The Adventure Continues, the Journey Begins

Finally, I’m writing a blog from Cyprus!  I left home, on Sunday morning and arrived here in Cyprus that evening. I’ve already unpacked, and am getting settled into the house that is ‘home’ for the next 5 months.

After my last post, God miraculously provided the needed funds to be able to board the plane – literally, exactly what I needed (I think I have one extra dollar in the account right now)!!! Thank you so much to everyone who sent in donations to help me get here! This truly has been an amazing adventure thus far. God called me to do this during our time in Israel, which meant that all of my money had been given towards that trip. All I had when I got home was $200, and here God was calling me to move forward toward something that would cost $10,000. But, with God, all things are possible! And that is what He has shown me through this. I have learned that, when God calls, He will provide…in His own time. I’ve learned that, when God speaks, I shouldn’t doubt…but when I do, He is gracious enough to speak again.

I really can’t thank you enough for your prayers and financial donations. I know that times are tough all over the world, so I truly appreciate every dollar that was given.

My last week at home was quite stressful, but it was a time for me to learn more how to live in the truth that the joy of the Lord is my strength! In addition to all of your support, my family has been such a huge blessing to me through this time. Not only have they also financially sacrificed to help me in this, but they have been with me through every moment of having faith to move mountains, and the moments of feeling like there were too many giant mountains to move. I am truly grateful for the family and friends that God has blessed me with.

This adventure is far from over – in fact, it’s just beginning! I know how much God changed me during my first year, so I am full of expectation for what He is going to do this year. I feel like He has already grown me a lot and shown me so much just through the process of getting here. Our God is truly amazing and such a good father!!

Your prayers are greatly appreciated as I begin my 5 months in Cyprus and the nations. While I received enough to board the plane, I still have a balance of $5800 to pay for tuition and outreach. If the Lord leads you to give, please check the ‘About’ page on our blog for donation details. Every dollar makes a difference!

Again, thank you so much for every prayer and every donation! I pray you are all abundantly blessed in this coming year.

With a grateful and expectant heart,
Krista

Visa Update/Prayer Request

As we mentioned in previous posts, we started the process of getting new visas back in October, using our trip to Israel to apply for new visas.  Our application was denied, due to having the wrong documents.  We re-entered Ukraine legally, but without visas, as we are allowed to be in the country for 90 out of 180 days as tourists.  Amidst the busyness of the holidays, we have been trying to keep abreast of the visa law changes (which are changing about once a month right now), making sure we would have all the necessary documents and be ready to try again once the holidays had passed.

Our plan was to go this week for a day to Poland to get new visas, but confusion over the new laws made that impossible.  To cover our bases, we called ahead to the Ukrainian consulate in Poland to verify which documents they would require of us.  One thing they mentioned that we did not yet have was a stamp from the Religious Affairs government office on our official letter of invitation from the church.  However, when the administrator at our church went to request that stamp, Religious Affairs refused to give it, stating that they had already given us everything necessary (a separate letter from them) to receive visas based on the law.  Numerous conversations have transpired with both the Ukrainian consulate in Poland, and Religious Affairs here in L’viv, and they are always the same – on one end, visas will not be issued without the stamp the law requires; and on the other end, the stamp the law does not require will not be given.

Dad has been in contact with the American Embassy here in Ukraine, seeing if they can offer any assistance, as well as calling a lawyer for legal advice.  The church administrator has made many calls to Religious Affairs, different Ukrainian consulates in Poland, government offices in the capital, Kyiv, etc.  At the moment, though, we are stuck with no option available of getting visas.  Dad is continuing to make any calls he can, as are the lawyer and church administrator, and we are waiting for God to intervene.  We have about 3 weeks left before our 90 days run out.   In the meantime, we rest in the hands of our sovereign Lord.

Krista is on her way to Cyprus on Sunday, and is not worrying about getting a visa at the moment, as it is an unnecessary expense; by the time the school is over, she can re-enter the country for another 90 days and get her visa then.  Please pray for her as she travels on Sunday and please pray for a quick resolution in our visa situation – that we would get the documents we need, they would be accepted, and we would be issued visas.

Thank you so much for your constant prayers and support.  May the Lord richly bless you!

