This song is about how Fred Potter got saved,
written by Danny Minton.
It is our privilege to welcome you to the Charity Baptist Mission web page. We hope this will be a testament of what the Lord is doing in America and throughout the world.
In 1973 the Lord laid upon my heart to start Charity Baptist Mission Inc., here in Bristol, Tennessee. We started it because we were opening a children’s home in Mexico. From there the Lord continued to bless and increased the areas to other countries by which we could share the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour.
It has been truly a blessing to see how the Lord has used missionaries to reach the lost and see them saved.
We believe in the Authorized King James 1611 version of the Word of God. It has stood the test of time and we believe this is the only true Bible.
To God be the Glory!
July - August 2023
And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the Lord, to repair and amend the house: 2 Chronicles 34:10
Dear Pastors, Churches and Fellow saints, grace unto you and peace be multiplied. 1 Peter 1:2
For some time now we have had a burden to repair and amend the church in Avren, Bulgaria. Part of the church is finished where we work on songbooks, make xerox copies of scripture and meet to have church services. The Lord has really used these facilities and has met with us here. Part of the building was an old home that "little by little" was caving in on itself. Well, we all knew what had to be done, but it was going to be a big job. First, we had to take the old house down to where it was stable and then reinforce it and repair it. To get there it took 13 long hard weeks, but the Lord blessed and we got the house of the Lord "dried in". We still have more work to do, but the house is no longer caving in.
In 2 Chronicles 34:8 Josiah – “sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.”
2 Chronicles 34:14 says “when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses.”
It seems that good things happen when God's people repair the house of the Lord. They not only found the book of God, but also had one of the greatest observances of the Passover ever witnessed.
2 Chronicles 35:18 I believe it's a picture of Calvary to us which are on this side of the crucifixion. In other words, when you get interested in the house of the Lord you will find God's book, the Bible, and in turn Calvary will find its rightful place in our hearts. We still could use some help to finish the building, and I know God is in it. Brother Ralph Cheatwood had a burden to have a place for God's people to come together and worship Him, and to God's glory, it is coming to pass as he desired. Please keep us in your prayers.
All because of Calvary,
Matthew Welch and family (Included are some pictures of the construction in Avrin)
Dear churches and Praying friends, October 2023
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.(Galatians 6:10)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We trust this letter finds you rejoicing in the promises of God and serving him continually. We certainly thank God for your continued support of the ministry here in Bulgaria. We think about you and pray for you often. Certainly, the heavenly father has you also on his mind. He is not unfaithful to forget your work and service to his son, Jesus.
I would like to share a few pictures of the ministry here. (A printable PDF version with pictures is available here)
Our chief work is in the village churches where we preach on a weekly basis. We had eight people saved and baptized this year, due to the national pastors serving faithfully.
As you know, each winter we distribute one hundred pounds of flour and five liters of cooking oil to each family in the churches here. This past winter the total amount was over 76 tons of flour. In a place and time where there is little work to be found the flour and oil are a tremendous blessing!
For over twenty years we have been feeding children in the village churches. Recently there was a young lady that came to a prayer meeting and got saved. She said "when she was little she used to eat at the church and would watch the others pray over the food, but she never prayed herself until that day when she asked Jesus to save her." We thank God for the seeds sown in the hearts of these children which continue to bear fruit.
We continue to print and hand bind Bulgarian and Turkish New Testaments. These are distributed free of charge throughout Bulgaria. Also, we are working on putting the Turkish Bible on the internet both in text form and audio. Currently, a reliable translation of the gospel of John can be listened to by Turkish speaker’s worldwide, and has been heard over a thousand times.
In the village of Avren we continue to work on our church ministry building. The Bible work room is finished, along with one room where we meet for church. The main room for the church, and the kitchen remain unfinished, but slowly, the work continues.
All this is by, through, and for the good God that we serve. Please continue to pray for us in this ministry that we might reach as many as we can with the gospel, and so that Christ would receive the worship of those he died for.
Zachary LeFevre (A printable PDF version with pictures is available here)
Dear friends and supporters, Fall 2023
As we bid farewell to the warm days of summer and welcome the crisp air of fall, we want to share with you the abundant blessings we have experienced on the mission field. Our recent trips to the West and Northwest have brought us closer to various Native American communities, where we have witnessed the power of God's love firsthand.
Our journey began in the West, where we embarked on a mission to work among the Navajo people of West Gallup and Crownpoint, NM. The harvest of souls was ripe and plentiful as we engaged in a week of Vacation Bible School and Evangelistic meetings. We are thrilled to report that several individuals were saved, and one of the new converts was baptized. The Navajo community exhibited great enthusiasm and a hunger for spiritual growth plus the church was filled every night. We rejoice over the team of 47 Choctaws and Cherokees that labored arm in arm to reach these people and obey the Great Commission. What a blessing to missionaries that have labored for years in the field to see the Lord raising up tribes to reach tribes!
Moving northwest, we arrived at Fort Hall, ID. We found the members of Faith Baptist Church excited, and we were ready to participate in their Vacation Bible School program. Their commitment to spreading the Gospel was evident when the tribe changed the rules and decided not to allow visitors (Christians) to knock on doors for VBS. So, the church members got the word out themselves resulting in just as many kids attending as when we knocked on doors ourselves! We had a successful week with the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, Hoopers Creek Baptist Church. Missionaries, Brother Joe and Mrs. Lela Copley, taught on the battlefield of the mind. Elena and Daniel had the privilege of sharing object lessons with all the children, showing how the enemy fights, but victory comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. We ended the week with a young lady receiving Christ as her Saviour. Praise the Lord!
