June 2023 Austria, Canada, Israel, Italy, Turkey, UK, Ukraine Special Appeal, USA
Thanks for your prayers for our brother Iliya in his zeal to start an ecclesia in Vienna. As you can see from the below, he is developing some good contacts. Let us know if you'd like to meet up with them there some time this Summer as we plan to visit them again, Lord willing. CANADA
After lots of correspondence, a number of us from literally worldwide were delighted to be present online with a young married couple in Canada as they baptized themselves into the Lord Jesus online: VINCE and SUSAN. There's the video of the entire meeting at https://youtu.be/3JoQSMlwe-E
It's great to hear how these typical young secular Canadians came from Buddhism [Vince] and New Age [Susan] to be persuaded of the truth of the Bible and of the Lord Jesus, and one God the Father. It encourages us that the rising generation do indeed have a conscience for the Lord and are reachable, even if they are leery of walking into a church. Their testimony about their journeys is really worth listening to. And their joy afterwards was clear- the joy and peace of true Christianity, as Bible Basics
is subtitled. ISRAEL
We are planning a get together of our brethren and contacts in the Galilee over the Friday and Saturday of July 12 and 22, God willing. Let us know if you're able to attend.
We are planning a get together of our brethren and contacts near Torino [Turin] on Saturday 1st July God willing. Let us know if you're able to attend.
We are planning a get together of our refugee brethren and contacts in central Turkey on Saturday June 24th God willing. Let us know if you're able to attend.
These initiatives all cost quite a bit of money and we're open to your support. We will also be giving welfare to our brethren facing various needs.
"I felt really good today I thought that I was at home with my family", one brother texted after having been away on holiday. We really are developing into a functional and quite large spiritual family. Our four times / week studies on the Gospel of Luke continue in Croydon, with attendance averaging 30 people at each session. Due to work and family responsibilities, virtually nobody comes to all four meetings, from Sunday to Wednesday. We have a wider group of around 130 people who attend when they can or interact with us online. This week we baptized MIHAI, a Romanian gentleman who attends our Lunchtime Church meetings. Brother Marcus at 90 years old got down on his knees by his own bath tub to do the immersion. You can see the video at https://youtu.be/4jWIaLzSFVE
And here's Marcus again with some of our sisters- Marzena from Poland, Korin from Sweden and Dana from Latvia. And we all ended up in Croydon, South London, brought together and fused into a true spiritual family. Talks this week have been
Luke 17 Attitude of gratitude:
The ten lepers https://youtu.be/L60LsJ2HRRE
Luke 17 Remember Lot's wife:
The second coming and judgment https://youtu.be/ddx2zx-9ZOk
Luke 18 The persistent widow https://youtu.be/sn9m5vFWmkA
Luke 18 The rich young ruler https://youtu.be/KKvRnKvovyQ
UKRAINE SPECIAL APPEAL
Readers will be aware that the destruction of the dam at Nova Kakhovka has caused huge suffering- 7 cubic miles of water flooding 300 square kilometers. The position is even worse n the Russian held side of the Dnepr. We are receiving deeply upset calls and messages from our brothers and sisters with relatives or friends in that area, although to our knowledge there are none of our baptized brethren currently in the flooded zone. The destruction is massive and long term. Quite apart from the traumas related to the Ukrainian counterattack and massive drone and missile attacks throughout Ukraine at this time. It has been an awful week. Readers may also recall the efforts we made last year to provide firewood and heating for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Those most affected are those who fled from the Russian occupied areas and are living in poorly insulated wooden or derelict homes, without much insulation. Before Winter comes, our desire is to try to fortify their homes against the Winter. We have a number of elderly or invalid brothers and sisters who need such help before the Winter comes. So this Summer we intend to visit them and do what we can to insulate some homes, and pay for contractors where possible to do some repairs for others whom we won't be able to personally reach. Brother Mark and sister Lisa Hawkins hope to accompany brother Duncan in July God willing, to have a go at doing and arranging this. We are really open to your support- it's the kind of project which could really absorb as much support as is given to it. Please do support as you can, and do pray for our wisdom.
Here are some file photos of the kinds of issues- sister Anzhelika, herself in poor health, had her windows smashed twice by blasts. We reported previously "Her block of flats was hit by grad missiles, shattering the glass from her windows. Her very elderly father repaired them for her as best he could. But then a mine went off in the yard and shattered them again. She has tried to fix them up with clear cellophane and sellotape, but as you can see, this has now ripped. The wind makes quite a noise. As the temperatures have been -20 and are set to go down there again [you can see the snow on the ground in the photo], this makes it very cold for her". Our aim is to try to fix these kinds of issues before the next Winter sets in.
