Due to inclement weather, the 9 a.m. service for Sunday, Jan. 20 has been cancelled. We will have one morning service at 10:45 a.m. as road conditions improve.

The W. Family (Secured)

March 2022

Dear Friends,

How many times over the past months have we longed for something - anything - to knock Covid 19 out of he headlines? Well, how about the threat of World War 3? While some may think that suggestion is a little extreme, the extraordinary events of the last two weeks have, once again, turned our world upside down! As much of our regular ministry is shoved to the back burner, please forgive me if this letter is dominated by other news.

On my birthday, Febrary 24, we woke up to the news that the long-threatened invasion of Ukraine was finally underway. Kharkov, pronounce "HAR-kuv" in Russian, "HAR-keev" in Ukrainian, is the 2nd largest city in Ukraine. It was our home from 1997 until 2013, when we left our church there under Ukrainian leadership, not knowing that a mere 2 months later Russian backed separatists would begin hostilities which have now, 9 years later, flared into all-out war.

In 2013, against all expectations, Kharkov, which sits only 40 miles from the Russian border, was never occupied as were the western provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the whole of the Crimean Peninsula. This time, as you know Karkov has not been spared; and you may imagine our heartbreak as we see videos of bombs exploding on streets where we walked and missiles striking buildings we drove past almost daily for 16 years! You may also imagine our concern for our Ukrainian friends and co-workers still living in this city! Many our our former church members have escaped without injury, yet some have remained. Of those who have left Kharkov, most have simply moved to cities and villages which are quieter, further from Kharkov.
Our hearts were gladdened to know that for the first few days of the crisis, our church, Lighthouse Baptist, or simply "The Lighthouse" as it has come to be known, served as a distribution and storage place for emergency supplies as well as a safe retreat for some as they awaited trains to be evacuated from the city.

In 2002 we bought 3 adjacent apartments on the ground floor of an ancient apartment building just 2 blocks from the train/subway station. We removed walls and converted the three apartments into a meeting hall for the church and an efficiency apartment for a caretaker. We chose the location because of its proximity to the main mass transportation hub so that over 2 million people could hop on any of 5 modes of public transport and be dropped off practically at the door of the church! Little did we suspect that this location might someday literally save lives. One family we have spoken to had to flee the bombing of their neighborhood and ran over 5 miles through the subway tunnels, the subway long since having ceased to operate, to emerge and seek refuge at the Lighthouse. not only did the space serve as a lighthouse of the Gospel for almost 20 years, it quite literally also became a Refuge! A few days ago, the Lighthouse itself was finally abandoned. Bombs continue to fall, and today we do not know whether the Lighthouse still stands, or indeed if our people, now to be scattered across Europe, will ever meet as a church again! We do, however, rejoice in knowing that it has served a great purpose in dire circumstances!

In Bulgaria, even as our church attendance creeps back up after months of Covid restrictions, we find ourselves busy getting ready to assist the flood of refugees we expect to pass through. Bulgaria does not share a border with Ukraine, but the port city of Varna is only about 200 miles across the Black Sea from Odessa, the main port of Ukraine. Penny and I have made preliminary plans to house refugees in our inland city of Veliko Turnovo; but have not yet received any. First, we have agreed to help in Varana, 3 hours drive away, which is receiving a flood of refugees already. We have been asked to help as translators because of our previous experience speaking Russian. Pray for us, because after 8 years learning Bulgarian, our Russian is "rusty" to say the least!

How I long to write a prayer letter full of good news, but for now, allow me only to beg your prayers. As tenuous as the international situation is, the refugee problem promises to be huge! Pray that we will be able to communicate well. Most Ukrainians we see now are only passing through Bulgaria to places farther west, and our contact with them will be brief. Later on, however, we may encounter many who escaped with only the clothes on their backs! Pray for unusual recall of our Russian, and unusual wisdom to show forth Christ to those whose worlds have quite literally been torn apart ! Besides prayer, our greatest need will be for funds to help desperately need Ukrainian refugees.