Our journey further continued to the Kalispel reservation at Usk, WA, where we attempted another week of Vacation Bible School. The tribe decided to shut down the building they had allowed us to meet in and we had to leave, but glory to God for the time we were allotted! Sometimes it’s a stronger witness to be kicked off and respond in a Christ-like manner. The whole episode probably spread like wildfire through the reservation! Lord willing, next year we will see the Lord work in this tribe.
However, as we continue to spread God's word, we must address an urgent need. Our trusty companion, the 2013 Ford van that has tirelessly transported us to various mission fields, has recently hit a remarkable milestone of 300,000 miles. While it has served us faithfully, there is a pressing need for a new van to ensure the continued success of our mission work. We trust that the Lord knows our needs and will provide a solution in due time.
Upon returning home in September, we went to AR and Concord Missionary Baptist Church for their fall revival. The Lord came by and the altars were full. The week ended with a young man giving his life to Christ.
As the turn of winter approaches and since our return home in late September, there are numerous tasks to catch up on from weeks on the road. This week, however, we are blessed to be part of Native American Men and Women Bible Conference at Grace Indian Baptist, Talihina, OK. A time to encourage God’s Native American people to put their hand to the plow and labor for the Master.
In conclusion, this summer has brought a bountiful harvest of souls on the American mission fields. We have been blessed to witness a growing hunger for the Gospel among the Navajo people, and also blessed to have worked among the Kalispell, and the Sho-ban people this summer. We praise God for an encouraging revival at Cowlitz Way Baptist (Kelso, WA) and the fellowship with our dear friends at Yaak Community Church (Yaak, MT), Foundation Baptist Church (Coeur d’Alene, ID), Old Paths Baptist (Hays, KS), Grace Navajo Baptist Temple (Gallup, NM), Chi Ho Tso Baptist (St Michaels, AZ), and, First Landmark Missionary Baptist (Highland, AR). We are grateful for the love and support we receive from all our supporters, and we thank you for standing by us in prayer and encouragement.
May God's love and grace surround you in these last days before He comes! Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2.
The Higginbothams; Mrs. Shirley, Elena, and Daniel (A printable PDF version is available here)
Dear Praying Pastors, Brothers and Sisters, Fall of 2023
Praising the Lord for answering your Prayers for my Summer trip to Ukraine! It was a blessing to see Him open great doors for the Gospel to be proclaimed and the Seed to be planted in many hearts both young and old.
In many one on one (and one on two) visits, the Lord worked in many hearts to see 16 souls call upon the name of the Lord for Salvation as well as four straying sheep got their hearts right before Him!
On one visit, I went to speak with a Sister’s husband, but he, due to fear, never came home after work. While I waited, I witnessed to his mother who received the truth and believed the Gospel calling upon Christ for Salvation.
*** PLEASE Continue to PRAY for those UPROOTED from their homes due to Bombing or because their area is occupied! THEY are very open to listen to the Gospel and are thinking about their relationship to God!
The Lord also Blessed with opportunities to teach in many VBSs in Western Ukrainian towns where most displaced families are living. Many of these families have seen God’s Goodness through local churches helping them find housing and offering them aid or help and therefore they now allow their children to attend.
(Used a large Evangecube to explain salvation to hundreds of parents and children who received brochures and N.T.)
*This summer our son David helped his uncle Slavick (Oksana’s Brother) with many projects like repairing roofs and houses damaged due to shrapnel from bombings. He also assisted in constructing some necessary structures as they prepared the territory for the Evangelistic Camps. He really enjoyed helping in these camps which were outreaches for the many displaced Children living in and around the city of Odessa.
YOUR PRAYERS and OFFERINGS: God has used them to supply His Spiritual Army with Spiritual Literature and Strength to stand and Proclaim the Glorious Gospel of Salvation through Christ! Over the 620 days this war has lasted, we in conjunction with another faithful Missionary, Brother Mark Priem, have printed and distributed 2,500,000 plus Testimonial brochures, Chick Tracts, Gospels of John and various booklets. Please Continue to Pray for those brethren laboring faithfully despite the danger to reach out to millions of displaced lost souls. *(ALL Offerings designated for Printing Will be used to supply Spiritual Seed to sow in unreached hearts!)
National Bible Counseling Conference in Omaha, NE was extremely informative and spiritually beneficial. We are preparing ourselves to deal with the myriad of traumas which most Ukrainians are dealing with mentally.
2023 Furlough Meetings: We have truly enjoyed our travels every weekend as we give updates at our supporting Churches. We’ve also been edified as we gave our update while participating in five great Missions Conferences where God was moving! We thank the Lord for blessing us with two new supporting Churches and are still praying for five more since ministry needs keep increasing. We are still praying the Lord will give us direction for our return to Ukraine. Please Pray with us to that end so that we can see His Will clearly!
Pray for lost Max a 35-year-old lost Ukrainian who listened very well over a cup of coffee in Oshkosh, WI.
Pray for lost Justin (36) whose life is falling apart. He came to the Missions Conference and we spoke for three hours. He came back and fellowshipped with the pastor and then the Assistant Pastor for three hours.
* Pray for my learning to speak Ukrainian (I understand most spoken Ukrainian, but cannot speak it yet!
* We do have an unspoken health need that we need Him to resolve for us! So please lift us up in Prayer!
For the Souls of Ukraine,
Richard, Oksana, Elisabeth and David Maher
Please Call me (513) 969-4229! To set up a Visit to your Church! Thankful for your faithful prayers, support and genuine love for our family, Oksana’s family and especially for the souls of Ukraine! (A printable PDF version is available here)
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9
Without a doubt I am so thankful for the faithfulness of God. We greatly enjoyed our time of furlough and seeing everyone we were able to see while we were in the states. We are disappointed in not being able to visit all our supporters, but we are so thankful for what we were able to do.
God allowed us to have a good time with our family and for that we are also grateful. We are entering into a new experience in our lives with an empty nest, but we look forward to seeing what God is going to do in Kylie’s life and ask that you remember her in your prayers.
