Please pray for them as they prepare to come this summer.

Future Plans and Prayer Requests. We are meeting a lot of resistance trying to find a place to rent for holding meetings in the town of Yakovlevka. We approached the town’s community center, called a “House of Culture”, who said that new laws have been introduced that give all local town councils control over access to them. We submitted a written request and were rejected with no real reason given. It is obvious that our enemy has used the Orthodox Church to make these buildings inaccessible to evangelistic efforts, as they were the main building being used for all religious groups for the past fifteen years. We need prayer for wisdom on how to proceed.

    Please also pray for our upcoming children’s Bible Club in July and Youth Camp in August. We are also preparing to attend a combined youth conference in Odessa with several other missionary churches in May. We are praying for those of our youth who have not “sold out” will do so and for some of them who need encouragement in their struggle to live separated lives for Jesus Christ amidst the temptation of this time and place. Odessa is a port city. Enough said.

    I also need prayer about an important decision regarding the future of the ministry here. I am really struggling with this and could use wisdom and light that only God can give. In a nutshell it involves the decision to stay here in this town and use the church as a base and the need to build an addition on to the church building. Or, turning the work over to a national pastor, but I don’t have any peace about it and it is putting a strain on my relationship with one of my best men that I’ve invested years into. Please pray.

    We want to thank each every one of you for “staying by the stuff” during these hard times. God bless you for your burden for souls, for your prayers that hold us up, for your generosity in giving to enable us to be here. Keep looking up, “in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

     That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

 

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                          May - June 2010

On the Home-Front. The last few months on the home front have been busy with finishing up school for the year and getting ready for the summer’s activities and work. Joshua turned 16 and is now in his Junior year, Miriam just turned 14 and will be a Freshman, Ben turned 9 in May, and Sam 7 last April. The youngest pair, Christopher (“Critterpher”) and Michael, bring us all much joy. We are looking forward to the needed break from school and a visit from Grandma Witter for a few weeks this July. Our chickens are giving us about a dozen eggs each day and we patiently wait for our goat to begin giving milk. We had a bumper crop of apricots this year and the cherries were wonderful. We thank God for the blessing of raising our kids out in the country with plenty of fresh air, open space, and physical work!

Bible Club 2010. This year’s Children’s Bible Club was probably one of the best in terms of spiritual fruit, but the least in attendance. Average attendance for the week was around 50 children every day. Children’s ministry can be quite a challenge. On the one hand I’m against “easy believism” and don’t want to pick the fruit before it’s ready. On the other, I know that children can be saved (I received Christ when I was eight years of age), and I don’t want to make salvation hard to receive, or, like some, not even give an invitation in fear that they haven’t yet understood all points of Soteriology. This year fifteen children responded to the invitation to receive Christ as their personal Savior. We dealt with each child personally to make sure they understood the Gospel’s offer of full and free salvation through receiving Jesus Christ as personal Savior. All the workers were of one mind and heart and served the Lord with a good spirit. We thank God for this year’s little harvest of souls. Please pray for us as we try to now win the parents to Christ.

Ministry Update. We are very glad to have our first order of Chick Tracts on their way here and looking forward to passing them out. God wonderfully answered your prayers with Chick Publications contacting me to inform us that they want to provide us 40,000 tracts free of charge! Thank you for praying! We had a visit from one of our missionaries, Ghenya, who is serving in the Republic of Altai. It was a blessing to see how their work is planting roots in that very needy country. We had a one day Youth Conference which was a blessing to our youth. Our Wednesday evening prayer meetings are full of testimonies of people witnessing for Christ and asking prayer for the salvation of souls.

Future Plans and Prayer Requests. Please pray for us as we make all the preparations to host another five day Youth Conference. This year we plan to have around 120 in attendance and look forward to the preaching of Gerald Sutek, Perry Demopolis, and Paul Hamilton. Please pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified in all that is done. Please pray for the salvation of Victor, Natasha, Sergei, and Nadia’s husband.

Thank you for your prayers, friendship, and support. We thank God for all the good memories we have of serving with many of you, ministering to some of you, and being ministered to by most all of you. Keep looking unto to Jesus.

 That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue   Phil. 3:10

 

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                  January-February 2010

 There’s a new name written up in glory! We rejoice to say that a young woman, named Vika, came to church and received Christ a few weeks ago. One of our young men, who is trying to get his life straightened up, brought her to church. She didn’t respond during the invitation, but called on the Lord later that night to save her. She is really being attacked by her family for attending our church. Her parents threatened to kick her out of their house if she continues to attend. Please pray for her and for Alosha. They want to get married and are seeking God’s will in it all amidst a lot of temptation and testing.

