Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,                                                                                                  October 1, 2014

We are so thankful for the kind responses we have received about Jacob. He is in the last month of his medication and doing very well. By the Lord’s grace we were able to marry him to his new bride on August 2 and it couldn’t have gone any better. We were blessed to have large attendance of Turks and Americans and the Senior Missionary preached in English and then in Turkish. I thank you for your prayers and gratefully praise God for giving them the desire to share such a Christian testimony among the people we have tried to edify these many years. It was one of the greatest days of our lives and our prayers are ever before the heavenly Father to produce many more fruitful testimonies for Jacob and Elmaz to shine forth in this dark world.

We were able to purchase the larger car at the end of August. It was a blessing and we are so thankful for your patience and charity. Jacob took the car for the first time to the meetings and the Turkish believers knelt and cried and prayed prayers of thanksgiving. Many of them waited for over two years so they could start going to the villages and encourage their ill-treated brothers and sisters in Christ.

 


The meetings and feeding centers are all well. Many new people and children are coming. In one of the villages there are around fifty children who come and love to sing. Sometimes there are twenty children and adults who are waiting outside for us to arrive. Jacob was telling me that in this meeting a little girl came with her mother and was naked. Some of the people wanted her to leave, but a couple of the ladies took off their head coverings and girded the little child and set her on their laps. I am so glad they are not afraid to disregard the old Muslim law that teaches it is a great shame to remove your head covering in public. They covered this young child to shield her from public rebuke so her mother could sit in peace to here the Gospel. I still remember the day when God clothed me when I was naked and ashamed.

We have returned to the states for a short furlough. The Senior Missionary has a burden and asked us to help him raise some money. Jacob is taken care of the work with the national pastors. Little Nate has never been to his country and it has been over three years since Teresa was home. Would you please contact me at 828-803-3451 or 828-783-0265. We look forward to seeing and sharing all the Lord is doing in Romania and Bulgaria.


Thank you so much for all that you do.    From North Carolina, Nathan Reed and Family

 

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Bulgaria - Romania Update

 

click above for pdf attachment

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September 27, 2014

 

Missionaries:

Eight (8) American Families, three (3) in Romania and five (5) in Bulgaria:  Dave Turner, Nathan Reed, Jacob Reed, Ralph Cheatwood, Matthew Welch, Zachary LeFevre, Larry Leach, William LeFevre. We work as a group, with each missionary having their individual work.

 

National Pastors:

Four (4) pastors in Romania and eight (8) in Bulgaria.  Besides these pastors there are several young men in Romania that preach but do not pastor churches at this time.  All these pastors and preachers work under the authority of the missionaries.

 

Churches:

Mostly Turkish house meetings, with seven (7) self-standing buildings, twenty (20) churches in Romania and eighty (80) in Bulgaria.  We minister in English, Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian.

Our simple definition of a local church is a group of baptized believers, meeting regularly as a church, having a national pastor.

 

Charity East Association Romania:

Casa Julia: Home where we are raising eleven (11) children.  This home is also lovingly called ‘The Father’s House’.  We have had most of these children since birth. 

Our ministry in Romania is done from this complex.

 

 

* for full update on Casa Julia, see Attachment 1

 

 

Feeding Centers:

National believers’ homes where we feed children a hot meal every day.  Twelve (12) in Romania and nine (9) in Bulgaria.  In these homes the children learn to sing hymns and pray, thanking God for His many blessings and for their daily bread.  As these children have grown up, many have been saved and are now established in one of our local churches.

 

Coats for Kids:

This ministry was started by Larry and Carrie Leach in 2008 with just a few coats in the back of a van.  It has grown and now over one thousand (1,000) coats with a pair of socks are given out each winter.

 

Flour and Oil:

Each winter, over two thousand (2,000) families in Bulgaria receive a fifty (50) kilogram sack of flour and a five (5) liter bottle of cooking oil.  This helps them get through the winter.

 

Bulgarian and Turkish Bibles:

These Bibles have been newly translated from the English King James 1611 Authorized Version.  Along with Turkish hymnbooks, the New Testaments of these Bibles are being freely distributed to our believers and others that are interested.

 

Daily Bread:

Over 4,500 loaves of bread are freely distributed monthly to needy families in Romania through the daily prayer meetings.

 

Three Seas Missionary Journeys:

Our purpose for these journeys is to raise interest and support for the work in Romania and Bulgaria, and also to expand into Turkey. Since Romania and Bulgaria are a part of the European Union, many of our believers have travelled into Europe, seeking work. They carry their hymnbooks and New Testaments with them, finding each other and meeting together wherever they go, so we have a witness in many parts of Europe. Several of the missionaries have already made trips into Turkey this past year, giving out New Testaments and hymnbooks in Turkish to contacts they have made. 

 

In order to achieve our purpose, we want pastors, mission directors and church members with a heart for missions to have the opportunity to see our work in Romania and Bulgaria, take part in church services and evangelization and visit sites of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation which are in Turkey.  We want you to have a ‘hands on’ part in this work. To use a military term, we want ‘Boots on the Ground’.

The cost of these missionary journeys would be your roundtrip airfare to Bucharest, Romania, where you would be met at the airport and brought to our Children’s Home complex in Constanta, Romania.  The price after arriving in Bucharest would be one hundred dollars ($100) a day per person all inclusive.  This price would cover all your expenses while with us- travel, hotels, meals, snacks, etc.- and would leave us with enough money to produce DVD’s, hymnbooks and New Testaments to give out on the way.

 

* For itinerary of missionary journeys, see Attachment 2                      * For more information on journeys, see Attachment 3

 

 DVD’s and Website:

Twenty years ago we began giving out cassette tapes of our church services that included preaching, testifying, singing and praying.  We now give out DVD’s with videos of Turkish church services and have a website where hundreds of meeting videos are posted.

 

This is our work that the Lord has given us.  We are thankful to be able to share it with you. 

 

Brother  Ralph Cheatwood

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Sep 23, 2014

As summer draws to a close we pause to reflect on what the Lord has done for us this season.  The work in Bulgaria continues to flourish. We recently finished our summer baptisms.  This year the Lord added over fifty souls to the church through the ordinance of baptism. Others have been saved, but could not make it to the meetings to be baptized. Lord willing, next summer they'll be baptized as well.  Our baptizings are the highlight of our year, because the older believers get to meet the new ones and they fellowship together.  Normally the church service afterwards goes long into the night.  This year was no exception. Even after the closing prayer, the believers broke out into another song, and then another.

This year the Lord has provided new vehicles for each of the national pastors in Bulgaria.  We want to thank those who gave towards this work.  Most of these men preach in about ten villages per week, some of them, even more.  They have addicted themselves to this ministry. With pastors so dedicated to the churches, it's no wonder that the churches are thriving.

Another special blessing is the large meeting at our church up in Romania. Earlier in the year we took about sixty believers from Bulgaria who met about that many in Romania for a weekend of meetings. Now our plan is to have weekend meetings every fifth Sunday up in Romania. (Thank the Lord for the new cars!) The believers are thrilled to see one another. The preachers are tickled to see so many people gathered in one place that they preach extra good.

Please continue to pray for the work here, the new believers, the churches, the national pastors, and the missionaries.  Without your continued prayer and support, the work would not be what it is today. 

God bless each one of you.  Zach LeFevre

 

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Dear Fellow Saints,                                                                    August 2014

We are Dave and Dara Turner. We have been Baptist missionaries for 22 years this year.  We came to Bulgaria in 1992 to work with Dara’s parents, Ralph and Sandy Cheatwood.  They have been missionaries since 1975 working among Turkish speaking people, many of whom live in both Romania and Bulgaria.

The idea for Casa Julia came to Bro. Ralph about 13 years ago.  For several years we had been starting churches among the Turks living in Romania in the area around the city of Constanta. In these churches, we sang hymns, preached the Gospel and prayed for God to move and save sinners.  We also prayed for the sick and those with special problems and needs.  Out of these churches, we began to give bread to needy families and eventually to provide hot meals once a day to children in the poorer neighborhoods of Constanta and in villages nearby.  Our churches became known among the people as places where one could truly get help from God.  As a result of our reputation for genuinely caring about the needy, we began to get asked if we could take babies who, for one reason or another, would be abandoned.  From this was born Bro. Ralph’s vision of what is now Casa Julia.

Casa Julia is our home now, and the only home these children have ever known.  Dara and I have 6 children and one grandchild.  Shalyn, our oldest and only girl, turns 20 this year and lives in the States.  Noah Cross, our youngest, went to be with the Lord 8 days after he was born two years ago.  We live here with our other 4 boys and the 11 children in the Home ranging in ages from 6 to 15 years old.  All of the children call me “Daddy” and Dara “Mommy”. We got most of the children newborn, several of which are now 12 years old.  We are very proud of what the Lord has let us do here and that He helped us realize Bro. Ralph’s vision of having a place where we could raise unwanted children as our own in the hope of one day seeing them saved and maybe even staying here and serving with us in the work.

Bro. Ralph told us he did not want the children to grow up ashamed that they were raised in an orphanage.  When they are asked where they live, he wants them to be able to hold their heads up and say proudly “I live there, in ‘The Father’s House’”.

Bro. Ralph always taught us that all of the work should be an extension of the local church, in which he believes strongly.  We always keep the church as the center of our work here and also the Children’s Home.  Each week we have a Turkish meeting here on the grounds which the children attend.  We also have an English meeting each week in the Children’s Home on the top floor which we built to be our church. The children love to sing and know many of the English and Turkish hymns.  It is such a comfort to know they are being raised under the Gospel and are given this opportunity to grow up knowing Jesus.

Besides Dara and me, our 4 boys, and Ralph and Sandy, another missionary family, Nathan and Teresa Reed and their children also live here on the property.  Nathan, his son Jacob, and our national pastors take care of the village church meetings.  There are five other missionary families in our group who live in Bulgaria.

Over the years, the Children’s Home has become somewhat of a ‘safe haven’ for the other missionary families.  Three times a year, we have a week-long campmeeting.  The missionaries and their families come and stay here and we have two services and three meals a day.  They are able to get away from their every day work, relax and get a spiritual refreshing here at the meeting.  We also open the home to them whenever they want to come up for a weekend to have church with us or if they just need a day or two away.  We provide a comfortable place to stay and meals so they can rest and get whatever help they may need. This is just one outreach that we have been able to be a part of by having the Home.

About 4 years ago, we met some servicemen stationed at the nearby American military base.  We invited them to church at the Home.  They came on Sunday to church, stayed for lunch, and spent the rest of the day playing with the kids.  This began a very special relationship with our servicemen and women.   As their mission here is rotational, we have a steady flow of Marine, Army, Navy and Air Force men and women coming through the base.

We have stayed in contact with the military, making sure they know they are more than welcome to attend our services or just come and spend time with the kids.  This has enriched our lives and those of the kids so much and, from what many have said, been a great blessing to these men and women.  Several have said that it was the first time they had ever been to church.

We are very thankful that several of the children have people in the States who have taken a special interest in them.  These are people, mostly in churches, who have heard about the children and have taken it upon themselves to help with things like birthday presents, Christmas gifts, and cards at holidays.  A few of these even write back and forth with the children. It is so special to the kids to have someone in America to call their own.  To the children, America seems to be some far-away magical place that must be wonderful since that’s where Mommy and Daddy came from. There are others who on occasion send gifts to all of the kids….Easter candy, presents, school supplies. These types of things help us give to our Home children a little of what kids in America take for granted. We really appreciate those who have taken the time to do something special for our children.

When we talked about what we would tell you about Casa Julia and our children, we discussed telling you the story of how we found each of the children in the Home….of the dreadful conditions, of the lack of love, and in some cases, of the terrible abuse.  We decided that we would rather give you the picture of how we see our children.  They are bright, loving, adorable little people who have been as much a blessing to us as we could ever be to them.  We thank the Lord for calling us to this work and we feel blessed beyond measure for the wonderful life He has given us.

We believe that God has a very special plan for each one of these children He sent our way and whatever that plan is for their lives, we want to care for them and raise them in a way that will bring them to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

In Christ, Dave and Dara Turner
 

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 CHARITY CHILDREN’S HOME North India

North India Established 1979 

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”  Matthew 11:28

Pastor, Church & Friends,                                                                                                                                                                                August 2013

 

Greetings to you in Jesus’s Precious Name.  We trust this short note will find you all well. 

 

We are writing this specially to let you know of the goodness of God towards us.  I have been sick for nearly a year with dizziness and a constant headache.  This year Susan called 911 three times as I was passing out.  The doctors did a lot of investigations and they referred me to several specialists like: the Neurosurgeon, Cardiologist, Ear Nose and Throat specialist but nobody could find out the cause for such spells.  It had become very difficult for me to have one good day without a headache.  Well, on July 15th 2013 Susan & I went to Ann Arbor MI to visit our daughter and her family.  On the 20th we both went for a morning walk.  I suddenly felt dizzy and was unable to walk.  By then my pulse and blood pressure was not recordable and our son-in-law drove me to the hospital.  There my EKG was not recordable either.  Immediately I was admitted into the Cardiac ICU.  I was revived by evening that day.  The Cardiologist in charge took great interest in my case and put me under observation.  They connected me to several monitors and also did many, many tests.  After the third day they found out that my heart slowed down so much that it was not pumping enough blood to my brain which caused the dizzy and headache spells.  On the fourth day the doctor placed a pace maker in me and I cannot explain what a difference it has made to me.  I feel more energetic without a constant headache bugging me.  I cannot write all the details, but all the way I could see the hand of the Lord planning and getting things done for me.  I am so thankful to Him for His goodness and mercy upon me and Susan too.  We want you to rejoice with us and praise His Holy Name.

 

As far as the Children’s ministry, it is all going well.  The children have started their new academic year as we informed you in our last news letter.  During the next three months Susan and I will be traveling extensively throughout India while visiting the four Centers.  Therefore, it is our earnest request to you to pray that we will be physically well to do this.  There is great joy to visit many of the children who were raised by us and also see the existing children in the Centers.

 

We thank you as always for your continued prayer and financial support.  Little is much when God is in it.  This is the experience of our life.  The little what you give, the Lord multiplies and makes it sufficient for all our needs.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” 2 Corinthians 9:8

 

May God richly bless you.  Suraj & Susan Dalabhanjan

 

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Jul 24, 2013

As the wheat has been harvested in Bulgaria, so the Lord is reaping a harvest among the poor and needy Turks of this land.  Last weekend we had our first summer baptism and saw thirty young men and women publicly profess their faith in Christ.  Over two hundred believers gathered, and after the baptism we had church services all night, and again on Sunday morning.  Lord willing, we will have at least two more meetings in August as we try to gather in every village for baptisms and overnight meetings.

One lady got a good report from the oncologist last week, that she no longer needs surgery.  This was after she came to the meeting and gave her heart to the Lord.  Now she is a walking testimony in her Turkish neighborhood to the power of prayer.

We appreciate your prayers for the pastors here who have suffered a heart attack (Pastor Nasuf) and a stroke (Pastor Ismail).  Pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest; pray especially that these experienced labourers would be able to return to the work again full time.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Bro Mike,       Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

 

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate listening to the children's home hour every week.  I listen to your announcements, then switch over to the link that John posts on the website and listen to the entire sermon of whoever's preaching.  One week on the radio broadcast there was only enough time for half of the sermon (it was Ricky preaching) I was so excited about the sermon that I had John send me the rest of the sermon that day so I could listen to the whole thing.  Sometimes John still cuts the sermons in half, but at least now he posts the entire sermon on the website where I can listen to it without having to wait a week.  I absolutely love hearing the preaching, both old and new. 

 

I want to see if I can get anybody to pray for some things over here.  Just in the last week or so I've had so many people asking me to pray.  We've had the Lord answer some prayers in our village church here, but there's so much more to pray about.  Brother Nasuf is the father of five girls (and one boy).  When they were younger, the girls would sing together, and what a blessing it was!  Now, four of the girls are married: two to saved men, two to lost men.  The two girls whose husbands are lost are truly suffering.  Their husbands don't work at all, and they live off of the welfare checks.  One of them is a compulsive gambler.  Sometimes he even gambles (and loses) the welfare money and has to beg his parents to pay their bills.  The other young man drinks all day long.  His wife is afraid to say or do anything because he beats her.  I just hate it that these girls who were raised in a Christian home are now skinny and sickly because they've barely got enough to eat because of their husband’s behavior. 

 

There are others that are also hungry.  Last week Nasuf asked me if we had any extra food from the children's feedings because a woman in his church was penniless and hungry.  I noticed that one woman in the church that is a real blessing was not in the meeting this week.  When I asked about her, they said that she went to stay with some relatives because she doesn't have anything to feed her children.

 

There are some other things that we need, but I won't mention them; the Lord knows about it. 

 

Wednesday we'll start our meeting up in Romania.  Please pray that the Lord would come in every meeting; we really need him. 

 

From Bulgaria, Brother Zach

 

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Howdy Preacher,                Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 2:24 PM

 

 It's been a little bit, but thought I'd write and give a quick update.  Everything is going well here.  That's not to say we're without our struggles.  We have an enemy who fights us daily, but, by the grace of God, we're winning more than we're losing.

 

Since Bro. Larry's return to the States I've been going with Ismael, the national pastor from Novi Pazar.  He has nine regular meetings he looks after.  Since I'm living in Varna now, and have about an hour's commute just to pick him up, Zach and I exchanged the farthest meeting for one closer at hand, for convenience.  Ismael's meetings are all doing well, and his people love him to pieces.  We've changed the hours we meet for the Summer, to escape the heat of midday; we now meet later in the evenings.  We thought this might be a problem, but as we discussed it with everyone, they were just happy to have a meeting, regardless of what time we showed up.

 

Ismael's health is not the best, however.  Bro. Larry can attest to this.  He's had heart problems for a while now.  Just prior, or after Larry's departure, I can't remember now, Ismael had a slight stroke.  He refused to enter the hospital, partly out of stubbornness, but mainly due to a lack of money.  Without insurance the bill would be beyond his means, and without insurance they more than likely wouldn't take him.  He persevered through his weakness and continued attending to his churches.  This week, though, was too much for him.  He preached his Sunday meetings fine, and was in good spirits.  On Tuesday, however, midway through our second meeting, he began to have problems.  He exited the meeting and sought water to splash on his neck and face.  He said he had to go home and rest, and begged the church's forgiveness.  Halfway to the car, he had to sit down.  When he finally got to the car, and I was able to crank the air conditioning up, he felt some relief.  He said the left side of his head was throbbing and he felt weak.  I asked him if he wanted me to take him straight to the doctors, to which he replied he would feel better once home.  I left him there Tuesday with the promise of seeing him again the next day.  Wednesday, when I arrived, he was weaker still.  At some point in the morning they had called the ambulance, but he refused to go, and they were reluctant to take him without insurance.  They all acknowledged though, that he needed to go.  After talking with the other missionaries, and especially Bro. Mitko, who knows the Bulgarian hospital and insurance situation, we thought it best to pay his insurance upfront to avoid a more substantial bill later and hopefully stop or prevent any further health problems.  His insurance came to about $500 (700+ lev).  As it was the end of the month, and most of us we're fairly strapped for cash, we borrowed from our Turkish camp meeting fund, and were happy to do so to meet this need.  Ismael, as well, was much relieved, when yesterday afternoon we came back with the proper documents allowing him extended health care.  His family all cried and hugged our necks.  Today he is going to through the myriad of doctor visits necessary here to be admitted to the hospital.

 

Please keep these nationals in your prayers.  Ismael isn't the only one without insurance.  When you have to choose between paying your insurance or buying your groceries, you do the latter and pray you never get sick.  Also, pray for us, as our surplus to host these Summer meetings has diminished.  When we thought about postponing July's meeting, we just as quickly dismissed the idea, resolving to press ahead trusting God to supply.

 

I pray you're doing well.  At all of Bro. Ismael's meetings they pray for you.  They've been praying for Brookside, and every service they remember the Lyons.  God bless you all.

 

From Bulgaria William LeFevre

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Tue, 11 Jun 2013

 

We just finished the second of our summer camp meetings.  The first meeting was held up in Romania at the property the Lord gave us next to the children's home.  For three days we met with about eighty Turkish believers, most of them from Bulgaria.  There was great joy and many, many tears shed as the Turks testified about how they were in darkness, but God had translated them to the kingdom of his dear son.  After three days most of the people had lost their voice from all the singing. 

 

Then, this past weekend we met at the church in Dabravino for one night.  Over two hundred people gathered from the local churches in eastern Bulgaria.  There are many more that wanted to come.  Some of them even cried when they found out there was not enough room in the cars for them to come.  Next month we'll meet again and bring in some others.  Although the primary purpose of this type of meeting is the edification of the saints, there were some that came for the first time, wanting to be saved. 

 

Pray for us. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Date: Tue, 7 May 2013 10:34:06 -0700 (PDT)

Subject: May 7 Update

 

Today I had the privilege of meeting with other missionaries and national pastors to proof read the gospel of John and epistle to the Romans in Turkish.  Although we were proof reading, looking for typing errors and such, somehow reading the Bible out loud seemed to be a greater blessing than reading devotionally.  Soon we will begin printing these for distribution.  Next week we will continue proof reading the rest of the New Testament.  Each of our national pastors has a complete Bible, but very few people over here have any kind of Bible, save the gospels of John that we distributed years ago.  I recently had a special blessing: after I preached one night I overheard one of the ladies in the church that said, "I have got to get a Bible and start reading it."  How encouraging it is to know that my preaching brought a love and a desire for the word of God.

 

This past month has given us some absolutely beautiful weather.  Usually, that means that many of our people are now working and not able to attend church, but we are still encouraged to see the Lord working.  In our village church we have new people come about every week.  I think that at least half of the families in the village have been to the church.  This week we had a new one come and promise to continue coming.

 

There was a bit of excitement in the village this week.  A young couple from a nearby village ran away together to marry.  Her father and family apparently are in some type of mafia and are feared in this region.  Somehow, the father came to our village with several helpers and they thought that the girl was hiding in the home of one of our church members.  They broke the windows of the house and started beating this brother with a metal chair.  They grabbed his wife and threatened to break her arm.  As soon as she got away, she fell to her knees and cried out loud, "Jesus, save us!" Upon hearing this, the men realized that the missing girl was not there and they left.  Our brother here may have suffered a concussion (we're not sure, the hospital wouldn't admit him because his insurance hadn't been paid), but he came to the meeting last night and gave a wonderful testimony that he could have died, but he knew the Lord protected him. 

 

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

 

From: "Dimitar Stefanov"

To: "Brookside Church"

 

Date: Sun, 05 May 2013 01:52:22 -0400  Subject: May 2013

 

To: Pastor Mike Nixon and Brookside Baptist Church.

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

We thank the Lord for His manifold spiritual and material blessings.  It has been about 11 days since the summer has been here.  So everyone is rejoicing for that.  A lot of our believers now go all over visiting the sick, looking for work and etc.

 

One lady came back from Germany with her teenage daughter.  Over there they took her to a Hoja and the girl literally went crazy, lost her mind and could not recognize any body.  Her relatives come to church.  At church they presented the need and we have been praying. At home every night they sang to her hymns and prayed for her and showed her love.  After about 10 days of praying and believing God the Lord delivered her from the devil's trap and she came back to her right mind.  Praise the Lord for that.  She begged her mother to stay with the believers because she felt so good.  Some of these people go to the wrong place and get spelled by the devil, but praise God they come to the church for help and the Lord helps them.

 

On the 17th of May we have a Turkish meeting in Romania. Please, pray that the Lord will bless abundantly.

 

The churches over here are very thankful for the oil and the flour that you all provided for them.  They praise the Lord for providing for their table.  A lot of them praise the Lord for providing them with victuals so they can help someone else.

 

May the Lord bless you with a good service this morning.

 

In Christ, Bro. Mitko.

 

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2013 Bulgarian flour and oil distribution update

 

 

To: Pastor Mike Nixon and Brookside Baptist Church,                                                                           April 19, 2013

 

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Once again we over here are bound to thank God our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ for all of His blessings bestowed upon us from above.

 

All the believers over here are thankful to God and to you all for the flour and the oil that God supplied them with through your all's faith and charity.  Last week we gave out 15,000 kg of flour and 1,500 liters of oil.  The believers are rejoicing for the Lord's supply and praise Him for that.

 

The church attendance has been very good.  Most of the people that come to church are out of work.  New souls started coming to church as their lives have been destroyed by the devil.  Please, pray that the Lord will touch these newcomers.

 

One lady testified that she became a believer through her daughter in law.  The girl kept telling her that if she would come to church only once, she would not want to leave it.  After she came once after years of prayers and invitations, she came once to church and got saved and she is in church. Praise God for that.

 

Another lady said that she was passing by the church and we had a service outside.  She heard the singing and someone told her to come to church.  Just a few days before that her own daughter died.  She went home and asked her husband if she can start coming to church. He let her come.  She started coming and got saved.

 

The work on the Bulgarian Bible has been going.  Please, keep on praying for us as I pastor churches and work on the Bulgarian translation.

 

The Lord has been good to me and my family and I praise Him for that.

 

In Christ, Brother  Mitko  Bulgaria

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We've got more good news to report.                                                                                                  April 15, 2013

 

The church here in our own village is doing very well.  Recently there have been some people come for the first time, but even better, we've heard of several other family members and relatives that have been saved.  Most of them are in Western Europe working, but the Lord has affected the believers here so strongly that He's all they can talk about.  Just this week there was a woman who had her daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren return to Bulgaria for a visit for the first time in a year.  They arrived one hour before the meeting.  So, this woman visited with them for one hour, then left them and came to church.  When a person puts the Lord and the church ahead of everything else, the excitement and dedication is contagious.

 

This week we were able to finish the flour distribution for the churches in our area.  As Paul was being sent out to the mission work, he was told to remember the poor.  So, we, endeavor to remember the poor and help feed them once a year.  Each church family received one hundred pounds of flour and over a gallon of cooking oil.  For some of them it came just in time, as their winter store of supplies had just run out.  I'm including a picture of a little girl.  She has nine brothers and sisters in her house, and ten other cousins living next door.  Many days they go to bed hungry, but praise the Lord, that won't happen now for the next month or more.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and financial support.  There are some children going to bed full tonight.

 

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Brookside,                                                                                                                                          March 29, 2013

I first want to say how much I love and appreciate each one of you. I am so thankful for your faithful prayers for all of us missionaries and the churches here in Bulgaria.