We are still adjusting to being back in Bulgaria and face many cultural challenges. We came back in order to apply for our new Visas. This is the first major thing on our agenda, (but an important need to be addressed) and we’re thankful every time for God’s helping hand each time we do this.
I’ve been blessed to be in a few meetings since I’ve been back, and am enjoying the sweet spirit in the church each time I’m there. I’ll be back to the meetings in full swing in a week or so after our Visas are secured and we get new tires on our van (which I’m currently waiting on for delivery as I write this letter).
We are in the middle of a construction project in the village of Avren. The Bibles and hymnbooks are printed and stored in one of our buildings there. There is also an upper room where the “Coats for Kids” clothing is stored, and where each week we have English and Turkish services. This building had a house attached to it which was to the point of collapsing. We felt the best option was to level that structure and build a new one. This project has been going on for several months. It is now in the dry with new walls, roof and windows, but it will still take around $20,000 to finish the building. The insides will need flooring, electrical, plumbing and furnishings. Then we will have a larger place for the church to meet and a kitchen with a fellowship hall. This will include a room for visitors, and indoor bathroom -- a unique luxury in the village! This will allow us to expand the printing ministry and the “Coats for Kids” closet.
We ask that you pray about this need and what you may do to help.
I’ll close by saying thank you again for your faithfulness and love you have shown our family over the years. We look forward to serving the Lord together with you. Please continue to pray for the people here, as God opens the doors for ministry. We are looking to serve Him, and step through any door of opportunity he opens, whether it be with the Bulgarians, Turks or Ukrainian refugees. I believe with what’s going on in Israel, that the time to serve the Lord is now.
God bless you all.
Brother Keith Blalock (A printable PDF version is available here)
Missionaries to the Native Americans of North America
Dear Supporting Churches, Spring/Summer 2023
We hope this newsletter finds you in good health and high spirits. We wanted to take a moment to update you on our recent spring trip back east and the time we spent visiting supporting churches. We are truly touched and grateful for your continued support and encouragement.
In late February to early March, we faced some unexpected challenges when the rear differential of our van needed to be replaced and worked on in Paris, TX. In April, during our stay at Bristol, TN, it had to be rebuilt the 2nd time. Thank you, Lord, for Brookside Baptist Church in Bristol letting us stay and pointing us to the right shop! Then again in May, while at a revival at Levelcross Baptist, Levelcross, NC, it had more problems with the same issue. We had to leave it in the shop at Bristol, TN for two weeks, and utilize the mechanic’s rental discount to continue our journey to Woods Hole, MA, where we rode a big ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard.
Our time on Martha’s Vineyard allowed us a rare opportunity to meet with the Wampanoag Tribe and hold a three-day meeting inside the historic Aquinnah Community Baptist Church. Established in 1693, this is the oldest Native American Baptist Church in North America. The original wood framed building, built in 1698, was moved to its present location, “up the hill” in 1850. We met with missionaries; Gerry Locklear, Glen Holman and sidekick, Vic, , Larry & Regina McKinney, & Joe, Lela, and Mya Copley, for a three-day meeting and were blessed with a chance to sing, testify, and preach to the congregation. It was a great time to spread the Gospel and encourage the church to keep on keeping on till the Lord’s return.
The next Sunday, back in America, our family and Bro Gerry, visited Mashpee Baptist Church, also part of the Wampanoag Tribe. Daniel had the incredible opportunity to preach in the historic old church, which was a truly humbling experience. While in Rhode Island, we saw the grave of Adoniram Judson, missionary to Burma in the 1800’s, Daniel stood behind the pulpit where Wampanoag Native, Blind Joe Amos, preached the Gospel to his people, and we saw a plaque for Stella Abiah Ryan, a Wampanoag lady that went to Donga Sudan, Africa in the early 1900’s as a missionary. It seems America has come so far, but now fallen so far. With our time there over, we left the Wampanoag people and headed back to Bristol. We were relieved to finally have the van repaired and hurry back to Oklahoma.
With our return to Choctaw Nation, we had two days to catch up on yard work, unload and reload the van and start the month of June with VBS at Grace Indian Baptist Church in Talihina, OK where Daniel preached one night and a young boy accepted Jesus into his heart. We moved on to Indian Baptist Missions Camp at Canadian, OK. It’s a family camp where the workers try to provide a VBS experience for the kids as Elena taught teen girls, we worked with the music, help run sound, worked with the crafts, and Daniel spoke in the Men’s Missions hour.
The end of June saw us at VBS/camp at Springhill Presbyterian Choctaw Church. It was a great week of teaching about putting on the whole Armor of God. We truly thank God for all He has done and feel blessed by His Presence in our journey.
We are home now preparing for the big trip west. Please keep us in your prayers as we hope to make the trip in our faithful, old van that has almost 300,000 miles on it since it was given to us in 2014. We praise the Lord for the help to cover expensive costs by friends in Randleman and Greensboro area. Also, friends at Brookside Baptist Church in Bristol, TN are helping with the newsletter from now on. Thank you all in Jesus Name.
We thank our friends at West Park Baptist, Jacksonville, FL for their faithful help, printing and mailing our newsletter for over 40 years. They were the 1st church to put us on for monthly support, helping with repairs and tires for the “old bus”, buying Bibles to be given out, and praying so faithfully that God would save sinners where we minister. May God bless those involved for your faithful service to Him!
In looking back over the past three months, there were other churches we went to and others saved. We thank God for the ability to go and help people, love them, and warn them. You may be reading this and say, well not many are coming or not many are being saved, but it’s really up to God to give the increase. He just told us to “Go ye”. (Mark 16:15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Once again, we want to express our sincerest gratitude for your unwavering support and encouragement. Let’s continue to work together until Jesus comes and we’ll be so glad we were faithful.