 Yakovlevka. Times have changed quite a bit here. Evangelism did not used to be monitored and controlled like it is today. The local “Houses of Culture” (Civic Centers) used to be easily rented for meetings. Now, you must submit a letter to the town council, for evaluation and permission to use these facilities. They only meet once every three months and most of them are afraid of the political backlash for allowing Baptists to meet in their towns. We have filled out the proper paperwork for renting a hall for meetings in Yakolvevka and need prayer that God will give us favor. If not we will do what we can and try to find another way to begin meetings there. The Lord has already given us two families there and another woman interested in attending the meetings.

 Youth Conference. Missionary Richard Maher hosted a one-day youth conference in February. It was a great time for our youth to get together and fellowship during a long winter. The Devil sure seems to be working several of our young adults over in the area of relationships. We are trying to help them through this difficult time and pray that they will find God’s perfect will for their lives in the area of courtship and marriage.

 Ukrainian Elections. The Presidential run-off election in Ukraine resulted in Yanakovich’s election as president. He is pro-Russian, as opposed to the pro-west counterpart. Being pro-Russian means “Pro-Orthodox.” It is still early to see just how serious his threats were to the Baptists in particular. There has already been some “Anti-sect” legislation being debated in the Ukrainian Parliament that was drawn up by his party. If it passes, Ukraine will adopt the same laws that exist in Russia and Belorussia that practically make it a crime to serve Jesus Christ by being a soul winner. It especially targets pastors with heavy fines for proselytizing. It would also require notarized letters from parents for all underage children to attend Sunday School and Bible Clubs. Please pray that God will continue to give us liberty to preach without hindrance.

 Family Update and Prayer Requests. January was the month of my 43rd physical birthday and February that of my spiritual. God’s faithfulness is amazing! Please pray for: 1) an upcoming trip to Kiev to renew Joshua’s passport; 2) several writing projects I have begun to be used in our work here; 3) God’s provision of Chick Tracts; 4) upcoming revival services in April; 5) God’s blessings on our soul-winning efforts; 6) upcoming Family Conferences in Odessa and Limonski. Thank you and God bless you for your prayer and financial support of us and the work here.

 That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue    Phil. 3:10

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                                              October 2009

