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Whew! These have been a few hectic months for us.
Our deputation travels have taken us to nearly 50 churches since January 1st. We have traveled over 17,000 miles and participated in eight missions conferences so far in 1998. We praise the Lord for the opportunities to be a blessing to churches by preaching, singing, soulwinning, and giving testimony. Ruth and I have both seen several people saved in our personal soulwinning efforts.
Our vehicles have suffered an unusual number of mechanical problems since February. All four of the springs on the travel trailer broke, in separate incidents. I replaced the head, the valve lifters, and the rod bearings on the engine - then the engine blew up, and I installed a rebuilt one. A wheel fell off the trailer, and the axle was ruined. The engine thermostat stuck shut. The trailer frame broke in half. Two wheels fell off the motor home. The trailer brakes quit working. We had several other more minor troubles as well.
I rejoice in the midst of all these challenges! Praise God, nobody was injured in any of these situations. I was able to repair most of the problems myself. After all this work, our vehicles are in pretty good shape. My family is learning not to worry when things go wrong. No matter what happens, God takes good care of us. (That's a valuable lesson to learn for the mission field.)
Our support continues to increase. We are now over the 50% level! We are praying that we would be able to leave for the field with 100% by the end of this year. We set up a fund for our family's airfare to Russia, and nearly $2000.00 has already been donated for this purpose.
Please keep praying for continued freedom in Russia. President Boris Yeltsin has ordered the Ministry of Justice not to enforce the restrictive anti-missionary law that was passed last September. Some local officials, however, are taking a harder line. I know of two independent Baptist missionary families who have had to leave Russia due to technical difficulties in getting their visas renewed.
I believe that the best thing we can do in these last days is to pray, and to stay busy for God. Satan is working overtime to hinder the work of God. He causes mechanical problems for missionaries on deputation, he tries to close the open doors in the former Soviet Union, and he tries to distract our churches from the business of reaching lost people with the Gospel. The Book of Job reminds us that God is in control. Satan cannot do anything unless God allows it, and God is able to defeat all of Satan's plans. He turns them into victories for the cause of Christ. I'm glad to be on the winning side!
In the service of the King,