Bria, Lindsay, & Krista

Leaving On A Jet Plane…soon

It’s about time for another quick update. In just 1 month, God has provided 25% of the money I need! Thank you to all of you who have sent in donations or bought jewelry!
Last week my ticket got changed by the airline, so I got bumped up 2 days and am leaving on January 22nd…11 days from now! I am continually convinced more and more that this is God’s plan to prepare me for full-time missions. I am already losing sleep due to the excitement building in me!
But, for me to be able to board the plane on January 22nd, I still need $770 (and a grand total of $6570 is still needed to fully pay the tuition and outreach fees). Would you please pray about being part of the immediate need for $770 so that I can board the plane on the 22nd?
When God first told me to go, I knew He wanted to grow my faith through this experience, and He has definitely done that. My faith is so much stronger now than it was just 1 month ago! He is such a good and faithful Father, King, and God. I am so grateful for this experience and time of growing in my faith.
Again, thank you so much to each of you who have sent support! Each and every dollar was such an encouragement and help. I pray that you all had a blessed Christmas and New Year, and may you and your family be abundantly blessed in this coming year!
Blessings,
Krista

He Raises the Poor From the Dust

1 Sam. 2:8  “He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and He set the world on them.”

For the past year, we have had the pleasure of seeing God love the poor in our city, and the honor of being the ones He used to show that love.  Every 2 weeks, we put together food bags, and distribute them throughout the center of the city to the poor people on the streets.  For the first 9 months of this ministry, we took 15 bags, and that was enough to give to all of our regulars and a few new people we would meet…..until one Saturday in September.

On this particular Saturday, we followed our normal routine with 15 food bags, only to get into town and find that a group of 12 new women had heard of us and were waiting at our meeting place for a bag of food!  They have continued to come, and we have started taking 25 bags of food each time, and increased our distribution groups from 3 to 4, so that one group can solely focus on this group of women, developing relationships with them.

After we finished distributing food on that Saturday in September, we were in shock by what had just happened.  In one day, in one minute, God had almost doubled this ministry!  It wasn’t something we were seeking or asking for, but God just did it.

When we started taking 25 food bags every two weeks (and usually having no problem giving them all away), we knew the church would not be able to afford to buy more food bags than they already were.  So, we began to take a basket to church and have asked the people to bring non-perishable items to church.  The people have been generous and it has eased the financial burden on the church and allowed us to continue making more food bags.  Each food bag costs less than $5 to put together, and depending on how many people live with the recipient, it can last the full 2 weeks between distributions!

Please continue to pray for this ministry and the people we are ministering to.  We now have 5 people coming to the church from the poor ministry.  One of the ladies we have talked about before, Lyusya (she is one in more dire need than others, and chooses to dig through trash bins for bottles to recycle for money, rather than beg on the streets), started coming to church after we had known her almost a year.  She is one of our biggest joys.  When we first met her, she was very distant, didn’t want us to touch her, and if we talked about God or prayed for her, she would close up even more and look upset.  Over the past year, though, she has grown to love us as we love her, tells us we are the most special people in her life, hugs us when she sees us, allows us to pray for her, and now even comes to church!  God’s love does incredible things and changes lives!  Maria is another lady who comes to church on occasion; she says our church is still a little strange for her (because we aren’t a catholic church), but she does still come.  Natalya, one of the ladies who started coming to church, gave her life to Jesus on His Ukrainian birthday (Orthodox Christmas), January 7.  Praise God!  Please pray that she would grow in her faith and understand God’s truth, being released from many of her cultural, Orthodox beliefs and superstitions.  We don’t hide our faith from the people we meet, but they also know that they are under no obligation to come to our church.  Many ask us when they receive the food bag if they have to come to our church to receive help, and we make sure they know that God’s love is unconditional – as is the help we give them.  But, we let them know they are welcome whenever they want to come!  Please pray that each of these precious people would understand the love of the Father, and respond to that love by finding salvation in Him.

This ministry has brought us more joy than we ever thought it would.  We are so grateful for the honor and privilege of seeing God ‘raise the poor from the dust and lift the needy from the ash heap‘.

Thank you for your support* the past year and a half, which has enabled us to live here and made it possible for us to serve the poor and see them coming closer to God through the power of His love.
Serving Him,
Bria, Lindsay & Krista

*For information on how you can make a financial donation, please go here, to the ‘About’ page.