What are We Celebrating at Halloween?
It seems that Halloween is almost more important to Americans than Christmas, in recent years. It definitely gets more advertising than Thanksgiving. I wonder what the secular humanists are going to do when they realize that the word really means hallowed eve. Probably nothing as long as God Himself is not the one being hallowed (honored). Has it occurred to you that Halloween is not a hallowed eve – except for Satanists and witches covens – it’s their high Sabbath? Hasn’t Halloween degenerated into a celebration of death? What are the decorations we see – some starting in September? Witches. Goblins. Black cats. Skeletons. Skulls and crossbones. Jack-o-lanterns. Spiders and spider webs. Ghosts. What do they symbolize?
Once in Ukraine, when I was invited to speak in a school for their English classes during October, the teacher asked me to speak about Halloween. They were studying American holidays, and wanted me to tell them my perspective as an American. They had the classroom decked out like American classrooms in October. It was one of my most difficult assignments, because I like to bring something positive and uplifting in my lessons. I did tell the students that I agree with many churches in America that have harvest parties to celebrate the goodness of God in bringing the harvest. Let’s celebrate the Hallowed One and His Harvest – not Halloween! Too many are celebrating death and devious doctrines of demons already!
Would you like a couple of suggestions about how to make a positive impact for Christ out of a negative influence holiday?
1. How about changing how we greet people to “Happy Harvest Eve” instead of “Happy Halloween”?
2. How about turning the Trick or Treat tradition into an opportunity for sharing truth by giving illustrated Christian booklets and a church invitation along with the candy? My favorite two booklets for this purpose are:
a. “Big Daddy” available from Chick Publications, Phone: 909-987-0771 – www.chick.com
b. “The Atheist Test” available from Living Waters Publications, Phone 562-920-8431
You can still get yours by Happy Harvest Eve if you order today!!!
What a joy to have Ruslan and Sharyn Borodin as our house guests from the evening of September 25th until the morning of September 30th! I had arranged for them to share their YWAM plans at two congregations in our area. Morning Star Christian Church is a Russian-speaking church in Boise, and they were scheduled for the Thursday evening service and the Friday evening youth service. By the time they finished sharing their outreach to families with their thrift store and Christian literature ministries, their ministry to children, their “Ancient Paths” training sessions for building strong marriages and families, along with plans to plant a new base of operation in Sevastopol, the members of this congregation loved them too, and several remained to talk for well over an hour. In Sevastopol, the major military seaport on the Crimean coast, they plan to open a rescue mission to save those who are being deceived and trapped into the sex-trafficking slavery. By Friday evening Gennady Babichenko was so interested that he invited Ruslan and Sharyn to come back for their Sunday evening service. Please pray for Ruslan and Sharyn’s 40-20 plan. If they can get 40 individuals or congregations to commit to $20 per month or 20 to commit $40 per month, they will raise enough to accomplish their goals.
Excerpt from Sergei Golovin’s September Report
“We have started the new academic year with a landing party to the city of Kharkiv – an intellectual capital of Ukraine. It is a greatest stronghold of atheism we face in the country. The church there does not suffer any persecutions, but has the lowest growth rate at the same time due to the enormous resistance to anything dealing with religion. But as we say, drop by drop water breaks the stone. Through our trips there, through involvement Kharkov brethrens into our various programs as well as our involvement in their ones, we have developed a network of people with the passion of training and equipping the Body of Christ in the region. They have arranged that trip. Workshops for all auditories from young believers to the church ministers on the basics of effective evangelism, on better impact on society and the church, on shaping proper biblical worldview in next generation were richly amplified with fellowship that lasted beyond midnight every day. Please join our prayers for this team of devoted servants of Jesus in the hard place, as well as for the future abundant harvest they prepare the soil for!…
“I would like to share also an exciting feedback we received from a Christian couple who teach as professors in several top level national universities at Siberia: ‘Thank you so much for your wonderful resources! The works of Christian Center for Science and Apologetics is a fresh, gentle wind that helps to lead our young people in learning both the design of God’s creation and His holy will’. Gennady Sidorov, Ph.D. (Biology) and Olga Shustova, Ph.D. (Philosophy). Omsk, Siberia, Russia. May the Lord be praised!…
“The Training Center construction goes according to the plan by the Lord’s grace. Despite some rainfall, we are done with pouring concrete monolith framework of the New Retreat House (three story part of the multi-purpose building, raised the first walls there and hope to complete this part of the complex this year). Believe me or not, we have a first reservation for it already! Our partners from Moscow would like to have a family camp there in the summer. May the Lord be praised!”
