Thank you all so much for your prayers throughout our visa ordeal! As planned, Dad, Mom, and Krista joined Bria & Lindsay in Poland on Monday, Nov. 1. Due to a holiday, the embassy was closed, so first thing Tuesday morning, we all went and dropped off our visa applications. We were told to come back a few hours later. Dad & Krista went back to the embassy that afternoon and picked up 5 passports, each with a new visa, good for 1 year. No questions, no problems, no hassles! Thank You, Lord!!! The next day, we drove back to Ukraine and it feels great to be back!
Your prayers, support, and encouragement throughout this visa ordeal were so much appreciated. This time in Poland was unexpected and, while the Lord provided for us to always have a place to stay, there were many expenses and we are so thankful to each of you that has financially supported us. It was also a stretching time, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, and we cannot say thank you enough to each person that prayed for us. The body of Christ is such a beautiful thing and we see that more and more as we continue in our walk with Him.
As we are back in Ukraine and continue our ministries here, we continue to covet & value your prayers and support. May the Lord overflow in each of your lives, and meet your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
With love and gratitude,
Bria, Lindsay, and Krista Blessing
I realized the other day that I haven’t written an update since the March of Life!
For the past few weeks God has been speaking to me about Moses. Moses is one of the patriarchs, someone we all think of as this huge spiritual giant. But the truth is, who was he before God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? Yes, he was Pharaoh’s daughter’s adopted son, but, after he ran away from Egypt he became a simple shepherd – it’s not like he was out there doing great things. And then one day…a bush caught fire and didn’t burn, God called out to him, and Moses accepted the job, right? Wrong! And this is the part I usually don’t think about when I think of someone who I view as a spiritual giant…..he argued with God and begged him to find someone else for the job! I’m always blown away by that fact, and honestly I sometimes think, “How absurd to turn God down!” And yet, that’s where I have found myself lately. Ouch.
For about 2 years now I have felt that I needed to interview holocaust survivors and somehow preserve their memory while they are still here on this earth. But, here we are 2 years later and all I have to show for it is a bookmarked release form on my computer and a video camera in my room. Fear. That’s the only excuse I have for not having more to show after these couple of years. So often I have thought, “I’m only 23 and the youngest in my family. Who am I to go to the Jewish community and ask them to tell me their stories?! There has to be someone better for the job.” And this isn’t the first project I’ve felt this way about.
So that’s where my lesson and growing has been lately. Some friends spoke words to me this summer about great things they feel God calling me to, and in the back of my head I’ve been thinking that’s impossible since I’m not the boldest of people. I’m so thankful for my parents, who are always there to help me get back on track and speak into my life when I start to lack faith. That’s just what my mom did a few weeks ago when I began to voice my struggles to her. She gently reminded me of Moses; how he didn’t consider himself qualified for the job God was calling him to, but God equipped him with what he needed. And then God continued the lesson in my times with Him, reminding me of how Moses almost missed out on so many blessings by forfeiting the job God was calling Him to. Thankfully though, we have a gracious and merciful God who continues to teach us and doesn’t give up on us at the first sign of doubt or fear!
So, now that the visa situation is resolved and we all have 1 year visas in our passports, my plan is to finally push through this fear and call the people I need to call and find out if there are holocaust survivors willing to talk to me. I’m not sure how many survivors there are left in Lviv, but I’m also hoping to call friends in other towns who have contacts with Jewish organizations where they live. I’m so tired of letting my fears hold me back from things and possibly missing out on blessings from God. I mean, humanly speaking, I really am not qualified for so many of the things God calls me to – but that’s where He gets the glory….cause without Him it would be impossible. I am constantly blown away by how the God of the universe chooses to use us, His creation!
Moving to Ukraine this year and really stepping into a new role in ministry has been such a growing experience! I am so grateful for all the preparation God has given me over the past 2 years, taking me out on my own and giving me lots of learning experiences; and I’m also grateful He is giving me this season of being able to learn some more lessons with the support of my family. I firmly believe He will be calling me out at different times – with Ukraine possibly being a base of sorts – and so I’m grateful He’s allowing me to be with my family to learn these lessons, rather than just throwing me out there and learning on my own.
In addition to all of that, I had the honor of teaching at our church’s Wednesday night Bible Study last week. My dad started a series in October, on Israel – the covenants God made with them, how they are still His chosen people, and about the roots of the Church being Jewish. So, this past week he asked me to teach on the birth of the modern State of Israel. It was so much fun researching it deeper than I ever have before and reading so many of the miracles God did! So many times during my research, I would stop and tell my parents yet another story of how God protected His people! The birth of Israel is truly unlike the birth of any other nation and it is such a testimony of how God keeps His covenants. It boggles my mind how so many in the modern Church can believe that God has replaced Israel – the fact that Israel still exists is proof that He has not turned His back on them!
This month I also had the opportunity to teach a 2 week English class for another ministry in Lviv, that ministers to university students. They have been doing these classes for a number of years now, and I had taught with them 2 other times. It is always fun to meet the class and get to know them for 2 weeks. This year was somehow different though, as it was a lot harder to say bye to all of my students. But, while it was hard to say good-bye, I was also ready to get back to pursuing what God has called me here to do.
Our whole family has also been staying busy with the construction of Bethel House. Things are really coming along and we are hoping to move into the new part within 2-3 weeks. We were actually able to have our church service here at the house last Sunday, as we couldn’t use our rented hall due to elections taking place. With the help of a couple from our church, we spent 4 hrs on Saturday cleaning it up and laid sub-flooring panels down in the dining room and living room. It is so exciting to have the space now to host big groups and have meetings out here! We are all anticipating the day when it will be fully operational and Jewish families on their way home to Israel will be able to stay here.
Thank you all so much for your prayers for us girls and our ministries here. Living 15 years on the mission field has definitely taught me the value of prayer. I hate to think where we’d be without the prayers of friends and family! And to those who have sent financial support, thank you! Again, without that, we wouldn’t be here. Even though we are exploring ways to help supplement support, it is hard sometimes to find the time between ministry and everyday living to ‘work’. We pray you are all blessed in return!
If any of you ever have a prayer request we would be honored to pray for you – just send us an email!