Tribute to Heroes
I first saw the following email message from my missionary friend, John Murphy, on Monday morning, July 28:
“I’m not sure if you heard the news about Kryzhenovsky or not, so I just wanted to pass this on to you both. Rostislav saved a drowning 12-year old girl the other day. Sadly, however, he wound up losing his own life in the process. As you both know, he was a good man who will be dearly missed by many.
Rostislav was the Director of Open Christian University in Odessa, Ukraine, and a warm personal friend. I have been teaching classes on Worldview and Relationships at Open Christian University for about ten years and can testify that rarely in all my travels would I receive a warmer reception than coming to “report for duty” at Rostislav’s office ASAP when I arrived in Odessa. I know he was a very busy man (with staff, issues with the government, and about 1200 students), but rarely did he make me wait to see him. Only a couple of times do I remember him telling the receptionist that he was in a meeting and couldn’t come right away. Normally he would come out immediately from his secluded back office to the open office, greet me with a big smile and open arms, and then ask his secretary to bring us tea and cookies while we reconnected and prayed together. We could communicate without an interpreter in German as our common language.
By the way, it was Rostislav who introduced me to John Murphy on the steps of OCU. The news of his “untimely” death struck me in the heart. Then I realized that it is only untimely from our very limited human perspective. David prayed, “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand . . .” Psalm 31:14-15
After some time for contemplation and prayer, it also occurred to me that this man of God died as he had lived – in self-giving sacrifice. I think he will be a hard man to replace, but “Jehovah Jirah – the Lord will provide.” God had Joshua in line for greater service when He called Moses Home. Please pray with us for God’s leading for the officials at OCU to select the right man to step into that important leadership role. Please pray for God’s comfort for Rostislav’s wife, family, friends, staff, and students. Pray that his heroic self-sacrifice will inspire multitudes of others to step up to self-giving service to our Savior. Let’s also pray that the rescued girl and her family give their lives to Jesus, if they have not already done so.
When I asked Burton and Berna Brown to pray this prayer after telling them of Rostislav’s death, Berna told me her amazing testimony. Her grandfather was a Russian who came across the Bering Strait to Alaska and married an Eskimo woman. Berna was born and raised in Alaska. When she was nine years old she and her sister (or friend) were walking together toward town (Nome, I think) with her older brother (1 ½ years older). Soon he saw some dangerous dogs not far away. They belonged to a neighbor who had been warned that his sled dogs were too dangerous and he needed to get rid of them. (They were part Husky and part wolf.) Although her brother was nearly scared to death by those dogs, he bravely stepped up to the situation. He told his sisters to stay there and he would divert the attention of the dogs, so he took off running away from them. Horrified, Berna and her sister saw their own brother pulled down and ripped up by those vicious dogs. Berna was petrified by shock at first, but then ran to tell her grandfather what was happening. Neighbors also stepped in to help, but it was too late to save her brother’s life. Self-giving sacrifice! A hero!
When Berna was ten years old, she heard the gospel for the first time. She told me, “When I learned how Jesus sacrificed His life for me, I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t hold back – I gave my life to Jesus.” Now at age eighty-one, Berna still loves Jesus, and so does her husband, Burton. He told me that he still remembers when I baptized him, and thanked me for doing what was a privilege. Now in latter years, they struggle with crippling health issues (both use walkers and Berna is losing her eyesight. They struggle with finances – the roof of their house needs replaced, etc.) and struggle with some serious issues with family members Berna has asked us to pray for, yet they continue faithfully loving God instead of blaming Him. They give sacrificially and cheerfully to help others through their support and prayers for Overseas Outreach. Burton and Berna – we appreciate you very much and thank God for you – and others like you who faithfully trust God to provide while they cheerfully give, pray and serve our Lord Jesus. Great will be your reward! You are our heroes.
A Look at Other Heroes
I believe it was 1983 when Don DeWelt wrote to me about his plans for a new tabloid, One Body, to promote the unity of the Body of Christ for the evangelization of the world. I had been a student in his writing class, and I felt honored that he asked me to write an article for this paper. Don recruited Victor Knowles to be the editor of One Body, and he would be the publisher. In February 1984 Don launched this tabloid. Victor Knowles has faithfully and with devotion and excellence served as editor of One Body for over thirty years, and now it is a beautiful full color magazine. A few years later (1992) Victor & Evelyn decided to take a huge step of faith by launching One Body Ministries and going full time with this ministry of reconciliation (and leaving behind a secure position and regular salary as preaching minister for Fairview Christian Church in Carthage, Missouri).