1. Stephen Yagilnicky asked me to pray for God to supply house parents for orphans in Ukraine. They have a duplex for a family style orphans’ home, but one side is empty because they do not yet have house parents. Stephen is the director of a wonderful ministry entitled “The Love Cradle Mission” 215-723+0263, www.lovecradleint.org). Please pray and thank God for their work.
2. In our August letter when I gave congratulations to three couples with anniversaries of 46 and 50 years, I neglected to mention our long-time friends, Vernon and Ellen Landreth, who celebrated their 50th Anniversary in July. We were in Oregon at the time and missed the celebration. CONGRATULATIONS, VERNON & ELLEN! Thank God for their example of love and faithfulness and pray for God to use their bed and breakfast ministry to His glory.
3. Northwest Science Museum now has the keys for a rental room for the Vision Center. We are doing some painting and soon will have new carpet installed. We hope to have it open in November with stimulating displays. Please pray for impact! For all of us on the Board of Directors and our co-workers, please pray that 1) we keep our eyes on the goal, 2) keep our trust in God, 3) keep our confidence in His absolute truth 4) keep our passion burning for righteousness 5) Keep our attention focused on accomplishing what He has called us to do in spite of Satan’s tactics to distract and derail us! Please pray earnestly for funding.
4. By the time you receive this letter “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes” should be sent to Bruce Malone, Director of Search for the Truth Ministries, for publication. Please pray for wisdom for Bruce, for funding, and publication before the end of the year.
5. Our Overseas Outreach has the primary purpose of outreach with the gospel, whether overseas or here in the U.S.A. Our overseas focus is primarily on Ukraine and other former Soviet Union nations, but not entirely. Recently we received a letter from Nigeria requesting Bibles for 50 new Christians. Nigeria is a nation where there has been increasing violent attacks by Muslims against Christians. Since many Nigerians learn English, we are collecting used English Bibles in good condition for distribution in Nigeria. Members of Eagle Christian Church, our home congregation, have been very generous, and we now have many boxes of Bibles to send. Please pray and remember that God’s Word does not return void.
6. Our new friend, my former student from a middle Asian nation, and his family have been experiencing persecution, rejection and poverty. A recent note from him says approximately the following: “Hello Rick, I do not know how to tell you everything. I pray to God every day for the safety and peace for my family. We have nothing left; every day we stay at homes of different believers and hope that God will hear our prayers. They have deprived me of everything – house, car. Even the police harass me to leave the city ‘because I’m a Christian and very dangerous’. I ask all Christian brothers to pray for this need.” Yes, please pray for this family. Some of the mission funds you have shared with us we are sharing with him. We found a way through our brethren in Ukraine to safely transfer the funds to him.
7. In our August letter we shared about three baptisms which Zhenya Molodchy wrote about and included a picture. One of these, a man named Valik, was killed in a car accident later in August. Praise God that Valik made his commitment to Christ before his death and pray for comfort for his family. Wouldn’t we be wise to constantly remember Proverbs 27:1? “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (ESV).
From Our Mailbox
“Greetings from Southern Oregon! Just want you to know how much we love and care for you! My children (10 yrs. And 9 yrs.) have been faithfully covering you both in prayer and I am so grateful to have living, breathing, mission-minded mentors to point to as I teach them about the Great Commission! May your hearts be encouraged knowing that we are standing with you, even from afar!
Andria & Greg Fisher with Brett & Mickayla
“Got to spend a wonderful afternoon with Georges and a whole day with Nastia in Simferopol last week. Georges told me a story about a horse, a fence, and a barn he said you should elaborate on sometime. Sounds like you two have a lot of fun history together….Blessings to you as you focus on the book, the lighting company and the museum. No shortage of meaningful endeavors in your life. That’s for sure.
“Wow! What an expressive and beautiful book cover! Paul Sudhaker is indeed a talented man. I’ll look at my budget to see what I can do in purchasing some books. We are still praying for you to come to the Philippines next year. You and Della are a big blessing and encouragement for me.
“I absolutely like the newsletter that you sent to us. It is filled with good news – I’m glad you are about to publish new book. May the Lord provide so that His Word be proclaimed! Another thing that touched me in a special way is your ability to see signs from God in daily life – I mean the teddy bear example – and I agree we need to bow down before God so that He shows His mercy on us.
Love you both and praying for you and your ministry, Vika” (Havva)