Driving through the villages tonight on our way bringing people back to the city, everyone's attention was brought to a large fire. Everyone was a little startled and someone said they thought it was a house. As we continued we noticed another one, then another one. Because of all that is going on in the country, they were most likely thinking it was the Russians. This sight was nothing new to Eric and I...it is burn season in the village and they were burning the fields. If you sit up on the hillside and look over the village, it is covered in smoke during this time of year.
As we were driving through the city, one of the ladies said that it seemed like there were more large vehicles on the roads than usual, saying that maybe the Russians had sent them there to scare us...but that we weren't scared.
The church still has a sweet atmosphere - possibly sweeter than before, yet over everyone's heads looms the thought that the Russians are coming...that they are already here. There are so many rumors floating around and we have tried to keep their attention focused on Jesus and the peace that He brings. We are in a part of Ukraine which has probably seen the least amount of the problems, yet there are always the "What if's" which for some people has been debilitating. They can do nothing but watch the news...and some just get drunk.
Yet through all of this, God has answered one of the prayers dearest to my heart ~ for Gala to be saved. I have been doing Bible lessons with her for some time now and she was so much on my mind that I even had dreams of her almost dying before getting saved. She is the first person that I have done the lessons with. Some days I felt so incapable of presenting them to her. It was extremely difficult to keep her attention at times - especially with cute, little Abigail there. Yet it was such a blessing to be able to be a part of sharing the Gospel with her! As we approached the last lesson, I carefully prayed and studied. When we sat down to do the lessons, it felt like there were more distractions than usual. Once Eric took Abigail, that helped, but even with no cuties there to distract her, she easily got talking about different things besides what we were talking about. Lina
and I could both feel the spiritual battle for her soul. She already
knew so much, yet could not point to a time in her life where she had
made Christ her Savior. At one point, Lina turned to me and asked what
else should we say as we were sitting there in silence. I said, Let's
pray. Then afterwards I turned to Gala and asked her if she were to stand before
God today, before the judgement seat of Christ, could she stand there
100% sure, knowing, without fear that He would let her into Heaven. She
sat there quietly, with her hands by her face for quite some time.
Then said no. This time as we talked to her about a moment in her life
when she had repented of her sins and asked Jesus Christ as her Savior
she said that there had not been. She said she wanted to. I cannot
think of a good word in English to translate what she said after, it was
something like now her life would be lighter, brighter, happier,
enlightened...all those words plus more. The Russian word seems so much
better. She immediately asked us where she should start reading her
Bible!!! My heart is full with gratefulness and joy!
So you see, yes, there may be rumors swirling all around us, but we cannot leave unless/until it is God's timing and will for us to leave. If we had left when everyone was telling us we should, I would not have been able to be used to help lead Gala to the cross.
All growing up this was a favorite verse of mine and I have found myself turning to it over and over again this past year...
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5
This is our prayer. For God to give us wisdom. That is probably the
best way you can pray for us. It would be so easy for us just to
leave until things calm down, but I truly and completely believe that I
am more safe here in GOD'S WILL then anywhere in America.
So, how can
you pray? Pray first for the Ukrainians to be saved. Pray specifically
for Lina's family (her husband, her dad, her brother). God has already changed Lina's husband's political perspective...which is a miracle in itself. Now we are praying for his spiritual perspective.
Pray for those we have come in contact with over the years (Dr. Larissa,
Pasha and his mom, Dr. Andrea). Secondly, pray for God to give us
wisdom as to what He would have us to do in each circumstance. I love
you all very much and am so grateful to have so many on their knees
praying for us and Ukraine. Thank you!