After twenty years the Lord continues to bless the ministry here and I feel privileged just to have a small part in it. I am currently going to nine different meetings every week with Brother Mitko and it is truly a blessing. It is such a blessing to see these gypsies get touched by the Lord. When we sing hymns I see them crying and many stand up to testify about how good Jesus has been to them. Even though they are dirt poor they say how rich they are in Jesus. In several meetings there have been many more young people coming. It is a blessing to see them coming to the meetings where they get to hear the gospel.

Some of these believers live in extreme poverty but what a blessing to see them thanking the Lord with tears for his blessings. I am thankful for your prayers but I also want you all to know that these Turkish gypsy believers also pray for you all.
May the Lord bless each and every one of you.

In Christ, Frank Cornelius

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Dear Preacher Mike and Brookside Baptist Church,                                                                                   March 27, 2013


We send greetings from all the churches that are among us in Christ Jesus. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
 

First, Brethren, we would like to praise the Lord for visiting his people in giving them bread (Ruth 1), and secondly to give thanks for the gift bestowed by you all (2 Cor. 1).


To date, we have distributed over 140,000 pounds of flour, and more than 1,500 gallons of oil to the families in our churches. Every family receives 110 pounds of flour and over a gallon of oil. For many who live from hand to mouth, and truly live by faith, this is such a blessing. They rejoice how God has provided for them during the most difficult time of the year when most people have no work or money. Many people have gone to Germany or Holland to find work but most have returned empty and hungry. I cannot begin to tell you of all the joy that has come from the most needy believers and how they have testified about God providing for them.
They give thanks to the Lord for laying the Bulgarian Christian believers on the hearts of American Christians.


Here are few testimonies from the believers of our churches:


A woman from the village of Sadovo said, "I am a shut-in and I was going to ask someone to bring me 10 pounds of flour and when I would receive my pension I would repay them because I had nothing. That same day the pastor came with a truckload of flour. The Lord gave me ten times more than I asked for! Praise be to God!"


In Yankovo, they gave a testimony how that for the winter two families were living together and by February all the canned goods they had laid up for the winter were gone, as well as the flour. So as they were going to the store to see if they could get credit for a 25 kilogram bag of flour word came to them to "Bring your horse-wagon to the church, God has given us flour!" They returned home with 50 kilograms of flour and a big jug of oil, praising the Lord.


In another village they were shaking the last of the flour from a sack, and some had made fun of the Christian woman who was praying for more flour. But then they heard that a truck of flour had arrived at the church and that woman ran and told her husband, "See there is a God, and He has heard our prayer! Before the bread ran out He has given us more!"


We have seen thousands blessed and provided for by God's hand. Truly many here pray, "Give us our daily bread", and the Lord still answers prayer.


To God be the glory!  From Bulgaria  Brother Matt Welch

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March 26, 2013 Update

 

The weather in Bulgaria is cold, and church attendance is still high.  

 

Pastor Nasuf has a good crowd of young people coming to his meetings.  They love to sing the hymns.  Recently, a lady came back to church for the first time in several years.  The Lord blessed her so well that morning that she's revived, and on fire for God, attending all three services in the week.  She's also bringing her family and friends to church one by one.

 

Pastor Alish has so many people coming in some of his villages that he's had to split the church up to meet in different houses at different times.  In one of his villages he's had the "town drunks" get saved.  The last one came to church and got saved, because he didn't have any friends left to drink with.  Now they've turned from their sins and are serving the living God.  They're helping assemble the Bibles and hymn books that we print.  

 

The old Pastor Alish is planning to build a special room on the end of his house this summer just for the church to meet in.  The meeting is full every week and the believers never sing or pray without tears.  

 

Last week while preaching in a village church there was a lady that heard the gospel for the first time.  As I explained about Christ dying and being buried, then the women coming to the tomb three days later and finding the tomb empty, this woman's mouth dropped open in awe.  When she heard that he was arisen, just as he had promised, she was again amazed.  After church she cried and hugged me and thanked me for preaching the gospel to them.

 

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

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March 4, 2013

The last few weeks we've been busy getting back into the regular schedule of preaching in the villages.  There have been several visitors to the churches recently.  It's been my lot and privilege to preach the first gospel sermon they've ever heard.  I certainly covet your prayers in fulfilling this great responsibility.


A few weeks ago there was an older woman that came to a village meeting for the first time.  After church she told us that after hearing the local Islamic leaders her whole life, she decided that she believed the Jesus whom we preached.  What a blessing she was to the church that day.  The next week we went back to that village, but half of the crowd was gone - to that lady's funeral.  She only heard the gospel one time, and with her little faith received it as truth.

In another village there was an older man who allowed us to have a meeting in his house (his wife is saved), but he never would come inside.  For four years he was as welcoming as could be, but politely told us that he followed a different religion.  Recently his health began to fail; in his time of need he began coming to church.  Then, this week he fell into a coma.  The doctor said that he might only live for three days.  The last time I saw him healthy he was smiling and saying "Amen" while I preached. 
  He probably only heard two Bible sermons in his life, but with his little faith he received it as truth.  

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Bulgarian 2012 food distribution:

 

Several weeks ago our missionaries finished the flour and oil distribution for 2012.  Over 190,000 lbs of flour have been given out to many of our village churches. It has been a harsh winter for them this year which has delayed the distribution process, but the believers are very thankful for what you have given them.  Please click on the following link: Bulgarian feeding update 2012


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The Turners (one of our missionary families in Romania) recently had their newborn infant called home to be with the Lord

 

Please click on the link to read about the journey with Noah Cross Turner

 

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 Click here for a 2011 - Update from Charity Baptist Mission

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 Update from Eastern Europe - Please click on the following link:
 

A SUMMARY OF OUR 35 YEARS ON THE MISSION FIELD 1975 - 2010

(An overview of what the Lord has done through Sr. Missionary Ralph Cheatwood, who is over the work in Bulgaria and Romania)

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Coats for Kids 2010-2011

(The above link is a brief photo essay of the "Coats for Kids" distribution in Bulgaria)

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10 Feb 2012  To: Pastor Mike Nixon and Brookside Baptist Church  From: Bro.  Mitko

 

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  I would like to thank you all enormously for getting me a decent used vehicle.  I really appreciate you helping me with this.  Just a few weeks ago I wrecked mine on an icy curve.  The roads have been rough on my vehicle.  This will be a great relief for me to know that I can get a vehicle that I can drive comfortably to the churches and use it in the Lord's work.  Right now the weather has been cold (-10 to -20 Celsius around 14 to -4 Fahrenheit) with snow and ice.  So, as soon as I can get out I will start looking for a vehicle.

 

The work has been going well.  The churches praise God for His goodness and grace.  The Lord has been drawing more new souls to come to church.  For the last two weeks I was able to go only to a few of my meetings.  Most of the time, the roads have been closed.

 

I would like to share one testimony that I hope would be a blessing to you all.  One sister in the church of Shumen testified that they had a thief stealing from them for a long time.  They even knew who the man was and they were looking for him.  One day the lady saw two policemen beating a man for stealing and the snow was red with blood.  She started praying to God for the man that they would not kill him.  She got closer to the policemen and she saw that the man they were beating was the thief she was looking for.  She said that the Lord gave her His grace and she started begging the policemen to quit beating him.  She said that the Lord went even further and she went close to the thief to wipe his blood off then bound his wounds.  At the end she told the thief: “You have stolen so much from us and we have been looking for you, but I forgive you everything”.  She said that only the Lord can do that.

 

Also, the churches here are praying for Sister Teresa and feel for her and Bro. Mike's family.  We lift you up in prayer in every church service and at home when we have devotions.

 

Thank you all for everything you are doing for the churches over here, the gospel, me and my family.

 

The Lord has been good to us.  This year we expect another baby coming in August.  Please, pray that the Lord will help my wife with the third one we are having.  She is in constant pain.

 

May the Lord bless you all richly through His grace.

 

In Christ, Brother Miko. In Bulgaria

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Brethren,  February 3, 2012

I have another prayer request to keep in mind as you all pray for the work here in Bulgaria. I got a call from Brother Ismael today. He is the national pastor who goes with me to the meetings. He was calling me to let me know that he was out of firewood and needed some help (we have had record low temperatures here the last week or two). The Lord worked everything out and he is going to be ok in the fire wood area. What I am writing to ask pray for is his wife. She just recently had an operation and is not in very good health. He worries about her a great deal. Please pray that the Lord would work everything out for their needs to be met and also for her health to improve. Lord's will be done. Thank you so much for all of your faithful prayers.

Brother,  Larry Leach

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January 31 Update

Winter's hit us hard.  The (high) temperatures have been below freezing for over a week, now.  The low temperatures are below zero.  We've not been able to get out to any meetings except for the one in our own village.  

 

At home we've been singing, doing home school, and I've been proof-reading the Turkish Bible.  We got a letter this week from someone wanting a thousand of them.  

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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January 17, 2012 Update

 

The last several days here have been below freezing.  Our meetings, on the other hand, have been warm.  We've seen some new people coming, and there is a good spirit in all of the churches.  The other day I talked to an older Turkish woman in our village.  She never had been to church, and didn't really know much about it.  I witnessed to her for about ten minutes and she listened intently.  Two weeks later she came to the meeting.  Every day we feed the poor children in our village.  The children sing a hymn, pray and thank Jesus for providing the meal, and then eat.  One of the boys has been saved and now has brought his mother to church.  She's only been coming for two weeks, but has really enjoyed the meeting. 

 

Another woman came back from Western Europe to Bulgaria for a visit.  I'm not sure whether she's saved or not, but apparently the Lord had done something for her and she wants to tell us about it.  She asked, "Am I allowed to come to church?"  Don't you wish you heard that more often? 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

 

January 3 Update

 

As we begin this new year of ministry we are encouraged.  Recounting all of our blessings of the past year, it's hard to believe everything that the Lord has done for us.  And it just gets better.  Already this year there are different groups of preachers and churches planning to visit the work; a container of building materials is being sent to Romania to complete the construction on the children's home; funds have been sent to help feed the poor this winter; and, best of all, the village churches are prospering.

 

These winter months are truly a time of harvest for us.  Some of the village churches are filled to capacity.  Some have grown to fifty, some have grown to one hundred.  Newer churches are growing more slowly, but, thank the Lord, they are growing!  The believers are growing in grace.  Recently, Pastor Nasuf and Brother Kenan, visitted the entire Turkish neighborhood inviting people to church.  Afterwards Kenan's sister-in-law (a long time unbeliever) asked them, "Is anyone going to invite me to church?  I still don't know what it  means to be saved."

 

Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

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July 5, 2011

 

This week I've been working with Brother Ralph on the Turkish hymnbook.  We met with three of the Turkish pastors and went over every hymn in the book, correcting minor mistakes.  It took us four days, working sixteen hours a day, but we finally finished.  After singing over two hundred hymns we just about lost our voices.  Sometime this in the next week or two we'll be singing them again, this time for a recording. 

 

We appreciate your prayers for this work.  As always, we have many needs, and the Lord knows them.  Pray for us.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

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Dear Brethren,            July 3, 2011

We just returned home from a quick trip to Romania. While there we enjoyed the weekly Turkish meeting. I was very pleased to watch two young men stand and preach. It was a blessing to see this because they have come a long way since we lived there several years ago. It blessed my heart to see these brothers standing and preaching about the love of Jesus Christ!

 

Also while we were there, we celebrated Hannah's birthday. We now have another teenager in the house. It's hard to believe she's 13 already. She had a nice party there with her friends and is still smiling from it.

 

Tomorrow we plan on going to a 4th of July celebration at another missionary's home. We're all looking forward to it, especially my Dad because he will have a chance to meet the rest of the missionaries. He will be leaving here and heading back to Michigan on Wednesday. His time with us has flown by.

 

The family is doing well. The children have been riding bikes and annoying their grandfather and Carrie has been washing endless amounts of laundry and making cherry jelly from our own cherries. Life is very busy, but we are very blessed.

 

I have a few requests to ask everyone to pray about. 1) Our support level has just dropped significantly due to the economy. Though there is never a good time for something like this to happen, now is particularly bad timing. Please pray with us that more supporters will step forward. 2) School books and supplies for the kids' next school year. And 3) Please keep praying about our visas.

 

Thank you all for your faithful prayers!

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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Dear Brethren,                                                                      Jun 4, 2011 

 

There have been some ups and downs in the ministry this week. One such instance was the passing of Mustafa, an old believer in one of the churches. He had been with our group for many years and went with me often to the meetings. He will be missed, but we know that he is much better now that he is in the arms of his savior. Also, I got a call that Ismael's oldest boy was in a car accident in Hungary. I will find out more later today. 

The people are hard at work gathering various items to sell. They call this "bilka". They collect mushrooms, tea leaves, flowers, and more. You can see them out in the fields hunting for valuable items growing wild. They get very little per kilogram, but it's work, and they're glad to have it.

The family is doing fine. We're anticipating the arrival of my father for a visit. I'll pick him up on Wednesday. This will be his first international trip and he's excited. I gave him one piece of advice, though. I said, "Dad, when you get off the plane and you start to look around, just remember you're not in America anymore." He'll understand what I mean in time.

Not long ago we went to the capital for our passports. They should be ready any day now. As soon as we get them, we will have to email copies to the lawyer so he can gather all necessary documents from the courts in preparation for our visa extension applications. We will have to stand before the local chief of police (at the Department of Migration) in mid July. By the end of June we will need $3,000 for our six-month visa extension and the final 1/2 of the lawyer's fees (we already paid the first half of his fees). This six-month extension is required in order to give the courts time to process our five-year applications, which we will apply for in a couple months. Perhaps ten churches/individuals could give $300, or twenty churches/individuals give $150. Please pray with us about this.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers!

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

P.S. If anyone would like to give toward the visa need, please designate any contribution to "Leach Visa"
 

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"For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem."  (Rom. 15:26)

 

Dear Saints and Faithful Brethen in Christ Jesus,

 

All of the believers from the churches in Bulgaria send their greetings.  They wish to extend their thanksgiving for your liberality in providing them the necessities of this life, namely the flour.  Bread is the basis of every meal here and without it they do not eat.  This winter you were able to feed over one thousand eight hundred families in Bulgaria, a land distressed by the economic crisis.  Yet God's love is shown through his provisions sent by his dear children, even in economic difficulties - over one hundred tons or two hundred thousand pounds of flour!  To God be the Glory!  In addition to that, over thirty-six hundred bottles of oil were given.

 

"And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts;" (Gen 18:5)

 

The churches send their prayers to God for you all, and give thanks to God for you.  He has comforted their hearts.

 

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April 27, 2011

 

This week I met with pastor Alish from Varna.  He told me of a testimony from one of the believers at his church in Varna.

 

She is a young mother of three.  She first came to the church to pray for her oldest child who was born with heart problems.  The Lord had answered her prayers and the child has been healthy for several years.  Recently her husband left her.  With three small children and no work she has really struggled.  Three weeks ago we distributed flour to the believers in Varna.  She sincerely thanks the Lord and the believers in America who provided her with the one hundred pound of flour, just when they needed it the most.

 

Well, one day she left the house to go to the neighborhood store to buy some diapers.  She had found some loose change and was going to buy maybe one or two diapers (they sell them individually like that here, sometimes.)  On the way to the store she prayed, Lord, I thank you for the flour, but you know my children want more to eat than just bread.  I’d like to buy some candy or fresh fruit, but I’ve only got money for a couple diapers.  She also said, Lord, no matter what happens, I want you to keep my faith strong and keep me in the church.  In my struggles, don’t ever let me forget you.  When she got to the store, an older woman met her outside.  The woman had a grocery bag and asked her to hold it for a minute.  She took the bag in one hand, then in her other hand the older woman placed some money.  She started crying and told the woman she couldn’t possibly accept it.  The older woman said to her, you can’t refuse this.  It was God that told me to give it to you.  She thanked her and walked back home, crying the whole way.  When she got home she opened up the bag and it was full of groceries, including candy.  The children hadn’t had any candy in a long time and they all began to climb on her and kiss her.  She told them the candy wasn’t from her; it was from their heavenly father.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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April 19, 2011

 

This week Pastor Alish told me about how the Lord has been working in some of his churches.  Today I'll just pass on the one testimony.

 

From his church in Varna an older believer testified of how her son-in-law got saved.  She has been a believer for several years, but no one else from her family had ever believed.  She started telling her grandson about the Lord.   She told about how she had been a Muslim for years, but never had one prayer answered; but after she believed in Jesus she began to pray every day and has seen many, many answers to prayer.  Her grandson believes in Jesus, but his parents did not.  One day her grandson found one of the DVDs from our church services and brought it home and watched it.  His dad watched it for a while, and then began to make fun of the church and the believers and their Jesus.  The next day the man had a serious accident.  He is a taxi driver.  He sat in his taxi in the Turkish neighborhood for a long time waiting for any customers.  Finally a lady came and got in the taxi.  As he began to drive away he heard a noise under the car.  He stopped and found that there was a small child who was playing near the car, and he had run over the child.  When they pulled the child from under the car he recognized it.  It was his own nephew.  They quickly took the child, unconscious and covered in blood, to the hospital.  That night the man went to his mother-in-law’s house. He ran in and hugged her, and told her that he was sorry for ever making fun of her religion.  He asked what he needed to do to get right with God.  She told him to repent of his sins and believe in Jesus who loved him, died and rose again for him.  Right then and there he fell to his knees and said, Jesus, I believe in you.  I’m sorry that I didn’t come sooner.  He cried and prayed along with the rest of the family, they said, for what seemed like hours.  After they finally finished praying someone called the parents of the child at the hospital.  They said that the boy had come out of the coma and was doing better.  They doctor told them the boy had narrowly escaped the jaws of death.  The whole family is coming to church next Sunday.

 

Continue to pray for us.  From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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April 12, 2011

 

We've had a busy week here, and productive.  I've spent a couple of days in Varna looking for a decent used car for Brother Nasuf.  Yesterday we were finally able to buy one.  Today it's getting a tune-up and other maintenance, then later we'll get the title transferred to Nasuf.  Many of the believers send their thanks to those of you who prayed and helped purchase the vehicle.  Keep praying, though, the car will need fuel every day.  The Lord will supply that need as well.

 

Also this week we were able to distribute the flour to the last of our village churches.  Again the saints here thank you all for ministering to their carnal needs. 

 

Today I need to try to find a house for a widow woman.  It was she who called us to come start a church in a nearby village.  Now her children have all gone to Western Europe to work, and she herself is left with nothing but a pension of about sixty dollars a month.  Unable to pay the rent she has been put out of her house.  Indeed it is the poor that have the gospel preached unto them. 

 

Continue to pray for us. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

 

Last week we had a wonderful time up in Romania.  Along with the other missionary families we enjoyed five days of singing and preaching in English.  We were blessed and refreshed.  Also in that week was the campmeeting at our mission board's church, Brookside Baptist of Bristol, TN.  At that meeting they raised the funds to buy some much needed vehicles for the national pastors here. 

 

It was a joy to see again some of the believers up in Romania.  The pastors there are preaching better than ever.  The Turkish meeting there lasted over four hours. 

 

On a sadder note, Brother Ali passed away two weeks ago.  Right in the middle of the largest Turkish neighborhood in Constanta Brother Ali had a church in his home for several years.  Now Ali is with his wife again, and with other saints from his church that have gone on ahead.

 

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Brethren,                                                       Monday, April 4, 2011

 

We are back in Bulgaria after a wonderful camp meeting in Romania. What a great time we all had! All the services were good, but Friday's was great. The Holy Spirit moved through and touched the hearts of the young people, most of whom were crying on the altar. Seeds were sown in hearts, including our own children. Please remember them in your prayers.

 

While there, we also had an all-day Turkish meeting. And when I say all day, I mean all day. When we woke in the morning, we were greeted with hugs and handshakes. And around ten at night, we said goodbye to the last van load. It was great to see old friends, and to meet new believers. Romanian isn't in the forefront of our minds these days, but after a little time surrounded by it, a lot of it comes back. Switching back and forth between languages can be tricky sometimes, and it's easy to say a word from the wrong language, but the people are patient and have learned to laugh with us when we make mistakes.

 

Speaking of languages, Turkish studies are going well. I showed the Rosetta Stone program to a fellow missionary (fluent in Turkish) and a couple national Pastors, and they all agreed that it is a good program. Everyone is praying that I will learn quickly so I can preach in the language of the Gypsies in this part of the world, in addition to the Bulgarian which I am preaching with now. I need and appreciate all the prayers!

I mentioned in one of my latest updates about the needs of our residency visas (and wrote about it in my prayer letter as well). Next month will begin the first big part of the visa process--the passports. It's hard to believe that mine is about to expire; time has gone by so quickly. I got it in 2002. I had just surrendered to go to the foreign field and preach the gospel. Not long after, I went with my friend Ricky Bolick on a survey trip in Romania and Bulgaria, where the Lord showed me clearly the work I was to be involved in. We got the children their passports shortly after and have already renewed them once.

 

Now it's time to renew passports for all of us (there is a little time left on each one, but the Bulgarian government requires a specific amount of time before expiration, or they won't approve the visa). I got on the Embassy website tonight and between the cost of the passport renewals and the travel to and from the Embassy in the capital, we're looking at a need of $1,000, by the end of April (so I can do them in May). Please pray with us about this.

 

Thank you all for your faithful prayers. It is your prayers that keep us going.

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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Dear Brethren,                                                            Mar 23, 2011

 

This past Sunday was a little different. Usually I pick Ismael up at his house around 11 a.m. and we go to four churches before returning home around 9 p.m. But the night before in Kaspichan, a couple there asked us to go pray with a man who has cancer. They said it was on the way to our usual Sunday meetings. So, we left early and picked up the couple and headed up the mountain. We went first thing to pray with the man. 

 

At his house, we sang a few hymns and prayed. Nearly everyone in the room was in tears; there was such a sweet spirit. We ask that you all remember this man in your prayers.

 

After a tiring week of meetings, I planned on coming home last night and relaxing a little with the family. Instead I came home to a large fire in my backyard. The neighbor was trying to burn the old weeds in his field (it seems that everyone in Bulgaria is burning fields), but it was a windy day, so the fire spread through the fence into my backyard. The younger children were scared because of the large fire a couple summers ago that caused us to evacuate our house. But it ended up fine. When I told the neighbor that I didn't really want my yard on fire, he laughed. He told me that now it was nice and clean for me. It's just another reminder that languages are easier to adapt to than cultures. 

 

After one more round of meetings, I will be taking the family to the American camp meeting in Romania. We are all looking forward to what God will do. We don't want to miss what He has for us. I will be unable to write any updates until I return. Please pray for all of us as we gather together. Pray for the salvation of the children.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach

 

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March 8, 2011

 

We've had snow flurries here about every day, but with little accumulation.  The weather prophets tell us that this is the last we'll see of winter.  I'm hoping they're right.

Again I've been with Brother Nasuf this week.  It's a blessing to be in his churches.  Sunday we had an especially good meeting in his second village.  Each member there testified in thanksgiving for the Lord's many blessings, and expressed a desire to follow the Lord closer.  There is a real spirit of renewal in that meeting, as well as in the church at Tirgovishte.  I believe this is in answer to the prayers of the saints of that church.  The people there fast three or four days a week.  During the fast, they say that they don't really feel any hunger, but have a desire all day long to pray. 

 

As an answer to those prayers, just this week they heard from a former church member who left the country for work ten years ago.  In Germany she hadn't been attending church anywhere.  But one day she called pastor Nasuf and said, "For the past week something inside me has been telling me to call you.  I need to get right with God." 

It seems that the time has come for us to start a website featuring the Turkish church services.  Many of the people here now have internet.  Most of the Turkish believers that leave Bulgaria to work in Western Europe cannot find a church that ministers in Turkish.  We've been distributing DVDs of our services here, but from a website, one could download the weekly service.  We're praying about how to proceed.

 

Last month our washing machine quit working.  The repairman told us that it might be cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it.  Thank God, we were able to get a new one this month.  Verity and the girls had to hand-wash the laundry for a couple of weeks. 

 

Thank you all for your prayers and support.  From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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March 1, 2011

We've enjoyed another week of preaching the word in the village churches. Last week and this week I am with Brother Nasuf, as he is without a vehicle. The people in his churches are all so happy. One of the happiest is a woman who is paralyzed. She can't get out of bed, but she has a continual smile on her face.

In a few days we will be joined by my brother and his family. They're coming to Bulgaria on the eleventh of this month to live and work in the ministry here. Please remember them in your prayers.

This week the Lord protected us on the roads. Even in snow storms we try to get out and get the work done. Both Pastor Alish and myself came close to sliding off the road, but the Lord protected us. I normally drive about five hundred miles a week, as do many of the national pastors. It's the good grace of God that keeps us safe. We appreciate your prayers.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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February 22, 2011 - Update from Zach LeFevre in Bulgaria

 

This week we are thanking the Lord for helping Sarah Welch.  She's been in the hospital for nine days, but is slowly recovering.  So far she's been able to sit up on her own, stand up, and she's even started eating a little.  The doctors still aren't sure what is wrong with her, but if her condition continues to improve, she may be able to go home this week.  Thank you all for your prayers.   

 

Our regular village meetings continue to be well attended.  Those from the new church come to the meeting in our village, and during the week they gather to sing the hymns, as well. 

 

Brother Nasuf's car has finally given up the ghost.  This week I'll be taking him to his meetings, until we can figure out a way to get him another vehicle.  Please make this a matter of prayer.  His son-in-law is also a fine preacher.  Last week he got his driver's license.  If they had the transportation, Brother Nasuf's son-in-law could preach in the regular meetings, freeing up Nasuf to start new meetings. 

 

As an answer to prayer, fellow missionary Robert Shrader is recovering from his foot injury.  He's able to walk without his crutches now.  After being in the house for nearly a month he plans on going to the church service in Varna tomorrow. 

 

Sunday I met with Brother Cheatwood and Pastor Alish, and they told me how Brother Alish's father-in-law got saved.  He had been an alcoholic and a gambler for forty years.  His wife and children suffered many things as a result of his sins. 