A Death-bed Conversion. Before church one Sunday morning Valya, a long-time church member, asked for help with her ex-husband, who abandoned her and with three children to join the ranks of the many town drunks. Eugene has been an alcoholic for many years but would never admit he had a problem. He had one spell of sobriety while he worked daily with another church member, but when he relocated Eugene went back to the old crowd and eventually lost everything. Valya said that he was on his deathbed and had contacted them to ask someone to bring him a bottle of water. All his “friends” were gone or broke and he had no one else. She said that their family had prayed about it and wanted to bring him home to do what they could to make his last days comfortable and asked if I would talk with him about salvation. We found him in the home of another alcoholic who was not home. It was not a pretty sight. Flies, filth, and a basin of human waste permeated the room. Eugene was lying alone on an old bed, weighing half what he used to weigh. I sat down and talked with him for a while. He didn’t know if he was saved or not. One thing he knew, that he was done with alcohol; rather, alcohol was done with him. The autopsy later revealed that cancer had eaten his entire esophagus and stomach. I asked how he felt. He said, “I’m thirsty. It burns all the way down my throat. All I want is a drink of mineral water.” I carefully went over the Gospel with him and asked if he wanted to be saved. He prayed and asked the Lord to forgive him and save his soul. He was so surprised that his family wanted to take him home and care for him. The scene reminded me of Mephibosheth. I bought him some mineral water and transported him home.
     His ex-wife and children cared for him for about two weeks before He died. He slowly starved to death. They tried taking him to the hospital, but the socialized medicine of Ukraine knew it was a lost cause and even refused to give him an I.V. for dehydration. It was there he pleaded and confessed, “Have mercy, I’m an alcoholic.” Eugene’s family, a few drunks, and co-workers attended the funeral. I preached on “What the Dying Thief Believed.” The funeral of a town drunk, who abandoned his wife and kids, among many other depravities, is not the time to go on about how good a man he was. Therefore, I simply told them that even a man like Eugene could be saved and go to Heaven by placing his trust in Jesus Christ, just as the dying thief had done. At the gravesite, I asked his son, Arthur, one of our Bible Institute graduates, if he would like to say something. He was bawling. I did not think he could get through it, but he got the attention of every hardened drunk, funeral home worker, and gravedigger there. He said he still loves his father no matter what. He told how ONE TIME his dad took him fishing and he cherished the memory. He always prayed and hoped that one day his dad would get right and they could have a Christian family but “it just didn’t work out. I’ll see you in Heaven, Papa.” After that, I preached again and exhorted these hardened men to beg God’s forgiveness and get saved and then go home and asked their families to forgive them as well. We passed out tracts and continue to pray that some will respond to God’s offer of salvation.
A Prodigal Daughter Returns.
Vika, Eugene’s daughter, grew up in our Sunday School. She made a profession of faith several years ago but I suspected that she was merely tagging along with a friend who truly received Christ. When she went away to school in Odessa, she quit coming to church and ended up marrying a Muslim, Ali, who eventually took her to Lebanon and Syria. She was able, by God’s grace, to leave Syria and come to Ukraine for a visit with their son Daniel. After being exposed to Islam, she now has truly received Christ and has a great burden for her husband’s salvation. The change in her is remarkable. She asked if she could be re-baptized since she was never truly saved the first time.
    I asked her to give a testimony to explain to the church why she is getting re-baptized and for the sake of the other teenage girls in our church who may be tempted to marry unsaved men. Her testimony was amazing. I wish I had recorded it for every young Ukrainian girl to hear. Vika is the first person I’ve ever baptized with tears. I could hardly say the words. Needless to say, there was great rejoicing in the church that she had come back to the Lord. She returned to Syria the day after her father’s funeral. Please pray for Vika and her son’s safety and for her husband’s salvation. Little Daniel is a very cute kid. I always made sure to carry Tic-Tacs with me to give to him at church. I’d always ask him, “Who loves you?” The first time he said, “You do!” Then I taught him to answer, “Jesus loves me!” I’d then give him a “high-five” and some Tic-Tacs. I’m sure no one but his mother is going to tell him that Jesus loves him in Syria. We gave Vika some Sunday School materials and books to help with his upbringing in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Please pray for his soul.
Two Boys Saved in Sunday School.
Our Sunday School curriculum is coming along well. We began covering the subject of Future Events, which touches on Heaven, Hell, the Judgments and Resurrections. Two nine-year-old boys, Pasha and Dema, received Christ after the lesson on Hell and confessed Christ in their own words before the church. Pasha’s mother is, of course, very glad and rejoicing.
Church Planting Bible Institute.
Our Bible Institute classes are going well. We began by laying a good foundation for beginning our work in reaching out to other towns in the region for planting churches. Now we are meeting to put together a plan of attack and lay out the logistics and strategy with prayer. We plan to begin again in Yakovlevka where we had once had weekly meetings but put it into the hands of a preacher who eventually dropped the ball. We really need God to work and prepare hearts in this town. Please pray that there will be souls saved and a church born.
Open Door to Preach in University in Odessa.
Several young people in our church attend a Christian University, which is not very Christian at all. It was founded by an ecumenical Reformed group, which means that they are steeped in Five-Point Calvinism, while allowing Orthodox priests to teach classes. The Reformed and Russian Orthodox get along pretty well, because they both hate the Catholics and believe Israel’s promises have been forfeited to themselves. After prayer meeting one Wednesday night, I asked a young lady from our church why she was a little down in the mouth. She said that there was a teacher that she liked very much at the “Christian” university that made a remark that really disappointed her. During the lecture the teacher said, “What difference does it really make whether Jesus Christ had an intimate relationship with Mary Magdalene or not?” Very little can really shock me anymore in this depraved age, but, I have to admit I was a little surprised at that comment from a “Christian” university teacher. Anyway, I kind of half jokingly told our young people that if they will set it up I’ll come and preach. I would have never thought that they would allow a preacher like me in their school. They jumped on it and already met with the director of the university to set up weekly Bible studies. I am very excited about this open door to work among some young people in Odessa. We are praying and planning to begin meetings after we renew our visas in December.
Visa Renewal.
We have submitted our paperwork for renewing our visas and already purchased our tickets to go outside the country. We made the tough decision to leave our children here in the care of a single missionary lady, Deborah Myers, along with another lady in our church who will come every day to help her. As much as I do not want to leave my children, the costs of taking them with us and the hardship of travel on the little ones, lead us to decide that this would be better. We’ve never done anything like this before and I cannot tell you how much apprehension I have leaving them. My mind wonders, “What if they close the borders and airports because of swine flu?” “What if there’s a problem with getting a religious visa?” “What if something happens and we can’t be there to help?” Most of all, I keep thinking about little Christopher and Michael, who are too young to understand, and how they will be looking for mommy and daddy and can’t find us. I’m getting depressed just writing this! Please pray that God will bless us during this time and that the kids will be safe and that we will have no problems with our paperwork and visas. We will be gone from November 30 through December 7. Thank you for your prayers and support, which enable us to be here engaged in the greatest calling ever – serving the Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you for your desire to win Ukrainian souls to Jesus Christ.