In the summer of 1993 we were campers at New Life Northwest (near Washougal, Washington) when Victor was keynote speaker for the week. That’s when he asked me to consider being Northwest representative for One Body Ministries (which is now Peace On Earth Ministries – P.O.E.M.) Five years later, September 1997, Della and I made the long trip to Joplin, Missouri, from Gresham, Oregon, to attend the “Convocation” – celebration of five years of full-time ministry for Victor & Evelyn with One Body Ministries. It was there that I got personally acquainted with Reggie Thomas while eating breakfast together, and God used him to open the opportunity for service now known to you as Overseas Outreach. (Now our display board, which Della designed for my speaking appointments, has Overseas Outreach in the middle with POEM on one wing and NWSM on the other.
It is an honor for us to also serve as co-workers with Victor & Evelyn Knowles – humble, gracious, faithful servants of our Lord Jesus who are passionately promoting the unity of the Body for the evangelization of the world. On my desk in front of me is a pin Victor sent me which reads, “Pray John 17:21 Each Day!” It’s a good reminder. John 17:21 is found in the middle of Jesus’ own fervent prayer the night before He was crucified. It reads: “ that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
Both Victor & Evelyn have been dealing with serious health issues the past few years. Victor lost his voice for months, but God gave it back to him. Evelyn is losing her hearing. Yet in spite of health struggles and financial struggles (all ministries have financial struggles), they keep on keeping on – being faithful to their calling. Victor & Evelyn – you also are heroes of the faith! It is an honor to serve with you.
Here is a copy of a letter I wrote to Victor in June:
The spring issue of One Body on “The Uniqueness of Christ,” is beyond outstanding! Thank you again for orchestrating another classic!
Boyce’s article “The Uniqueness of Christ’s Life,” gives us the names and quotes of three unbelievers who paid tribute to the excellency of Christ’s life, and one of them, George Henry Walser, founder of the city of Liberal, MO, was converted to Jesus. His tribute to Jesus is accurate and excellent!
What is the difference between these unbelievers (including one who became an avid believer in Jesus) and the new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hichins, Sam Harris, etc? Those Boyce quoted were accurate historians who honestly evaluated the impact of the life and teachings of Christ. The new atheists are mockers and scoffers willing to ignore and distort history to advance their perverse agenda. Solomon, Isaiah, Paul and Peter all wrote about such individuals.
“A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.” Prov. 19:28
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” Isa. 5:20-21 . . .”
Glad to be your brother,
Georges & La Verne Carillet have also had serious health problems to deal with, and she has recently had multiple surgeries. Financial problems – huge! Frustrations – gigantic! Yet they keep on keeping on serving Jesus. Thank you for your example as contemporary Christian heroes! Here is a copy of a letter I wrote to Georges on 7-5-14:
Good prayer letter/report. It was really good to see pictures of you and Sergei with other co-workers.
I understand and relate to both the joy and the tears you wrote about. We thank God for the fruit of so many changed lives God has raised up from your 20 years of service in Crimea – and their continuing service for Christ. What a legacy!
We pray often for both of you and your co-workers. Della faithfully prays for LaVerne. She easily relates to the pain and frustration LaVerne deals with.
Thank you so much for keeping us informed. Soldier on, brother!
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
May Almighty God continue to expand your godly influence to His glory.
Respectfully yours & His,
How to Experience Joy from A to P
On July 20, I preached a message with the title in this heading at the Christian Church of Redmond (Oregon). The “A” represents “appointed,” “anointed,” and “astonished.” The “P” is taken from three words beginning with “p” which I found in the text – “preached,” “persuaded,” “persecuted.” They preached the good news, they persuaded the open hearted to believe, and they were persecuted for doing so, yet verse 52 reads, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Peter wrote to strangers (refugees) who were being persecuted for their faith and emphasized this theme of joy in spite of their circumstances. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9
Israel is now under attack from Hamas terrorists and Ukraine is in grave danger. America is threatened from enemies within and without her borders (and the tensions are building toward exploding into civil war). Are we willing and ready to believe and obey God’s “Triangle of Triumph”? “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Let’s also earnestly pray that some Russian commandos and Ukrainian Marxists will be drawn to Christ and will surrender to Him because of the faith, hope, love and joy of the believers.
Respectfully in the joy of Jesus,
From Our Mailbox
We have mentioned before that Overseas Outreach is mainly a support ministry for incredible ministries in Ukraine, who are working on shoestring budgets. Following are excerpts from letters from Georges Carillet and Sergei Golovin, both expressing their gratitude for the gifts we were able to send to help in their ministries (thanks to your generous and consistent donations to Overseas Outreach).