 

One day his youngest daughter met with a friend at school who was crying.  This friend of hers told about her mother (I believe it was) who was sick and needed surgery.  She told her friend about the church and all the testimonies her older sister and brother-in-law had told her about.  So, the two of them decided to try for themselves to pray to the same God, whose son is Jesus.  Behind the school building they prayed and poured their hearts out before the Lord on behalf of the suffering one.  A few days later the girl came to school crying.  But they were tears of joy.  Her mother had gone to the hospital for surgery, but the doctors decided that she didn't need it, after all.  The two girls were amazed.  They decided to go out behind the school building to pray and thank God for answering their prayer. 

 

These two girls were so thrilled at what the Lord had done for them that they decided they needed a church in their village.  There was an old, abandoned house on the edge of the village which they cleaned up and began to use as a place to meet.  They would got here every night to sing and pray.  One night Pastor Alish and his wife went to the village to visit his in-laws.  When he asked about the sister, his mother-in-law said, "She's at church."  This, of course, was a shock to him, so they drove around the village until they found the old house.  Then he promised that since they were having "church" on their own, he would come and preach to them twice a week. 

 

Brother Alish's mother-in-law (still unsaved) asked them to pray that they would be able to buy a new house.  Not far from where they lived a house went up for sale.  It was larger and better than their own.  She promised that if God would help them get the house, she would give one room of it for a meeting house for the new church.  Sure enough, the new believers got a hold of the Lord and they were meeting in the new house after a week, and the unsaved family members in the next room were hearing the hymns being sung and the word of God being preached twice a week. 

 

Before long, both Alish's father-in-law and mother-in-law were attending the services.  His father-in-law, the town drunk, became more and more interested.  After a few weeks he bought a pair of glasses so he could read the hymn book.  After another few weeks Alish's mother-in-law said that she had seen her husband drink every day for forty years until now.  For the last two months he's been sober, shaved, and cleaned up.  He no longer drinks or plays cards.  This week he even brought two new people to church.  Brother Alish's wife has prayed for her (large) family for five years.  Now, at least two of them are saved, and several others are on their way. 

 

We thank you again for your prayers.  They really do work.  From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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February 19, 2011    Dear Brethren,

Flour distribution has begun and is keeping us very busy. We are praising the Lord for supplying the need and feeding the people. The people are thankful to God and the believers in America for the flour and oil they have received.

We just read through Matthew as a family and many of the accounts of Jesus feeding the poor came alive to us. The hungry crowds followed Him and He gave them bread. Because of the love of Jesus, we can do the same. What a blessing!

I have a prayer request to bring before you: A fellow missionary's child has been in the hospital for several days with a frightening illness and an awful amount of pain. The doctors have ruled out several things, but as of yet do not have a cause or prognosis. Please pray for her!

Thank you all for your faithful prayers for our family, mission family and ministry. Your prayers are precious to us!

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach in Bulgaria

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February 16, 2011

The Lord has been good to us this winter. The weather has been mild, and we haven't missed but one or two meetings due to the road closings. During these winter months most people are home with nothing to do, so they come to church. We've seen many people come to our meetings for the first time.

One was a religious, Turkish woman. For some time she has known about the believers in her area, but had no interest in changing her religions until one day she found her self in our company. She had been visitting her friends, who host the church in her house. When we came for church she decided to stay for a few minutes. During the singing of the first hymn the tears started rolling down her cheeks. After church she told us how much she enjoyed the service and promised to come back. Since then she's attended two more services. Now we're waiting for her to confess faith in Christ.

In another village a woman came to the church for the first time. She said she didn't really know much about the believers, and never had any interest in coming. Then one night she had a dream. In her dream the Lord told her that there true life was in the church, and that she needed to go and get saved. The next morning she came. She didn't even know what day of the week or what time the believers meet, but came at exactly the right time. At the close of the service she prayed for the first time in her life.

We ask you all to pray for Sarah. She is the sixteen year old daughter of fellow missionaries, the Welches. Sunday night she was taken to the emergency room with what the doctors thought may have been meningitis. After some tests they ruled that out, but she is still in extreme pain. The Bulgarian hospital staff and doctors are doing what they can, but still have no certain diagnosis. Please pray for her.

From Bulgaria Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Brethren,                                                                                                                                     February 5, 2011

Winter has been mild, for the most part, and we are thankful for that. Generally in January and February, we get quite a bit of snow and ice, making it impossible to get to the churches in the mountains. But the churches are thankful that we have been able to get to them. One would think that the mild winter would mean that the people's financial burdens would be lighter, but not so this year. The economy is in terrible condition and there is no work (especially for Gypsies). It's harder than last winter. Though there is no work, the cost of living continues to rise. Fuel is currently around $6.50 per gallon.  The Pastors are needing help with fuel money to get to the villages. Please pray with us about this.

I have a praise to share: a couple days ago, Carrie and I were in the nearby city, paying bills when we were nearly struck by another car. I hit the brakes, and though we were jarred, we were safe. I am thankful to the Lord for delivering us.

We're getting ready to start passing out this year's flour and oil. The people have been asking for a while and are very thankful to hear that they will receive this help soon.

Thank you for your faithful prayers for our family and for this ministry.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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1-26-11

We just got back from a trip to Sofia, Bulgaria, where we needed some passport work done at the consulate. Although the weather was disagreeable, we made it home safe and sound.

At the meeting here in our village we've had several first time visitors recently. This Sunday a young woman came and listened intently. After the service I noticed tears in her eyes, but she didn't say anything to me. She told one of the other believers, "He preached that verse, He that believeth on me shall not be ashamed...just for me. I've believed on the Lord several years ago, but have not followed him faithfully." Please pray for her, and the others that have visited.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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January 17, 2011

We've had a couple of uneventful weeks here.  We continue to preach in the village churches.  Some of the churches are flourishing, and some are struggling.  So, we ask for your prayers.  Prayer does change things.

 

Last week we were able to give some winter coats to the poor children in some of our villages.  When Paul was sent out to minister to the Gentiles, he was charged to "remember the poor".  This, we also do.  Although our main ministry is preaching the word of God and establishing churches, we occasionally help people physically.  Zach LeFevre

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Greetings Brethren,                                                                                                                                    January 11, 2011

 

I hope this letter finds you well! God has blessed exceedingly abundantly. This year has been far greater than all of our expectations for Coats for Kids. Around 350 coats and socks, as well as the Gospel on DVD have been given out in the villages. We have seen needy children warmed by the coats and socks. Because of all of this, time has gotten away from me and it has been a while since I've written. I'm sorry it has been so long.

I would like to share my heart with you for just a few moments: While reading through the book of Genesis with the family, the Lord touched my heart several times through certain passages. Three in particular. The first one is Gen. 35:11 where God tells Jacob, "I am God." The second one is Gen. 47:9 where Jacob looks at his own life and says, "Few and evil are the days of my life." The third one is Gen. 48:15 where Jacob gives testimony of the Lord and says, "The God which fed me all my life long unto this day."  I was thinking that when you see that He is God and that He is enough, you will see yourself the way Jacob did and you will see God the same way he did. I'm so glad that He's God!

I have a matter of prayer that I thought I would bring before you. The National Pastor fund has been down for quite some time. The missionaries are having to supplement where we can, but this is becoming increasingly difficult for us. We are in need of help. Please help us pray in the necessary funds.

 

Because He First Loved Me,  Brother Larry Leach

 

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It was a cold, snowy day in December of 2008 and we were driving through a nearby city when I saw them. It was a mother with a couple children, the youngest of which, a toddler, she was lowering into a dumpster to fish out items outside her reach. The whole scene broke my heart, but my focus went to the child in the dumpster. This child had barely any clothes on. I wanted to stop and give the mother something, anything, to help keep her child warm, but I didn’t stop. Thoughts of that child haunted me, breaking my heart a little more with each passing day.

It was then that I decided to go purchase a van load of coats from a nearby second-hand store to keep on hand for such occasions. That first year, 50 coats were given.

In the fall of 2009, the Lord spoke to my heart again, reminding me of the coats. I wrote to friends, family, and a couple supporting churches, telling them what I wanted to do. Enough money was received to pass out 200 coats, 300 pair of socks, and 300 DVDs of Turkish church services.

Then in September of 2010, I wrote again, asking for prayers and support to get coats to the needy children of our area—to help keep them warm. The response was overwhelming! One church in middle Tennessee heard of the efforts and bought 200 coats to be shipped to Romania. Others gathered money and sent it to Charity Baptist Mission for “Coats for Kids”.

As of today, January 6, 2011, the 200 coats have arrived in Romania and 280 coats, socks, and DVDs have been given here in Bulgaria, as well as several bags of stocking hats. From here we hope to get to fellow missionary Zachary LeFevre’s villages and then move on to National Pastor Mitko Stefanov’s villages. There is much work yet to be done.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support in the form of prayers, financial contribution, and/or letters of encouragement. It is my prayer that Coats for Kids will continue to grow and that many little lives will be touched by the love of Jesus Christ.

With Sincerest Thanks, Carrie M. Leach

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January 17, 2011

We've had a couple of uneventful weeks here.  We continue to preach in the village churches.  Some of the churches are flourishing, and some are struggling.  So, we ask for your prayers.  Prayer does change things.

 

Last week we were able to give some winter coats to the poor children in some of our villages.  When Paul was sent out to minister to the Gentiles, he was charged to "remember the poor".  This, we also do.  Although our main ministry is preaching the word of God and establishing churches, we occasionally help people physically.  Zach LeFevre

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Greetings Brethren,                                                                                                                                    January 11, 2011

 

I hope this letter finds you well! God has blessed exceedingly abundantly. This year has been far greater than all of our expectations for Coats for Kids. Around 350 coats and socks, as well as the Gospel on DVD have been given out in the villages. We have seen needy children warmed by the coats and socks. Because of all of this, time has gotten away from me and it has been a while since I've written. I'm sorry it has been so long.

I would like to share my heart with you for just a few moments: While reading through the book of Genesis with the family, the Lord touched my heart several times through certain passages. Three in particular. The first one is Gen. 35:11 where God tells Jacob, "I am God." The second one is Gen. 47:9 where Jacob looks at his own life and says, "Few and evil are the days of my life." The third one is Gen. 48:15 where Jacob gives testimony of the Lord and says, "The God which fed me all my life long unto this day."  I was thinking that when you see that He is God and that He is enough, you will see yourself the way Jacob did and you will see God the same way he did. I'm so glad that He's God!

I have a matter of prayer that I thought I would bring before you. The National Pastor fund has been down for quite some time. The missionaries are having to supplement where we can, but this is becoming increasingly difficult for us. We are in need of help. Please help us pray in the necessary funds.

 

Because He First Loved Me,  Brother Larry Leach

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This week we had a snow storm that closed the roads to our regular meetings on Thursday, but Friday we made it out with no problems. On Fridays we go to the new village. The owner of the house came to the meeting and told us we would have to find a new house to meet in. Several people have offered the use of their house as a place for the prayer meetings. Even on days when we don't have church they still get together and sing the hymns and pray. They only know a few hymns, so they just make up melodies for the hymns they don't know. There's been a young man come each week there. At the first meeting he only stayed in the house for five minutes. At the next meeting he stayed a little longer, but still only stood in the doorway. This week he came in the room and sat down for most of the meeting. It looks like the Lord is drawing him in.

Last year we had prayed for a girl, Kiymet. She had had brain surgery, and was not expected to survive, but eventually made a full recovery. While she was in the village she was the most faithful church member. (She knew that if it weren't for the Lord's mercy she wouldn't be alive.) Now she is back living with her husband, who had separated from her when it looked like she would not live. God has put her life back together again. Not long after that we learned of another young lady in the same village that had had brain surgery. She's been in and out of the hospital for the past several months. Her mother and grandmother are both strong believers. They've seen God raise her up from what seemed to be her death bed several times. Now, the girl is not doing well. She's at home, and the family is trying to raise money for her very expensive medicine. We had special prayer for her, and ask that you all would pray, as well. Her mother sat before us and cried and cried telling about the situation. Only the Lord can help. We thank you all so much for praying for our visa situation. It's really too early to know exactly, but it looks like all the money that we needed has come in. Praise the Lord.

From Bulgaria,Zachary LeFevre

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December 6, 2010

This week we had a special blessing. Two of the men from our mission board's church, Brookside Baptist, came to Bulgaria for a visit. They stayed with us for a night. Now they're visiting other missionaries, but said they'd come back and see us again. Enjoying fellowship with old friends is refreshing.

Our new meeting is going well. The believers there have met with their first opposition. The woman in whose house we meet does not own the house, she only rents it. Someone in the village went and told the manger of the property that she turned the house into a church, and he came and told us we couldn't meet there anymore. The little crowd, almost in unison, told me how mean the man was. I told them not to be angry at him, but just to pray. This week we went back and talked to the man, but after our week of prayer he spoke very kindly to us. It turns out that the owner of the house has been in Spain, but he's returning soon. So, we'll be able to meet with the owner to see if he will allow us to continue to meet in the house.

Last week I mentioned our need to pay for the permanent residency visas. It looks like more than half of the money has come in or has been promised. We still need two thousand dollars, but I'm sure the Lord will take care of it.

We appreciate all of your prayers and your help.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from Bulgaria,

The plan was to have already passed out most if not all of this year's coats by now, but, as plans go, ours was changed. As a family, our focus shifted as we grieved the loss of Mother/Grandmother.

But, though we will be grieving for some time, we have settled back into our routine. Larry is back at the meetings and we have begun to buy coats and socks. At the moment there are about 175 coats, each with a pair of socks, upstairs at our house, waiting to be given out on Sunday.

Larry talked with Ismael, a National Pastor, about getting to the poorest sections of the villages in which they minister, and they made a list from greatest need to least. The two neediest are the fist two churches on their typical Sunday schedule, so we will be able to take care of both of those together. These two villages are also two of the roughest, so we request your prayers that all will go smoothly.

When Larry was talking with Ismael about the needs, Ismael told him about a family in the second village who is having to feed their children in shifts----as in, one child eats one day and the other child eats the next. This story has me in knots. This family, we may be able to help. But, knowing there are other children out there just like these makes my heart hurt.

Then today when we were in the big city at a second-hand store (which, may end up being the contact I asked y'all to pray I'd find in my last update letter, Larry was telling me about many of the children Ismael was telling him about. In one shack, there are 12 children. In another, 7. In yet another village, the children barely have clothing, let alone coats and socks. I tried hard to focus on picking out the coats we had come to buy, but I found myself distracted at the thought of these kids. How could I help them all? I fought back the tears.

I feel heavy of heart tonight. I can't get to them all, but I sure want to try!

I want to thank you all for your involvement in praying for this ministry! I look forward to sharing many wonderful testimonies and pictures with you very soon!

With Love to all, Carrie Leach

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November 16, 2010

Wednesday on the way to the regular meetings I got a phone call from a woman in our church. There was a woman from a nearby village that had come to her house to ask the believers come to her village to start a church. Even though it would be late, I told her we'd be there that evening. After the regular meetings we went, and she was so happy to see us that she cried. She had been saved some years before, but just recently moved to that village where there was no church. She had missed church so much that she rode the school bus to our village to see if we would come. (She had to walk back home). That night there were about five of the neighbors that came and listened as we sang, and then preached about the prodigal son. They all said they wanted to be believers. We agreed to come back Friday afternoon.

Friday there were about ten people gathered. They all said they wanted to be believers; that's why they came. I preached from Romans chapter ten about how a man can be saved. Before I could finish there was one woman that interrupted me three times saying, "Tell us, how can I be saved". She thought she couldn't be saved because she couldn't read or write, and didn't know any prayers. After I preached the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, I told her just to call on the Lord. "That much I CAN do!", she said. We had prayer, and each adult prayed with a loud voice, asking God to save them. Pray for this little group. Lord willing, we'll go back every Friday.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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November 9, 2010

This week Brother Larry Leach traveled back to the states. His mother passed away just a few days ago. Remember the family in prayers.

While he is away, we're short-handed again. Brother Ismail is currently taking a taxi to his nearby village churches. Sunday I saw Brother Nasuf. His family and church are well. The village churches in his area are full. But, his vehicle is now more of a financial liability than anything else. Please pray that the Lord would supply the need for this preacher to travel to the villages and preach the gospel.

Saturday we had a special meeting in one of our village churches. Brother Shayim has had a church meeting in his house for ten years. Now he is a grandfather. For the baby's dedication service they prepared a meal to feed one hundred people. Believers from several villages came. It was a time of great joy.

We thank each of you that prays for us, and ask that you would continue, and especially for our visas.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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To: Brookside Baptist Church and Pastor Mike Nixon                                                                                  4th of Nov. 2010

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This week we just came back from our English campmeeting in Romania. The Lord blessed the English services and everybody was blessed. This Monday we had a 3 hour regular Turkish meeting in Romania and a lot of them shouted out the glory of God. Some of them got so full that they exploded with the joy of the Lord. One brother said that the devil told him not to get up and praise the Lord, but shortly after another one testified he was on his feet giving all the glory to God for what the Lord has done for him and his family. Praise God.

 

I just finished our regular Turkish meeting in the city of Shumen. One lady got up to testify how she went to a wedding in Belgium. She said that the whole crowd were rich Muslims. When the day for the wedding came the bride's folks paid a hoja to come from Germany and put a blessing. When the sister heard that she prayed with another believer that the Lord will mess up the hoja's trip. When everybody found out that there were two believers at the wedding everybody went against them. The guests waited in vain for the hoja to come and the Lord stopped him from coming. The Muslims said: Your prayers stopped the hoja from coming. Then one of sisters got full of the Holy Ghost and started telling them about the Son of God. Then the two sisters started singing Turkish hymns. The guests kept on coming and the Lord was touching their hearts. After the singing those Muslims said: This way is a lot better than ours. Now those people request that we send them DVDs with the church services. Praise the Lord. For sure He knows how to open the hearts. Today I handed the sister 20 DVDs to send to those people in Belgium.

 

I thank the Lord for what He is doing over here. It is so fresh and blessing and it is not dry at all. In the meetings the Lord keeps sending new souls to hear the gospel preached.
 

Thank you all for your prayers and financial support. That means a lot for everybody over here.
 

May the Lord bless you all richly in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Bro. Mitko, Bulgaria.

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Update October 26, 2010

This week we saw the Lord move as an answer to prayer, as he always does. In the normal village meetings we saw little progress, then Sunday we heard several good testimonies at our "home" church here in the village.

One lady has been coming for three weeks now. She told about how the Lord has worked in her life. She had felt the Lord calling her years ago, but did not respond. Now she has had health problems and asked one of our church members to pray for her. Well, the Lord answered the prayers, and she was thankful. So, Gulbush, the one that prayed for her told her she had to come to church to publicly thank the Lord for helping her. That was three weeks ago. Thankfully, the Lord's given her enough problems to keep her coming and keep praying.

Sunday, a young woman that has been in the church for most of her life for the first time stood to give a testimony. She said she had wanted the Lord to do something especially for her that she could testify about. Her husband's cousin had been sick, and needed a cancerous tumor removed. This young woman prayed for her, and on the day of her surgery the doctors proclaimed that the tumor was gone. The entire family said that could only be the hand of God. What a joy it was to see this young woman cry and tell of how God had heard her prayers.

Pray for us as we continue to labour to establish young converts in the faith. Also continue to pray about our visas.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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November 2, 2010

 

We just got back from a wonderful week of English church in Romania.  The singing was great and the preaching was better.  The children always enjoy visiting with other American missionary children.  The other missionaries told about how the Lord is blessing in their areas.

 

In the church in Varna there is a girl who started coming to church with other family members a couple of months ago.  She was born blind.  One day she said that she could see light.  They took her to the eye doctor who confirmed that she responded to bright light in her eyes.  Now the family is in Germany, where the doctors say that they might be able to help her see.  The family and the church is giving God the glory.

 

One day at that church there were two men that came.  The one man was crippled and had been to the doctor in the city.  They didn't have any money, though, for the bus back to their village.  So, they looked for and found the church.  There they enjoyed the service and gave testimonies of how God had worked in their lives.  After church Brother Alish learned that they needed thirty leva for the bus tickets home.  He gave them all the money he had, which was twelve leva.  Other church members gave what little they had, and the final amount was twenty-eight leva.  Then, a four year old boy walked in carrying a two-leva bill, which he joyfully gave.  God had provided the men a way home. 

 

Brother Nathan Reed told about how the believers up in Romania are struggling.  Many of them do not own houses.  One family had been living in a shanty on the beach for five years.  That man stood in church and read from II Corinthians 5, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."  He, along with the others in the church, is thanking God that they have a house in heaven.  It's not just something they sing about or talk about.  It's real. 

 

During our meeting Thursday morning Brother Dave Turner walked into church carrying a little girl.  Three year old Kelebek is the newest addition to the children's home.  She had been abandoned by her mother and father, and was being cared for by a grandparent who lives in a little shack by the dump.  At night they had to tie a cat to the bed to keep the rats away.  We thank God for providing a good home for her.  As she grows, she'll learn about the heavenly father and the home in heaven. 

 

Pray for the children's home in Romania.  Pray for us.  From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

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Update October 26, 2010

 

This week we saw the Lord move as an answer to prayer, as he always does. In the normal village meetings we saw little progress, then Sunday we heard several good testimonies at our "home" church here in the village.

 

One lady has been coming for three weeks now. She told about how the Lord has worked in her life. She had felt the Lord calling her years ago, but did not respond. Now she has had health problems and asked one of our church members to pray for her. Well, the Lord answered the prayers, and she was thankful. So, Gulbush, the one that prayed for her told her she had to come to church to publicly thank the Lord for helping her. That was three weeks ago. Thankfully, the Lord's given her enough problems to keep her coming and keep praying.

 

Sunday, a young woman that has been in the church for most of her life for the first time stood to give a testimony. She said she had wanted the Lord to do something especially for her that she could testify about. Her husband's cousin had been sick, and needed a cancerous tumor removed. This young woman prayed for her, and on the day of her surgery the doctors proclaimed that the tumor was gone. The entire family said that could only be the hand of God. What a joy it was to see this young woman cry and tell of how God had heard her prayers.

 

Pray for us as we continue to labour to establish young converts in the faith. Also continue to pray about our visas.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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October 18, 2010

It's turned cold here in Bulgaria. Most days are rainy and the thermometer never reaches sixty degrees. This week some of us got sick with cold/flu and strep throat. Hope we don't have to go through that again anytime soon.

Thursday morning a man and woman came to my house from one of Ismail's villages. They didn't have anything to eat or give to their five children. So, they had walked and hitch-hiked nearly twenty miles to our village. I took them to the church where we feed the poor children, and got some groceries from the pantry, including a fifty pound sack of flour. Please pray for this family and many others like them.

Last night after the evening service here in our village we went to a nearby village to pray for a woman. She has been a believer for several years. She has several ailments. Today she goes to the hospital to see if she'll need surgery or not. Before prayer we sang several hymns and briefly testified. There were some neighbors that gathered to listen. Some of them heard the gospel for the first time.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Saturday we got the sad news that Brother Ahmed had passed away. I went out to the wake that evening, then he was buried Sunday morning. He was 65.

Ahmed got saved in 1993, along with his wife. Their village is one of the poorest in the area, but, seemingly overnight, the richest church grew out of it. When God moved on that village they began to have church services day and night. At one point the police were alarmed at the sudden stop of crime, so they came to investigate. They asked what had happened and found out that the criminals had become believers in Jesus. At the church house they asked how many people in the village had become believers. The reply was, "All but two." "Well, take us to those last two and we'll make sure they get religion, too", the police replied.

In the next two years Brother Ahmed traveled with Brother Ralph and Brother Yashar along with other believers all over Bulgaria. He was a natural evangelist. I don't know how many times I've seen him approach a man on the street, and within minutes was talking about the Lord. Only heaven knows how many people he has brought to the faith.

In 1996 he came up to Romania to preach to the Turks up there. Many of the believers up there still consider him to be their spiritual father.

Although he could not read, he could preach better than most preachers who can. He listened intently to the American missionaries preach, and could recall, almost word for word, their texts. He had a tender heart, and could not preach about Jesus without crying. His physical condition grew worse, and the last few years of his life he was not able to travel to the villages. Saturday night his body was laid out on the floor of the little church house, and he was surrounded by those that loved him. I am sure that in heaven he is surrounded by others who love him, many, from Bulgaria.

Remember his family and his church in your prayers.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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September 8, 2010

There's just a couple more weeks of work left in the fields, then our people will be settled down for the winter. That means more people will be coming back to church. This week there's two families that are leaving to work in Turkey.

I got to visit with Brother Nasuf this week. He told about having outdoor meetings in one village. It had been so hot that they didn't want to crowd into the house, so they spread out some rugs and sat down outside. Last week, he said, it had cooled off and the people wanted to meet inside, but he wanted to continue meeting outside. Two people wandered by and stopped to listen to the singing and preaching. He said that he could just sense that they wanted something so he asked if anybody wanted to become a believer and they both responded. Afterwards he said, "Now I know it was the Lord that wanted me to keep the meeting outside, in spite of the cooler weather. He had two people he wanted to save that might not have come inside the house."

Saturday we had a special meeting in one of Brother Ismail's churches. A woman from the church had heart surgery earlier in the year and made a full recovery. So she wanted to feed the church as a token of her thankfulness for their prayers. Before the meal we sang several hymns and I preached. Since the meeting was in her house instead of the church, there were several family members there that got to hear the gospel.

Fourteen years ago today Polly was born. So, on her first day of school we got to eat cake and ice-cream.

Remember to pray for our visas. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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August 30, 2010

For the third week in a row we took believers from several villages to the church in Dabravino, and then down to the river for a baptismal service. I believe there were eight that got baptized yesterday. That takes care of all the churches for this year - 100 people baptized from 80 churches.

In a few days the children will begin their home schooling. In addition to his home school, Isaac will also be attending first grade in the local Bulgarian primary school.
Pray for our daughter, Katy. She's had swelling in her right eye for three days now.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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August 24, 2010

Yesterday we had another baptism. This time there were 37 people that got baptized. Close to three hundred people came. That's about more than the church building can hold. It's a blessing to see the believers from all of these different villages where I have preached in the past. Some of them are getting older. Sister Kadriye is in poor health. She has had a stroke, and lost control of one side of her body and face. She can't hardly talk, but when I asked how she was doing she raised her hand up, as if to say, Praise God.

Now that Brother Larry's back after their furlough, I'll again be going to Brother Alish's churches.

