Most recent ministry update:
“It has been an interesting week here in Shumen. A little over a week ago we found out that Lydia’s grandmother was put on hospice. I did not mention it last week, but we were seriously praying about whether Lydia should go to the States to be with her family. After much prayer and encouragement from our church family, on Sunday evening we made the decision that she should travel to Alabama. She left Shumen on Monday evening. Her grandmother passed away while Lydia was traveling, but she was at least able to be there for the funeral and has been able to spend quality time with her family. She will arrive back in Shumen on Wednesday evening, just in time for Thanksgiving.
On top of that for much of the week I was under the weather. Nothing fatal, just the kind of man flu that knocks your health down to 70% and your motivation down to 30%. Praise God our kids are responsible and are able to help out a lot around the house! Several days this week Naomi had to walk the little ones to school so that I could go teach English, or Phoebe would have to pick up Zoe from ballet.
But in our weakness, God’s strength is made perfect! We were blessed as different people from church (and one English student) brought us food throughout the week. On Thursday I had on the calendar to go out to a few villages to talk about Operation Christmas Child parties. I thought about cancelling, but Naomi and I decided to head out (the other three kids are at school in the morning). I felt pretty weak as we were driving to the first village, but as soon as we went into the community center I felt better. They agreed to a party. Got back in the van and immediately felt sick. Drove to the next village. As soon as we went into city hall, I felt better. Had a very positive meeting in a very Muslim village. Even though we have kind of gotten used to it, it is amazing how often we have an open door to share about Jesus in Muslim places! After that it was time to get back to Shumen and crash for a while, but I was reinvigorated by God’s mercies.
And then Friday another mayor called. She leads a village that I went to two weeks ago. I had totally given up on her calling me back. But she said, “I am calling about the party we talked about. I have made a list of 22 kids that will attend. What date are you able to come?” With that we rounded out a full slate of 12 parties. It is going to be crazy!
Last night we had a rigorous Bible study on Matthew 7:24-28. It was Sevdi and I with two people who have only come a few times in the past.
This morning we will do a lot of house cleaning and church prep. And then in the afternoon we will go to Vehtovo with Sevdi and E (who came back from Turkey this week). And then this evening of course we will have church in Shumen.
Thank you for the amazing blessing that you are to our family. It is such an honor to be partners in the gospel with you!
p.s. I am attaching two photos of an office project I have been working on. Phoebe and I finished it up this week. This is a map of the Shumen Province. We have a thumb tack on every village and city. Red means we have never been there. Orange means we have visited the village. Yellow means we have been able to minister in the village or at least have a gospel-oriented conversation. Green means we have a Bible study there. And blue means we have a church. And when that church begins planting another church, it will become purple. I hope that “The changing of the thumb tacks” will become a celebratory tradition!”