The Higginbothams, Mrs. Shirley, Elena, and Daniel (A printable PDF version is available here)
Dear Pastors, Churches, and Friends, July - August 2023 Newsletter
The situation in a particular Hispanic country is worse than the last trip - but it could not be otherwise with the current world situation. I read an article that discussed this countries sugar cane exportation and production. In 1970, it was producing 8.5 million tons of sugar. Last year they produced less than .5 million! This figure is at an all-time low - dating back for over one 100 years which reflects its current economy. The people that do have jobs are now being paid a salary of $16 a month!
But we know many times the economy does not dictate the spiritual condition of a country. It was a blessing to see people still excited about serving God. They have not lost their passion for winning souls and planting churches. The number of churches that have been organized continues to grow from year to year.
One young lady really touched my heart when she told me about her conversion to Christ. She is an English teacher and as a Catholic, knew “absolutely nothing” about the Bible. Her grandmother had died and left a Bible to her. She had such respect for her grandmother that she began reading and said the BIBLE literally "led her to the Lord.” She told me her favorite verse is Romans 10:17. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Never underestimate the power of the Word of God!
Joyfully Yours, (A printable PDF version is available here)
Farren Caeble 1Sam 12:24
May - June 2023
...but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Mark 9:22
Dear Pastors, Churches and Saints,
Greetings from all that are with us and love the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some things only God can do. I have gone to God's people for help and I have had God's people come to me for help. I would like to help each one; and I am burdened and sometimes bewildered when I can't help them, but thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ that said "bring him to me". Matthew 17:17. The all sufficient One, the One who is able. Hebrews 7:25 We all know someone that is tormented by one or more of the devil's fiery darts or an unclean spirit. But, I am encouraged that when we couldn't help them, that we are admonished to have faith as a grain of mustard seed. This is a very small seed, but the potential of what can come from that seed is enormous. The same is true with faith, ìt only takes enough to believe. The question was asked in Psalms 78:19 "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" Or can God help this loved one of ours that has been taken captive by the devil and is in his snare? 2 Timothy 2:25
I find myself very much like the man in the text from Mark 9:17-29, when the Lord told him "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth". "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
In Zechariah 3:2 "the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan;". Some things only God can do. When we pray and fast and we have as Hannah, a sorrowful spirit, and pour out our soul, and when something means more to us than a meal and faith takes us to a prayer altar, we will see the impossible take place!
May God help us to have faith as a grain of mustard seed, to the end we might see others get help from "Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood". Revelation 1:5
Please keep our loved ones in your prayers.
All because of Calvary,
Matthew Welch and family (A printable PDF version is available here)
Dear Friends in Christ, September 18, 2023
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I mentioned in my last letter, we made it through a summer filled with some unexpected trials. In hindsight, without having had to face these difficulties, we would have missed experiencing God’s mighty, gentle, strong and kind hand as He guided us through each situation.
At the beginning of summer, when Johnny and Blue were leaving for Germany, I experienced what we feared could be a heart attack…chest pain, difficulty breathing, etc. I wound up in the emergency room of the municipal hospital, which anyone who has had the misfortune of needing medical attention in Romania knows, is usually worse than the ailment that brought you there. Over the next weeks I had numerous tests (heart ultrasound, angiogram, CT scan of lungs, thyroid and abdominal ultrasounds and dozens of blood tests) which, in the end, found nothing that should have caused such symptoms and kept me in bed for about two weeks. The doc said if the symptoms reappear, they will investigate more. Thank the Lord, He raised me up right about the time our next trial would unfold.
After a news story broke about horrible conditions and treatment in a nursing home in Bucharest, the government declared all nursing homes and children’s homes would be investigated. A couple of days later, a van showed up unannounced with officials from 7 or 8 different agencies and raided our Home. Police, Fire Department, Health Department, Consumer Protection, Ministry of Finance, Child Protection and others were all represented. After a day and a half combing through our records, talking with the children and workers, and inspecting the Home, Thank God, they had only a couple of issues. One, we had to install a video security system and, Two, they closed our kitchen until we could remodel it to meet new European Union requirements.
They gave us until September 15th, about 2 ½ weeks, to have everything done. It was going to take a huge amount of work and a huge amount of money that we didn’t have to get it all done. I have to be honest, I had my doubts we could meet the deadline. I told the kids “We don’t have a choice. We are going to start the work and trust the Lord to help us get it done and get the money here to pay for it. It’s God’s house. You are God’s kids. I can’t do it, but He can!”
All the kids who were available helped as we put in new ceilings, light fixtures, stove exhaust fans, an extra sink, new metal shelving in the pantry, new windows in the kitchen, and converted a toy room into a worker’s dressing/bathroom. We also had to close off the kitchen from the living room which had been wide open.
Several of the kids worked with me day and night and the Lord helped in so many ways over this time. It seemed each morning Sandy would come over and tell me about someone who was sending money…one day a precious widow sending $50…the next a church sending $1,000…each day the expenses being taken care of until a couple of days ago, a church in St. Pete, Florida, promising to take care of what was left. The Lord provided exactly what was needed.
On the 15th, the inspector came and was amazed we got everything done and done so well. I thank the Lord for each of you who sent what was needed. I pray you are blessed as much as we are seeing God move mountains for us. I am thankful for Dara, Sandy, our kids and the Home workers who labored tirelessly so that we could have our kitchen back.
Finally, for a week in August we were blessed to host a mission group from First Baptist Church of San Antonio. They are our long-time friends, actually now family, who started visiting after one of their deacons was stationed at the nearby American military base some years back and came to the Children’s Home church. Together we held a 3-day mini VBS with some very poor children in a nearby village and painted the entire downstairs of the Children’s Home. Most of all, they were, as always, a huge blessing and encouragement to all of us here.