This week I went to buy a hole-punching/binding machine to make hymn books with. It normally costs about $200. I asked the woman there if I get a special discount (for no apparent reason). So, she went and checked with her boss then came back and gave me a thirty dollars discount. I paid the money, thanked God and brought it home.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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August 16, 2010

Yesterday was our first baptism of the year. There was a bus full of people from Brother Nasuf's churches that came, as well as several vans from other villages. There were 55 new believers that got baptized. After a light meal, we started the church service which went until midnight!

One of the blessings in the meeting was a teenage girl who testified. Her father had been sick, and had been told that he would not live. She had just got saved and prayed for her father. Although the father's health continued to worsen, she told her family that he wouldn't die, because she had prayed. The family even began to make funeral arrangements. Sure enough, the man slowly recovered from his illness. She is now rejoicing with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Finally, my permanent residency visa came through. The visas for the rest of the family are still being processed, and will take at least a couple of more months. Join me in praying that they will come through properly.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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August 16, 2010


We just got back from a week in Romania. What a blessing it was to be able to sing and preach in our own language again. The children enjoy being able to spend time with other missionary children, as well.

Last week there was a man from one of our meetings that passed away unexpectedly. In church the previous week he had asked about the meaning of one of the hymns. He was eager to learn, and wanted to understand everything. Now he does. He was sixty years old.

The younger Alish told me about a man from one of his churches that got saved. He had a taxi-type business, but with a van. His wife has been saved for a while and always asked prayer for him. He promised that he would come to church some day and give his life to the Lord. Just recently he was able to buy a new van, but before he got the insurance on it, he had an accident and it was "totaled". Now he's thankful to be alive, and decided the time is right to get saved. With his old van he now drives people to church every Sunday.

My permanent visa came through, finally. Now we begin the same process for Verity and the children.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from sunny Bulgaria. So far it's only rained twice this week.                                                       July 20, 2010

Sunday I was able to take a van load of believers into the larger meeting in Dabravino. This year instead of having large, all-night meetings, we're bringing the villages in two and three at a time on Sunday mornings. There were over a hundred people in the meeting. We heard great testimonies of answered prayers, and not only from older believers. There's plenty of new ones that are excited about the Lord, as well. Several told about how they came to the church looking for help in their sickness, and the Lord healed them. Now they are thanking God for the sicknesses, because, as they say, "If I hadn't fallen sick, I might have never known Jesus."

Yesterday was Katy's sixteenth birthday. To celebrate, the whole family went to Varna and met with the Welch family for an afternoon of fun and fellowship, and pizza.

We're still waiting for word on my visa. Pray for us. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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                                                                                                                                                                          July 5, 2010

What a good day. Once or twice a year we American missionaries will get together for a meal and fellowship. Today the weather was perfect, food was irresistible, children were happy, music was good, and now we're wore out. We have a lot to be thankful for. He's been good to us.

I checked on my visa this morning, but it still isn't ready. It was supposed to be ready a week ago. They told me to apply for my children this week whether or not my visa comes in, which is good news.

Brother Alish (the younger) was in a car accident yesterday with his family. At the time of the accident no one was hurt, but today they are all feeling sore. The other driver was at fault and his insurance will pay for the damages, but it will be a couple weeks before that happens. In the mean time they're without a car, and unable to go to their meetings.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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                                                                                                                                                 June 21, 2010

We start another week of preaching in the villages. Last week we heard good testimonies of answered prayer. Almost every day we hear people tell that they can't wait for church. That's not always Sunday. It's not possible to do nineteen meetings in nineteen different villages all on Sunday; so each village has it's own church day.

Yesterday we had a baby dedication in the church in Shumen. Six preachers came for the special service and enjoyed a time of fellowship afterwards. It rained hard before the service, and rained lightly during the service. The little house couldn't hold everybody, and there were about a dozen people that stood outside the whole time.

The believers in the newest meeting said that their daughter's family really wants us to come have church in her village. We'll try and go this week if it works out, but don't know if we'll be able to go back every week, should they want us.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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                                                                                                                                                                        June 16, 2010

We're now in the heat of summer, when at the end of every meeting we're covered in perspiration; and most days we do two meetings.

Last week I was able to get out to the village where they had requested prayer for a girl. She's sixteen years old and has had four operations on her head. Now the doctors say they need to put a plate in her head within the next month. Her mother said that she turned to the Lord and began to pray when the doctors gave her only three days to live. That was back in November. Please pray for this girl, and her family.

We've had good meetings all week, and heard many testimonies of answered prayers.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                          June 8th 2010

 

This Sunday we were able to bring a bus full of believers into Dabravino for the meeting.  Believers from two of Brother Ismail's villages came.  To my surprise the family from the new meeting came.  Maksut testified there before a hundred people that he was now a believer and will remain a believer until he dies.  His testimony was just one of many which encouraged our hearts.

 

Sister Melek has been a believer and hosted a church in her house for over fifteen years.  Recently her son passed away in a construction accident in Germany.  At the funeral the unbelievers cursed God for allowing such a tragedy, but Sister Melek, with her dead son lying before her praised God for his goodness and faithfulness.  All those present saw the sharp contrast between the sinners and saints.  Pray for her and family. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

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Dear Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                 June 1, 2010

 

Today Isaac graduated from kindergarten. I believe there were three children in the village that graduated with him. Katy and Polly finished the year at the music school with a concert.

 

Brother Alish made it to his regular meetings on Saturday and Sunday, but he's still a little sore from the operation.

This week we've had people from two different villages ask us to come start churches. I'm not sure when we'll be able to get to them, though.

Brother Ismail's churches were full this week. It's a joy to preach to them. One woman testified about her daughter having a heart problem. The family doctor had been monitoring it for some time, and finally sent them to a specialist in Shumen. Upon reviewing the test results the specialist proclaimed the child's heart perfectly healthy. Later, the family doctor, looked at the results and astonished, said, "Well, Praise God"

 

Sometime ago we prayed for a girl named Kiymet who had had a tumor removed from her brain. The Lord graciously answered our prayers and has given her over seven months of good health. Now in the same village there is another girl with a similar problem, a tumor on her head. I don't know all the details, but the doctors had tried treating it a couple of different ways unsuccessfully and finally told her mother, "We've done all we can do. You need to pray". So they brought her to our church Saturday and prayed.

 

When you pray, remember these needs, and also our visas. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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May 24, 2010

I'm at home this morning.  We found an internet company that came out to the village, and put a square, plastic antenna on the side of our chimney; so now we are on-line at home. 

While there's work to be found, most of our people are out working in the fields.  So, we've moved the church services back a couple hours.  Still, only about half of the people are able to come.  Wednesday night, though, a lady came for the first time.  After hearing one hymn she told us that she had found one of our Gospel of John/Hymn Books on the side of the road years ago.  She picked it up, took it home, read it, and kept it, all these years.  She heard her first gospel sermon that night, and was moved to tears.   

Brother Alish is recovering from his surgery at home.  He's wanting to get back to the meetings, but still too weak. 

The other Brother Alish has been helping me cover some of the nineteen meetings in this area.  We've got too many churches and too few preachers.  There's been a couple days when I couldn't drive Brother Ismail to his villages, so he rode his bike.  There came up a rain storm on his way home the other night and drenched him.  He just laughed about it, though.   

Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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May, 17 2010

We had another good week here.  Brother Ismail and his churches are doing well.  His wife, Naziye is also recovering well from her most recent stroke.  The meetings all went well this week.  Brother Ismail's churches are older, and it's easier to preach to them. 

Friday morning Brother Alish had his surgery.  It went well, but he's still in the hospital.  He should be able to come home shortly.  Saturday I went to Alish's two meetings for him.  The second church was about full.  That's encouraging to see, after being empty for so long.  Prayer really does work.  The people there are happy and excited about church. 

Yesterday I was in a new village.  It's not really a new village for us, but the meeting is in a different house now.  The former host of church had moved, so now we're meeting with a new family.  They love to hear the preaching; say they've never heard anything like it.  Pray for them.  We're trying to gather up more people to come, even though at this time of year most people are busy working. 

Remember to pray for us. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Apr 19, 2010

This is our third day of drizzling rain this week. That'll help the grass seed I planted, and other things. It's been nice here, though, and not too cold.

Brother Cheatwood came with us this week to the newer meetings to the north of us. He enjoyed the meetings, and the people sure enjoyed his preaching. He said that we had done a good work in a difficult area. In one of his messages he mentioned Bilent. I had forgotten his testimony.

Bilent was a young man that had been kicked out of his home. Although he was sixteen, his body hadn't grown, and he still looked like a child. The doctors told him that not only was there no hope for him to live, but his death would be excruciatingly painful. So, what family he had kicked him out. One of the believers in Constanta took him in when Brother Nathan found out about it. From then on Brother Nathan and the other missionaries tended to Bilent's needs until his death. Many nights Brother Nathan stayed with him. As his condition grew worse, he was bed-ridden most of the time, but one day he got up and made his way to the meeting. He wanted to give a testimony. He said, "I know I'm going to die; I know I'm going to see Jesus. And when I get there I'm going to tell Jesus how well you all have taken care of me." Our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Brother Larry Leach is trying to make it back to the states for a short furlough. Let's pray for his flight Thursday. Anyone interested in learning more of the mission work from Brother Larry can contact the mission board at (423) 878-8131

Our attorney said that the documents for our permanent visa application are ready. We appreciate your prayers

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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                                                                                                          April 12th 2010

We've had another good week here, preaching in the villages. I was able to go to three different villages with Brother Ahmet this week. The first two were regular Turkish meetings, but the third was a Gypsy meeting. The 10x15 room was full of about thirty people, not counting children. They sang as loud as they could, every one of them. Ahmet said that in the summer they open the windows and the singing can be heard all down the valley.

Brother Nasuf gave a good testimony yesterday. He said that a few weeks ago he was driving though one of his villages on the way from one meeting to the next, when he saw an older woman walking down the street leaning on crutches. He somehow got turned around and drove past her again, so he figured maybe the Lord wanted him to stop and give her a ride. While in the car he told her that he was the pastor of the church there and asked her if she wanted prayer. He prayed for her and she said that the pain of her migraine headache went away immediately. The next week she was in the church, and had walked there without the crutches, thanking God for answered prayer.

There's a couple of people in our meetings that need prayer. They have no work and no income whatsoever.

Remember to pray for our visas. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                     April 7th 2010

What a wonderful time of year! The fruit trees are beginning to flower and the tulips are nearly ready to bloom. Gardens are being worked up and people are beginning to emerge from their homes after a long, hard winter and are visiting with one another.

We just got back from English camp meeting in Romania. We had a wonderful time with the other missionaries, and the children played all day with the missionary children, but the best part of the week was the singing and preaching. As always, the preaching was encouraging and challenging. It was a wonderful time of refreshing in the Lord. Thank you all for praying for the meetings.

This week I'd like to talk about the church in Nevsha (nef-shah). Ismael and I go to that church on the same day as Kaspichan. Nevsha is a small village in a valley--30 kilometers from the nearest city. It's in a beautiful area, surrounded by mountains. The village itself looks like any other in this country, but the quiet and the scenery makes it different.

Driving through the village (one of the worst for pot holes) one day when Carrie was with me, we saw an interesting "vehicle". It was a typical horse cart with a sort of motorcycle in the front, and a clear tarp covering the whole thing. I jokingly told the Turks in the van with us that I wanted to buy that car for Carrie. They laughed hard. It became a running joke. It became known as "Carrie's Car" to the Turks. They particularly like to joke about her car's "air conditioning".

Just past the house with "Carrie's Car" is an average little village house. But what makes this house special is the little room in the back where the believers meet together for church. This is a well-established church with many faithful members. Though they don't have much, materially speaking, they are hospitable. Every week they insist on feeding us after church. They have a lot of love, joy, and faith. I cannot think of any specific prayer requests of this church, but if you would remember to pray for them, I know they would appreciate it.

Thank you for all your prayers for us, for the churches, and for evangelistic efforts. Your prayers are valuable to us.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr

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 Dear Pastor Mike and Brookside Baptist Church,                                                                                                     April 1, 2010

...the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. (Ruth 1:6)

We send you greetings from all the believers in Christ Jesus that are in Bulgaria and Romania. Near the end of February we started to distribute the flour and oil from you all to the families that come to our church services. It has been a very long and hard winter here with many people hungry and out of work. We are thankful how God has "visited His people in giving them bread" through you.

We have seen literally thousands blessed and rejoicing from God's act of kindness. Someone testified in one of the church services that they were very poor and had no money or work but said, "Praise God, I have flour and oil!" Each family received an 110 pound sack of flour and over a gallon of oil. Many times I saw a believer rejoice because it was more than they could pick up and walk away with.

They came with wheelbarrows, horse-carts, and baby buggies to carry away what God had blessed them with. Oh, how the Lord has made them happy not only through this bread but also through the Bread of Life, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

We finished distributing this week and in all over 215,000 pounds of flour and 2,500 gallons of oil were given to the believers. We all count it a privilege to be involved in the Lord's work here; whether it be preaching the gospel or in distributing His provisions to His people. We have truly seen that God can provide a table in the wilderness. We want you all to know that you are in our hearts and prayers. In Christ, The Missionary Families In Romania and Bulgaria

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Cor 13:13

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Dear Brookside Church,                                                                                                                                  March 28, 2010

 It's to my joy once again to be able to write to you. I had really good meetings Friday. For the first meeting the women prepared bread from the flour and oil you sent them. I was told to tell the Americans thanks for the bread. I would think that when people don't have much they would hoard what ever they can. These people do the opposite. They make a banquet for everyone and celebrate for what they have. During the second meeting, the singing had great power and joy. It's the most I've experienced in the 3 months after returning. Some of the women that travel with me told me in the car of the power and joy they experienced. There was one girl who stood up during the time of testifying. She raised her hands up, and I could see the tears continually drop from her eyes while she talked. I was uncertain as to whether it was for joy or sorrow. The women later told me to pray for her because she was sick. She came forward, and we prayed for her. During these times I think of their physical needs, but I try to earnestly pray for the need of salvation. I Know that's their most important need, but God can show them his love taking care of these smaller needs and that they not forget there is power in the church.

Again, I have been trying to preach one to two times a month in the Churches. I am amazed how God helps me with the messages and the language. Of course, my messages are short and limited, but I try to help them see that God loves them and will take care of there needs as we suffer in this life.

We will be praying for your camp meeting as we gather together in Romania for ours. May God continue to richly bless you.

Love Robert  Shrader

 

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Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                                 March 28, 2010

The past couple of weeks have been busy ones. First, it was all the trouble with the van (car troubles, a missionary's curse). Then it was flour distribution. Then it was the van again. But God is faithful to supply all the needs and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that even when life around us is changing and reeling to and fro, God never changes. His mercies are new every morning. Thank God!

The flour distribution has been such a blessing to so many people. Last week Ismael and I, along with a couple other missionary brethren, distributed flour to the remaining seven churches of the nine we go to. I was able to get a few pictures. If any of you would like to see them, please email me and let me know.

In keeping with the last few emails I've sent, I'd like to tell you this week about the church in Kaspichan (kah-spee-chahn). Kaspichan is a rough area. One of the roughest I go to, as a matter of fact. The city itself is the municipal center of the area. It has a few small general stores, and many nicer houses. However, the Gypsy section is much different than the center of town. It is up and out from the rest---across the tracks, if you will. Once you get up in that part of town, things get rough. The roads aren't as nice. The houses are much worse. Poverty lives there.

Among all the physical ugliness of this town, there is a house where the believers meet together and worship the Lamb of God. The lady who owned the house and opened her home for us to use, recently went on to be with the Lord. In her life, she touched many people. But even in her death, her testimony lives on.

Three years ago when I first started going to the church in Kaspichan, the lady of the house was taking care of her teenage grandsons. They were rough. I was afraid to leave my van parked out front because they would vandalize it. They mocked the believers. But their Grandmother prayed for them day and night. In time they began to respect the church, the believers, and my van. Today they are kind young men. How wonderful for them that they had a praying Grandmother!

Her death was unexpected. She was in her fifties and seemed healthy. When she died, her children came to bury her and attend to her legal matters. One son (the father of the teenage boys I mentioned) and his wife came from Greece where they had been working. None of them were believers, but out of respect for their Mother, wanted us to continue having church in her house until other arrangements could be made.

Last week the son told us that he would be going back to Greece and that the church would need to be moved, but during the service, the Holy Spirit was working in hia wife's heart. Now, not only does she not want the church to leave, she doesn't want to leave the church. She testified that she wanted to talk to her husband and sons about it.

Please pray for this family and for the church in Kaspichan. They are a precious group of people (about 40).

Thank you for your faithful prayers for this ministry and for our family. We are planning a short trip to Romania next week for English camp meeting. The children are excited to go and see their American friends. Carrie and I are excited to go and see what God has for us there. We hope to feast on the Word, the fellowship, and good old American food. Please remember our trip in your prayers, but especially pray for the salvation of the missionary children.

Because He First Loved Me,   Brother Larry Leach, Jr

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Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                                                  March 15, 2010

 

Once again we're thankful to be able to give a good report.  Today is a beautiful spring day here, but snow and freezing rain kept us off the roads two days last week.  Hopefully we'll make it to every weekly meeting in the northern villages from now until next winter.  On days when we have to stay home, the believers call us just to let us know that they'll have church without us. 

 

This weekend I was able to go to Brother Ismail's meetings with him.  Missionary Larry Leach's van is in the shop being repaired, so he asked me to drive to these meetings.  Those churches are older, and established in the faith, so it's a blessing to see them.  They appreciate the fellowship and the preaching.  Saturday in the meeting one woman wanted to say something after I preached, and before the closing prayer.  Brother Ismail, unsure of what she might say, tried to get her to wait until after the service.  She was insistent, and stood to her feet, paying no attention to the pastor, so we watched to see what she would say.  She started crying and told us that the Lord had filled her heart while I preached.  That day before we even made it to church, the police had pulled us over, gave me a ticket, and delayed us for close to an hour, even taking me to the police station; it was nothing serious, though.  This sister had come with us, and waited in the car that whole time, mad at the police.  Then, in church I preached the sixth chapter of Luke, about loving your enemies.  She testified that while she listened to the words of Jesus, the Lord had taken all the meanness out of her heart and replaced it with love. 

 

At the second meeting that day we saw the Lord touch another heart.  Sister Urkush that had hosted the church in her house for years passed away a couple of months ago.  Her son and daughter-in-law came back from Greece, where they work and live, for the funeral.  Now they are preparing to return to Greece, and let us know that the church would no longer meet in her house.  This son and daughter-in-law had been enemies of the church for years, but when Urkush passed away, their heart softened.  During the last song of the meeting, the daughter-in-law said that the Lord had filled her heart with love, and that she wanted the church to continue meeting in the house.  She said she would talk to the other children and try to convince them.  Afterwards, she insisted on feeding us.  Although I wasn't hungry, I realized that she wanted to do something for the Lord, so we stayed and waited while she cooked.  She told us she was ashamed of her behavior in the past, and now she loved the Lord and loved the church.  Pray for her and her family.  The don't want to go back to Greece, but like so many others, cannot find any work in Bulgaria.  More importantly, though, pray that the Lord will provide them with a place to worship, wherever they are. 

 

In the first meeting yesterday the lady of the house gave me some money, about ten dollars.  She was adamant that I accept it, so I couldn't refuse her.  (I'll use the money to buy some candy or something and take it to the meeting next week.)  When I asked why she wanted to give, she replied, "It was y'all's prayers that kept me alive this winter." 

 

Please continue to pray for our visas.  From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

 

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Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                March 13, 2010

 

Baba Marta (Grandmother March) is being blamed for her moodiness once again. The weather, which felt like spring, has turned to winter again. A few days ago we got quite a bit of snow with wind. But things are beginning to thaw once again.

 

In this letter I'd like to tell you about the morning prayer meeting in our village. Every morning at 8am, some of the believers meet at the church to pray. I usually drive there (about 1/2 mile), but since my van has been in the shop for nearly a week, I've been walking. When I leave my front gate and walk down the dirt road, I wave to the people either driving or walking to the meat factory for work. Going on, I pass by several houses (some abandoned and falling down), a flour mill/bakery/general store, the community spring, and another general store.

 

I'll try to explain how the community spring works: At the source, which is three pipes coming out the side of a brick wall, there is a small fence. Only people are to go in this fence to get water. The water then goes through a trough where the cattle drink. Continuing to the right, the trough empties into a small concrete pool where women/girls wash laundry and the rugs that are so commonly used in this area. The pool drains through another trough, which drains into a ditch that wraps around the other side of the village. This ditch is used by ducks and geese. This community spring is a great help to the people of the village. They can get water, wash laundry, and water their cattle at no expense.

 

When I arrive at the church (in a house), the people are there waiting for me. The Pastor, Alish (Ah-leesh), and his wife, Safet (Sah-feht), and their great-granddaughter, Darya (Dehr-yah) are there every morning. Sometimes their daughter Gulbush (Gyool-byoosh) and her husband Nejmadin (Nej-mah-deen) come. They are the couple who take care of the feeding center.

 

When we meet together for prayer meeting, we sing a few songs, take prayer requests, and then spend some time praying together. They testify that this daily prayer meeting gives them such strength. Such faith.

 

After prayer, Safet generally serves coffee or tea and maybe a banitsa (oily bread with goat cheese). We sit and fellowship. They enjoy telling their salvation testimonies.

 

Gulbush was saved first and witnessed to her father and mother. They were devout Muslims and didn't want any part of the church. She stayed strong and prayed for them. One day Safet went to church with her. She had never felt so much peace. She loved it and kept going. She was saved and prayed that Alish would be saved also. Alish was mean. He was known for being a gambler and a drunk. He said he would never become a believer and was angry that his wife had. Then he got very sick and the Dr gave him little hope of recovery. He went home and asked his wife to pray for him. He went to another Dr who told him that only God could heal him. He prayed that night for the first time. Not only did Alish get saved, he was also healed. His whole life changed in that one night. Today he is a Pastor and tells his testimony everywhere he can. Praise the Lord!

 

Alish and Safet are not in good health these days and could use your prayers. He has kidney problems and a bronchitis he can't quite kick. She has heart problems and takes a lot of medication.

 

These people are precious. They don't have much in this world, but they have everything in Christ!

 

Thank you all for your prayers for us and for this ministry.

 

Because He First Loved Me,  Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                March 3, 2010

It's hard to believe that it's March already. It is Bulgarian tradition to give a gift to your loved ones on March 1st. It is red and white and is usually a bracelet. These are called Martenitsas. These are traditionally worn until the storks return for the summer. When one sees a stork, they take off the Martenitsa and hang it from a tree or plant. This brings good luck to the tree.

March is referred to as "Baba Marta", which means Grandmother March. Baba Marta is known for being moody. Sometimes she gets mad and turns you over to Grandmother Winter. Other times she is nice and lets the sun shine. The people believe these things because they are very superstitious.

We have just begun the yearly flour distribution, and the people are encouraged and thankful for it. As always, there has been some difficulty (people yelling and shoving to make sure they don't miss out), but it has been a wonderful thing, too. Two days ago we gave out 11,000lbs of flour and about 125gallons of oil to two of the nine churches I go to. Praise the Lord.

In the next several weeks, I will have many testimonies to share from the flour distribution, but I would also like to begin a series in my emails, highlighting each church I go to, and the prayer needs of each.

This week I'd like to talk about the church in Novi Pazar (pronounced No-Vee Puh-Zahr). It is a house church, in a room attached to the house of Ismael (Ees-mah-yel), the National Pastor. Novi Pazar is a small city with many Turkish speaking Gypsies residing there. They have a many small stores, a Post Office, a nice hardware store, a couple restaurants (though you wouldn't want to eat there), a mosque, and even a hotel (though you might not want to stay there).

Every Monday evening, 30-40 believers meet in a large room, some sitting on couches and many on the floor. The little old lady who lives there is always lying by the woodstove. Every time they meet together, they sing hymns for about an hour, followed by a season of prayer, testimonies, and preaching. After a final prayer, they sing a song and then fellowship a while. Each of these people are poor, but they have love and joy in their hearts, which makes them very rich indeed.

Last night was a particularly good service. During the singing, Ismael's oldest son, Sezgin (Sez-gheen), and his wife, came in and sat down across the room on the floor. After a few minutes she got up and came over to sit on the floor near Ismael. Sezgin got up next and came and sat by me. I shared my hymn book with him and he sang every song loudly from his heart. Tears were running down his face. When the service was over and most had gone home, Ismael told me that this was the first time Sezgin ever came to the church. He was so happy that his son had come. The Lord is working in Sezgin's heart. Please pray for him. He and his wife and children live in an adjoining house. His three children range in age from 5-14.

Ismael's other son lives in an adjoining house on the other side. They have three children as well. Sinem (See-nem), only five years old, had a lung tumor last year that was successfully removed. Her prognosis is good, but right now she's in the hospital with bronchitis. Please keep her in your prayers, as well as the rest of her family.

The little old lady (we all call her "Baba", which means Grandmother) is about the same as previous emails. When we were giving out flour a few days ago, she somehow got out of the house without anyone noticing. She was wearing no shoes or socks and was trying to walk to the road. Sometimes she tries to pull up on the hot woodstove to stand up. Sometimes her mind is sharp and she thinks of her son, who resides in Germany, and she cries for him. Please remember her in your prayers.

Ismael's wife is Nazie (Nah-zee-ay). She has diabetes, but even in her poor health, she cares for her aunt (the lady we call Baba) and feeds around 30 kids every day. She could use your prayers for health and strength.

From this church, there are 5-6 who faithfully go with me to all the other churches. They would go to church all day, every day, if they could. They are a blessing to the other churches as well as their own.

In closing I want to thank you all for your faithful prayers for us and for this ministry. It is my hope and prayer that these updates will bring you closer to this work. I hope you can see what is going on through my eyes and pray for all the needs we face. Thank you.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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March 1, 2010

In Bulgaria March first is something of a holiday; they celebrate the coming of spring. Things certainly look springy here. We've had nice weather for a week or more.

We're praising God that once again we received our visas without any problems. This time we only applied for a six month visa. Within those six months, though, we should apply for and receive our permanent visas. Please pray with us about this. It will be a major expense.

We were able to get out to the regular meetings this week. It's always a blessing to see how the Lord blesses the new churches. It seems like there's usually one meeting that is about empty, but another one is packed. There's been some new people coming in the church that is furthest from us. Saturday we visited several people from the "empty" meeting, and they all promised to come. There may be some other problems there that we need to pray about.