That Ukraine May Know Him, Christopher Rue

Phil. 3:10"...Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35

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Dear Praying Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                                                 September 2009

David’s Funeral. We received the sad news early morning on Monday September 27 that David passed away after his long fight with lupus. He was eighteen years old. The last three months have been very hard as his lungs slowly shut down. He needed a whole tank of oxygen a day to live. Ukraine has socialized medicine which put the burden of locating and purchasing the oxygen on the shoulders of David’s father. It almost became a full-time job to just have enough oxygen on hand to keep David alive, not to mention the hardship of the cost, which was not covered by the socialistic system. I met David about five years ago in the hospital where I had gone to pay him a visit. I remember sensing the Lord’s presence in a strong way in the room. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what it meant, only that it was obvious that the Lord was working through the life of this sick boy. It has been my privilege to watch the Lord work through him over the past few years. He believed that his sickness was from the Lord designed to help unite his parents who were separated. He would tell his mother, “The Lord let this happen so that my daddy would get saved.” Upon hearing of David’s sickness, his father returned to the wife and children he had deserted after first giving his heart to the Lord. His brother and sister both got saved and his mother has been forced to reconsider the teachings of the Pentecostal church here who teach baptismal regeneration. I’ve been dealing with her on this subject for several years now. We held the funeral on Tuesday and were able to preach the Gospel again to a very mixed crowd of Russian Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Atheists besides our own church family. The Gospel seed was sown and we pray for the Lord to give the increase. I was very pleased with our church which has supported David’s family like I’ve never seen before. While David was in the hospital, each day one family from our church volunteered to prepare a meal for David’s family who were taking turns sitting with him and doing all the running to get the medicines and oxygen. Our church has been happily doing so for the last month. We have also taken up several offerings to help the costs of the oxygen and tried to help purchase four more tanks so that he could have extra on hand.
 
Bible Institute. We began holding Bible Institute classes again for the purpose of preparing young men for the future church planting campaign. A few men from Missionary Richard Maher’s church also wanted to join us, making 12 men who are getting ready for future ministry. I am teaching this institute in “pods” or stages, giving them just enough information to prepare them for the first stage of church planting. Then, Lord willing, after we have some new converts to work with, we can gather again for further instruction on discipleship, and organizing them into a local church. I’ve been praying about this for several years. I am so excited and thankful to finally make progress in the work of church planting.
Future Evangelism.
We are praying and making preparations for holding evangelistic services again in the town of Yakovlevka. We began holding services there a few years back and tried to get something permanent planted there, but I turned the work over to a man who just didn’t have a burden to keep it going. The Lord has given our church treasurer, Sasha, a burden for Yakovlevka, his home town, and we are laying the plans for helping him in the work of holding evangelistic services within the next few weeks, before the cold weather hits. Talent, wisdom, and skill in presentation cannot replace the power of God that comes from prayer. Please pray for this town, that God would prepare hearts to receive the message and that God would prepare us for the work.

Prayer Needed for Visas.
We were recently informed about some changes made in Ukrainian law regarding foreign visas and registration that have put some hurdles in our way. They are no longer allowing registrations to be extended beyond one’s visa term. Now we must leave the country, apply at a foreign Ukrainian embassy, and return with new visas. The OVIR office will then give registration for as long as the visas term. This could not come at worse time for us financially, not to mention the upset in our ministry and home school schedules. It is not cheap traveling with a family our size. We know other missionaries who have left the country without their children and put them in the care of other missionary families to save money. However, we do not have any peace of mind leaving our children in Ukraine alone with anyone. I know that the Lord has something planned for us and will provide. Our visas expire in December and we need prayer about where to go to apply for new ones.
 Family Update.
After finishing summer with a wonderful Youth Conference we began getting ready for another school year. The Lord has blessed us with a house large enough to dedicate two rooms to the important task of educating our children. We are glad for the extra help from the Maher and Funikoshi families with whom we have combined our children into one school. Mrs. Maher watches the little guys (her son David, and our two youngest boys, Christopher and Michael) while Naomi spends most of her time with the three younger students (Elizabeth Maher, Benjamin and Sam). Joshua and Miriam are much more independent and do not need as much attention. The Funikoshi’s are missionaries from Japan, whose son, Yuki, comes once a week to be tutored by Naomi while Mrs. Funikoshi teaches our children piano. I dedicated the first two weeks in school to act as principle to help implement some necessary changes to the schedule and rules to insure Naomi’s sanity! She is doing a great job. So, we have eight children everyday to teach, train, and feed along with the work of putting up food for the winter. The Lord blessed us again with a great harvest of grapes, tomatoes, pears, and apples. We had a surprise when 13 of our 21 hens turned out to be roosters! They are in the freezer now and afforded a great lesson for the kids as they watched the process of killing, cleaning, and plucking.