As I said at the beginning, it was a summer filled with challenges. Thank the Lord, we didn’t have to face them alone. Our God is faithful. Thank you again to all of you who helped us through your prayers and your giving.
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17
Dave, Dara, Sandy and the Kids (A printable PDF version is available here)
Dear Friends in Christ, September 2023
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Summer has come to an end… the kids have returned to school. We had an enjoyable summer, but it was not an easy one. Besides what I’ll write below, I had some health issues, we had a major inspection at the Home and we hosted a mission trip. I’ll write another letter this week to tell you about those.
Johnny and Blue have been our kids for seven years, since Johnny was seven and Blue was three. Their grandmother, a believer in our Turkish church, asked us to take them because her daughter, their mother, had gone to Germany to work and left them with her. The grandmother was older and in poor health and wasn’t able to care for them.
Johnny and Blue immediately became part of the family. Johnny bonded with our son, Creed, and they became inseparable. Blue was a bright, sweet little girl and we quickly grew to love them as our own. They both loved the church and, Praise the Lord, both were saved and baptized a few years after we got them.
At the end of this past school year, the mother came back and said she wanted to take them for a visit to Germany. She said she would bring them back after a few weeks. Her being their mother, we could do nothing to stop her even though we didn’t feel good about it, to say the least.
After she got them to Germany, she contacted us and said that she was not bringing them back and that we should forget about them because we would never see them again. You can’t even imagine how deeply this affected Dara and me… they are our kids! They call us Mommy and Daddy and, having gotten them that young, we were now the only family they really knew. This was their life and that life had been stolen away from them.
Everyone knows me as someone who can fix problems and find ways to work things out. Everyone asked “What are you going to do? How are you going to get them back?” I was lost. There was nothing I could do that would bring them home.
I prayed “Lord, you are the only one who can bring our kids home. You sent plagues to change Pharaoh’s heart and I know you can do something if it is Your will.” I decided I was going to beg God to intervene and then put my trust in Him to hear my prayer and to answer it the best way… Maybe not the way I was hoping, but I was trusting in His goodness and knowing that His way would be best.
Over the summer, we were able to talk to Johnny and Blue a little bit through messages. They were devastated, homesick, and losing hope of ever seeing us again. Their mother and some other relatives there in Germany tried to pressure them not to believe in Jesus, but to convert to Islam. Johnny told them he would not give up his faith in Jesus Christ and refused to go into the mosque with them. He even testified to the hoja (Moslem priest) through a translator about what he believed.
I told them to keep trusting God…. we were all praying. A couple of weeks ago, Johnny wrote that his mother, seeing that they were so unhappy, said she would be willing to bring them back, but she didn’t have any money for the trip. I told Johnny I would gladly pay for their bus tickets if she would bring them. After a heart wrenching week of “yes, she would, no, she wouldn’t”, they boarded the bus and came home.
Johnny and Blue are back home and just started back to school. You can’t imagine the impact on our family seeing God intervene in an impossible situation when we helplessly cried out to Him in prayer. How can we ever doubt His goodness? Praise His Holy Name!
“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles” Psalm 34:17
Dave, Dara, Sandy and the Kids (A printable PDF version is available here)
Dear Praying Friends and Family, June - July 2023
I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord and awaiting His soon return. This situation in Ukraine is turning into the very thing I feared it would, a prolonged conflict that could go on for years. Just when we thought things were settling down, Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal and then drones and missiles began hitting the very places that we often frequent in Odessa, like the building across from the Odessa Polytechnic University where there was a Children’s Science Museum, a grocery store, our barber, and our family’s dentist (See photo). One of our church families lost their newly renovated apartment due to the drone strikes in southern Odessa. Our men now travel to Odessa only when necessary, because of the volitivity of the situation. The US embassy continues to post Security Alerts stating that the current “Travel Advisory is a level 4: Do Not Travel” and further warns of increased missile and drone strikes to spoil Ukraine’s upcoming Independence Day celebrations.
Our church in Rozdilna is doing well and is stable. The newly saved are growing and together with the church they are doing what they can, under these circumstances, to reach souls with the Gospel. Our church could neither hold a youth camp nor a VBS for the kids this year because of the war. Instead, they continue to work with the refugees registered with the local authorities in our area. They again ministered to around one hundred families where they gathered them together and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and gave them food, clothing, and literature. Brother Alexei has calculated that each refugee outreach costs around $2,000 to minister to about 100 families/households. We continue to send offerings to Ukraine as the Lord provides. The time involved with travel, shopping, visitation, and contacting each family individually is demanding, but they are doing it all during curfews, air raid sirens, and checkpoints. Not to mention any eligible man seen on the streets could be taken at any time to fight. We had a scare when the local recruiter’s office called up my right-hand man, Brother Alexei, to appear. They let him go home since he has exemption on several levels.
On a happier and more personal note, our family just celebrated the wedding of our son Samuel to his bride Susanna. They were married on July 1st, when I had the privilege of preaching and Evangelist David Spurgeon, Susanna’s grandfather, performed the ceremony. The wedding felt a little like a revival service during the congregational singing! We really enjoyed spending some time with Samuel and Susanna and pray the Lord will use them for His glory.
It’s summertime again, the time when churches engage in VBS, youth camps, and camp meetings. Our children are very happy that they could experience these types of meetings in English-speaking in America. We continue to work our way down the list of supporting churches that wish us to give them an update on the work in Ukraine. Our travels were mainly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee where I was glad to be used of the Lord to encourage the saints in missions. We are thankful for the responses we’ve received and one young lady even “walking the aisle” for salvation during the invitation.
Please continue to pray for us as we fulfill our obligations to visit our remaining supporters and that the Lord will give us wisdom in His will for the near future. May the Lord richly bless you in every way.