In the first of our two Thursday meetings there were some people visiting in the house where we have church. The man told us that several different groups of believers had been to his village over the years, but they ran them all off. He tried to get us to leave, but Brother Alish got him to calm down and at least listen during the meeting. In the meeting Alish gave his testimony of how he came to be a believer.

Brother Alish had been working away from home, in the city of Sofia when his wife got saved. At that time there was great opposition to the gospel, which produced strong believers. Although he threatened his wife every way he could, she stood firm in her faith. In the end, he told her that he was going back to Sofia to work (for six months or so) and that when he came home he didn't want her there. After a week of working in Sofia, Alish got sick. He went to the doctor, and the doctor gave him bad news. So, he came back home to ask his wife to pray for him. She was scared to see him come home so soon, but after he explained things to her, they both went to the doctor. The doctor turned out to be a Christian. The doctor gave him a prescription, but made it clear that the medicine would not guarantee his recovery. "Only God can make you healthy again," the doctor said. That night Alish got on his knees and prayed for the first time in his life, alongside his wife. Early the next morning he awoke, completely healthy. Everyone in the village had said that Alish would be the last one to ever become a believer. He had had a reputation of being the biggest drunk and gambler around, but God changed him overnight.

After hearing this testimony in the meeting Thursday, the visitors said that they had never heard of such a thing, and they believed that we really were sent by God. Then they invited us to their village to preach.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                                                    2-22-10

We're glad to be able to report again. After several weeks of snow and bad weather, we're finally able to get out and get to the meetings again (and to an internet connection in town). Last week we were busy applying for visas, and traveling to Sofia to get little Levi's application for a passport. Thankfully, it's all gone well, so far. We should receive our visas this week, as well as the new passport. Then, we'll have to get Levi a visa. They say that a baby born in Bulgaria gets an automatic temporary visa; otherwise we would have to go to Washington DC.

The churches seem to be doing well. We've had some prayers answered, but still so many more that need to be answered. People continue to leave Bulgaria for work in Western Europe. We're sad to see them go, but know that they take the gospel with them. It also reminds us that we only have a certain amount of time to reach people.

In the first meeting Saturday we saw one of the believers get a special blessing. She happily testified that day that her daughter was expecting a baby. After the closing prayer she cried and struggled to find words to say that she just knew that the Lord was in the room during the prayer.

Brother Nasuf recently had surgery. He's in recovery, but in a lot of pain. Pray for him. We had a good meeting with his church yesterday.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Praying Saints,                                                                                                                                                                   2-20-10

Winter has given us a break for a few days and we are all enjoying the sun. The kids have been excited to get outside and run a while. This morning they hurried through their chores so they could play "Army" outside.

This has been a rough winter. So rough, in fact, that the news said the Varna region was in a state of emergency for the amount of snow. Snow plows were out in large numbers (unusual for this area). They kept on top of it, but, unfortunately, they destroyed the roads. Deep pot holes are everywhere, especially on the autobahn where cars fly at 90mph. It's dangerous. For every 400 holes I miss, I usually hit one or two. It's unavoidable.

The churches are doing fine. The one in Kaspichan was in the home of the lady I wrote about recently who passed away. For now her daughter is gladly letting the church stay in the same home and the believers are still coming in large numbers there. They are still hurting over the loss of their dear friend. Please pray for them.

On Sunday, Ismael and I plan on going to the village of Hirsavo to pass out DVDs. This village is in between Tsirkvitsa and Nikola Kozlavo, both of which have churches. Ismael tells me that Hirsavo has a large population of Milet, so we want to pass out DVDs there for them. These DVDs are a powerful evangelistic tool because many (if not most) of the Milet cannot read. These DVDs contain preaching, singing of hymns, and testimonies of other believers. If we give one to someone without a TV at home, they go where there is one and play it there. We have heard testimonies of villages where several families gather in one home everyday to watch the DVDs. Praise the Lord for the fruit!

The coat and sock distribution is finished for this year and it was such a blessing to so many! It helped so many people get through the worst winter in recent history. Praise the Lord! Already we are encouraged that next year will be just as good if not better. Our home church has begun a sock drive in the Sunday School classes. Already the kids have bought a few hundred pair of socks, with plans of gathering many more, to be sent over this fall. What a blessing it is to sit back and watch God work among His people.

Please keep us and all the missionaries in your prayers. This time of year is difficult and so many are struggling. But the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much! Your prayers hold eternal value. Thank you for your faithful prayers!

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr

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Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.                                                                                                       February 11, 2010

 

Praise God for being good to us all. The Lord has blessed us greatly this last year in the work of God.

 

The 8 churches that I am pastoring are doing well.  The Lord has put of His Spirit there and He is working.  It is a blessing to see the Lord work.  A lot of people are getting help through the local church.  The church attendance in 4 of my meetings has doubled this last year.  Also I have given out thousands of DVDs and a lot of these people get there folks together and they keep on watching the services on these DVDs.  Please, keep on praying that these new souls get saved.

 

I am continuing to work day and night on the Bulgarian Bible Translation.  Once again thank you all for buying me that lap top computer.  It has been a great help for me for the Bible work.

 

The churches over here are praying for you all.  We all thank you a lot for the flour money that you have sent.  For the last month the winter has been rough on us.  It snowed a lot and I could not go to meetings on regular basis, because of the snow most of the time being 3-4 feet.  In the village of Kamenar the snow covered the church housetop, which is 13 feet high.  Most of the time temperatures have been minus 10 to minus 20 Celsius.  50 km from where I live the temperatures have dropped to minus 29 Celsius.  My car died also.  Most of our church folks are out of electricity, food and wood, and no money, but debts, so this flour and oil will be a great blessing for them.  But most of them are happy in the Lord and thankful to Him for being good to them.

 

A lot of times people invite us to go to their houses for prayer.  Most of the time they will get 20-30 people and we would go there and have a 2 hour service.  We would see tears rolling down their eyes.  We went to this one family after our third service for the day and there were about15 women that waited on us.  We started singing and we sang for two hours till we lost our voices.  Those ladies cried the whole time and wanted us not to stop singing.  What a blessing.  All of them were from a very rich family too.  They got a taste of the real riches.

 

As soon as the spring comes we will get out and give out some more DVDs.  A month ago we moved out of Varna and now we are living in a village and we thank God for this. May the Lord bless you all richly in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Brother Mitko, Bulgaria.

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Dear Praying Saints,                                                                                                                                                                           February 4, 2010

 

After being snowed in for a couple weeks, things have thawed enough to be able to drive again. However, another winter storm is expected this week. Fortunately, they're not predicting more frigid temperatures and we're all glad for that.

 

On Saturday I was able to get to Kaspichan to pass out the last of the coats. This was the best distribution yet. The people were so grateful that we had come. The small room filled with people who came in shifts so we wouldn't have too many at once. And in the end, there were enough coats and socks for all who came. It couldn't have gone more smoothly. I tried to attach a few pictures, but my computer is acting up and won't upload them. I'll try again another time. The pictures are not good quality because I took them with my cell phone (my help meet was not with me to take pictures with the camera. She and the children stayed home because of the bad roads). Nearly a hundred people were given a coat, a pair of socks, and the gospel on DVD that day. Praise the Lord!

 

This was the final coat distribution (unless the Lord changes things), but I will be taking a trash bag full of socks to Stoiyan Mihailovski as soon as I can. They are one of the poorer villages that I go to, but they are also one of the more rowdy ones. I anticipate a crowd of grabby but appreciative people. The socks will be such a blessing!

 

We didn't keep an exact count, but our closest estimate is that when all is said and done, this winter we will have given out 200 coats, 300 pair of socks, and 25 pair of shoes (our local feeding center kids). There has been much rejoicing over these items and the people are praising God that they were there for them.

 

Soon we will be a part of the winter flour distribution for the whole Bulgarian work. This is always a blessing and comes right on time for so many who have nothing. I will try to take some pictures of this distribution as well. Pray that the weather clears up so the missionaries and national Pastors can get the flour to all the people, even up in the mountains where the roads are so bad this time of year.

 

The widow I asked you to pray for is still holding on. Please continue to pray for her.

 

Thank you all for your prayers for this work and for our family. It's not always easy to live on the mission field, but I am thankful to God that I get to be here. And I'm thankful to God for you and the help you are to me and this ministry. You are a blessing.

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

 

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Dear Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                                 Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 

Rule number one for a missionary: Be flexible! This has rang especially true in the last couple of weeks.

   About a week ago, a winter storm hit, leaving a nice, even layer of snow on the ground.  It was beautiful.  The children and I went out and played in it for a while.  Then a cold front moved through, bringing wind and frigid temperatures.  The roads were drifted to a meter and a half in some places, with patches of ice in between.  The temperatures dropped to around minus 10-13F.  We stayed indoors as much as we could.

   Thursday night was particularly bad.  Friday morning I couldn't get my van through the village to get to morning prayer meeting, so I walked.  Carrie asked that I pick up some bread at the center store (which is about the size of an American convenience store) on my way home, but there was none.  The delivery trucks had not made it through.  So I stopped at another store (much smaller than the other one) where bread is made fresh daily.  As I got closer, I saw many of the older people walking to get bread.  They were leaning on their canes and wearing thin rubber shoes on their feet.  I was cold with my winter coat, hat, and boots.  I couldn't imagine how cold they were.

   Saturday was no better.  In fact, it was colder.  I called Ismael and told him that we would not be able to get out to go to the meetings and he agreed.  But later into the evening Ismael called to tell me about a death in Kaspichan.  He needed to get there, but we weren't sure how we would be able to.  We decided that we would wait until morning and try to get there.

   Kaspichan is hilly in and of itself, but the area where the Turks are is in the back and up a large hill, which is one of the last to be scraped and salted.  I wasn't sure we would make it up the hill to the funeral, IF I was even able to get out of my own village.

   Sunday morning the roads were still not plowed.  But we had to get to the funeral.  We made it there, praying all the way.  When we got to the church, I was surprised to see that it was the lady of the house where the church is.  She was in her mid-60s and had a lovely spirit.  I saw her just last week and she was in good health.

   At her home, people gathered.  I would estimate that around eighty people were there.  Final respects were paid and then it was time for a ceremony.  For this, the Hoja came.  I'm not sure if it was her Muslim family's wishes or if it is standard procedure in order for her to be buried in the Gypsy cemetery.  The Hoja was Turkish and well groomed.  He had on nice clothes and a coat under a white robe.  On his head was a tall white and red hat.

   He gathered everyone into the street where the body, in a green casket was put in the back of a horse cart.  He then chanted over the casket and on cue, people from the crowd shouted.  This went on for about ten minutes and then the horse cart began to move (pulled by men and not a horse) to head to the cemetery.  The wail that went up from the women in the crowd was chilling.

   I stood there in the crowd, deeply saddened.  First that this kind lady was no longer with us.  Her presence will be missed.  And second that she was not receiving the funeral she would have wanted.  But knowing that she was with Jesus gave me comfort, and not just me, but the believers that were with me.  I knew that in her life, she had been touched by the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Praise the Lord for His great salvation!

   I took the believers home and then headed back to our village in time to make it to the afternoon church service.  A few blocks from the church, my van got stuck in the snow.  The water meter man walked up just then and wanted me to pay my water bill.  I told him that I would get it to him tomorrow and could he help me get my van unstuck.  He tried, but after a couple minutes, walked away.  Finally a couple of the believers came along and helped me.  Between there and the church, the van got stuck two more times.  After going all day to a funeral and back and not getting stuck, I got stuck three times in my own village.  But we had a good church service and the Lord moved in our hearts.

   The temperatures are supposed to go up a bit in the next few days and the Turks are relieved.  Many of them have no firewood and the ones that do are running low.  Thank you for praying for them!

   In closing I want to thank you all for your prayers for us and for this ministry.  Many lives are being touched by the love of Jesus and you have a part in that.  Thank you!

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

 

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Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                                1-22-10

 

The temperatures are frigid. It is supposed to dip down to minus 11 Fahrenheit for the next three nights, plus wind. Many of the Gypsies don't have firewood. Please, please pray for their safety during this time!

 

Because He First Loved Me,  Brother Larry Leach

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1-18-10

The Lord has sent more snow.  Not a lot, just enough to hinder driving.  Most of our meetings are in villages at a higher elevation, so we probably won't make it out this week.  Yesterday Brother Alish narrowly escaped an accident driving in the snow to the meeting.  Only the Lord prevented it, like He usually does.   We always have something to be thankful for. 

My computer that had burnt up is now fixed.  Well, the critical part is fixed.  The repair man failed to check the DVD drive.  It's not working, but can be replaced.  At least the information on the hard drive is not lost. 

Verity and little Levi are both home, healthy and content.  The other children continue their schooling, and I the proof-reading.   Pray for us.  We always need it.   

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

 

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Dear Praying Friends,                                                                                                                                                                             1-16-10

 

Things are back to normal after the holidays. The past couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm, though it looks like winter will reintroduced itself this weekend.

 

The children are doing fine. They are starting to get cabin fever and look forward to spring. But they are doing fine with their studies and music lessons. The older four can play the piano and mandolin. Jonathan spends his time drawing and writing stories. Hannah writes letters and makes up recipes. Joshua acts like a clown, making us all laugh. Esther writes stories and clowns around with Joshua. Cherith is sweet and funny and likes to hug everyone. Carrie stays busy with home school and house chores as well as working with the coat distribution. I enjoy them all so much.

 

Today we set out to pass out the last of the coats from this year's coat drive. On the way we realized that we had forgotten the bag of DVDs. Then when we got there, no one was expecting us. I told the Pastor last week, but as language difficulties can cause mix-ups, the message wasn't conveyed to the people. It all worked out and the people are expecting us next weekend and will bring their children and grandchildren.

 

The widow I asked you to pray for a few weeks ago has declined. She lays on the floor by the woodstove all day. Some days her mind is sharp. Others, she doesn't talk and can't do anything for herself. The other day she was sharp and the things she said to me were precious. She told me how much she appreciated me coming to the church. She said that I was like a son to her. Since then, each time I've seen her, she's been worse. Today she didn't even wake up. She's eighty-six. Please pray for her as she prepares to cross over. And pray for her niece as she cares for her; it's getting more difficult.

 

Thank you all for your faithful prayers. We need them.

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry

 

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December 28, 2009

This week we saw a sharp change in the temperature. The sun came out and melted all the snow. Saturday the thermometer read fifty-eight degrees. This week, though it looks like things are getting back to normal, as it snowed hard for about an hour today.

As Verity's due date draws near I'm staying home more. We'll have an hour's drive to the hospital in Varna, maybe more, depending on the city traffic. For her last delivery we had an hour's drive to the hospital, then the baby was born thirty minutes later. So, I'm staying close to home these days, and proof-reading the Turkish Old Testament.

Saturday we went to two nearby villages and had good meetings. It's odd the way the Lord works sometimes. I hadn't really studied or prepared a sermon to preach that day, but in both meetings I was able to preach for forty-five minutes with great liberty. I'm preaching through the book of John. The people were attentive and receptive. In the first meeting I could have preached much longer, but we had another meeting to get to. Then, in the second meeting I could have preached a lot longer, but Lazarus got out of the tomb, so I figured it was time to quit.

Remember to pray for us.  From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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From Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                                             December 21, 2009

A week of bad weather.  That's what we've had here.  It started with rain, then freezing temperatures made driving all but impossible.  After that we got more snow, more freezing rain, and then more snow, and strong winds.  Today the roads have been scraped, so there is a smooth layer of snow packed on top of the ice.  At least they have been salting the more hazardous places on the roads - hills and curves. 

I was able to make it to three meetings this week.  When we left our village I though for sure we would have to turn around, but we just kept going and made it.  I'm glad we did. In the one village about a dozen people had gathered.  We're oft tempted to complain until we see what other people suffer.  The family that hosts this little church doesn't have any electricity or running water, yet they never complain.  Even giving us a cup of coffee must be a financial difficulty, but they insist on doing it whenever they're able. Pray for them.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Friends,                                                                                                                                                                                          December 12, 2009

Greetings from snowy Bulgaria. Today we were able to pass out coats, socks, and the Gospel on DVD in the small city of Novi Pazar. We were told to expect around 40 kids there, but at the end of the day, around 70 coats were given out. What a blessing! Most of the coats went to kids, ranging in age from 3 to 13, but some went to the Pastor's family and a couple widows. The Pastor's wife told us that these kids have been excited for days, often asking when we were coming. They worried that the icy roads would keep us from coming. It was about 20 degrees today and many children were wearing only sweaters.They were so happy to get a coat! I have attached a few pictures. Esther and Hannah worked the camera, so of the many they took, these are some of the nicer ones. I hope they are a blessing to you!

When all of the kids had gone and we sat down for a few minutes to rest, Esther told us that she was going out to the outhouse. But when she went to put her boots on (it's customary to take one's shoes off before entering a house), they were gone. We looked all over for them before deciding that they had been taken by one of the kids that came. Esther was a good sport about it, laughing and telling us she had been "robbed". And when I carried her to the van to go buy her a pair of shoes, she said, "Oh boy! If I had known that losing my shoes would mean that Daddy would carry me, I'd lose them everyday!" And later when we got her the only pair of shoes in her size, which happened to be bright, shiny red, she said, "Somewhere out there a Gypsy looks American and now I look like a Gypsy." She has a great sense of humor. It has been great for our kids to get involved with helping others.

Thank you all for your prayers! Knowing that you are praying means so much to us! In closing I'd like to ask you all to pray for a widow at the Novi Pazar church. She is 86 and is quite ill. Her health is fading fast and the family is just waiting. Please pray for her and for the family. And please pray for future coat distributions, as well as for those who have already received. Thank you so much!

Because He First Loved Me, Larry Leach, Jr.

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Dear Prayer Warriors,                                                                                                                                                                             December 9, 2009

Today was cold and rainy----a good time to begin the coat distribution among the needy children. We planned to give today to the kids at the feeding center in our village. But first we needed to organize everything. So we worked as a family to get everything separated and in individual bags. Then we headed to the center. Gulbush had a nice meal prepared for us when we arrived. But while we were eating, kids came. Many, many kids. They ran from the school to the center and ate hurriedly so they could open their gift. These were the smaller children who attend school right in our village. The older children attend school in the next village over, so they would come later.

But in the short amount of time between crowds, Rocko came by himself. He wasn't ill, so we weren't sure why he skipped school. It didn't take long for us to find out. He wanted to come by himself because he had something on his heart to say to us but didn't want to say it in front of his peers. Gulbush told us he had something to say, so we waited for him to talk. He couldn't. So he followed her into the kitchen and asked her to speak for him. She returned and said, "Rocko wanted to tell you thank you very much for his coat and the one for his Grandma. And thanks to Jesus for sending them. But he couldn't say it. He also said that he wanted to give Larry a hug but couldn't make himself do it. He is very thankful." We rejoiced in this. And when Rocko tried on the shoes we gave him and they fit perfectly, he lifted his head to say something but choked up. So he turned away. God is working on him, softening his heart more and more all the time. This is not the Rocko of a few months back.

Just then, the older children arrived on the bus. They ran through the gate, nearly knocking down anyone or anything that was in their way. They pulled up a chair and slurped down their soup faster than anything we had ever seen. Then they were ready for their coats. This crowd was rowdy and difficult to keep enough in order to get everything to the right person. After a half-hour of that, we were exhausted, but thrilled to have been able to help these kids and give them a small Christmas.

When it was all over and Gulbush invited us in for coffee, she told us that the kids were also thrilled to have received a DVD. One boy didn't see his in his bag and ran and asked her why he didn't get one. She dug through his bag and found it. He was so happy. 25 kids went home with the Gospel today. Praise the Lord!

Tired, we left and headed for home, thinking we were finished for the day. Not so. Our doorbell rang for an hour afterward. Older boys from the center came to ask for coats for their little brothers. Fortunately, we had just enough to give to them to take home.

The coat distribution is coming at a perfect time. Snow is expected this week. We thank God for his faithful provision.

Please pray for these kids. Pray for their families (many are Muslim). Pray for their salvation. And please pray for all future distribution. We expect to be quite busy with the coats for the whole month of December. Pray for all those who will receive. Thank you all for your faithful prayers!

Larry and Carrie Leach

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December 7, 2009

Greetings from Bulgaria. We're enjoying an unusually warm December here. Brother Alish said that the Lord's having mercy on all the poor people that don't have firewood.

Today we're recovering of two days and a night of ministering. Saturday morning I got a call about a funeral. We went to our regular meetings that day, then drove out to be with Brother Nasuf that night at the wake of sister Anife. She was only forty-eight years old. For years the believers in that village met in her house. She left behind her husband, three daughters and three sons in law, and a couple grand children. All that night we sang and testified to the small crowd there, then the next morning Brother Alish preached to a crowd of over one hundred gathered on the street at the funeral. Pray for her family, some of them are not saved, but close.

After the burial we drove back to one of our normal meetings, but with a van full of believers from the funeral. Although it is a small meeting, there were some visitors there that day that got to hear testimonies from six preachers. The church was greatly blessed. After the meeting they fed us a meal - four bowls of lamb stew, but with no forks. We took turns sopping with the bread, the way Jesus ate with his disciples.

Another recent blessing is the delivery of some coats and socks. Fellow missionary Larry Leach got burdened about the condition of the poor children here during the winter months. After relaying this need to some churches they sent him a thousand dollars to buy coats and socks. Along with the clothes, he's giving out DVDs, so even the ones that don't come to church can see a man preach the gospel. One widow woman, after receiving her coat said with tears in her eyes, "This isn't the Muslim way." Pray for her and others like her who will see the love of God through this ministry.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre
      
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Dear Fellow Laborers,                                                                                                                                                                         December 5, 2009

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving gathered around the table, thanking God for all His goodness!

Life here, in all its busyness, just got a little busier. Yesterday Carrie and I went to Shumen and picked up a van load of coats. We also got a big bag of socks to go with it. I asked Gulbush (the village Pastor's daughter who runs the feeding center) to get the sizes of all the kids at the feeding center so we could get the right size of coat and socks for them. Then this morning we took a big bag of coats to the Pastor's family. Attached is a picture of Carrie and the Pastors wife and another of Carrie and the Pastor's great-granddaughter, Darya. 7 coats were given among the Pastor's family. After we were finished there, we went with Gulbush to the home of Rocko's grandmother (I mentioned her a week or two ago). We met her yesterday and asked her if she had a coat. She said that she didn't and told us that she was all alone, raising this one boy. We guessed at her size when we picked up the coats. And this morning when we gave it to her, if fit perfectly. With tears she reached out and took my hand. Then she kissed my cheeks. But what really struck me was her words. She said, "This is not the Muslim way!" She has been so helped by the charity of the believers and she clearly sees that the love of Jesus is so much better than Islam. We invited her to the church. Please pray that the seeds of love sown in her heart will bring forth fruit to salvation. Attached is a picture of her with Carrie and Gulbush.

On Wednesday we hope to have everything ready to distribute coats and socks to the kids at the feeding center in our village. Please pray that all goes well as we pass them out along with the Gospel on DVD. Please pray for these kids and for their parents/grandparents. Pray for Gulbush as she not only feeds them, but teaches them about Jesus. These kids count on her.

Please pray for us as we do what we can to reach the lost and feed and clothe the poor and widows. I appreciate all your prayers and support!

Because He First Loved Me, Larry Leach, Jr.

Dear Friends,

What a whirlwind of activity the last few days have been. Between all our regular stuff----homeschooling, chores, wood cutting, etc----we have begun the coat distribution! My heart is leaping for joy to be able to help these kids.

Yesterday we did the shopping. It took quite a while to find a store with as many coats as we needed to buy. There were looks of shock and more than a few laughs, but in the end, we ended up with a van full of nice coats! Socks were a little more money than I expected, but then again, I did buy the thickest I could find. In the beginning I didn't think to pass out socks, but when I talked with our senior missionary, he said to be sure to hand out at least a pair of socks with each coat. And after seeing the looks on everyone's faces this morning, the socks were a much appreciated addition!

If this morning was any indication as to how this coat drive will go, we are in for a huge blessing! The experience with Rocko's grandmother touched my heart more than she will ever know. She hobbled out to the gate to greet us, wheezing as she came. Then when I held out the coat, she was speechless. I helped put it on her, holding my breath because at first it looked a little small. But when she got her other arm in and it was a perfect fit, I let out a laugh of joy. Overjoyed, and with tears, she grabbed me and pulled my face to hers. She kissed my cheeks and thanked me over and over. I told her that it was from Jesus. I buttoned it for her and asked if I could get my picture taken with her. She fixed her head scarf for the picture. This is a picture I will treasure! As we walked away, I couldn't help but cry.

I'm excited about the coat distribution at the feeding center on Wednesday. I want these kids to know that Jesus truly cares about what they are going through. Please, please pray for them. Maybe the village's next Pastor is among them...

A special thanks to all those who gave and all who prayed for the coat drive! And if the people could thank you themselves, they would. But since they can't, I'll say it for them. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

With Love to All, Carrie M. Leach

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Greetings from sunny Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                 November 24, 2009

We've had another good week here. Wednesday I preached again to a room full of people in the new village. Again they were receptive. This week they are planning on feeding everyone that comes to the meeting. We've seen this many times over the years - when someone comes to the Lord, or when the Lord comes to that person, the natural response is joy, and a desire to spread that joy to others.

Saturday was a blessed day in both meetings. The little group in the first village sang the hymns for an hour at least. Then, each one had a good testimony. Kiymet continues to improve, and she credits our prayers to God as the reason. Another woman told about an incident at the baptism we held in the summer. While she was waiting in line to get baptized there was man and woman watching. They were new to the meetings, but wanted to believe. She encouraged them, and the man decided to get baptized. The preachers talked to him, and a few minutes later he waded out into the water and professed publicly faith in Jesus Christ. Now, two months have passed. The woman from that village said that she had run into them man somewhere this week, and the man said, "I wish I'd a become a believer years ago. My life's different now." His wife said that she also believed, and was sorry that she had not got baptized with him that day.

Last week we prayed for a dying woman. She was lying on her side in bed, gasping for breath. The doctors in the hospital had sent her home without treatment. That night we prayed for her. The next night we went to see her. She was breathing better. She got out of bed and sat up while I preached from psalm 90 about the number of our days. This week we went to her village again, and the woman had further improved. Please pray for her salvation.

