A WONDERFUL THING
Today, a principal spoke after we finished the show. She thanked us and said that she was sure that the children would remember it the rest of their lives and be closer to God because of what they heard. This lady was not a believer, but God used puppets to touch her heart.
All of the teachers today were very happy with the program which was a very clear presentation of the Gospel and today included prayer at both schools. At every place, we are invited to return. Isn’t that awesome! More, we were not given many students at one school and I went and talked with the teacher in charge. It is so funny what God can use. I said to her, "It’s a shame that all the children can not see what the children on 5 continents enjoy." Then I smiled and walked off. I immediately went behind the stage and asked everyone to pray. The teachers began to talk among themselves and the room filled up. God is so good. I know that it is not important that we travel as a ministry on 5 continents. What matters is what God does and today He used that comment to motivate those teachers to bring us more children. Praise God!
A DIFFICULT THING
Tonight, we spoke at Pastor Alexandru’s church and were so surprised at what God did. All of us had agreed ahead of the service how long we would speak but none of us knew what the other was going to say. I want to tell you what God did. This is an exceptionally good team that the Lord has given me for this trip. None of them had ever done this before, but they have really risen to the opportunity. Everyone listened so clearly to God and it was incredible how each of our talks fit perfectly together.
I wanted to thank the church for praying for me so faithfully .Two years ago I came to their town, bu before I had an opportunity to meet them, I had to leave. My husband, Mike, died and I had to go home. Even though they had never met me, they had continued to pray for me these past two years. I told them many stories of what God was doing around the world with the children we serve. And I told them stories about my husband and his testimony. By telling them a story from each country, I walked them through each country we had visited this past year. I found it very difficult to speak tonight because tomorrow is the second anniversary of Mike’s death. I’m staying in the house in Moldova where I received the phone call that Mike had died in an auto accident. I spoke about God’s faithfulness. Also, I’m struggling with many memories and I told the people at church that tonight. I asked them to pray for me. I challenged them to reach the children of Moldova for Jesus Christ.
Then Gwen stood up to speak. Gwen and her husband, Kim, have had five children, but four are with the Lord. They died not long after they were born. Each one was held in their parent’s arms and named and loved by them. You should see my friend’s face. They have only one surviving son that they brought with them to Moldova. She has the sweetest face, full of such joy and peace. She shared this story with the people at church and then she sang, "In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified." Her son, Drew, encouraged the youth to listen to their pastor and participate in church. This was a great blessing to the young people.
Then Kim, Gwen’s husband, spoke. On Sunday he will be preaching and he plans to speak on II. Peter 1:3, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." In other words, God has given us everything we need to face what happens to us in life. He knows our suffering and He cares for us. His words connected all the testimonies. Please pray for him as he preaches on Sunday.
Then Marsha spoke. Marsha has been married for over 36 years and for the last fifteen years has worked as a hospice nurse, caring for the dying in the last months of their lives. She talked about how she has been with many people who are dying but it is so different when it is a believer who is going home. One day, she visited with a lady and realized that lady was very near death. The lady asked her what was happening. She told her that she was dying. Her response was, "I’m so glad I know Jesus."
Isn’t it sweet how all of these testimonies fit together so perfectly? I finished the program by telling one last story about Mike. I was going to Ukraine right after 9-11 happened in 2001. Eighteen other people were supposed to go with me, but they cancelled their trip. Mike sent me by myself. That year in Ukraine I heard many people referring to Mike as a hero of the faith because he trusted God with who he loved most in this world. I challenged everyone in the church to trust God with everyone and everything in their lives.
After we finished sharing, I had the privilege of giving our existing puppet team further training. This is the team that Sam Shaw, our assistant director, had initially trained two years ago. Sam stayed in Moldova and did this work so I could go home and know that we kept our promises to this precious group of believers. I know that all he wanted to do was get on the plane and fly to America with me. Sam loved Mike like a father and Mike loved him. I will always be grateful to him for doing such a great job under such difficult circumstances. Today I talked to some children who had been at a puppet show that Sam had done two years ago. They still remembered the story of Jonah that they had heard that day. Awesome!
Tomorrow we have four puppet shows in another city and we need your prayers. All of us are not feeling good for various reasons and we need you to ask God to give us strength. Even more, we beg you to pray for the children to respond to the Gospel and pray to receive Christ as their Savior. Please keep praying! Nothing will happen unless you pray!
Linda for Gwen, Kim, Drew, and Marsha