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Archive for November, 2016

We’ve already announced this to most people we know and we published it in the Facebook world, but I haven’t yet written about it on my blog. Oksana suspected she was pregnant back in early September and we had it confirmed by Oksana’s doctor’s office when we got back to the US in mid-September. We were so thankful when we heard our baby’s heartbeat on November 7. When we met with the doctor at the same point in the pregnancy last year, we heard no heartbeat at the office, and then the ultrasound confirmed that evening that our baby had died. So, when we heard the heartbeat with the sonogram that morning, our hearts leaped for joy. It was a moment when I wanted to laugh, cry, and shout for joy at the same time. We certainly praised God for His protection over our yet-to-be-born baby. He or she is due on May 11. We’ll get an ultrasound done in early January so we can find out the gender (though we may not tell anyone!).

With the baby on its way and the increase in health care costs, our support estimate had to be recalculated. We were at 82.4% of reaching full support with the former estimate, but with the new one, we are now at 75%. It’s tempting to get discouraged, because we’ve worked very hard to get the support from 66% (when we first got married) to 82.4%. But on the other hand, much of that increase came simply because of God’s blessing. And we know He can bless again and bring the support back up. We have already heard from 2 new churches, one currently supporting church, and a new individual about increases. Pray that they would be able to do it and that others would take us on! We hope to hear of many increases when the new year starts and budgets get settled.

We are thankful for a great meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church in Parma, OH, a few weeks ago and then another at Thompson Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis, IN, last week. Southwest is searching for a new pastor, so they aren’t in a position to take on new missionaries. But Pastor Slutz at Thompson Road said we are on his “short list.”

After our meeting last week we stopped by Widow’s Jar Ministries to pick up supplies that they collect to give away for free to missionaries. We focused mostly on provisions for our baby. We ended up filling our Ford Escape from front to back and from top to bottom. We are thankful for the labor of love of the many volunteers who help there and for God’s provision for all these supplies. We probably had $1,000 worth of supplies in our vehicle.

We stopped off at the Ukrainian embassy in Chicago on our way home to settle some paperwork concerning Oksana’s mom’s apartment in Ukraine. We hope the paperwork will arrive on time. Though we had to spend a lot for this trip, parking in Chicago, and FedEx to get the paper to Ukraine, we hope it will save having to change our Ukraine trip plans, which are currently for after the Eurasia workshop. If the paperwork doesn’t arrive, we would have to go to Ukraine before Eurasia, which would mess up other things in the works.

 

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Maybe not too many will be interested in all this, but I found it quite interesting and helpful to analyze all the work I’ve done on my own and with my wife in order to raise funds for our ministry. I actually began deputation meetings in July 2007, and I continued with meetings until May 2012, though I had actually gotten full support by March 2012. So, that means that for my first 5 years of ministry with BI, I was doing deputation meetings. And now that the support estimate went up when I got married, deputation meetings began again soon thereafter. So, I had 3 years where I was not doing many meetings, though I was still doing some in late 2012, 2013, 2014, and early 2015.

Here are the statistics concerning number of deputation meetings per year:

  • 2007–10 meetings (started in July)
  • 2008–39 meetings
  • 2009–44 meetings
  • 2010–37 meetings
  • 2011–37 meetings
  • 2012–5 meetings
  • 2013–3 meetings
  • 2014–4 meetings
  • 2015–3 meetings
  • 2016–14 meetings (2 more to go)
  • TOTAL–196 meetings

Here are the statistics concerning the number of new churches I/we have visited per year:

  • 2007–10 churches
  • 2008–39 churches
  • 2009–44 churches
  • 2010–37 churches
  • 2011–35 churches
  • 2012–4 churches
  • 2013–2 churches
  • 2014–1 church
  • 2015–2 churches
  • 2016–4 churches (2 upcoming meetings are return visits)
  • TOTAL–178 churches

The numbers are the same on both lists for 2007-2010, but by 2011 I was returning to churches I had already visited. I continued to return to churches in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, but I would visit a few new ones too. In 2016, I made a big push to visit churches for deputation meetings, but only 4 of them were churches I had never visited.

I’m not yet sure what we will do next year, but so far we have 8 meetings but only 1 is a deputation meeting. We know of 2 new churches that plan on taking us on for support, but that will still leave us around $800/mo short of 100%, depending on how much they commit to. And then, there’s the issue of having a baby in May and needing more support for that. Ugh! I’ve been on deputation 6 of the 9.5 years of ministry at BI, and it seems the end is not in sight. Only God can sustain us to the very end!

It was great to be with Pastor Ostrander and the people at Harmony Baptist (Beaver Dam, WI) and then with Pastor Coley and the people at Bethany Baptist (Grand Rapids, OH) these past two weekends. In both places we enjoyed special events on the Friday before the meeting. In Beaver Dam we heard the singing group Forever Be Sure, a ladies sacred music group. They were a huge blessing! Then in Grand Rapids, OH, we got to be involved in a youth activity, which included “capture the flag” and a hayride. I got to share a devotional at that. Coley’s church also reserved two nights at The Mill House, a nice old Bed/Breakfast in the quaint little downtown of GR. We loved walking along the river down there. I highly recommend that little town for a nice weekend get-away.

Tomorrow we head to Parma, OH, for a deputation meeting at Southwest Community Baptist Church. This will be a return visit for both of us, and I had already been there a few times before marrying Oksana. But this time we’ll be there when they are without a pastor. We hope to be an encouragement as they go through this transition time.

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