In our village we had a man come to the meeting for the first time. A few years ago he had a small business, and was considered one of the wealthier men in the community. Now he's lost his family and his business, and his hearing. He started coming to the children's feeding, asking if he could eat the leftover food. The night he came to church he told us that he hadn't eaten anything in three days but the apples from his tree. Gulbush, the woman that feeds the children, gives him any leftovers and witnesses to him on a regular basis now. Although he doesn't understand any Turkish, he came to the meeting. He couldn't participate in any way, except for the prayer. After church he was too emotional to talk about it. The next day he told us that he had never had a better night's sleep in all his life. We expect the seed sown in his heart to blossom into eternal life before long.

From Bulgaria Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from cool, sunny Bulgaria!                                                                                                                                             November 21, 2009

Fall began with rain and mud and it looked like the rain was going to carry us right through to the snow, but the last couple weeks have been rather nice. We've been able to buy, cut, and stack wood for winter. We were also able to do some insulating of the house. The kids were able to take some walks and play at the new little park in our village. We appreciate the good weather. We still have roses in bloom.

The work is going strong. The churches are praising God for salvation through Jesus Christ. They testify about their life while serving Mohammed and how Jesus changed everything so completely. He gave them love. He gave them peace. He gave them grace. Slava Na Boga!

One part of the ministry that gives the people strength is the morning prayer meeting. In our village, we meet together each morning. We sing a few songs, pray, and fellowship. On one recent morning, the Pastor's daughter told us of some of the people she has told about Jesus. One lady, a "clean Turk" from Shumen, asked her one day why she prayed to Jesus. She told her all about Christ, salvation, and unconditional love. The lady said she would think about it. Well, one day the lady got sick. The Dr said her condition was grave. She called the Pastor's daughter and said, "Pray to Jesus for me. I need to know that He hears prayers." God heard the prayers and answered. Now the lady is a believer.

Another story is of a man in our village. He used to have wealth, but lost it all. He lost his wife, his children, his cars---everything. Today he has no job, no wood or woodstove, and no family. He is an alcoholic. The Pastor's son-in-law is a friend to him. He invited him to church. The man, Miglen, said that an alcoholic couldn't go to church. He said that he was ashamed and thought that the people would tell him to leave. The son-in-law kept after him that he would find love in the church. He promised he would come. That was last week. He didn't come. But they are still inviting. Still reaching out. Still showing him kindness. It is our prayer that he will come to know the Lord as his personal Saviour. Pray for Miglen.

The last story was about Rocko's grandmother. Perhaps I've not mentioned Rocko before. He is a young teen, born in prison to parents who are inmates. At birth he was taken from prison to live with his paternal grandmother. She is a poor widow in our village with barely enough to care for herself, let alone a child. As Rocko grew, he became an angry, bitter young man. He hated everyone and every thing. He caused many problems in the village. By the time he was ten, he had a small gang. Many were afraid of him.

Then he started going to the church's feeding center. At first he was angry and treated everyone at the center badly. If he was having a bad day, he would throw his food and yell at everyone. When hymns would be sung, he would mock. Then one day things changed. As he was yelling at the lady who was feeding him, she answered him softly. She remained kind. He saw something in her that day that he wanted. He went away that day and didn't come back for a while. When he did return, he was different. He showed kindness to all and wouldn't allow his friends to be mean, either.

That was a few months ago. Now he waves to us as we pass. When we are at the park, he comes over and talks to us and wants to play with our kids. He has volunteered at the center to help with any work that may come up. It's night and day difference.

A couple weeks ago, Rocko got the flu. He was very sick. The Dr told him to stay home and not go to the center because he could spread the illness to the other kids. But, if he didn't go to the center, how would he eat? His main source of daily nutrition comes from the center. So he went early one day and asked for food. The lady gave him a jar of soup to take home. She also sent a jar for his grandmother. Day after day for a week she sent a jar of soup to their home. Finally the grandmother came to the center (hunched over, walking with a cane) to thank them for feeding her. She'd never been treated so kindly. The cook asked if she wanted to come to the center daily and eat with the kids. She said no. She said that it should be for the kids. But when the cook insisted she take home some soup, she didn't turn it away.

The feeding center is feeding the poor, the widows, and the fatherless. What a blessing! Thank you all for your prayers and support to reach these people for Christ. You have been more of a help than you know! Glory to God!

I hope these testimonies have been a blessing to you!  Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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Nov 16, 2009

We're still enjoying warm weather here.  We haven't had to heat the house this fall.
 
Good news from the villages.  This week I was able to preach in a new village.  In a strong Muslim area.  About fifteen people came to the meeting, all friendly and apparently open to the gospel.  As I preached from Acts chapter sixteen they all nodded their heads "yes" and even said "Amen".  Pray for the people in this village.  The opposition will be strong in that area. 

In other places we see the meetings filling up again as their summer work has ended.  Many of the people are glad to be in church again. 

Brother Nasuf has started a new meeting in one of his villages.  At the new meeting there was a woman that had been to church years ago.  He said that they had been evangelizing in another village and, of course, preached then prayed for any who wanted special prayer.    This woman had requested prayer for her physical ailments, and made a complete recovery.  Now years later she has moved to this village where they're starting a church. Although we may lose contact with people, the Lord never does, and he gathers his children in. 

Also this week we learned that the Lord is providing three new DVD duplicators for the work through the saints at Brookside Baptist (Charity Baptist Mission) in Bristol, TN. And, some funds have come in for shipping the duplicators.  Prayer works.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Brethren,                                                                                                                                                                                     November 15 2009

Today was like none other in my history as a missionary. On my way to prayer meeting I got a call from Ismael that one of the believers had died. The "Baba", they called her (which means old lady or Grandmother).

I went on to prayer meeting where I received the full details on what would need to be done to conduct a funeral and go to the graveside.

First, we needed to find a white sheet material for grave clothes. Then we needed to go to the Dr's office and get a death certificate. From there we would go back to the Baba's house where the cloth would be sewn and last respects would be paid.

Of course the usual stores did not have the white cloth, so we walked around Novi Pazar looking for it. As we walked around Novi Pazar, we met up with other believers, who all wanted to pay their respects. It was quite a van full.

Then, because it is Saturday, the Dr was not at his office. We called him and he said he would come to the office right away. He wanted to examine the body himself, so he joined my van full and we headed to the village. By the time the van had completely unloaded, the Dr was ready to go back to his office to write up the death certificate.

After waiting a while outside the Dr's office, the certificate was finally ready. Ismael and I headed back to the village to have the funeral. We sang and prayed.

At that time a makeshift room was built outside where the women would wash and dress the body. They took a lot of time making sure everything was done properly. It reminded me of the women who looked after Jesus' tomb.

Then it was time to go to the cemetery. The wrapped body was put in the back of a horse cart and taken to the cemetery. Only the men went.

When we got there, the hole was already dug. It was about 4ft deep and at the bottom, the hole was inset. In that inset, the body was laid. A mud brick wall was built to enclose the body in the inset. Then the dirt was put back, leaving a mound. From death to end of burial was 14 hours.

One blessing that comes from days such as these is that any lost who gathered got to hear the Gospel. They heard one Pastor at the grave announce, "She's not here! She's in Heaven with Jesus!"

Also, while we were gathered in the house, singing about Heaven and about Jesus' resurrection and Amazing Grace, it set in strongly that as a missionary, all ministry to this one lady was over. But as I looked around the room, my heart was challenged once again to reach as many as I could. Please pray.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers. It is because of your prayers that missionaries stay on the field, telling the world about salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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"The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow."  Ps 146:9                                                                 November 11, 2009

 

Greetings from the saints in Bulgaria.  As the cold weather has come and summer work is ended the churches are filling back up.  We’ve had a good summer.  Now Isaac is attending a Bulgarian kindergarten in the mornings and doing first grade school work at home in the afternoons, while Maggie has started preschool at home.   The older girls study at home and take violin lessons twice a week. .Verity’s due date is January seventeenth.  Pray for her as this date approaches. 


Once again it is our privilege to thank God for providing us with a new vehicle.  Last week I bought a seven passenger Dacia Logan.  Not only will it fill the needs of our family’s travel, but we’ll be able to carry more believers with us as we visit the village churches and evangelize.  Thank you all for your prayers and financial contributions.

 

I drove my new car to the cafe in Shumen to write this message.  The van surely is a blessing, especially for the children.  It's not easy to fit four children and two adults into a five passenger car.  Saturday I was able to drive the new car to the meetings.  On the way to the second meeting we were stopped at a barrier in the road and told to take a detour.  That detour started out as a dirt road and ended up as a mud path through the fields to the next town.  Good way to break the new vehicle into the work.  We made it to church safe and sound, an hour late.  There were a dozen believers there waiting on us, including Kiymet. 

 

The little girl from Brother Nasuf’s meeting that we had prayed for is doing better.  The doctor’s don’t have any explanation, but her condition has temporarily stabilized.  In the mean time we had a young woman come to the meetings in a nearby village.  Several young women were coming to the meeting there, at first out of curiosity, which led to them liking the meeting, which will in turn lead to their faith in Christ.  Kiymet knew that she needed some help from God, and seemed more serious than the others.  She complained of frequent head aches.  When she went to the doctor they found a tumor on her brain.  She was operated on in Varna, but not given any hope of recovery.  The doctors told her there was no hope to live, but now she's still alive.  I think they gave her three months to live.  Her family took her to a bigger hospital in Sofia, the capitol city, where she was operated on again.  Again the doctors predicted she would live only a couple months.  Now, two months have gone by.  She’s recovered from the surgery, on her feet again, and even able to walk about a mile to the church.  Everyone is amazed at her progress, and they say that it is due only to the prayers.  Her mother came to church for the first time last week.  She said that Kiymet began to recover the night we visited her and prayed for her.  Lord willing, it's only a matter of time before her mother comes to know the Lord.  She's already seen what he can do.  Please pray for this family, as we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. 

 

One morning about a month ago I received a phone call from one of the believers in nearby village.  There was a man there who had committed suicide that morning, and they needed help in the funeral.  He had been mentally ill for sometime.  They said that because of the economic crisis, which has left many people without work, he wasn't able to support his family, and he was ashamed that his children had to go to school hungry, and without new shoes.  His wife had often told us that she wanted to come to church, but her husband strictly forbade it.  Their children have been coming to the feedings.  At the church in that village we've been feeding the poor children for about a year now.  This family is so poor though, that many days the only food the children ate was at the church.  I'm glad that we can feed them.  Now, his wife has been coming to church.  She’s found a heavenly father faithful to meet their needs. 

 

            We continue to receive requests for cds and DVDs.  The Lord is using these discs to take the gospel into places we cannot go. 

 

From Bulgaria,  Zachary LeFevre

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November 11, 2009

Greetings from sunny Bulgaria. I drove my new car to the cafe in Shumen to write this message. The seven passenger Dacia Logan surely is a blessing, especially for the children. It's not easy to fit four children and two adults into a five passenger car. Saturday I was able to drive the new car to the meetings. On the way to the second meeting we were stopped at a barrier in the road and told to take a detour. That detour started out as a dirt road and ended up as a mud path through the fields to the next town. Good way to break the new vehicle into the work. We made it to church safe and sound, an hour late. There were a dozen believers there waiting on us, including Kiymet. The doctors told her there was no hope to live, but now she's still alive and walking to church (about a mile). Her mother came with her. Lord willing, it's only a matter of time before her mother comes to know the Lord. She's already seen what he can do.

While I was busy in Sofia with the car Brother Alish was in the new villages. He had good testimonies about some people there wanting to come to church. Before writing more, I'll go meet with them this week. We've prayed a lot for these new villages this year, but so far haven't seen much improvement, but the one meeting in that area that we weren't worried about has continued to grow (without our prayers). I guess the Lord of the harvest decides how and where to work.

More good news. The wife of the man who had committed suicide has begun to attend the church services in her village. She testified that while her husband was alive they struggled just to survive, but since starting to come to the church God's taken better care of her. She said that in some respects her life as a widow is actually better than when her husband was alive.

"The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow." Ps 146:9

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Dear Faithful Brethren,                                                                                                                                                                         November 7, 2009

The weather has turned nice once again, so people all around our area are taking the opportunity to prepare a little more for winter.

A man down the road is gathering fallen limbs and sticks for firewood. I saw a man in Shumen gathering plastic bottles from dumpsters to burn for warmth. A missionary brother is putting on new roof tiles and hoping to be moved in before Christmas. As a family we have been cutting wood and doing some winterizing on the upstairs of the house. The upstairs is still not being used because it's unfinished. So it must be closed off for winter. We appreciate each little project because it gets us that much closer to a finished house. Having lived for a while with gravel floors, holes in the walls, and showering in the barn, we are very thankful to have a warm house. We appreciate everything our supporters have given to help us get where we are.

As attention is turned to the needs of winter, I ask that you pray and give as the Lord leads. Of priority is the yearly flour distribution. During this distribution, around 1,500 families will each receive a 110lb bag of flour and 5 liters of cooking oil. $25 will help one family survive the harshest winter months.

Also, the feeding centers will have greater needs during the winter. Because of the lack of work, more children are coming to be fed. The feeding center in our village is one of the newer ones and is lacking in monthly support. It needs a little more money monthly for potatoes, noodles, rice, beans, and bread. Over 20 children eat at this center daily.

And lastly, for the missionaries. Winter is especially hard because the needs are so great. Also, the dollar is low and gas is on the rise. Hopefully it will stay under the $8 mark it hit last winter. Some of our missionaries spend $1,000 each month on fuel to get to the meetings and distribute food among the feeding centers. Additionally, car repairs are common because of the number of miles traveled and the bad roads.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we think even more about you all. You have been such a blessing to us in so many ways. Your faithful prayers have given us the strength to go on when we were sure we couldn't take another step. Please know that as we sit around the table on that traditional Thursday, we will be saying a thanks to God for you. Thank you for everything you have done for us and for this ministry.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

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November 2, 2009

 

    It looks like the Gypsy summer (warm weather in the fall) is over.  There's ice in the watering buckets every morning now.  We're so thankful for the work done by Brother Toby and friends - they carried the firewood into the house. 
    With the cold weather here the churches are filled.  Work in the fields has ceased.  God was good enough to send the financial crisis to Bulgaria.  People here NEED to pray.  Many are without firewood yet or other necessary winter provisions.  At the campmeeting at Brookside over five thousand dollars was raised to help buy flour for the churches here this winter.  Please pray about this, we will need at least thirty thousand more. God is able.  It's always exciting to see him do big things.
    Last week I was able to help Brother Frank Cornelius a couple days to finish the work on his roof.  It reminded me of all the work we did on our house, and how thankful I am for fellow missionary Matt Welch that did all the carpentry work free of charge.  May the Lord richly bless all those that have helped us!
    This week I'll be traveling to Sofia, Lord willing, to pick up our new vehicle.  After praying and waiting for two years we're excited at seeing the realization of our prayers. There will be some extra costs for registration and insurance, but my God will supply the need.
    Another need to pray about is the DVD ministry.  We can't make them fast enough.  Each of the pastors want to distribute them in the towns and villages where they have church, not counting new villages.  Many people have commented that they loved watching the DVDs and want to come to church.  It costs less than twenty cents to make a DVD, but we could use at least two more multi-burning machines. 
    I hope you'll pray about all these things.  In the weeks ahead, by faith we'll give a good report of answered prayer.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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October 28-09

Dear Preachers, Pastors, and Brookside,

 

We greet you in the blessed name of the great God and our saviour Jesus Christ.  Mercy unto you, and peace and love be multiplied.  Last Sunday we had a church service in a new village called Kamaravo.  It was a blessing how we came to be there, but may it suffice to say we could tell that God had opened the door and it was a blessing to enter into a home where God was already in attendance.

 

Hassan, the national Pastor, was so excited to start the new meeting that he didn’t sleep the night before.  He started the church service with many gospel songs, which touched the peoples hearts, and many cried as God’s Spirit started to deal with them at the point of their needs.  After the singing, Hassan began to preach from Mark chapter 1 on the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it had changed his life, giving him a new life.  What joy was expressed as he went over what Jesus had done to save him from his sins and place him in the family of God!  He preached for about twenty minutes with joy unspeakable and full of glory, all the time accrediting God for his goodness.  Suddenly he stopped and asked for the believers to give testimonies how they had been saved and had come to know the Lord.  Something was wrong as it was evident Hassan was becoming ill, and by the end of the service it appeared it might be the onset of a stroke.  We prayed and excused ourselves and drove to the hospital.  The doctors said Hassan was indeed having a stroke and admitted him.  Today we are thankful that he is doing much better.  We ask for your continued prayers, and covet them, that God would bless his work here and the preaching of the gospel of Christ, for which we are not only ambassadors, but your servants to make known the riches of Christ in the regions beyond.  Please pray for us, your missionaries, and the national pastors, that God would strengthen us for the work he has called us to.

 

May God continue to bless your camp meeting and may his face shine upon you and draw us all closer to him.

 

Your missionaries in Bulgaria.

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Dear Fellowlaborers,   Greetings from Bulgaria!                                                                                                                                              Oct 28, 2009  

 

Yesterday I was able to email an update on the work. Today I wanted to take a minute to update you all on the Leach Family.

 

Carrie and the children are doing fine. They stay busy with home school and chores. Hannah's foot that had a bad cut that wouldn't heal, has healed and is doing fine. We are thankful for that, as it took over a year to finally be well.

 

Our visas came through this fall with no troubles. Praise the Lord. We have another year of residency.

 

The van has been through a major overhaul since summer but it looks like we're seeing light at the end of the tunnel. After over $3,000 in repairs since the beginning of summer, I only have a couple repairs, to the tune of $400, to take care of for it to be in good shape. Having a good vehicle is so important in this ministry. It was such a blessing to have for all the baptisms this past summer. At times it was so full of people that it looked like a clown car.

 

Further progress on the house has been slow because of the vehicle repairs, but we're doing fine with it. We know that it will all come together in time.

 

I want to take a minute and say to you all that God has been good to us! He has been faithful to take care of our needs and give us the encouragement we need when we felt we couldn't take another step.

 

Thank you all for playing a part in this ministry with both prayer and financial support. Without you, we could not be here. We thank God for you. You are in our prayers. Hope you have a good camp meeting.

 

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

 

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Dear Fellowlaborers,                                                                                                                                                                                         Oct 28, 2009


I hope this letter finds you all well and having a good camp meeting. I wish I could be there to listen to the preaching and singing and to fellowship with you all again. But the needs of the work are great and I am honored to be a part of it all.


Bulgaria has felt the effects of a world-wide recession and many are leaving to other parts of Europe to find work. While we miss them, we know that God is at work because they are taking the DVDs with them and distributing them among the Turks in other countries. The DVDs have been a wonderful evangelistic tool. More than we may ever know.


The churches are doing well. They are still singing, praying, testifying, and preaching. One widow who goes with me is in her 80s. She gets up and testifies in all the churches, often jumping up and down with joy as she tells of all God has done for her. Another widow who goes is 85 and she has the sweetest spirit. Sometimes she doesn't know where she is, but she just wants to be around God's people.


Please keep Brother Hassan in your prayers as he had a stroke this past week. From what I hear, he is getting better, but could still use prayers. Please remember the churches, national pastors, and missionaries in your prayers. The opposition in this Christian life gets heavy and we need the prayers of the saints to lift us up.


And lastly, pray for the new villages that are opening up. Pray that their hearts will be open to the Gospel and that many souls will be saved.

Because He First Loved Me, Brother Larry Leach, Jr.

 

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October 26 Update

We hope this report finds you all earnestly contending for the faith and rejoicing in hope of eternal life.  Over here we've been busy this week preaching in the churches, working on videos, dvds, and doctor's visits.  Verity had some blood work done this week, but won't get the results until her next doctor's visit.  She sometimes feels faint of a morning, but not alarmingly so.  Continue to pray for her. 

This week I was able to travel up to Romania for the Sunday morning meeting with the two other missionary families up there.  Also, Brother Frank Cornelius came from Bulgaria, bringing his family.  It was an unplanned day of fellowship and blessing.  While there we learned that Brother Nathan Reed is returning to the states for a short furlough.  He will be trying to raise money for the work.  Last week, he said, they didn't have money to pay for fuel to get to the villages.  There's twenty-five village meetings up in Romania right now, and fuel costs close to six dollars a gallon.  Pray that God would bless Brother Nathan in his travels, representing the work. 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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October 20, 2009

Greetings from cold, rainy Bulgaria. We've had a good week here, with our visitors from Columbus, Ohio. During their eight day stay we were able to visit Northern Greece. Not only did we learn about the Turkish population there, but we were able to enjoy the warm climate. Then, a few days later we traveled up to the Romanian mountains where it was snowing. In between these two trips we were able to visit eight of the churches here, and that turned out to be the biggest thrill.

The brethren here were thrilled to see the American believers that had prayed for them and supported this work for years. It was like Timothy bringing greetings from the Apostle Paul. They loved hearing the testimonies of the Pastor Cambron, Brother Scott Lincke, and fifteen year old Joshua Cambron. They resolved to pray more for their church, hoping these men will come visit again next year.

Not only were the believers here edified, but the American believers were touched by seeing the love and joy in the churches despite their poverty. Brother Toby said he could have stayed another week and done nothing but visit the churches. We're thankful for the time we had together, and the fellowship. Brother Toby and his church paid for all of our expenses during the trip, and gave us a love offering.

While I was busy traveling and visiting other churches Brother Alish stayed faithful to our weekly meetings. The young lady we have been praying for has recovered from her surgery. She's now up on her feet and able to do some housework. I'm not sure about the cancer tumor in her head, but at least she's doing better, and her family is thankful for the prayers. Brother Alish's car is in need of some repairs that will cost him a couple hundred dollars. He's sixty-five years old, skinny as a rail, and not able to work outdoors in cold weather. When his car broke down last week it was the first time in a couple years that he's missed a village meeting (he goes to eight a week). He's very faithful. Pray for him. They also need some firewood for the winter, and his roof is in need of repair. We are able to pay for his fuel, but he and his wife live off of their pension, which is about a hundred and fifty dollars a month.

Verity's doctor continues to insist she is carrying a baby boy. This baby will be here in three months. Verity goes this week for blood testing.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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October 5 Update

 

After a nice September we got our first day of autumn weather. It rained here all night Saturday and then all day yesterday. The temperature had dropped and Saturday there were strong winds.

 

We had a good day yesterday preaching in three villages. This week we found out that a man from one of the villages passed away right after church the previous week. He had been to our meetings several times and heard the gospel preached. He was fifty-two years old.

 

The young woman we've been praying for is back home in her village. She had been operated on in Varna and in Sofia, but both times the surgeons said there was no hope. There is some type of tumor on her brain. They've given her just a couple months to live. For the time being she is not in much pain, but sleeps a lot. She's in good spirits, though, they said, and wants us to visit her. Lord willing we'll get out to see her today or tomorrow. She's twenty-nine years old. A week after our battle with the local imam there's no sign that anyone in that church has been intimidated. Continue to pray for that church.

 

We continue to make and distribute at least one hundred of the evangelistic dvds a week. At least once a week we hear about people going to work in Western Europe and taking the dvds with them for church. From Bulgaria,

 

Zachary LeFevre

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September 29, 2009

Praying Friends,

 

Wednesday morning I got a phone call from one of the villages.  A man there had hung himself, leaving a wife and four small children.  They said that because of the economic crisis, which has left many people without work, he wasn't able to support his family, and he was ashamed that his children had to go to school hungry, and without new shoes.  His wife had often told us that she wanted to come to church, but her husband strictly forbade it.  Their children have been coming to the feedings.  At the church in that village we've been feeding the poor children for about a year now.  This family is so poor though, that many days the only food the children ate was at the church.  I'm glad that we feed them.  Pray for this widow and the fatherless. 

 

One evening this week we had some visitors come to the meeting in one of the new villages north of us.  It was the local imam, the Islamic minister that came to try and close the meeting.  After Brother Alish preached and we prayed, closing the meeting, we let him ask any questions he wanted.  We argued there for two or three hours.  I thank the Lord for Brother Alish and his family that are strong in the faith, and didn't fear any of his threats.  He said that anyone who professed that Jesus was the son of God would no longer be considered a Muslim, and would be ostracized from the community, including the Muslim funeral in the cemetery.  Brother Alish asked him, "Why are you so concerned with the body, anyway?  It turns back to dust.  We're concerned with the souls of men that will live in heaven of hell."

 

In the end, the man was friendly and asked for some literature about the Bible.  None of our new believers seemed to be moved by his arguments.  We're only in this village once a week.  Please pray for them the other six days. 

 

Yesterday I went to Brother Ismail's regular Sunday meetings.  There's three right now, and we're trying to organize a fourth one.  The first meeting of the day is with a small group here referred to as the Kopenars.  They are ethnic Romanians, and still speak the language, but seem to speak Bulgarian better.  Imagine their surprise when I stood and preached to them in Romanian, their mother tongue.  They were thrilled. 

 

Brethren, pray for us. From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

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Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.                                                                                                            September 25, 2009

 

I thank God for the living God we are trusting in and serving.  As the days are going the Lord keeps on blessing.  The meetings are doing well.  There are new souls coming to the house of God looking for help.  We appreciate your prayers for us and for the churches over here. We for sure see the Lord working in the lives of the believers.

 

One sister testified that there are 13 people in her house and nobody is employed.  She said that she has 6 grandchildren living with her and every morning when they get up they are looking for food.  She said that despite their poverty the Lord is providing for them.  She praises the Lord for providing for them.

 

Another sister that is a widow testified in church that a few months ago the church prayed for her. She could not hear with her ears.  Now the Lord opened her ears and she can hear.  Her daughter asked her which doctor she visited and she said that she did not go to any doctor, but the church prayed for her and her ears got opened.  She praises the good Lord for hearing her prayer.

 

We thank you for feeding the children over here.  It is a great blessing to see hungry children and even adults get fed.  As it is hard to find work and the economic situation getting real hard and the government not helping much a majority of families do not have food for their children on regular basis.  There is this little child that used to come to one of the feeding places.  He was an orphan and one time the sister that feeds the children heard him pray: God give me strength to work and feed my granny that takes care of me.  As the boy grew up he started lifting weights and last year he went to a weights lifting championship in Japan and won a few medals.  Now he is able to take care of his granny that raised him up.  The Lord really hears prayer.