“Dear Friends – the Deightons and other contributors,
“Everyone wonders what the future of Ukraine and Crimea will look like and what the future of the ministry of TMI and CIU will be in that case. We wonder too!…..CIU has undergone some changes and there will be more changes, but two things are for certain: (1) God will always want people under any and every circumstance to know him and his redemptive love in Christ Jesus; and (2) TMI and CIU are committed to continue working together to proclaim God’s good news in Jesus, make disciples, and equip Christians for ministry in whatever their vocation, occupation or situation…..
“In our first school year as ‘the CIU Center,’ we have had over 100 different students under our influence…..
“Your faithful prayers and financial support are appreciated and essential to our moving forward in this time of change. The CIU staff has created a ‘home-made’ two-minute thank you video for you posted at themissionsnetwork.com under ‘Reports from Ministries’ (then click on Europe).
“With your generous help with our Crimean crises travel/emergency funds, TMI & CIU’s ministry will continue to advance. Glad to help with getting funds to Andrei and Anya and the Schalbyetsky family.
Yours and His, still sharing the Good News in Ukraine & Crimea,
Georges & LaVerne and the CIU Team”
“Dear beloved brothers and sisters,
“Times of struggle and hardships are when your prayers and support encourage us most, and when the power of our Lord amazes us more than ever! Despite the troubles with which this world and its prince keep supplying us, our team, our ministry and our people, the Lord keeps doing the work of the Kingdom through His people!
“Part of our team, the Kiev headquarters is not only developing the teaching ministry in the way we did it before, but also coming up with new projects. The academic meetings at the Genesis Institute are going on regularly. We keep working on starting a School of Christian Apologetics. Now we are coming up with another project – a ‘Reliable Foundation’ apologetics and creation evangelism club, where people from various churches could come to share their insights and ask their questions. The Lord has also provided us with an opportunity to arrange a meeting with some influential people at the Ministry of Education and share about the need to incorporate Biblical truth into the public school Science curriculum. For the first time, it was not refused as a crazy idea. We believe Ukraine is ready for great changes, and hope that the system of education will be one of the areas where the changes will take place. Please pray with us for further movement in that direction…..
“We highly appreciate your constant prayers, care and support, and praise the Lord, Who has faithfully led and guided our ministry to this point as well as thank Him for a great joy and privilege to partner with you in the adventure of serving Him together!…..
Sergei Golovin for the entire CCSA team”
“Thank you so much for making yourselves available to me this morning. It turns out that the resource you pointed me to is exactly what I have been looking for. I had almost given up about 6 months back as I couldn’t find a resource that would engage all ages (youth and adults alike). I believe this set will. Praise the Lord! I believe getting a hold of you was a work of his hand in more ways than one! I will be in touch after I speak with Jim and Marvin.
God Bless, Melissa Owens”
“These two latest articles you sent are very inspiring. They once again reminded me of what God is capable of. We may make a thousand plans in our head but ultimately what happens is His sovereign will.
“I have developed a new habit not too long ago – writing letters to people! Not ordinary emails or Facebook texts but full length letters. Now it’s turning into one of my best habits. God blessed me with a heart that learnt to trust him in every situation and stay calm and happy always. I wanted to use this ability that God gave me to encourage others. So, I’m using this newly developed habit for that. Whenever I see my friends or someone I know going through tough times or needs some encouragement, I’m praying for them and writing them these letters of encouragement.
Now I’ve even started a blog. Along with letters to individuals, I’m writing open letters in my blog. They are accessible to everyone. These letters are mainly to encourage people in Christ and to share the gospel message. Pray that God guides me through and that his will be done in my life. Here is the blog address: www.paulsloveletters.wordpress.com
“I’m praying for you all and especially for Della. Hope she is doing well. Convey my greetings to her.
Your and His,
“Thank you…your letter is a blessing to me.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”
I know Rick that the Lord has and is blessing you…because you are a blessing to others.
The state of our country, the world…it seems has always been in great need for what is good and right in Christ Jesus. It looks to me the rejection of our Lord is more open and obvious. It seems the sin that separates man from God has come out of its regions and hiding places for us to see…taunting us, the people of God.
In His Grace, Steve” (Stephen A. Yagilnicky, President, Love Cradle USA Inc.)
Pray! Pray! Pray for Ukraine
Here are portions of an email we received months ago, but is even more needed now!
“Today, as never before, Ukraine desperately needs prayer. In light of recent events, we realize that only Almighty God can reconcile the conflicting parties and stop the violence and bloodshed in the country. . .
