Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Isn't it exciting to be busy serving the Lord? 
I am so thrilled to get to share with you how the Lord is blessing, answering prayer, and opening doors.  Along with this post, I will include a warning:  tissue may be needed due to tears of joy, you may want to shout or praise God.  These responces are normal for healthy Christians.  If you do not receive a blessing, please see your pastor immediately and tell him you need to get saved!

If you remember, in July I mentioned some prayer request. (you can read that post here) It is such a joy to let you know that Lena (the lady with short, brown hair pictured below) in now a sister in Christ!  Several months ago, Ron gave her a print out of the book done by Cary Schmidt.  We met with her a couple of times and talked with her about salvation.  At the beginning of September she told us she had finished reading the book so we once again planned a time to meet with her.  Both Ron and I felt she was really close to making the decision to accept Christ.  We arrived at Lena's appartment on a Monday evening and after some visiting Ron turned the conversation to salvation.  When Ron asked where she would spend eternity if she died, she answered, "in Heaven with Jesus".  She then explained that she understood salvation was through Jesus Christ and that she trusted in Him for her salvation.  Ron asked when she had done that personaly.  She thought for a moment......then she replied, "last Thursday.  When I finished reading the book you gave me there was a prayer at the end.  It said if I wanted to get saved to pray that prayer.  Of course I wanted to get saved, so I prayed."  Wow!  We were so excited.  For the next few minutes Ron shared with her that as a new Christian she needed to pray and read her Bible every day.  He also told her how important it is for her to be in church regularly so that she can grow and learn.  That evening we left her house with grateful hearts for another name written in the Lambs Book of Life. 
We ask that you would continue to pray for Lena.  Ron said her testimony of salvation is one of the best that he has heard from a Russian.  This past Sunday afternoon we started discipleship lessons with her.  Sunday morning before church her and I were visiting and she asked me if she could invite other people for our Sunday service.  Uhh...well...."OF COURSE".  I told her she is welcome to invite anyone to come.  Then at lunch she sort of asked Ron the same question.  (guess she didn't believe me)  Sunday morning on her way to church on the bus she told another lady that she was going to church and invited her to come sometime.  
Thank you for praying with us.  Now we can rejoice that this prayer has been answered!

Another prayer request I had mentioned in July was for Irena.  She was saved last summer, but had not been being real faithful to church.  Except for the weekend of her birthday she has been attending very faithfully.  In fact, two weeks ago she brought a visitor (Sveta).  Sveta was in church again yesterday. 
  

At the beginning of August we moved to our new location.  The apartment is much smaller that the other building we were renting, but so far it is working out great.  Ron's English classes are in full swing again.  He teaches once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on Wednesday, and twice on Thursday.  He doesn't have as many students as last year, but he did not advertise at all.

before picture
We held our first service in our new place knowing that we had a few things to work on.  One of our ladies made some curtains for the window.  The lighting was really bad (especially since the days are so dark all winter), so Valodia helped Ron and Andrew put in some floresent lights. 

putting in new lights


after

kitchen/ Sunday School room/ fellowship room/ multipurpose room

God has given us a beautiful place to meet for church and English.  Lord willing our church attendance will grow over the next couple of years and we will have to look for a larger place to meet.

LOOKING AHEAD

Would you join with us in prayer for three very specific things?  The first one happens THIS SUNDAY, September 25.  We will be having our first guest speaker.  Vladimir is a national pastor in Belarus.  He and his wife, Olga, are in Tallinn right now having special meetings with a fellow missionary.  Ron met Vladimir and Olga when he went to Belarus last September.  When we found out that they would be so close, Ron invited him to come and preach to our people.  Our service will start at 11 (like usaual).  We have invited all of our church people to stay for lunch and then we will have a second service.  Of course we will end the day with some more fellowship and dessert.  I am so proud of each of our ladies who have stepped up and offered to help bring food for the meal after church.  Everyone is doing something - what a blessing!  Looking forward to what God will do.
Vladimir and Olga
In October we will begin having weekly Wednesday Bible studies in English. 
When Ron announced this a couple of weeks ago, the people had a very positive responce.  We don't know if the excitement is because of another oportunity to study the Bible or because it's in English.  However, God can use His Word to speak to hearts in any situation.  
The kids and I are also looking forward to having church in English.  Ron will be using the book "More Than Just A Savior" written by my brother, Stephen Benefield (missionary to Cambodia).  Our home church, other churches, and missionaries have used the material in this book to teach and disciple their people.  We look forward to the impact it will have in our family and also our church people.     