 

We have been giving out a lot of DVDs and the Lord has blessed greatly.  We give them out quickly.  Recently we gave some to a brother that works in Serbia.  Also these DVDs are going all over villages, towns and cities not only in Bulgaria but all over Europe.  A few weeks ago I gave a ride to a lady in Romania.  As we started talking it turned out that she was a Turk.  I gave her several DVDs to give out to her neighbors and relatives.

 

There is this one sister that is really poor but she can give away all the DVDs that we can give her.  Recently I took her to a market and gave her 200 DVDs.  When she got off the car she said: I am going to faint.  And I asked her why.  She said that she did not have any money for food.  As soon as she got some food she brightened up and for 5 hours she gave discs away and testified the gospel to the people.

 

Please, pray for my wife and children because they are sick.  May the Lord bless you all. In Christ, Brother Mitko.

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Greeting From Bulgaria,                                                                                                                                                                        September 18, 2009

I wanted to tell you all about a man I met in our village yesterday. As is my routine, I was in my van on the outskirts of the village, reading my Bible and praying, when a new shepherd came up and tapped on my van window. He just wanted to talk. We talked about the weather and family. Eventually he asked what I was doing here and I began to talk to him about the Lord. He is Muslim and said that when he prays, he feels clean. I told him that salvation could only come through Jesus Christ. He wanted to know more. I didn't have one of the ministry DVDs on me (gave them all away at a big meeting in Novi Pazar the other night), so I told him to come by my house in the evening and I would give him a DVD. Then he asked me if I could hold on to his big bag of corn so he wouldn't have to carry it around with him all day. Last night after he took his herd home, he came by to pick up his corn and the DVD. He then told me that he didn't have a TV or DVD player, so he would take it to his son's house and watch it there.

Please pray for this man and for all those who would see the DVD at his son's house.

Because of the busyness of missionary life, I have been remiss at keeping in touch with you all on what is going on over here. But I have made a resolve to get better at communicating with you all as to what God is doing here in Bulgaria. I thank you all for your faithfulness for souls here.

Slava Na Boga (Glory to God), Brother Larry Leach

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September 7, 2009

What a difference! Saturday we started transporting people early, about nine o'clock, from their villages into town, where the bus was waiting. Two fifty-five passenger buses carried about a hundred and thirty people to the large church house for our last baptism of the season. While we were driving it felt like the hottest day of the year, then Sunday morning rain clouds moved in and put an end to summer. It's rained all night, with strong winds. We have no picnics scheduled today, to say the least.

There were close to two hundred and fifty people at the meeting Saturday night. Twenty-four new believers got baptized. If I counted right, that makes about one hundred and forty-eight baptized this year. The meeting ended at daybreak Sunday morning when we ate breakfast. I preached at about two o'clock that morning, but had to lay down at four to get a little rest before driving people back home. We heard a lot of good testimonies, but also have some serious prayer requests.

One young lady has a brain tumor and the doctor said she doesn't have long to live. Just this summer she started coming to church. Another one of the believers has a child that is very sick, and the doctors don't really know the cause.

Today the children started school, all four of them. They older girls are studying at home this year, but will be going to a Bulgarian school for music lessons twice a week.  Isaac will be going to Bulgarian kindergarten again, but maybe not every day.

Verity went to the doctor again last week. They're still claiming the baby is a boy, but as we can't agree on a boy's name, I'm thinking it might be a girl.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                                                 August 31 2009

We had a good week here. Wednesday and Thursday we went to our regular meetings. Although most of the people are out working now, the ones that did come are doing well. Thursday night especially we had a good meeting in one village. Brother Alish's son and daughter-in-law were there. It was their last meeting before returning to Holland where they live and work. Both of them gave clear testimonies of salvation and requested prayer that God would provide them work in Bulgaria so they could stay in the church. The daughter-in-law requested prayer for her side of the family. None of them are saved. Also in the meeting there was a young lady that used to come to church, but hadn't been in a long time, ever since she's been married. She cried during the hymns, cried during the preaching and cried during the prayer, and even after church was over she sat with her head bowed down and cried. It's good to see God touch people.

One day we went to a nearby town where there's been a church for several years. I had prepared over two hundred of or evangelistic dvds and we gave every last one out. Ninety-nine percent of the dvds will be watched (if not one hundred percent). Some of the people there said they didn't even know we had a meeting there, and they would be happy to come. Right now I've got about a hundred and fifty more dvds ready. We'll canvas another town this week.

Fellow missionary Larry Leach is having problems with his vehicle right now. He's praying about whether to sell it or keep on repairing it every other month. Pray for his needs. While he is not able to drive, I'm taking Brother Ismail to his regular meetings. There's nine villages that he goes to, including the church that meets in his house.

Saturday we're planning another large meeting. There may be a few that will want to be baptized. This time we're bringing in the villages that Alish, Ismail and Nasuf pastor. Brother Ismail's got a fifty-five passenger bus reserved. We could fill another one.

Pray for my brother, William, as he has just started deputation.

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                                         August 24, 2009

We've had another good week in the regular meetings.  I preached eight times this week.  One day I went with Brother Ahmet to three of his villages. 

Yesterday there was a man at Brother Nasuf's church that had just returned from Spain.  He, like many others, had gone to Western Europe for work.  He testified that it was a blessing to be back in his home church again and hear hymns and preaching in his own language.  He said he goes to a church in Spain, but due to the language barrier has no fellowship with any other Christians.  He asked for special prayer for his wife.  She's had mental problems for fifteen years, and the police wanted to lock her up, but he says he still loves her and will never give up on her. 

In one of Brother Ahmet's village churches the woman that hosts the church in her house told her entire testimony.  She and her husband were traveling on the highway one day in their horse-drawn wagon when a truck hit them from behind.  They were taken to the hospital.  In the ambulance she was with her husband.  His mouth was full of blood, and her arm was broken.  Neither of them was able to speak.  At the hospital she was taken to one room and her husband another, where he died.  Her family chose not to tell her about his death at that time, fearing it might harm her own recovery.  After a week she came home where several friends and relatives were waiting.  The whole room of people was crying, she though, for her.  Eventually someone told her that her husband had died and had been buried.  She fell out in the floor crying.  Then someone came to the house.  The children went to meet them.  It was Brother Hasan and his wife, out evangelizing in that region that day.  They came in the house and told everyone that the Lord had sent them to that village to start a church.  The woman said they definitely needed God to help them, so she invited the preacher to come back every week.  That was three years ago, I believe.  She got saved and got her life straightened out in one sense, but still had many difficulties.  Without her husband, and no other income, she was unable to pay her utilities and had the lights and water cut off.  They were terribly poor and suffered greatly, but God always took care of them.  This year an attorney contacted her and told her that she is entitled to a settlement from her accident.  They've given her close to twenty-thousand dollars!  Her family started to rebuild their house, which was falling down.  She actually didn't seem any happier about the money than she was the Lord's continual blessing over the last few years.  She's learned to be content no matter the circumstances. 

We would like to ask you all to pray for the family of our dear friend, former missionary Ricky Bolick, who passed away this week.  When I first came to visit the mission field I stayed with Brother Bolick.  He was a blessing and an inspiration to all that knew him. 

The believers here are terribly sorrowful, but not without hope. 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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July 28, 2009

Greetings from sunny Bulgaria.

            This week we've had several days of one hundred degree weather.  Saturday night an electrical storm came in with heavy winds and rain.  A store in the village was hit by lightning, leaving the village without power for a while.  Sunday the daytime temperature was about seventy-five, though.

            We have good reports of the after effects of the baptism meeting.  Some of the new believers came to that meeting to be baptized, even though they were scared about going into the water for the first time in their lives.  In one of our villages the man and wife that host the church in their house were both baptized along with a grown daughter.  Since that time, they said, God has taken good care of them.  Normally they could only earn about five dollars a day, but now they're getting close to twenty dollars a day.  A happy excitement was present in the church service in their village.  The new believers have joy, but don't fully understand why.  We can say along with John Baptist when he saw his followers leave him to go to Jesus, This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

            I had meant to write more about the meeting we had the night of the baptism.  Knowing that I had to drive a couple hundred miles in the morning, I could only stay at the meeting until about four o'clock in the morning.  Some of the others continued to sing until breakfast.  During the testimony time that evening two men especially gave good testimonies of how they had come to Christ.  Their stories were similar.  Each was sick, with unbearable pain.  After weeks of suffering they came to the church and bowed their knees to the Lord.  Both men recovered from their illnesses speedily and left the doctors and nurses asking how it could be.  They told about how God had come into their hearts, taken away the desire for alcohol, and the things of this world, and given them a desire to come to church to sing praises to Jesus.  The congregation wept tears of joy while listening to these men tell what God had done for them. 

            Tomorrow we will be traveling, Lord willing, up to Romania for five days of fellowship with the other missionaries.  We will be meeting twice a day to have church services in English.  Remember to pray for us. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                                                      July 21, 2009

            Hope that you all are doing well, and praying for the work here.  Our purpose in writing these regular updates is to give people good news.  These days the devil is trying to wear out the saints of the most high.  We hope that our weekly updates can be a refreshing and an encouragement to those who are persevering in prayer. 

            This week we have more good news.  Saturday we had another big meeting and baptized forty-three new converts.  These people came from probably twenty different villages all over southeastern Bulgaria.  Each year we have a baptizing in the summer months for those who have been saved throughout the year in the various villages.  This year we were not able to bring in all of those that wanted to be baptized so we had a second meeting.  So far this summer we've had over a hundred baptized.  There may be a few more.  We'll meet with the pastors again next month to see about having another meeting. 

            Last week I worked with Brother Mitko proofreading the Turkish New Testament.  In three days we read from Matthew through I Timothy.  Today we should go through Revelation.  Ever read the Bible eight hours a day?

Thank you all for your prayers and support. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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July 13 2009 update

 

Had another good week here.  I was able to preach nine times this week, mostly go groups of five and ten people.  In the village’s people stay busy most of the summer, then are at home for the winter.  We've got some new believers that want to get baptized this Saturday. 

    We were able to help Nasuf make some needed repairs on his car.  He's able to drive to his own meetings now.  For three weeks he rode a bike to the nearby villages. I found out that the vehicle we want to buy is on sale right now.  We lack about six thousand dollars.  I may make a down payment to reserve one at the sales price.  Help us to pray in the rest of the money. There's a child from Brother Nasuf's church that is very sick and in the Varna hospital.  The doctors are still doing tests.  Please pray for this family.  I forgot to mention in last week's update that one of the ladies pictured is paralyzed, but still wanted to be baptized, so they carried her into the water.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

 

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Greetings from Bulgaria.                                                                                                                                                                                         July 3, 2009

            Trust you all had a good Independence day celebration.  Here we met with other missionaries for a meal, singing, and fellowship.  It rained harder than any other day of the year.  On the way to Brother Welch's house we saw one car turned upside down.  Most of the cars on the highway had pulled to the side of the road because of the heavy rain.  That was the first real rain we've had this year.  In the evening, though, it cleared up and the children were able to play outside. 

            I was able to attend the regular meetings with Brother Alish this week.  These village meetings need prayer.  We are no longer facing opposition from unbelievers, but attendance is down due to the work opportunities of the summer months.  We were able to meet with one family that had not been to church in a month or more.  They had been sick, but promised to come back and bring several more people with them. 

            I have attached some pictures from last week's baptism.  There were sixty-four new believers baptized.  Later in the month we'll have another meeting and baptize any who missed the first meeting.  Normally we start the meeting around noon, and preach about the meaning of baptism, then go down to the river.  In the evening we'll have a meal and then meet for church until about midnight when we take a break.  Usually most of the believers stay and have church all night after that.  At five or six in the morning we serve breakfast and take the people back to their villages.

            Hope you enjoy the pictures.  Pass this message on to your friends.  Thank you for your prayers.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                July 1, 2009

 

We had a good week here.   I was able to preach again in Brother Nasuf's new village.  Those new believers are a blessing to preach to.  They're so ignorant of spiritual things, yet eager to hear.  Thursday I went to our regular villages.  The family that hosts the church in their house is moving.  Pray that the Lord will open a door for us to meet in that village.

 

Saturday we had a baptism.  There were two vans full of people from Brother Ahmet's villages.  Then, the other preachers each brought in a car load.  Others came on their own.  Over fifty new believers were baptized.  Many of them had never been in the water before, and were scared to death.  Today I was talking with some of them and they told me how peacefully they slept that evening, and how happy they are today.   There are still some others that could not come to this meeting, so we're planning on baptizing them later, probably next month. 

 

This month we were able to help Brother Nasuf make some much needed repairs on his vehicle.  Your prayers for the purchase of a new vehicle are not in vain.  This month again we received some more money.  Please continue to pray.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Hello from Sofia.                                                                                                                                                                                         May 25, 2009

            I took a bus to the capitol city today to get a new passport.  My old passport is still valid, but all the pages are filled with visa stamps.  I even had new pages added a couple years ago. 

            We had a good week here, preaching in the usual villages.  One lady testified that her daughter that we've been praying for is doing better.  Her daughter has some kind of thyroid problems, but her mother is now a believer in Jesus as a result of our answered prayers.  In another village where we've been disappointed week after week things were different.  We had a good church service without any problems.  In spite of our doubts, the Lord may establish a church in that village.  Pray for them. 

            I've been able to recover at least one of the video files that we thought were of no use.  We may be able to use that recording for distribution, as the whole church service was evangelistic.  We're preparing some other recordings to distribute this summer.  Continue to pray for us as we persevere.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Greetings from Romania.

            I came up here Monday morning to spend about a couple days and preach in some of the meetings.  However, an evil stomach virus has prevented me from my goal.  After a day of rest I'm able to get out.  Today I'll preach at a meeting in Constanta, then head on home from there.  Another reason for coming was to see sister Ayshe.  She's been faithful to the Lord for several years and is now fighting her final battle.  I'm glad I got to see her one last time.  

            Recently Brother Ralph printed about fifty new testaments for all the preachers and other men in the churches that wanted them.  Many of these men are happy to have a Bible for the first time.  Pray for them as they begin to read the word of God.  The Turkish dialect spoken in Bulgaria is different, so it's difficult for the beginner.

            At this time of year many of the people have begun to work out in the fields and in the mountains.  We're preparing some DVDs to distribute this summer with hymns and preaching.  We are also planning a baptizing in June. 

            I want to thank those of you who have prayed for our vehicle situation.  Last month we had a couple thousand dollars extra come in.  It's exciting to see God work.  Continue to pray for the remainder to come in quickly.

 

From Romania, Zachary LeFevre

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April 21, 2009

 

            This week in Bulgaria things are warming up.  It won’t be long until many of the people in the villages will find summer work, and the meetings may slow down some.  Although we feared the possibility of the enemy closing certain meetings, we are still meeting in those villages.  Things have calmed down some, and now there are new problems.  I suppose there always will be.  At least the door is still open.

            This week we had a woman touched during the preaching.  I had preached from the first fourteen verses of John chapter one.  It was the most truth she had ever heard about God.  She asked for special prayer for her daughter.  Next week we expect good news from her.  In another village it looked like there might only be two people come, but this week the woman had invited her neighbors, and they came.  They seemed excited to come to church and promised to come again next week.  In our northernmost village the people are very anxious to travel with us to other villages and open new churches.  Pray that the Lord would open the doors up there. 

            Our daughter Katy is doing well after a bout with pneumonia.  The other children have also made a good recovery.  Thanks for your prayers.

            Whenever there’s a computer involved, it seems there’s bound to be some problem in the job.  We’ve worked on some new DVDs, but can’t seem to get them to record properly please keep this part of the work in your prayers as well.  These recordings of our church services are our best evangelistic tool at the moment. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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March 31, 2009

 

We would like to thank all of you who prayed for us during the illness and passing of my father, Clyde LeFevre.  The Lord has been gracious to us in these difficult times.  We sorrow not as others that have no hope.

    I was able to fly back and make it for the funeral.  My family stayed here in Bulgaria.  After a two week visit I'm back home now. 

    Although the time change has my days and nights mixed up, I've been in two meetings since I've been back.  Sunday we had a good meeting here in our village.  Brother Alish gave a good testimony from one of our new villages.  We had prayed for a sick person, though I don't recall what the specific need was.  Apparently that person got better and is praising the Lord now.  This type of testimony shows the new people that we are of God and that the Lord answers our prayers.

    Yesterday we went to a new village about thirty miles from here.  They had never heard the gospel before, and they are slow to believe.  The one that had invited us to come changed her mind and said she doesn't want a church now.  We left some of the evangelistic DVDs and some hymnbooks.  Some people outside said they would come if we had a meeting there. 

            Tomorrow we are going up to Romania for a week of fellowship with the other missionaries and English church.

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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Monday, March 10, 2009

 

Spring has just about come to Bulgaria.  The sun is shining and daffodils are blooming.  Before too long people will begin work in the fields, so we're going to as many meetings as we can while the people are still home. 

            In the northern region where things have been more difficult we have seen a little progress.  One lady told us she would come to church if we had one in the village, but she was not willing to host the meeting in her house.  Another family had claimed to be believers but did not want to host the meeting, either, because of the opposition.  In another village we heard how the man of the house stood up to the unbelievers who were against him.  He told them the local Islamic religious leaders were all hypocrites that did nothing but wait for people to die so they could perform funerals and make some money, and that what he did in his own house was none of their business.  Thank God for giving this man the strength to stand. 

            In another village the family told us not to come back, because they couldn't stand the pressure from the unbelievers, the day before church they called us on the phone and asked us to come.  Several people came and met with us, and agreed to have us come back next week, although they admit to being fearful.  We're praying that God would fill their souls with joy to outweigh their fears of persecution. 

            In two other villages, both new for us, we had short meetings with only two people present.  There may be a few more Turkish gypsies in these villages, but not very many.  Pray for these individuals and their villages this week. 

            On Wednesday we took a family with us to visit a church pastored by Brother Alish (the younger).  There were about thirty people there that sang and testified for about two hours before I preached.  Alish had prepared twenty hymn books for our village churches which will be put to good use. 

            Again, we appreciate your prayers for my dad.  He is growing weaker.  The hospice nurses are amazed that he is still living.  I spoke with him briefly last night.  He wasn't breathing well, but sounded happy. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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March 18, 2009

Dear Brookside,

     I was riding down the road today and the Lord really touched my heart strong about writing a letter to the church. I hope this letter will be a blessing and an encouragement to all of you. It is a few testimonies of how the Lord is blessing over here in Bulgaria.

     Monday night we had a service in the town called Novi Pazar. A young lady came into church for the first time. This young lady was well known in the town as a prostitute and a drug addict. She would stand out on the highway with other prostitutes picking up men. She came into church Monday night for the first time, heard the gospel, fell on her knees and the Lord saved her. God sure is good!

     Tuesday night in our service in a village called Zlatina, an elderly lady (full of joy) stood up and testified. She said that she lives all alone. She said that she has buried her mother, father, all her sisters and brothers and her son. She said she has been to ten funerals over the years for her family. She said she lives all alone and has nobody. But she said that she has joy from the Lord. She said that sometimes she will wake up during the middle of the night and pray, and that Jesus comes to her and fills her full of His joy and everything is alright. I am glad Jesus said that He would not leave us alone, but that He would come to us.

     I hear these Turk gypsies testify a lot about how they have all kinds of problems in this world, but when they pray, sometimes in the middle of the night, Jesus comes to them and fills their heart with joy. What a wonderful, loving Saviour we have!!

     Also, I hear them testify about how much joy they get when we come and have church with them. I have seen them testifying with tears thanking the Lord for sending us every week to come and have church with them. I have one young man in one of my villages I go to every week who is crippled. His feet are turned all the way out to the side. He has to walk with two sticks and lives in a shack. But he is faithful to come to church. Most the time, he shows up early for church and is waiting on us when we get there.

     I just want you all to know at Brookside that I hear these people pray for you all when we have church. I hear them pray for preacher Potter and some of the rest of you by name. They really do appreciate your faith and your labour of love for them. I hope this letter will encourage you all at Brookside to keep on. (Hebrews 6:10- For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister).

     I really love and appreciate each and everyone of you in the Lord! May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you all!

 

In Christ, Frank Cornelius Bulgaria

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March 9, 2009

 

Spring has just about come to Bulgaria.  The sun is shining and daffodils are blooming.  Before too long people will begin work in the fields, so we're going to as many meetings as we can while the people are still home. 

 

In the northern region where things have been more difficult we have seen a little progress.  One lady told us she would come to church if we had one in the village, but she was not willing to host the meeting in her house.  Another family had claimed to be believers but did not want to host the meeting, either, because of the opposition.  In another village we heard how the man of the house stood up to the unbelievers who were against him.  He told them the local Islamic religious leaders were all hypocrites that did nothing but wait for people to die so they could perform funerals and make some money, and that what he did in his own house was none of their business.  Thank God for giving this man the strength to stand. 

 

In another village the family told us not to come back, because they couldn't stand the pressure from the unbelievers, the day before church they called us on the phone and asked us to come.  Several people came and met with us, and agreed to have us come back next week, although they admit to being fearful.  We're praying that God would fill their souls with joy to outweigh their fears of persecution. 

 

In two other villages, both new for us, we had short meetings with only two people present.  There may be a few more Turkish gypsies in these villages, but not very many.  Pray for these individuals and their villages this week. 

 

On Wednesday we took a family with us to visit a church pastored by Brother Alish (the younger).  There were about thirty people there that sang and testified for about two hours before I preached.  Alish had prepared twenty hymn books for our village churches which will be put to good use. 

 

Again, we appreciate your prayers for my dad.  He is growing weaker.  The hospice nurses are amazed that he is still living.  I spoke with him briefly last night.  He wasn't breathing well, but sounded happy. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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3-2-09

It's been a good week here.  The snow has melted away.  Even after a few days of nicer weather, some of the roads had three feet of snow that had been plowed aside. 

 

The family that is in danger of losing their house is still there, thankfully.  They got their electricity turned on, but the (rightful) owner had it turned off within a week.  They're just thankful that they've not been thrown out in the cold, especially with a new baby.

 

In some of the new villages the people have gladly accepted us, but are fearful of the local religious leaders.  There is a possibility that another family in the village might agree to have church in their house.  If there were one family that would stand firm, in time the others would follow. 

 

Here in our own village we had a good service this week.  The pastor's son-in-law had been against the church and the believers for a long time.  Over time, though, he's seen God work in different circumstances and seen his own family praise God for answered prayer.  He just recently started sitting in the meeting.  They told me that last night he sat through about half of the meeting then got up and went in the other room where he could cry in private.  The Lord has a way of softening hard hearts.

 

Brother Nasuf is once again in need of a vehicle.  His car was fourteen years old when we bought it, and that was four years ago.  All of the preachers here travel a lot, and the Bulgarian roads are hard on vehicles.  We're proud that he has just about worn out another car for the Lord, but we now have to pray about getting him another one. 

 

From Bulgaria, Zachary LeFevre

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2-22-09

Dear Preacher and Brookside Church,
            Greetings from Bulgaria and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I am reminded how Paul told the Philippians about how their care for him was shown several times.  He also mentioned he desired that fruit would abound to their account.  I sure didn't want to worry anyone about my support, but I had seen that for one month some didn't come in and made a inquiry to see if the economic conditions in America might require me to try and raise more support.  My faith isn't always what it should be.  I thank God on your behalf for how you supply my needs from month to month.  Without all of your prayers and support we couldn't be here doing what the Lord has put in our hearts.  I do hope to encourage all of you of all of the things the Lord is doing over here.  He has blessed the believers once and again with flour and oil, and they are very happy at how the Lord's grace abounds in the believers in America.  They also only have one place to look as do we, and they learn that they can trust the Lord to be faithful as the rest of us are trying to learn.  May God continue to richly bless you with his grace and presence.

Love Robert Shrader

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Testimonies

 

Jan 17, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Dear Brother Fred and Brotherokside,

 

We continue to give out the flour.  The mill we buy from delivers for free, so right now we are giving out only flour.  We will come behind later and give out the oil.  We couldn’t put both on the truck.  The people are thrilled to get the flour. The crisis has hit Bulgaria and work is hard to find, so the flour and oil was right on time. The men are out again today giving out in five villages, one of them is new. 

 

We should be able to complete the distribution within the next two weeks. Thanks again and greet everyone for us.  Brother Ralph

 

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Jan 24, 2009 at 11:02 AM

The distribution of flour and oil is going well; the weather is fine for now.  We hope to finish soon.  We have seventy six (76) churches here in Bulgaria that we are giving out flour and oil through.  We are in more villages, but the churches have not been established yet. We will be sending you some of the testimonies when they received the flour and oil.  We give each family a fifty (50) kilo bag of flour and a five (5) liter bottle of cooking oil.  They are amazed that we give them so much. 

 

Brother Ralph

 

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Jan 24, 2009 at 3:36 PM

This testimony is from the village Velichkovo.  Brother Ahmet is the pastor of the church in this village.

 

We arrived in the village with the truck loaded with flour and oil.  One of our believers, a lady named Kiymet was coming from the local store with a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese.  When she saw the truck with the flour and oil she began to cry.  I am coming from the store and have just bought this loaf of bread and piece of cheese on credit.  The man did not want to give me bread on credit because there is no profit in bread, but I begged him and he finally gave it to me.  We have nothing in the house to eat.  Thank God for the flour and oil you have brought to us.  She went home rejoicing and thanking God for his goodness.

 

Brother Ralph for Ahmet and Alish

 

 

Jan 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM

This testimony is from the village of Dolni Chiftlik. Brother Robert and Brother Alish pastor this church.

This lady’s name is Abibe.  This lady lives on a small pension.  She had to buy wood with the money she receives, and had no money left to buy flour.  She borrowed a small amount of flour to make her some bread. Another of her neighbors was also without food, and saw here with the borrowed flour.  She asked her for part of the flour she had borrowed.  The lady replied. Ok we will make a piece of bread together and share it.  So they did.  At this time she heard that we were bringing flour and oil. This lady Abibe said to the other lady she had shared the flour with.  Don’t worry, God is sending us flour and oil, enough to get us through the winter. This other lady is not a believer, but she has now seen the goodness of God.

Brother Ralph

 

 

Jan 24, 2009 at 4:11 PM

This testimony is from the village Venelin.

