MO Update: S. & H. (Central Asia)

December 9, 2010

As of December 6th . . .

Dear Prayer Partners,

It’s been ages since we’ve written an update to you.  Sorry for the long lag time, but I hope that we will be able to get more regular updates sent out from now on.

We are well overall.  K and I are going to Russian school in the morning and then OAK in the afternoon.  Despite the intense schedule, getting back into a routine has been very good for our whole family.  Meanwhile J is happily enjoying life and oblivious to all the craziness around her. H and I are busy with OAK, work and ministry.  While it’s been busy, we feel it’s a huge privilege to be here in our city during such a time as this.  One of the highlights during the week is going out on Mondays to visit [ ] homes that were burnt during the June violence.

For the past few months, a group of expats workers and national believers have been visiting these families who were directly affected by the ethnic violence this past summer.  We not only pass out aid and clothes, but also the precious Word of God.  We’ve been amazed at how eagerly [they] have been asking for the Word.  To date, over 5000 copies of the [NT] and similar numbers of Psalms and other OT books have been handed out!  And even more amazing than the number of copies, is the openness of the people.  Many are reading and many are hearing the Gospel.  Some have made a profession of faith and now we are eagerly waiting and praying for churches to start.  As God always does, He turns what was meant for evil into good.

Pray with us that God will work and move in these families that have received the Word and heard the Truth.  I personally have been telling people that if they see a man in a bright white robe in their dream, listen to what he says.  The Holy Spirit has been working thru dreams in this part of the world.  We are also asking God to do signs and wonders as the Gospel goes out … just like in the book of Acts.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in our city as the Gospel goes forth like never before!

Also continue to pray for peace over our city.  It’s been nearly 6 months since the violence broke out this past summer.   Life is normal in some ways, but things are still quite tense.  Just one week ago, our city went thru a bit of a scare.  The official report says that an Islamic militant group was discovered and as the authorities went to arrest them, the militants opened fire and threw a grenade resulting in 4 deaths – all of them militants.   The word on the street, at least amongst [some of the ethnic minority], is that this is still part of a government campaign to intimidate and oppress the minority [ ].  It’s always so hard to tell who to believe.  But for about 4 hours, [our city] was in absolute hysteria.  People were scrambling everywhere and calling on their cell phones to warn their loved ones that the fighting had started again.  The roads were jammed with cars as everyone tried to flee from the bazaar where the shoot-out took place.  I was driving back home with K and I  when it happened and while it was bit scary, we got back home safely without any problems.  The kids were very calm as we drove back.  But as soon as we got in the door, they made a beeline for their room and calmly started to pack their bags.  When we asked what they were doing, they said matter-of-factly, “We need to be ready to go”.  Our kids are already crisis veterans.   Thankfully, nothing came of this latest incident and life is calm again with the city sort of back to normal.  But tensions are still high and unfortunately, it looks like such flare-ups will be a more regular part of life here.

Now H will share an urgent prayer request.  In August, my knee started to bother me quite a bit. Instead of getting better with rest, it slowly started getting worse and worse to the point of having to be pushed around in a wheel chair in airports when we had to travel for a conference.  When we went to see a Rheumatologist, he gave us the discouraging news that my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) was back and that I had to get back on all the medications.  That news got us very discouraged and for several days we went through a dark time, wondering what our future held.  During that time, God spoke the words of Psalm 23:4 to me, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”  The words that ‘He is with me’, even in this sickness, comforted me greatly.  Without taking anti-inflammatory painkillers twice every day, it is very difficult to go through the days but thankfully with them, I am able to function better.  We are still praying to God for healing once again.  This time completely!  Please pray with us for His miraculous healing.

As always, we are thankful for our prayers.

Blessings,

S&H

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