That Ukraine May Know Him,
Phil. 3:10(A printable PDF version is available here) (www.ruemissions.com)
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our
that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." (II Cor. 1:3,4)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Brethren, we want to thank each of you for your continued prayers and support as we continue serving the Lord in Bulgaria. This summer has been full. First, we were able to return to the states for just a short time to be with our daughter, Maggie, as she graduated high school. She will be living with her sister in South Carolina; the Lord has provided her with a job, and even a car. A dear pastor friend in Virginia gave her his car. What a blessing that is! Seeing the Lord bless your children is a great joy. We were also able to visit with our son, Isaac, who is studying for the ministry. Bur, alas, our time of departure has come, and once again we say good-bye to our dear children. Our Lord told us that, he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. It's not easy to forsake all for Jesus, but he told us again, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children. As we said good-bye to one family in America, we were greeted by a larger family here in Bulgaria - those who have come to know and love the Lord Jesus through our service here.
Also, last month Verity's father passed away. He was 83, and ready to go. He had lived a long life in service to the Lord and brought many people to the knowledge of salvation. Even at his death and funeral there were more testimonies shared of people who had come to know the Lord through his witness. We thank God for such a goodly heritage.
Here in Bulgaria we stay busy preaching in churches with our national pastors. This month we're baptizing. There's been several new believers baptized, and several others still waiting. Some of our people have moved to western Europe for work and found churches to attend, but they want to be baptized in Bulgaria.
In the village of Avren we have had a building for some time where we produce Bibles and hymnbooks. This year we are fixing up the old house which was falling down. The new roof is on, but the interior of the house still needs a lot of work. When it's finished it will provide rooms for church, and a fellowship hall, as well as a small apartment. Ralph Cheatwood, our senior missionary, had wanted to have church for three different groups in this village - Bulgarian, Turkish, and English. We've already had Turkish and English meetings here, and we've had some interest among the Bulgarians. Our desire is to finish this building for the glory of God and have a place where the local people can come hear about Jesus. Would you pray that the Lord would send in the funds that are needed to finish this work?
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.
In Christ, Zachary LeFevre (A printable PDF version is available here)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
Dear Brethren, July 2023
After a mostly mild winter and entrance of an early spring, Carrie and I set out to work on our 2023 To-Do List. In addition to the seven Turkish churches we go to with Pastor Ismail, we wanted to repair the old mud brick barn/wood shed, cut away shrub overgrowth out on the street and prepare a driveway for the future Coat Closet van, add tables to the Coat Closet, hire out the removal of years old rubble from another barn, and put up drywall in the final remaining unfinished room of our house. We worked hard cutting, raking, cleaning, burning, etc. We also got an estimate on the drywall work and advice on the repair of the barn. Things were going well and we were encouraged. Until, that is, I found holes in the roof, in an overhang next to the chimney. Had we not been preparing for the drywall, I would not have seen it. While thankful to have discovered it before it got worse, it soon became a massive headache. Rains came and hardly stopped in our region for three months. Carrie got sick and underwent testing for some major potentials. All our personal work, and plans, stopped. In the end, Carrie was fine after some treatment, the holes were repaired along with the cause of the leak, and we were able to get somewhat back on track. We just had to endure storms, both literal and mental, for a few months first. Our endeavors are hit and miss at the moment because now we’re dealing with temperatures above 100 degrees in our region. But God knows, and He will guide and help.
Our dear friends here in the village, Nejmedin and Gyulbyush, recently lost their eleven-year-old granddaughter after several years of battling brain tumors. Her loss will be felt for a very long time, as grief knows no time limits, but the effects of her testimony will also be felt for years to come. This one little Jesus loving girl touched the lives of so many people while she was alive, and in her death so many more were able to hear the Gospel. People who may not have otherwise heard. In the street outside her home and in the local Muslim cemetery, the truth of Jesus Christ was preached with power. Those who knew and loved her know her short life was not in vain and holds eternal value. Please pray for our friends; the heaviness of grief is suffocating at times.
In my last letter I told you about Pastor Ismail and his dental struggles and his new electric three-wheeler scooter. Thankfully, his dentist was able to clean out old, broken teeth as well as remove several others. He’s so happy the pain is gone. He and his scooter go everywhere. To the store to get bread, to the hospital to visit the sick, to a couple of the nearer churches, and to visit the believers nearby. Last Sunday he gave a testimony at church. I’ll try to recap: He was coming home from Mihailovski where he had just cut the grass for a widow woman who is afraid of snakes. Nearing the city he lives in, a car in the other lane was crossing the center line and going quite fast. It eventually crossed into his lane and was speeding toward him. He said he doesn’t remember what happened next, except that he ended up still seated on his scooter and holding the handlebars, but set in a field on the other side of the ditch, and the car was rolling behind him in the field. Other vehicles stopped to help. He told them he was fine, but to help the driver of the car, who was a young man high on drugs. Pastor Ismail later went to the hospital to visit the young man who survived, but had a shattered leg. He took him food and drink (hospitals don’t provide that here). Not only did God preserve the life of our dear Pastor, he also opened a door for this young man to hear about Jesus. Thank God for all of that!
We’re hoping to go see the kids and grandkids for a couple weeks soon. The babies are growing too fast. And hopefully we can see through the rest of our To-Do List. Thank you all for praying for us!
Because He First Loved Me,
Larry Leach, Jr.