Brother Tim Anderson from Virgina USA reports with evident joy the baptism of TIMMY, another example of a non-standard person coming to the Lord in these last days:
Our friend Timothy Medlin (now 58) showed up one day two years ago at the daily Bible class we have at RVA Light. A program started by a sister here to benefit Richmond Virginia's homeless community. (RVALight.com). He had recently been released from serving time for petty theft to support his habits as the homeless typically do to survive. I still remember where he and I was were sitting when at the end of class he said he would like to find a church to join to help him turn his life around. After class I offered to pick him up from his group home (a government sponsored program) and bring him to our meeting. He was waiting out front when I arrived and when he got in my car the smell of cigarette smoke was overwhelming! (We have since encouraged him to stop smoking and supply him with nicotine gum.) He was comfortable with us and asked to continue to be picked up to attend.
As I slowly learned his story of being on psych meds for hallucinations and hearing voices since getting out of the Army after high school, along with alcoholism and drug use, his homelessness at times is understandable.
He was in and out of the hospital , having his meds adjusted as we worked our way through Introduction to Bible Basics the first year. He would suddenly disappear for weeks at a time, and because of confidentiality rules here I was unable to locate him until he reappeared. We were finally ready to baptize him in February 2022 when after another visit to the hospital to have his psych meds adjusted, the hospital discharged him without a referral to a homeless shelter. He called me after his released from the hospital to take him to a homeless shelter not knowing he needed a referral. So I brought him home and we fed him a warm meal around our kitchen table, and I called the doctors who were on the paperwork he was given that morning, when released from the hospital. They advised he should not have been released without a referral to a shelter, and to return him to an emergency room in the city to be readmitted. The temperatures were in the teens at this time at night.
We did stop by the free shelter from 7 PM to 7 AM where they could stay but no meals or food was provided and he physically got sick upon seeing the line around the side of the building waiting to get in. So the hospital excepted him that night and the next morning the doctors said his government insurance would not cover being readmitted. So they ordered an Uber to take him to that homeless shelter that upset him so much. Rather than calling me, he redirected the Uber to a bank and handed the teller a note, and immediately raised his hands. Knowing he would be arrested, but have a warm place to stay and three meals a day. (On the street here it's called 3 hots and a Cot!) Fortunately, he was not charged with a crime, the government knowing his history of mental struggles. It was a year before he was released. Trying various medication's to stabilize him. In the meantime, I had him write a letter to the bank apologizing to the teller, and I delivered it for him, explaining his situation. We also continued our studies over the phone by collect call from the jail at four cents a minute.
Finally, upon his release, he is in another group home the government is providing and he is back at meeting with us. Seeing as he is estranged from his family, we are now his family, while in jail he would call me almost every day. We are so thankful to have him now as a brother and asked that you keep Timmy in your prayers, for God to heal and stabilize his mind so he will be able to serve our Lord Jesus and Father in whatever capacity he has.
Just some additional comments of the past year.
Christmas Eve he called and as we ended our call with a prayer he asked if he could give a prayer too! It brought me to tears as he thanked God for me and the ecclesia's love and care for him. All year long he called and I had to learn to just let it go to voicemail and answer when I had time to spend quality time with him. Here's a screenshot of my call log last year!
On a funny note he by chance pretended to hold up my bank! After his arrest I asked if he still had his Bible he had yellow highlighted so many verses in, and he said it was left outside the bank in his bag that had all his possessions in. So he was back to zero possessions and a leaving inmate gave him his Bible at his release. Covid protocols are still in place so no visitors, so by talking with the guards and nurses trying to get information I discovered he was well known from the past and they said they were watching out for him. Timmy was perfectly content being in ward with 40 other inmates because he was receiving 3 meals a day and had a warm bed. He has never owned a car and even got married for a while till she took all her teeth out one night, then he got an annulment real quick he said. It's been a very humbling experience teaching Timmy and one day soon he will be healed. The brethren here at the Richmond Chapel Ecclesia (richmondchapel.org) have been so supportive in providing spiritual encouragement, clothing and even a bicycle! Come Lord Jesus!
- For those recently baptized
- For those like Timmy who come from a non-standard background as they try to fit in to more standard church life
- For our various missionary trips planned this Summer
- For the needs in Ukraine and for wisdom in trying to assist
With love from your brothers and sisters of Carelinks