 Thank you for your prayers and support. May God bless you for your desire to win Ukrainian souls to Jesus Christ.

 That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil. 3:10

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 Dear Friends and Family,                                                                                                                                                                                      July 2006 

Since our last prayer letter (May-June 2006) was dedicated to updating you on the blessings and fruit of our translation and publication ministry we will use this letter to bring you up to date on the family and rest of the ministry. 

 

Early May, Naomi returned from spending two weeks with her father who has been fighting cancer.  It has been a blessing to see Naomi’s faith strengthened over the past few months.  It seems that the enemy keeps dealing us blow after blow, but we know that it is all from the hand our loving heavenly Father for our good.  The task of getting settled back into life after deputation during one of the harshest winters in fifty years, the miscarriage of a longed-for baby, trying to get the kids caught up in home school, worry over Naomi’s father, along with other problems with the church left us both asking the Lord a lot of questions.  During the trials Naomi came to the point where she decided that she could choose the joy of the Lord or she could choose bitterness.  Praise God she made the right choice.  Those two weeks during Naomi’s absence were very hard on the whole family.  Trying to take care of the house, kids, and home school, while keeping up with my ministerial responsibilities almost pushed me over the edge.  I was excited as a little boy to pick her up from the airport safe and sound.  May was also the month of our thirteenth wedding anniversary.  The kids worked hard and finally caught up with their home school studies and are now enjoying summer break.

 

We have been reorganizing and restructuring many aspects of the ministry over the past few months.  We restructured our discipleship program and began holding new converts classes once a month.  We have had an average of 12 to 14 new converts and potential members attend.  In June, we baptized three new converts who also joined the church.  Our annual Children’s Bible Club was the highlight of July.  We had around fifty children attend every day with five children making a first-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  We also had a special Graduation service for several of our members who graduated High School.  It is sad to think that they all are getting ready to be scattered to the four winds to continue their education.  We are very concerned for them during this very vulnerable period of their lives and are praying about starting another church in Odessa to help. 

 

After years of praying and considering what we can do for a children’s Sunday school program, the Lord finally gave us the light we needed to begin.  My prayer is that our labor in developing and writing the curriculum will not only benefit our church, but others throughout Ukraine.  I am very excited about it.  It is challenging to come up with a Sunday school program that will work in Ukraine.  There is only one curriculum available in the Russian language.  It has no apparent goals in what it is trying to accomplish and it is obvious that the group that developed it is far from being “likeminded” with us.  Our new program is thoroughly Bible believing with definite goals.  It is also easily adapted to any church and is certainly affordable.  It does not consist of expensive full-color workbooks.  It is a structured program that gives the teacher freedom, within guidelines, to get the lesson across to the student on his own level.  We are holding weekly meetings for training our workers, who are also excited about it.

 

Paul’s words to the Corinthians have been on my mind a lot lately.  “…I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon (I Cor.  3:10).” It has been said that the true measure of the success of a missionary is not that which he accomplishes while on the field, but the work that still stands after he is gone.  I have watched the ministries of dozens of missionaries in the former Soviet Union over the past thirteen years.  I know of only two who have successfully been able to turn a church over to national leadership while remaining financially self-supported.  With these things in mind, I’ve begun concentrating our efforts on taking the remaining steps necessary to help our church become truly indigenous, regardless of whether the Lord leads us to begin another building project or not.  We have begun holding Bible Institute classes once a week to further train our men.  The classes also give us the opportunity to discuss the details of the steps that we must take in order to turn the church over to national leadership.  Please pray about this important phase of our ministry.

 

Our youth group is looking forward to our annual Youth Conference in August.  Please pray for their safety as they travel and that the Lord will work in their hearts during the meetings.  All of them have some very important decisions to make in the upcoming months.  The most important being where they are going to put Jesus Christ.  Our prayer for them is that they will all put Jesus Christ first in their lives.

 

We want to especially thank those of you who have written notes of encouragement over the past few months.  They meant a lot to Naomi and me.  I have been too busy to answer all the letters we have received.  Lord willing, I will get around to it in a month or two.  Again, we thank you all for your prayers, help, support, and friendship in the ministry.  Until our next prayer letter or our meeting in the air!

 

That Ukraine May Know Him,  Christopher Rue  Phil.  3:10

 

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