Dear Churches, Pastors, and Friends, April - May 2023 Newsletter
For this letter I wanted to share some experiences that I have had in the ministry over the years, and particularly in the last few months. I remember the first soul that I won to the Lord many years ago when I was about 21 years old. My wife and I had traveled to Virginia from North Carolina with my wife’s grandmother to see her pen pal of many years. Her name was “Cat” and she had terminal cancer. After we arrived, we sat there with my wife’s grandmother and “Cat” and listened as they talked and caught up with the news as old friends. “Cat” showed us the clothes she wanted to be buried in. I asked her before we left if she minded if I talked with her about something and she agreed. I said to her, “Now you have shown us your clothes that you will be buried in; have you had any thoughts of being ready for eternity?” She said she had not. I showed her from the Bible how she could be saved and be assured of heaven; and then she prayed with me and received the Lord Jesus Christ! This was the very beginning of my soul winning effort that has been a blessed and joyful journey over the years.
Each year in March and August, I am in West Virginia for several weeks attending Missions Conferences in order to raise support for National Pastors from many countries throughout the world. During this year’s conference in March, I was preaching at a church in Beckley, West Virginia. During the invitation a young boy about 10 years old came forward for salvation. The altar was already full, and I remember as I looked down, he was on his knees praying with his mother and father on each side facing the pulpit. What a joyful and rewarding memory!
In April, I was in a Cherokee native church that has supported us for years. (The man that had been Pastor of the church for many years had passed away and his wife passed three days later. They had a double funeral for this sweet couple). The morning I preached, a young native girl about 18 years-old received Christ. What a blessing, this is what it is all about! This is the joyful part of the ministry! There are challenging times indeed, but then you can look back and see many wonderful things God has done over the years!
Please keep my wife in your prayers. Thank God they were able to get all the cancer. This was a huge blessing for us! She still has trouble with the medicine that she must take to prevent the cancer from returning; if she can take it for five years, she has a good chance of the cancer not coming back.
I will be in touch when we return from our next trip.
Joyfully Yours, (A printable PDF version is available here)
"...he knoweth not how.
Dear Pastors Churches and Fellow Saints, March - April 2023
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Thessalonica the apostle Paul thanked God because, when they received the word of God which they heard Paul preach they “…received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13
God's word is different than man's word. God's words are alive. The Bible says "the of God which liveth". It's a great privilege to sow the word of God.
One day 44 years ago my Uncle Don sowed the word God and preached unto me the gospel. Somehow the word sprang and grew up when I believed.
Only God can give life to a seed. You can talk all you want about how a seed springs up, but it would never happen without God. As missionaries spreading the gospel of Christ we don't know how it springs up other than God tells it to spring up and grow. When someone puts their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and receives him as their Lord and Savior, God speaks to that soul and says “Let there be light” and that person is transformed from darkness to the kingdom of God.
I would like to have you pray for these dear Christian friends of mine that help here in the gospel. Malcho and Kadrìa. They are a real blessing to all and God has really used them. We covet your prayers.
All because of Calvary, (A printable PDF version is available here)
Matthew Welch and family
Dear Praying Friends and Family, April - May 2023
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who sustains us in His will by His grace. The reports I receive from our men and women in our ministry in Ukraine are encouraging and give new meaning to the words, “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord (1 Thess. 3:8).” Seeing our ministry thrive during the tribulations of wartime causes us to bow our heads in thanks to God. Brother Alexei, my right-hand man in the ministry, made a recent trip into the war-torn area of Mykolaiv. This letter contains some of the highlights, along with pictures, of their trip.
The Lord graciously opened doors for us that were once closed as an answer to our prayers. When the war with Russia began, Brother Alexei and I began to discuss how we could help in the Mykolaiv region, because of the influx of refugees to our town from there. They came with stories and needs. The Lord provided the funds with which our ministry purchased a ten-year-old van for the purpose of taking aid to the region and providing transportation to anyone who wanted to flee. While registering the vehicle at our local DMV a corrupt officer wanted a bribe which Alexei refused to give. As a result, the van was impounded with the threat that it would be confiscated and used by the military in the war. This set our plans back for months, but the Lord was obviously keeping us from the area, because it was attacked relentlessly during the months that followed. We prayed and waited on the Lord. Eventually, Russia withdrew its troops from the area and our lawyer filed the paperwork for our vehicle’s release. The door was opened once again! Brother Alexei decided to make the trip with one of our supported local missionaries Oleksander Illchenko. Over the past seven years, we’ve helped him finance several nationwide evangelistic campaigns where he visited every major city in Ukraine giving out all the literature he could while preaching on the street. He made contact with many Christians during these campaigns and was able to get information from them about which towns had the greatest need.
Brother Alexei described the road to Mykolaiv as “eerie.” He said that they were literally among the very first to travel the road after it had been cleared of the mines placed there during the Russian occupation. Many small towns and villages were now ghost towns. The streets were completely empty, and they only encountered a couple of cars on the road for many kilometers. The streets were lined with civilian houses destroyed by the Russian army. It appears that their orders were to completely make these towns uninhabitable.
Overall, six towns were visited. Literature, food, and clothing were given out freely. Alexei said that these people were hungry for the word of God unlike the areas of Ukraine where they have not been so affected by the war. Crowds of desperate Ukrainians gathered in schools, civic buildings, and on the street for help where Brother Alexei and Oleksander preached to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
One town in particular, named Snigirovka, was very desperate. They endured a full Russian occupation where their town was blockaded. They did not allow anyone to enter or leave the city. Food disappeared from the shelves and the people became the sick sport of the Russian invaders. One man saved the bullets fired at him through his windows while he was in his home. He kept them in a coffee cup and told them his story of survival. There were many such stories. Unfortunately, this letter is too short for them. I guess they will be written after the war is over. Or you can wait till the Judgment when all secrets will be made manifest by our Lord Jesus Christ. It will be more realistic than “virtual reality” complete with “surround sound!”
