Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbein Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”2 And the word of the Lord came to him:3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan.6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook (1 Kings 17:1-6).
It’s no wonder that Ahab and Jezabel wanted to capture Elijah. They wanted to “persuade” him to end the drought since he was the one the Lord was going to use to end it according to the prophecy. However, the sovereign Lord of the universe had a plan to help Elijah to survive and sent him to hide by the brook Cherith that flowed into the Jordan River. Then we learn that the Lord had some special drones to deliver food to Elijah. Never mind that they were organic drones! They were Ravens.
Rather than send Elijah to tour the pyramids in Egypt, God told him to stay in the land of Israel with his people. We have dear brothers and sisters in Christ, including ABWE missionaries, who are staying in Ukraine to serve those in need. I was privileged to drive from Chişinău, Moldova to Odesa, Ukraine near the end of March. Several of our ABWE missionaries have stayed in this war-torn country to serve fellow believers as well as those who still need to trust Christ as Savior.
Above Caleb Suko (ABWE) preaching to a group of about 350 Ukrainians who were soon to receive the food packages. Caleb notes that the Ukrainians are now listening intently to the gospel as the situation causes most people to consider what happens after this life.
Pastors and leaders from Kiev and other cities traveled to be with us in Odesa and it was a time of much love and encouragement for all of us. One day I was able to join Caleb on a two-hour drive from Odesa to Mykolaiv to encourage the Grace Baptist Church. For the first six months of the war, Mykolaiv was bombed by Russian missiles every single day forcing many families to flee. Please pray for the Ukrainian pastors, leaders, and believers as well as missionaries who are staying, despite the danger, to live and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A shooting war has not yet begun in Moldova and our prayer is that it never will. Russia is causing political unrest in Moldova and the government here is doing a good job of dealing with the threat. We continue to minister to Ukrainian refugees who have sought shelter in Moldova not only in the capital city of Chişinău, but in many villages throughout the country. We are now beginning to distribute food packages in the villages where we are also training church planters in the Institute of Church Planting (ICP).
Together with you, we are “ravens” taking compassion ministries to very needy people along with the life-giving message of the gospel of Christ. Thank you for making it possible for us to have these ministries.
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you” (1 Kings 17:8-9).
Elijah now becomes the instrument of blessing – the “raven” if you will – to the Widow of Zarephath. The Lord provided food for this dear lady and her son as well as the Word of God through Elijah.
Sidon is far from Central Asian, but recently, Jo Ann and I had the privilege of going to the country of Kyrgyzstan for a meeting with our fellow ABWE team leaders. We also had the joy of meeting with a couple of the graduates of UDG (where we teach) who are doing a fantastic job reaching people in their age group in this predominately Islamic country. These young servants are great examples of the vision and purpose of UDG. We went to encourage them, but truthfully, we were more encouraged by them!
We are blessed to be able to carry out this strategic ministry of training believers from limited access countries where we could not be residents. We are taking the meat of the Word and giving it to young believers something like the ravens did for Elijah. We couldn’t do this without you “holding the ropes” in prayer and financial support! Please do pray for these faithful believers and for the Lord to be glorified in Central Asia.
And Make Disciples
The Institute of Church Planting (ICP) is going well. We will begin training the church planters with the wonderful ABWE course on evangelism and discipleship called “The Story of Hope.” That training begins this week in Criuleni (near the Russian controlled section of Moldova called Transnistria) and soon in Sofia which is about 100 miles north of Chişinău.
Once we complete the evangelism training, all the leaders and church planters will have several weeks to practice what they have studied so far. By God’s grace, we will continue with the second phase of the ICP in September and complete that section by December the Lord willing.
Above, Dennis is one of the young men training to be a church planting pastor in province of Criuleni. His church plant is in the village of Holercani where I had the privilege of preaching on Palm Sunday. We are planning to help this young man with the church planting project fund to keep his car on the road.
As we mentioned in our previous prayer letter, we would like to help some of these church planters with the cost of transportation. With the help of the ABWE Ukrainian Crisis fund, we are able to supply not only the refugees in Chişinău but now also in some of the villages where new churches are being planted. The men are driving to the homes where the refugees are staying and delivering food packages and sharing the gospel. We can help them by providing $100 a month for fuel and minor maintenance. Funds have already started to come in to our accounts for this purpose and now we have a helpful link for those who would also be able join us in providing for this need. If you believe that the Lord would have you help these new church planters with this need, please click on the following link which will allow you to give directly to this project.
Thank you for helping us to be “ravens” giving food and shelter to many in need as well as training younger believers to establish churches. Your faithful prayers and giving make all this possible. We are rejoicing with you as the Lord continues to open doors of service for Him here in Eastern Europe and beyond.