 

This lady`s name is Elif. This lady was operated on a month ago.  She had been taking care of her daughter in law and three children, her husband was dead, and her son was mentally ill and could not work. After the operation she was in the hospital for a month.  They were without money because she could not work. The believers in the village had been taking care of her and her family. When she came from the hospital, and we gave her the flour and oil, she testified that the believers had taken care of them for the last month, but now God had helped them with the flour and oil.

Bro Ralph for Bro Ahmet.

 

 

Jan 24, 2009 at 4:27 PM

In general we have heard many testimonies of what a blessing this flour and oil has been.  Many of these people work for 2 dollars a day.  It is hard for them to feed their families with so little income.  And now with the crisis there is very little work to be found.  They are overwhelmed when we bring them the flour and oil.  They continually thank God that we came and preached the gospel to them, and that they believed.  Since we believed, God has blessed us above measure.

 

 

Jan 24, 2009 at 4:42 PM

There are two women, the one is blind and the other one is deaf.  They share with each other what one sees and the other hears.  When we gave them a DVD the one that could see was crying out what she saw.  The one that was blind was telling what she heard.  The one that is deaf can hear just a little, so if you yell loudly she can understand a little. 

 

Though we are poor, we are rich in faith.  Similar testimonies come from all the villages we go to.  They cry and thank God that the gospel has come to them.

Brother Ralph 

 

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 We have an important need for the work in Bulgaria:               October 2008

 

 This December we plan on feeding 1,500 families in Bulgaria.  A 110 pound bag of flour along with 2 liters of oil will help supplement a family’s food needs through the hardest months of the cold winter, when work is scarce in the villages.  Now is the time to begin preparations.
 

 Presently the dollar has gained value overseas, gas prices are lower, and food prices are down!  We don’t know how long this will last, especially if the winter is as hard as it was last year.  In 2007 because of the harsh winter, the falling dollar, and rising gas costs, we were not able to buy cooking oil for distribution, but this year Brother Mitko tells us that oil is the cheapest he’s seen in a long time!  Please pray with us about this need.  The total cost will be about $43,500.  Even with buying the oil, that’s still cheaper than last year.

 1 bag of flour (110 lbs.) costs $25
 

1 bottle of oil (2 liters) costs $4
 

 How many families will you help us feed for only $29 a piece?
 

 “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”  (Pro 19:17) 
 

This is the surest investment you will make this year.  Please pass this information on.  We have 1,500 families to feed.  Thank you for your giving.


In His service,
Rev. Fred Potter
Founder and Director
Charity Baptist Mission Inc.

 

News letter update from Bulgaria

 

“And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away:

  And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters,

neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.”  (1Sa 30:18, 19)

 

                                                                                             September 2008

 

Dear Churches and Praying Friends,

 

 Greetings in the name of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Once again with joy we write to you of the Lord’s blessings in the fields of Bulgaria and Romania.  As summer draws to a close we count the blessings that He has bestowed upon us and upon His work in the past weeks.  Souls have been saved and baptized.  The price of gasoline is down to about six and a half dollars a gallon.  It’s a good day to drive to the villages and preach.

 

In August and September we’ve been having meetings every other weekend in Dabravino.  People from the nearby villages come as they’re able, but from villages that are farther away we rent a large bus to carry them in.  Usually the meetings start at about two in the afternoon and last til the next morning.  This is our harvest time.  The new believers get baptized in a nearby river.  Older believers relate what all the Lord has done for them in the past year.  Some people have new hymns that God has given them.  The Turkish preachers seem to preach better every year.  It is a great time of reunion and rejoicing.  I believe there were about sixty people baptized this year.  From these camp meetings, believers return to their villages full of joy, and the churches are further edified. 

 

Aside from preaching in villages five days a week we continue to produce and distribute DVDs.  These are made from recordings of church services.  They include singing, testimonies, and a sermon preached from the Bible.  We’ve heard many reports of people believing on Jesus through these discs.  Most of them would not or could not come to a church service themselves, but are able to view the discs at home.  As the young people in Bulgaria travel into Western Europe to work they take these discs with them to give to the other pockets of the Turkish gypsies scattered abroad.  Only the Lord knows how many people have come to the faith through this ministry.  We’ve heard of people meeting together to watch these videos and later continue to meet regularly for church in Holland, France, Greece, and Spain.

 

Rejoice with us in the Lord’s great provisions and spiritual harvest.  Pray for us that the Word of God would continue to have free course.  Night is coming when no man can work.  Help us to do all that we can in the time that the Lord allows us.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and financial support.  Thanks especially for helping us in our recent flood disaster.  God bless you all.

 

In Christ,  Zachary LeFevre

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April 4, 2008

Dear Preacher Potter and Brookside,

Greetings from Bulgaria/Romania in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord is really blessing us as we have campmeeting this week.  I believe this is the best campmeeting we have ever had.  We love and appreciate you and are truly thankful for your prayers and support for us all.

I just wanted to write and share a couple testimonies with you all.  Last week I went with Mitko to one of his meetings.  This village is called Kamenar where we started our very first Turkish church years ago.  We also feed the children in this village.  This village is about the poorest village we go to.  This little church is literally surrounded by a garbage dump.  Before the meeting started the believer's were sitting around talking about how they knew different people who had found some food in the garbage dump.  They were hungry and needed something to eat.  One woman found some cake in the dump and was going to feed it to her children, but the believer's told her not to.  The people who get food out of the dump end up getting very sick.  Thank the Lord we are able to feed the children here.

Remember, this church is literally surrounded by a large garbage dump.  In the meeting last week a young lady who is a faithful believer stood up and testified.  This woman lives in a small run down shack on the edge of the dump.  She is about as poor as you could possibly be.  During the hymns I noticed she had tears running down her cheeks.  When she testified she stood up and said I just want to thank God for being so good to me.  She said the Lord will never leave us, He loves us and has forgiven us of all our sins.  This really touched my heart.  The Lord said in 1 Samuel 2:8- He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.  What a blessing that the Lord put a church right in the middle of a garbage dump and feeds the little children from the church.

Also, here in Romania we have a believer named Ati.  Her daughter is also a believer and had a baby boy 7 years ago and named him Frank.  Well, here recently she had another baby girl and named her Barbara.  As soon as the baby was born they told her the baby was dead.  They actually threw the baby away.  They put her into a small container to throw her away.  Then they heard her start to cry and pulled her out of the container.  The Lord hears the cry of his little children.  The Lord sure is good!

I just wanted to write a couple of testimonies and tell all of you at Brookside how much we appreciate your love and prayers.  Make no mistake about it, the Lord does hear and answer your prayers.  I want you all to know that we all over here are praying for you.  We pray that the Lord would abundantly bless you all, especially during campmeeting.

May the Lord bless you all.  In Christ,  Frank Cornelius

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Update from Bulgaria                                                                                                                          April 2, 2008

Distribution of flour in Bulgaria

 

Dear Brother Fred and Brookside

            Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He is still doing wonderful things.  We give Him all the glory.

            First of all I want to thank you and everyone who helped to send the money for the flour.  It has been such a blessing to everyone who received it.  We were able to buy and distribute one hundred and fifty four thousand (154,000) pounds of the best flour that Bulgaria has.  The timing of the Lord was perfect.  All the people had been snowed in for a month.  During this time they had not been able to go to work as all the roads were closed.  As soon as the roads opened up in February, we were able to deliver the flour.  The people were really hungry.  We reached them right on time.  This past month, everywhere we have been, the people can't stop thanking us for the flour.  “You helped us get through the winter”, they said, “without this flour we would not have had anything to eat.  Besides that this flour was the best we have ever seen.  Thanks!”  Many others testified of how this flour came at the time when their cupboards were bare.  We did not give it out sparingly; every family received a one hundred and ten (110) pound bag.  This flour filled up the churches with people thanking and praising God.  Hundreds of new people are now coming to church to hear the gospel because of this kindness which was shown them.

Distribution of CD's and DVD's

 

            For many years, as you know, we have given out cassettes of hymns, testimonies, and preaching in Turkish.  These have all born fruit.  A few months ago we started putting the singing and preaching on CD's, and recently we made a couple of DVD's of our church services.  These are going like wildfire, we have given them out by the hundreds.  They are begging for them everywhere we go.  We watch the church service everyday, they said, we go to bed in the evening watching this DVD.  We get our strength from this church service.  It is like we are there.  As many as we can give them, they give out to their neighbors, their relatives in other villages, and also in Turkey and many countries in Europe.  We can't get to every village, but these DVD’s are going out to hundreds of towns and villages.  One testimony in particular shows how these are helping to spread the Gospel, not just in Bulgaria and Romania, but much farther.

            A young lady who has been a believer in our church for several years, works at her brother's stand at the market near the bus station selling music CD's.  She also testifies about Jesus every chance she gets and gives away Gospel cassette tapes and CD's that we have given to her.  A few weeks ago, she was talking to a lady customer at her stand.  The lady was getting ready to board the bus for Istanbul, Turkey.  This girl offered to give her a Gospel CD to listen to on the bus.  The woman said, "No, I don't believe in that stuff".  But the girl insisted and the lady took it.  After a couple of weeks, the lady returned from Istanbul and found the girl and told her the following.

            The woman decided to listen to the CD on the long bus ride to Istanbul.  She said she really enjoyed the hymns.  When she arrived in Istanbul, she realized she did not have the telephone number or address of her sister who she was going to stay with.  She also didn't have any money.  She was so upset because she didn't have anywhere to stay and no way to get in touch with her sister.  Then she remembered one of the hymns she had listened to that said if we pray, Jesus will hear us and He will help us.  She prayed right then and asked Jesus to help her out of her desperate situation.  She said she left the bus station and entered into a nearby market.  While walking through the market, someone shouted her name.  It was her sister.  Istanbul has well over 10 million people, so this was quite a miracle.  She told her sister about the CD and how she had prayed for Jesus to help her and He had.  The sister was so impressed that she took the CD to work the next day.  She asked her boss to play the CD over the loudspeaker in the clothing factory where she worked.  There were about 200 Turkish women working in the factory who listened to these Gospel hymns all day.

            Sometimes we think we are limited in what we can do to share the Gospel.  We serve a God who is not limited and desires that everyone should hear the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, and believe.

 

In His Service, Brother Ralph                        (For all the missionaries, national pastors and believers)

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Ralph Cheatwood Update

June 2006

 

            As many of you may have heard, Brother Ralph Cheatwood recently had a heart attack.  He is doing much better, and gives God all the glory for bringing him through this trouble.  Friday, May 12th, about noon, he felt a pain in his chest.  They called the local doctor who took his blood pressure and found it to be high. They decided he should be taken to a clinic in the next village where they did an EKG, confirmed he had a heart attack, and referred him to Varna.  He was hospitalized in Varna Bulgaria for well over a week.  Upon being discharged, he was taken to stay in Constant Romania.  Again on Wednesday the 24th he had another attack and was taken to the emergency room at the hospital in Constanta.  Upon hearing of Brother Ralph’s heart attack, Pastor Bill Schneider of Maranantha Baptist Church in Dothan, AL, and friends of the Cheatwoods, Gregg and Marcie Turnbull, made arrangements to have Brother Ralph flown to the states and treated at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, all free of charge.  After a heart catherization the doctor reported that Brother Ralph had lost use of 15% of his heart, but that the remaining 85% was in very good condition.  There was no surgery needed, no stints or angioplasty. Further the doctor said all Ralph needs to do is take his medication, alter his diet and exercise daily.  Brother Ralph has been discharged from the hospital and is resting and recouperating in Dothan.  We praise the Lord for his intervention and for his watch care over the Cheatwoods.

            I visited with Brother Cheatwood in Dothan, Memorial day, the day before he was discharged.  He was in excellent spirits.  I walked in on him testifying to Brother Schneider of the work.  After Brother Schneider left I talked with Brother Ralph of all that had transpired, and was amazed at how the Lord worked everything out.  It wasn’t long before our conversation turned to the work.  This last year the devil has fought the work tooth and nail, yet the Lord continues to bless exceeding abundantly.  It seems that for everything our adversary does contrary, the Lord blesses twice as much: the campmeetings in Romania and Bulgaria abound in love and power; new villages are being reached; the tapes and cd’s filled with preaching and singing are being distributed; and the poor are having the gospel preached to them.  Brother Ralph was thrilled to report all the Lord was doing; but was anxious to see more done.  He told of the great opportunities yet ahead for the work in Bulgaria.  He said when he was having the chest pains, he asked the Lord to leave him around a while longer, that he had a few things left he’d like to see done.  He felt the peace of God, and never worried about dying.  However, his heart attack weighed upon him the need to ‘redeem the time’.  Brother Ralph said he needs three vans to get the Turkish teams out to the villages evangelizing.  He said he could find good used vans for $7,000 apiece, and would get them on the road as soon as possible.  When I visited Brother Ralph, the only personal effects I saw in his room were his King James Bible, and his Turkish Bible.  For Brother Ralph this really is his life, a labor of love, and the desire of his heart, to see the Turks saved and established in the faith.  Pray with us about those vans, and pray the money comes quickly.  They are $7,000 apiece, but the more money we receive the better quality we can get.  What we do, we must do quickly, or the harvest will pass, the summer will end, and they’ll not be saved!  Help us to ‘redeem the time’.

 

Brother William LeFevre                                             Brother Fred Potter

 

 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few:

pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”  Luke 10:2

 

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UPDATE ON THE WORK IN ROMANIA AND BULGARIA 1991-2005

October 2005

Dear Brother Fred,

 

We are still excited about Bulgaria opening up and allowing us to register churches. It is more than we could ever have hoped for, God is so good.  Now 4 of us have registered churches in Bulgaria, Brother Matt, Brother Zach, Brother Frank and Brother Ralph.  According to the lawyer Brohter Joe's church should be registered by the end of this year. Brother Larry is still waiting on his papers from the States.  We are expecting even greater things from the Lord this coming year in Bulgaria.  Soon with 6 families living there, and with the national pastors and dedicated believers, we should be able to reach many new towns and villages.

 

Here is a summary of the work.  We started in May of 1991 in Bulgaria with 1 missionary family, after having talked with you from Istanbul earlier the same year.  We now have:  8 missionary families: 2 families will be working in Romania, and 6 families in Bulgaria; 18 national pastors: 12 in Bulgaria, and 6 in Romania.  We also have several young men starting to preach, but are not as yet pastoring churches.

90 churches: 72 in Bulgaria, and 18 in Romania.  Most of these are Turkish house-churches, but we also have some Romanian and Bulgarian. Several of the churches now have their own self-standing buildings. 33 feeding-centers: We feed between 1,300-1,500 children daily in homes. 22 in Bulgaria, and 11 in Romania.  These feeding centers are done through the local churches we have established.  The ones who do the cooking are all volunteers.  We give them a small love offering each month.  We also invite the older widows and others, who are destitute, to eat with the children each day.  Through these feeding-centers and morning prayer meetings bread is also distributed to the poor.  Over 14,000 loaves of bread are given out each month in Romania.  Most of these children are very young, but some of them can pray like adults.  They sing hymns, testify and pray before they eat.  They all thank the Lord for the food and pray for the Lord to bless you folks who provide it.  We have heard many testimonies from the neighbors of  what a blessing the children's singing is to them.  Many of them have told us that their husbands won't let them come to church, but that they worship the Lord as the children sing.  Since we have been doing this work now for several years, many of these children have grown up and gotten saved and are now in one of our churches.  Many of them have now gotten married and have moved to other villages.  Recently we have started meetings in some of these villages.

 

1 children's home in Romania with 9 children.  We are currently in the process of taking in a 2 year old boy.  We also have 3 churches meeting in the children's home complex, English, Turkish, and Romanian.  In August we had our first camp meeting.  We all were blessed.  We know one thing for sure: The Lord is with us!

 

2 Bible Translations: Turkish and Bulgarian. The preparation for the Turkish translation was begun in 1980. We have been using the newly translated Turkish New Testament among ourselves (missionaries and national pastors and churches) since 1998.  We duplicate them on a copy machine and bind them by hand, about 20 copies at a time.  We are now ready to start producing them in larger quantities and giving them out to everyone who wants one.  The Turkish Old Testament is also now ready, and was put into use among ourselves in early 2005.  The translation of the Bulgarian Bible was begun in 1994 and is nearing completion.  We will begin using it among ourselves within the next few months.  We hope to have both translations of the entire Bible, Turkish and Bulgarian, perfected and ready to be published in 2007.

 

Everywhere we go they ask us for tapes of singing and preaching, and also for hymnbooks and bibles.  May the Lord help us to reach everyone who has a desire to know Him.

 

All For His Glory, Brother Ralph Cheatwood

 

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Received February 16, 2006

Dear Preacher and church,

            It’s good to be able to write again and rehearse what God has done with us and how he has opened the door of faith to the Turkish gypsies here in Bulgaria.  We rejoiced to hear that your meetings at Brookside have been going so well.  I believe you all had a meeting, and we got revived. 

            The Turks in Dobravino started meeting on Sunday mornings, this makes three meetings a week for them.  They also meet every morning for prayer.  Sometimes they have two prayer meetings a morning.  Each meeting there is filled with joy and with testimonies of the Lord’s blessings.  Some of the believers there told that they had such joy they felt like they had got saved all over again.  The pastor there, Ahmet, has a hard time testifying for smiling so much.  From this meeting, there are three preachers that travel to surrounding villages throughout the week, and they are taking this joy and grace with them.  Brother Ralph has been getting out again and preaching in the villages.  One week he preached in nine different meetings (I think he’s sixty-seven). 

            Then there was the camp meeting.  It was hard to get a good count, but there were at least four hundred people there.  That’s more than double what we were expecting.  Now, the believers remember that in days past they had prayed that God would fill the whole church, and the upper floor of the church, too – and now He has done it.  Many, many others wanted to come to the meeting, but were not able to.  I believe that God is still working among these people.  From that meeting we see what a hunger there is here for God. 

            The singing in that meeting was glorious, with all those voices, and all the joy, but the main meeting started at about two in the morning.  At that time some people had left, and things calmed down some.  Brother Nathan had brought down a van full of the believers from Romania, and it was they who started out the testimonies.  After them, each testimony got stronger.  Heaven must have an awful big bottle, if it is to hold all of the tears shed that night.  We cried and rejoiced until daybreak.  There were Turks that night praising God who never had praised God before.  Needless to say, everyone is asking when the next meeting is.  The good thing is, we can put on a meeting like this for about five hundred dollars!

            There are too many testimonies to remember.  Most of them are just about how good God is.  Last night in a meeting here in Varna, a woman testified that they had been praying for nine years for a grandchild.  Then this week they found out that both daughters in law are expecting. 

            Last week we bought a car for Nasuf.  His old Lada was about gone.  He about drove the wheels off it, going to the villages preaching the gospel; and that’s what we want him to do with this one. 

            Brother Mitko has started going to a new village up near Dobrich.  The people of the village have received him with great joy and eagerness.  Pray that God will move on these people, and they too will come to the knowledge of eternal life. 

            There are still other villages who want churches.  Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. 

 

Zachary LeFevre

Received:  March 30, 2006

Dear Preacher and church,

 

Hope you all are having a good camp meeting.  Over here in Bulgaria we've been in the camp meeting spirit for several weeks.  It seems like every meeting that we go to has a new blessing for us.  Each believer has a new testimony of how God has worked in their lives recently.  New villages are opening up for us, and with the Lord's help we're going to them.  Last week in Dobravino Brother Ralph preached from Isaiah 6 that we need a coal from off of God's altar, or our preaching and testifying will be empty.  The believers in that village definitely have the ring of God in their voice and are anxious to get out to new villages this summer.  (Including the American missionaries that live there) there are five preachers in that village, but I believe the whole church is ready to go and preach.  Some of them that never have testified before are testifying now - and praising God.

 

Sunday we had a meeting in Varna, at Yashar's church.  We brought in the believers from their six villages, and invited the other pastors to come.  Over a hundred people came.  The meeting started at three in the afternoon and went til four in the morning.  The best way to describe the joy in that meeting is - "unspeakable".  Since then, in every meeting that we go to, the believers can't stop talking about how good the meeting was, and what joy they have. 

 

The testimonies are amazing.  One lady testified that her lost family members hated each other and fought with axes every day.  In church she poured her heart out to God, and the next day the feuding family apologized and forgave each other and now love one another.  Several women testified of how God took away the drinking habit from their husbands as a result of their prayers.  One testified that her grandchild was sick with an infection in her gums.  Without a dime in her pocket they caught a taxi into Varna, which is about thirty miles away.  When the taxi driver saw how much pain the child was in, he didn't charge them anything.  They went to the doctor (dentist?) who offered to clean the child's teeth for seventy leva (around $45).  She told him she didn't have any money, and then he did it for free.  He then gave her a prescription for medicine.  She said that she couldn't afford the prescription, then the doctor paid for it himself!  Many, many people testified of how a family member was sick, and they just cried out to God, who heard their prayers and healed the sick. 

 

The Bulgarian winter was long, but spring is finally here, and many of the preachers and believers are dying to get out to some new villages.  Mitko's been going to some new villages up in the northern part towards Romania.  Frank's been taking Ismail to some new villages in the central northern region.  We've been making cds and cassette tapes, but can't get them made fast enough - they go fast.  Pray, as the Lord sends his labourers into the harvest.

 

Tonight in Suvorovo I realized how important it is to have God on you in the meetings.  One lady told of how she makes her living by rummaging through the dump.  She was so glad to see me, and said she was looking forward to hearing me preach.  I prayed, Lord you'd better give me something, these people need something from you.  They're coming from the dump to the church, only God can give them reason to rejoice.  But he is faithful.  Please pray that God would continue to work here.  You all pray, and we reap the blessings of it.

 

Zachary

 

Received:  March 27, 2006

Dear Preacher and Brookside,

            Greetings from Bulgaria!  I just wanted to write and tell you all some of the things the Lord has been doing over here in Bulgaria.  Also, I would like to thank you all for praying!! In the last two months I have noticed and felt a big difference in the work here in Bulgaria.  I really believe because you all are praying the Lord is moving strong over here.

            This past Thursday I took one of our believers to a town two hours drive north from Varna.  Her grandson is mentally handicapped and his father put him in a state run home and now lives in Spain.  Anyway, along with one of our national pastors and his wife we went to see the 10 year old boy.  When we got there he recognized his grandmother and they both began crying.  She gave him some food and he ate so fast I thought he would choke.  You could tell that they had not been feeding him much.  Anyway, it was a blessing to be able to take the grandmother to see him.  We have a weekly meeting in her house and she is a widow.  She is getting old and may never get the chance to see this boy again.

            On the way up to see this boy we stopped in a town called Deve Mogili.  We saw a big Moslem mosque and knew there were Turks there.  We found the Turk gypsy section and began to give out cassette tapes of Turkish hymns and Brother Ralph preaching along with hymn books with the gospel of John in Turkish.  Within minutes we gave out well over 200 tapes.  The people wanted them faster than we could give them out.  As we were getting ready to leave we met some believers.  They invited us to their house and told us they would like to have meetings, but they have no one to come to them.  Please pray! This town is at least a two hour drive one way from the area we are working in.  There are other Turkish villages along the way to this town.  There are so many places to get to where people are hungry to here the gospel.

            We are all excited over here about the door the Lord has opened for us.  We all want to really hit it hard this spring and summer and get to as many villages as possible with the gospel.  We all have regular weekly meetings we must be at, but on the other days we want to go to villages that have not heard the gospel yet.  Last week we started meetings in two more villages.  This makes six regular weekly meetings in six different villages that I am going to right now.  All of the missionaries and national pastors are going to meetings everyday.

            Brother Mitko and I are going to some villages tomorrow and give out cassette tapes.  Please pray for us!!

            It seems like within the past two months that the Lord has really been moving even stronger at our meetings.  It seems like almost every meeting I have been to recently people are crying and testifying about how good the Lord is to them.  They say that they may be poor in this world but they are rich in the Lord!!

            Well, the Lord is doing so much over here it is hard to write about it all.  I just wanted to tell you a few things that are going on here.  Please don't stop praying.  I really believe the Lord is blessing like this because Brookside is praying!  We love you all and pray you will have a good campmeeting.

 

In Christ, Frank Cornelius

Received March 16, 2006

To Preacher Potter and Brookside:

 

Dear Brethren,

   I would first like to thank you all for your faithful prayers for us over here in Bulgaria and Romania.  I would like to encourage you all to keep praying.  In the past month I have noticed how much more the Lord seems to be blessing in the meetings over here.  Your prayers for us are making a noticeable difference.  Please keep praying!!

   This past Saturday I went to three different meetings in two villages.  We go to these villages every week.  We had good meetings in the first village and then we went to our third meeting in a village called Kaspichan.  We began singing the hymns and then the Lord just showed up.  Everyone in the meeting started crying and worshipping God.  The Lord just moved in and touched everyone’s heart. 

   Then on Sunday I went to two more different villages we go to every week.  In the second meeting the Lord showed up again in power.  Everyone began to cry and it was like heaven came down.  I am just so thankful the Lord Jesus is touching these Turkish gypsies.  It is such a blessing to see them getting touched by the real spirit of God. 

  I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago and a young man about 18 years old came in.  Both of this man's feet were cut in half.  I don't know if he was born like this or if they took his feet of by surgery.  Anyway, the other believers told me that this boy does not really have a home, but he just wanders around.  They said sometimes he just sleeps at bus stops along the roads.  As we began singing hymns about Jesus I noticed tears running down this boy's face.  The Lord was really touching his heart.  He came to church again last week and cried during the service.  We sing hymns, pray, preach and let the Lord do the saving. 

  A couple of weeks ago we went to two villages up north and had services.  Then we stopped at a third village just to pray for a relative of one of the believers.  We stopped there to pray for her 14 year old grand daughter who has cancer.  The girl was not there, but soon the whole room was full of Turks wanting to hear the gospel.  So we had a meeting.  The Lord moved in and everyone started crying.  These people are very poor.  I really felt impressed to preach from John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions. 

 

            The only program we need over here is the gospel and your prayers!!

 

Well, I just wanted to write and tell you all a little bit of what the Lord is doing over here.  I hope it will be a blessing to you!    We love and appreciate each and every one of you at Brookside and once again we really appreciate your prayers for us and the ministry here in Bulgaria\Romania.

 

May the Lord bless you! In Christ, Frank Cornelius

 

 

 

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