The names of the other cities visited were Novaya Odessa (New Odessa), Mikhailovka, Zarechnoe, Shirokoe, Lubino, and Partizanskoe. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was preached to them mainly in the Ukrainian language and several people received Christ as their personal Savior. Brother Alexei and Oleksander helped these people any way they could. They even helped install doors on the homes of the elderly whose houses were broken into by the Russians. We will continue to send funds to these people as the Lord provides.
We have a prayer request for one young man in our church, named Vitya Ganichenko, who was recently taken into military service. He received Christ as a young boy during one of our Children’s Bible Clubs years ago. He has some health issues that one recruiter’s office said exempted him from service, while another said he could serve. They took him quickly and didn’t allow him to go home. Please pray for his safety and that he comes home whole and alive.
The Lord continues to give us safety for our travels, answers to our prayers, and fruit for our labors. Over the course of the past two months, we updated our supporting churches in Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington, Ohio, and New York. It has been over ten years since we have seen many of them. Please continue to pray for us as we gladly fulfill our obligations to visit our remaining supporters. May the Lord richly bless you in every way.
That Ukraine May Know Him,
Christopher Rue Phil. 3:10(A printable PDF version is available here) (www.ruemissions.com)
Dear Friends in Christ, June 2023
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;” 2 Corinthians 1:3
It is truly comforting to know by experience that God’s word is true. This world offers us many ups and downs, trials and disappointments; but His word remains true. We have seen a few over these past few months, but God has been faithful. Our daughter Mckenzie recently miscarried her little boy Josiah David. God was indeed with us as we laid his little body to rest. Please pray for her as she continues to recover. We also discovered that the Stefanov family who were trying to get to the states to visit some churches were declined a visa by our government and will not be able to come. While this is a disappointment we trust that God will continue to use and provide for Mitko and his family.
We have been busy and have visited many of our supporting churches, and a few new ones. God has blessed in each service, and for that we are truly grateful. We also were in a wonderful revival at Westside Baptist Church in Mayodan, N.C. where our son-in-law Michael Lindsay pastors. Brother Barry Philbeck, pastor of Love Valley Baptist church, preached at the meeting and it was a real blessing to see 11 souls get born again! God sure is good!
We are excited about the upcoming weeks. Currently we have William and Hannah Lefevre’s boys with us, Carrick and Christian. They have come to the states to attend some Bible camps, and we will be taking them to Light on the Mountain camp the week of July 26th. We’ve enjoyed having them with us, and they are excited about going to the camps. Kylie is leaving for Papau, New Guinea in a couple days; and it’s been a blessing to see how God has provided the funds and worked in the visa process. We trust that God is going to bless them richly during the trip and keep them safe. I want to thank each of you that helped her to make this trip and pray that God blesses you for it.
We have purchased our return tickets to Bulgaria and will be leaving on October 3rd. We are looking forward to returning and ask that you pray that God helps us with the things we need to get done before we return. I will be seeing an Orthopedic doctor this week and please pray that they’ll find a way to fix the issues that I have in a quick and effective way. There are a few more things that need to be finished in order to get Kylie settled in school. She is now enrolled in college and is excited about starting school. We are proud of what she has accomplished so far, as she graduated from high school this past month.
In one of the villages an 11-year-old girl, named Ozlem, had been dealing with a brain tumor for several years. Last month the Lord called her home. She was saved and ready to go, but this is very difficult for her family. Please pray that God will comfort them in this very difficult season of their lives.
In closing, God bless you all for your continued prayers and support. We are so grateful for each one of you. We can’t express enough how much we appreciate you all.
Brother Keith Blalock (A printable PDF version is available here)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
To family, friends, and fellow saints,
I preached recently in our English service from the above text. Well, in all honesty, I wound up there, closing out a meandering message with a few thoughts from that verse; but what a verse! (All sermons are like drives to a desired destination. I admire preachers who can take the most direct route in the shortest amount of time with no deviation. As in life, so in preaching; I always take the scenic route. One of the drawbacks to the scenic route, however, is that you see so many wonderful things along the way, the place you arrive at can seem underwhelming. The biggest drawback, though, is that more often than not, all the passengers arrive worn out or asleep. Speaking of meandering, I’d better get back to my point.)
The entire book of Philippians concerns itself with the believers’ perspective, the apostle delivering holy admonishments regarding the mind, culminating in our chosen text. The lesson being, if our thoughts are preoccupied with those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, whatever the scripture asserts, we’ll cheerfully accept and set out to accomplish.
While there are many things in life that possess one or more of those qualities listed, there is only one thing that possesses them all: Jesus Christ. He’s true: genuine, real, and not counterfeit, adulterated, or false. True in the sense that He’s faithful, steady in adhering to friends and promises; loyal, not false, fickle, or untrustworthy. He’s honest: upright and fair in all His dealings; free from trickishness and fraud. But He’s also honest in the sense that He’s absolutely and always frank and sincere. He never dissembles. He’s never hypocritical. He’s just: fair, without favor or partiality. Just in that He always and in everything answers to and fulfills the laws, obligations, and promises contained in Divine ordinance, leaving nothing partially done or undone. Just in that He’s exact and proper, neither more nor less, lacking nothing. He’s pure: separate and apart from any outside influence or contaminant; clear, without admixture. But apart from being absolute in His person, He’s pure in that He’s free from any and every moral defilement. He’s without spot; not sullied or tarnished; incorrupt and incorruptible. In short, He’s holy, separate from sinners, higher than the heavens, and in a category all His own. He’s lovely: amiable, pleasing to all the senses, exerting such sweet influences that one can’t help but love Him in return. He has no equal in beauty or goodness, or indeed any virtue, so far excelling all rivals as to be incomparable. He’s of good report: accounted well of by the honest testimony of many; free from accusation or inference as to His character, word, or action; renown and beloved.
Our Paul was so smitten with Jesus, his entire life was consumed with learning all he could about Him. He said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung.” His conversion was so comple