While revolutionary events which are followed by fires, explosions, deaths and disappearance of demonstrators unfold we kindly ask you once again to join us in prayer and fasting for a peaceful solution of the situation in Ukraine.
Other Prayer Requests
1. Refugees: One report from months ago reported 20,000 refugees from Crimea in Kiev. Now there are thousands more from Crimea and eastern Ukraine not only in Kiev but scattered throughout western Ukraine. Please pray for provisions and salvation for these refugees as Christians minister to their needs. We are sending Overseas Outreach funds for this vital support. May multitudes come to Christ in their hour of crisis!
2. Rescue mission: Our good friends, Ruslan and Sharyn Borodin are in western Ukraine planning and preparing to open a rescue mission to reach sex trafficked children, teens and women in Sevastopol, the naval base on the Crimean coast.
3. Surgery: Svetlana Babichenka needs surgery for a hernia. She should not be lifting, but that is nearly impossible with two young daughters – a one year-old and three year-old. Her husband, Roman, uses their car for taxi service, but has not had regular work since the tensions and war broke out early this year, so the financial strain is intense. We are sending funds to help. Please pray for a successful surgery, quick healing without infection, and for God to heal both Sveta and Roman of different forms of Hepatitis. (Roman took me to the airport in Kiev in the wee hours of the morning this past March 3. As with Rostislav, our language of communication is German.)
4. Orphans: In war, children usually suffer the most. Please pray for the orphan help ministries we support, and for the orphans of fallen soldiers in this ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
5. Prison ministry: Our publisher, Bruce Malone, founder of Search for the Truth Ministries, launched a prison ministry as well as campus ministry. Since we have contact information in the back of our books, we often get letters and requests from prisoners. We send them lots of books and Bible correspondence courses. One advantage prisoners have is time to study. Thousands have come to Christ through their study of the Word of God in prison. Pray for converted prisoners to be bold witnesses for Christ.
We have recently had two requests for our small book, Is the Bible Without Any Errors? to be translated into Spanish. The requests came from prison ministries. Ralph Shead of Literature and Teaching Ministries is considering these requests.
Bruce just had Ready to Give an Answer reprinted with a few corrections, and we donated 1,000 copies to American Rehabilitation Ministries. Please pray for God to use them mightily.
6. Oregon State Fair: Craig Hubler, a member of Design Science Association, ordered 300 copies of Is the Bible Without Any Errors? to distribute at the fair this month. Please pray for the effectiveness of their booth and outreach to inform believers and reach unbelievers. Pray for impact and conversions!
7. Update from Della – concerning recovery from her fall the end of May:
“Many of you have told us that you are praying for me – and for this I are very grateful! The nerves in two of my teeth were deadened, and as a result I recently had the root canals done. Those teeth are still quite sensitive. Next week I am scheduled to have the crown put on the tooth that was broken. A lump has developed on the side of one of the fingers I injured, and that still needs to be checked out. Thank you so much for caring and for praying! – Della”
1. We praise God with all our hearts for your generosity and prayers. We thank God for all of you who read these requests, pray and donate. God can – and does multiply what we give – like a small boy’s lunch with five crackers and two sardines!
2. Clarity about a Fall Mission Trip: I’ve asked, “Lord, what would you have me do concerning a mission trip this fall?” We have received clear answers to specific prayers. I will not be going on an overseas mission trip this fall – neither to Ukraine, nor to the Philippines. I believe it is God’s leading for me to concentrate on building on the foundation we have laid for Northwest Science Museum, contacting churches, leading seminars on Christian Evidences or Building Relationships, and working on Deighton Lighting projects to produce income.
The funds we don’t use for my travel expenses we can send to our excellent co-workers for the projects we’ve mentioned in the prayer requests.
“ONLY GOD can turn a
MESS into a Message,
A TEST into a Testimony,
A TRIAL into a Triumph,
And a VICTIM into a Victor!”
~ Dave & Christy Grammon
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” ~ George Washington
“[July 4] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” ~ John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress.
“Christianity is supremely the power of purity.” ~ Ravi Zacharias
“The Benefit of Reading: Books can be expensive – but ignorance can be much more expensive! Truth is liberating!”
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” ~ Abraham Kuyper
“Majesty, worship His majesty,
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor, and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority,
Flow from His throne, unto His own, His anthem raise.
So exalt, lift up on high, the name of Jesus,
Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King.
Majesty, worship His majesty,
Jesus, who died, now glorified, King of all kings.” ~ Jack Hayford