Lastly, I would covet your prayers for my first LADIES TEA that I will be hosting.  The date is October 22!  This is a BIG step of faith for me, but one that I believe God wants me to take.  Several times I have questioned myself wondering if I was crazy when I made this decision.  Then I remind myself what a big God I have!  I also know that you will pray for me and that will make a big difference. 
Here is what you can pray for specifically:
1)  I am praying that we will have 12 - 15 ladies.  We have 5 ladies plus myself and I am asking each person to try to bring one friend.  
2)  all the planning and preparation
3)  as I prepare a devotional
4)  I will be doing the devotional in Russian (I've never done this before)
5)  that the Lord will prepare the hearts of the ladies that attend
6)  ladies that I plan to invite  *Irena (kids' piano teacher)   *Valodia's wife   *a lady I met at a little fabric store   * Tamara (a maintenance worker in our apartment building)
I am very excited as I plan and prepare for this special event.  The ladies from my home church, Sequoia Baptist Church in Visalia, California, are helping gather craft items, paper goods, etc. to help make this evening special for the ladies that I have given my heart to.  Their desire to help and be a part has sure blessed and encouraged my heart.  THANK YOU, MY DEAR FRIENDS.  I LOVE EACH OF YOU! 

GOD IS GOOD!

Please forgive me for such a long post.  God is doing so much, my heart is so full, and I wanted to share it with you.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! You are right, this was all very exciting and how encouraging to other missionaries!

    I'll be praying for all the requests you've mentioned. I have been praying about having a ladies tea here also, but have not made that step yet. It's a big, scary step, especially with the foreign language thrown into the mix!

    Let us know how to order the book once it's available!

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  2. Okay, I'll admit it. I didn't really pay attention to your warning at the beginning of this article, but I was crying way before I reached the end. Besides the fact that it is an excellent article, I am also just extremely sensitive about converts (both new and old) and the mission field due to our impending furlough. I have reached the "lump-in-the throat, tears-in-the-eyes, grab-a-tissue" stage about a dozen times in the past three days. When I read your article, I not only rejoiced with you, but I saw myself. It is so hard to say goodbye to the people you have grown to love. (Rats! Here I go crying again.) I preached Sunday night (my last service here) about how Paul was able to return to his sending church for recharging and reporting because he "commended the believers unto the Lord." That word means to "commit, to entrust, or to give in charge." I love the khmer word used in that verse. It literally means "to hand over for safe-keeping." Satan will say, "They will not weather the storms ahead," but God is able! They are God's sheep in the first place, but oh the privilege of getting to be a part of their lives! (Sorry to leave such a long comment. I haven't had time to write on my blog in a couple of months, so I have a lot built up in my heart. I hope these thoughts will help you and Ron in a few months when you face what I am facing now.)

    Back to your article:)
    We rejoice with you over Lena's salvation! Also the wonderful report about Irena and her friend, Sveta. (They all have such pretty names!)

    The building looks wonderful! I'll have to admit though, when I saw that picture of Ron and Valodia putting up the lights, I thought I was looking at two of the 450 prophets of Baal dancing around the alter on Mt. Carmel!

    Your upcoming opportunity to hear from Pastor Vladimir is exciting! We will pray that it will be a great day. Oftentimes the best thing medicine for a group of seekers or new believers is to hear a non-foreigner testify of God's grace and the veracity of the Word of God. I guess technically he is also a foreigner to your people, but not nearly so much as an American.

    I am thrilled about your new Wednesday night services in English. Great idea! And I am honored that you are using my book. I hope it will encourage and strengthen all who attend.

    Finally, I am excited about your upcoming ladies activity. Huge step of faith, but you are right...we serve a great God! We will pray in faith and anticipate a wonderful report.

    So proud of you and Ron and the kids for the work God is doing through you in Estonia. We love you.

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  3. This post was SUCH a blessing! Praising the Lord with you all!

    Will be praying for your upcoming ladies' tea and can't wait to see how God works.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing the details of Lena's salvation! We are rejoicing with you! I will be praying for you Ladies meeting and you Wednesday night services.

    By the way love the colors you picked for your auditorium:)

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  5. How I enjoyed reading this post! So good to see what God is doing in a European country. I know many times the mission field in Europe is a much harder and slower one than other areas of the world. Thanks for being faithful there. I am so excited with you to see the fruit of it. I am praying for your requests, especially for your ladies' tea. I remember teaching my first time in Swahili--definitely a huge step but so worth it! It will endear their hearts to you even more.

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  6. Such an encouraging post, Rachel!

    And, I'm thrilled you'll be speaking without an interpreter. You go, girl! :) I'm so proud of you!

    Please tell Vladimir and Olya hello from us. They are precious friends of ours! (We know them because they come to our teen camp each year.)

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An encouraging word is always welcome and much appreciated!

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