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Not talking about C.

Would you mind terribly if I mentioned nothing about COVID-19? I believe I’m likely not alone in feeling that I really wouldn’t care a smidgen if I had a break from the subject.


viber_image_2020-10-24_08-54-22_thumb[9]Max was back! (Far left in the photo).  He was here a few years ago and eventually “graduated” and went back to his home city.  He came back here five months ago for a brief stay before sneaking out at night to cook up some drugs - something that quite naturally ended his rehab stay with us. We didn’t think we would take him back, but four months and a lot of methadone later saw him again humbled and desperate for help… at least, that’s what we hoped. The lads proceeded to watch him NOT go through withdrawal… and knew something was up. A number of them warned him that he was not being honest… but it took 7 days before he was caught with drugs that he had smuggled in. Yesterday morning, we sent him away again. Max, Max!!! He assured us that he was going to go to another rehab centre. May God have mercy on our desperate friend, Max.

Oleg, pictured in my last post working in the church building, left us a few weeks ago. He had been with us for a few months and didn’t ever seem to get out of 2nd gear. He knew God’s Word and thought of himself as a Christian, but sadly, he chose to commit suicide a week after taking off. Of course, whenever something like this happens, it shakes up the guys who are left behind. It is a warning of what can happen if they go back to their old lifestyle. As I processed the news, I just felt numb – not the numbness that comes because of emotional overload, but the other sort where I didn’t really feel anything. Oleg is my fourth drug-addict friend who has committed suicide after going back to drugs. Surely he won’t be the last. Succinctly: “sigh”.

Pasha is again in the Netherlands. He’s waiting for the car market to open soon with hopes of buying a few cheap cars to bring back. Our other van is on its way and will arrive later today after being turned back by the Polish border officers because they were feeling temperamental. Kolya, the driver, waited several hours and then tried again. Easy done. We managed to sell two more cars, (our nicest), this past week, which was a big relief as we needed the funds to keep bringing cars in.

Edit: The market is open and we are one of many hopeful buyers.

For the car lovers: We just bought a Renault Scenic 2007 for €1300. And we are haggling over a Toyota Corolla Versa 2007 for €3400. That’s a bit more than what we normally like to pay, but we stand to earn well on it. And lastly, we just now picked up a Honda Civic Hybrid 2007 for €2000. That’s the most exciting buy of the day. It was all we had left. If we’d had more, we would have paid more. Thankfully the owners agreed to sell. 1603366624357603_thumb[9]God has blessed.

As a church, we have been going through the Apostles’ Creed at our mid-week gathering. I’m amazed that people are really enjoying it. It isn’t exactly presented in the most captivating format, but it is good teaching. Last week during the discussion time, the room was lit up with a question and then three different opinions. 1. Baptism is for believers no matter their maturity. 2. Baptism is for believers after they have been tested and proven faithful. 3. Baptism is covenantal and is for infants as well as for adults. For me, one of the best ways to learn is to listen to opposing opinions publicly critiquing one another. I hope that all but two of our church members now believe that Baptism is for believers no matter their maturity. J

We have two guys getting baptized this Sunday.

David, (with the kids in the photo below), is the youngest guy we’ve had go through rehab. He was introduced to drugs by the son of a pastor in a church his mother attended. After a while, his mother joined him in his addiction. After he’d been here several months, she also came down and went through rehab. David is working, living with brothers and being faithful in the Christian disciplines. Praise the Lord.IMG_1834_thumb[2]

Andre (“And-Rambo” – as many of the guys now refer to him), is 52. He told me recently that he got into crime at an early age and as a 15-year old, was earning in one day what would take both his parents a month to earn together. He’s been arrested by the KGB, nearly killed countless times, served in the army until he got concussed by a mortar round… became an alcoholic, then was introduced to Jesus. He’s a likeable chap and it will be a privilege baptizing him on Sunday.  When he noticed the ladies trying to jump start their “automatic” after a ladies meeting, he decided to get involved.

IMG_1833_thumb[54]I have no idea how many alcoholics and drug addicts live in Ukraine. I’m convinced that the number is enormous. I’m part of a group that discusses different questions regarding this area of ministry – and over 120 pictures, (I put together 39 for you), have been posted during the last 40 days of men and women needing to be placed in a rehab centre or leaders wanting information on new people who are seeking help in their centres. God will be merciful to some of these men and women and they will be granted the same wonderful privilege that you and I have – to worship Almighty God with our lives.  That is incentive enough to keep on going when some of them give up.

May God bless you with peace and joy and a deep trust in Him. P.S. You'll have to click on the large photos to view them properly.