In his loving care,
D and P
1 Timothy 1:7
December 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It's hard to believe that another year is almost behind us. It's hard to believe how much the world has changed in this one short year. it's hard to believe we are approaching two full years of COVID, and it's hard to believe the extent to which this pandemic has affected us all, regardless of whether we have actually been infected with the virus ourselves. But of all the things of which we might say, "it's hard to believe..." the one thing that comes to my mind, especially at this time of year, is that which may be most incredible and unbelievable of all -- It's hard to believe that God would send His only Son into this world to save sinners! We do, however, believe it, for his Advent changed the entire course o human history and has changed our lives! Once again we rejoice together with you as we celebrate His birth!

At the beginning of November, COVID numbers in Bulgaria rose once again into the "red zone" -- the highest level of restriction, causing us once again to suspend our in-person Sunday services. We trust we will be able to resume regular services before the Christmas season, which affords us some of our best opportunities for ministry.  Most every season we are asked to speak in schools and organize activities for children, which in turn gives us contact with parents. Pray with us for open doors this holiday season.

The last two years have been especially hard on the elderly. Two of our people are residents at the home for the elderly, and they have been under "house arrest" since the beginning of the pandemic. When weather permits, we visit them at the fence and have singing, Scripture reading and prayer. This is a great encouragement for them as you might imagine, but our friend, Peter, has been unable to meet us for several weeks now. he is 85 and quite frail -- afraid to venture outside since the weather has turned cool. Although Peter claims to have trusted Christ, we have reason to wonder, and it pains us to think he may be nearing eternity. pray for Peter and our friend Valya, who does her best to look after him, praying with him and for him. We have done our best to give him the Truth -- pray that he will make sure of his eternal destiny in the time he has left.

We want to send a special thanks to all who have given to our publication ministry. our first book on expository preaching is being well received, and we have begun our next book on corporate worship. As in the US, the need for social distancing and online worship is being viewed a s a convenient substitute for gathering together as the Church. Pray for the translation to go quickly and well and for this book to have an impact on the Bulgarian church.

We  close with 1 Timothy 3:16, "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory!"

As we rejoice in His first coming as a babe, let us eagerly await His second coming as King!


Dear patient fellow sufferers,

Is it presumptuous of me to begin with such a salutation? I think it’s safe to say that we all have suffered to one degree or another during the past twelve months, but let me repeat the encouragement I once heard and have shared on several occasions. For the child of God, all suffering has a purpose, all suffering has an end, and throughout all our suffering we have a Friend - One Who is “touched with the feelings of our infirmities” and Who always “sticks closer than a brother”! With this in mind, we can be sure that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!” Rom. 8:18.

We thank God for His provision during these trying times, and we thank each of you who have continued to give. Difficult times have forced a couple of our churches to decrease or discontinue support, but others, amazingly, have increased their support! In 2020 the mission noted a significant increase in gifts over 2019! Many faithful men and women of God continue to give even more abundantly than before!

Here in “B”, despite the lockdown, we have seen positive developments since the beginning of the year. The first Sunday of February we resumed church meetings in person and are praising the Lord that not one of our members has been stricken with the Covid virus! Meanwhile, we continue to see a slight but steady increase in “views” and “likes” of our Sunday Worship services which we continue to post on the church’s Facebook page.

The bookstore is emerging from the winter doldrums, which, of course, were made worse by Covid restrictions. Months of prayer have been answered, as we have now hired a sharp young Christian girl to help manage the store. She has already helped with online advertising, and we are glad that the bookstore can now remain open when we return for a short furlough from may through August. Speaking of the bookstore, we are grateful to have received a large shipment of barely used English books from a supporting church! This helps bring more customers in and gives the church more exposure as well!

There is more exciting news: we are now an officially recognized publisher. The bookstore can now publish books complete with ISBN numbers which will be recorded in the national library of our country. Our first book is translated, and we are now waiting for a quote from the printer. The book will soon be available for pastors and lay preachers all over the country. It is our goal to translate and publish at least one book each year, which will be useful in church planting, evangelism, and discipleship.

Finally, allow us to say one more big “Thank You” for all of your support and prayers offered on our behalf. We say with the Apostle Paul, we do not “desire a gift, but … fruit that may abound to your account!” Philippians 4:17

Rich Blessing to you all!

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