Joyous Homecoming from My Best Mission Trip Ever
Below is a copy of the email I sent to our amazing friends and co-workers in the gospel in Ukraine and Germany shortly after I arrived home.
When I was a child I learned a prayer from some relatives that they prayed at mealtime: “God is great! God is good! And we thank Him for our food!” Now in my more mature years I realize that I will never outgrow the truths expressed in this little rhyme. God is great! God is good! And I thank Him for a wonderful trip to both Ukraine and Germany! And I thank Him for thousands of miles of safe travel by car, plane, train, bus and by foot! And I thank Him for wonderful friends like you who exude love, grace, hospitality, generosity and prayer! And I thank God for my amazing and wonderful family! They still love me even though they know me better than anyone else – except God Himself.
It was so good to see Della and Sandy Monday evening when I arrived at the Boise airport, and it was so good to see David with the three younger children when we arrived at our home. And it was so good to see their big smiles and get their big hugs. Trinity Hope, our four-year-old granddaughter, was jumping up and down shouting, “I misted you! I misted you!” I told her “I misted you too.” (Remember that she has not yet studied German!)
By the way, when I mentioned “my more mature years” it reminded me that I will be seventy-two next Sunday, but I still feel and act like a kid much of the time. Maybe that is why I love my students in the universities – and they love me too. “God is great! God is good!” Amen and Amen!!!
Thank you for your love and prayers,
P.S. Trinity told Della and Sandy that she missed me because I give her piggy back rides. Phooey! I thought I was giving her horseback rides. Oh, well. I’m willing to be a pig for my beautiful, vibrant little granddaughter. However, Della did send me a note when I was in Ukraine to tell me Trinity said, “I love my grandpa. He’s so nice. I miss him.” (Now you know why I give her chocolate and “piggy back rides”!)
Reflections Concerning America
As I write these thoughts it is only a few days past Veteran’s Day, and I want to say thank you to those of you who have served, putting your own lives on the line to protect the rest of us. America – my home – as forged by the blood, sweat, tears, fortunes, and sacred honor of our forefathers is very special to me. A very good friend and faithful servant of Christ, Al Cinnamon, has asked me as well as many other Christians if we have allowed America to become our idol. Do we in our hearts believe that if America falls – Christianity falls (is destroyed) as well? I have thought about this and examined my heart. I know that historically there have been many civilizations – even empires – that have risen to power and prominence, then have degenerated through arrogance, apathy and indulgence to their own demise. They have burned out and fallen into the ash heap of history. I am aware of the pattern of discipline and sacrifice that raises a civilization to prominence and the slippery slide of degeneration and depravity that brings destruction. The America I love and that we sing about in patriotic songs such as “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” (which choke me up and bring tears to my eyes) is not the depraved nation that we have become. Now America is the biggest perpetrator of pornography in the world, the most powerful pusher of homosexuality, and we have on our hands as a nation the stain of over 50 million innocent babies. Do we think that Almighty God does not see this? I think Billy Graham was quoting his own wife, Ruth, back in the 1980’s when he said that if God does not judge America, He would need to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Do you recognize that in 2015 we are much further down the slippery slope of degeneration than we were in the 1980’s?
While I was in Ukraine, I not only told our brothers and sisters in Christ that I am praying for them and for Ukraine every day (sometimes many times a day), but I also requested their earnest prayers for America. For the past few years I’ve been praying that we do not degenerate into another civil war, and I told Christians in Ukraine and Germany that the tensions continue to build in America that could explode into another brutal and bloody civil war. Are you aware that more American soldiers died killing each other from 1861 to 1865 than have died in all the other wars in which America has been involved? Last year Michael Savage wrote a book, “How to Avoid the Coming Civil War”. Michael Savage, David Horowitz and several other conservative radio hosts and authors are astute analyzers of our precarious political position – but they are not proclaiming and promoting the only hope for America – Jesus Christ. I pray for them to be converted, as I do for Barack Obama and other radical liberals, who are intent on destroying the America designed by its founders.
America – the true America – is worth fighting for! However, we who are believers in Christ must remember that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the putting down of strongholds, casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Bloody warfare is not the solution – submission to Jesus Christ is! Yes, America – genuine America – is precious to me, but it is not my idol. Nothing in my hand I bring – only to the cross of Christ I cling. What about you? Where is your trust? Are you resting in Him? Rejoicing in Him?
Our daughter, Sandy, and I are nearing completion of the revision and clarification of my book, “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes”, so it can be republished by WestBow Press to go out to over 38,000 booksellers, plus electronically. Please pray with us that God will use it as a powerful tool for revival and spiritual awakening in America. We still have a few copies left of “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes” from the first printing, published by our good friend, Bruce Malone, in March 2014. You may have a free copy on request if you will read it and share it with someone.
What Are the Weapons of Our Warfare?
1. Fully trusting Jesus as our Captain and obediently following His leading.
2. Skillfully using the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
3. Confidently living in the Triangle of Triumph.
4. Powerfully praying Kingdom prayers. See Ephesians 6:10-18.
5. Boldly witnessing to friend and foe of the transforming power of the Gospel.
Living in the Stream of the Spirit
For the introduction to my message, “The Powerful Potential for Prayer” from 1 John 5:1-15, which I shared in several congregations in Ukraine and Germany, I used these questions:
“Are you longing for the filling with the Spirit that will enable you to love with God’s love and forgive with God’s forgiveness, yet at the same time you fear that it won’t last? Are you tired of a roller-coaster Christianity with its emotionally charged highs and its depressingly deep lows? Do you pant for the presence of God as an exhausted deer pants for the water brooks? Do you really want to walk with God? Do you earnestly desire to live, move, and have your being continually – not spasmodically – in the shadow of the Almighty? Take heart! You can!”
If you want to truly live the abundant life – Avoid selfish prayers! Pray Kingdom prayers! Dream Kingdom dreams! Care about Kingdom causes! Share Kingdom truth! Then and only then, will you experience the truth given us in 1 John 5:14-15. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (NKJV).
The first paragraph of my introduction to this message is quoted from the beginning of Chapter 8 in my book, “READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER”. We still have lots of copies on hand from the fourth printing in English, and you may have a free copy upon request if you will:
1. Read it.
2. Share it with someone if you like what you have read.
If you are truly living in the stream of the Spirit, then you will discover that the current (stream of the Spirit) is lifting you over the rocks, moving you through the rapids, calming your troubled soul and giving you victories over trials and temptations that you know you could never accomplish in your own strength. In the Spirit of Christ you can live, move, and have your being in the shadow of the Almighty while experiencing the confidence that He loves you, hears your heart, and answers every prayer in the best way possible to advance the Kingdom and shape you more perfectly into the mold of Jesus, our Pattern. Praise God! What a way to live, love and thrive in spite of what is swirling all around us in our personal experience and bone chilling news reports! Yes, we can live in the Triangle of Triumph.
Now consider Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians:
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in work or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:14-17 (NKJV).
An Exam Paper from One of My Students in Ukraine
(The assignment for the exam was to tell two things that you have learned from Rick’s lessons
and explain how you are going to apply what you learned.)
1. “I’ve learned a lot of useful things from Rick, his thoughts, his teachings made me think different. I really like the way he showed us the meanings of words like a worldview.
I was fond of his stories, and how they ends. Also I want to tell about my feelings, my new way of life. After every lesson with Rick I realized many things, like the story about two guys inside some sort of jail, they’re holding metal bars, one guy looking down and all he see is dirt, mud, problems. Other guy is looking up, he see the stars, he don’t really cares about this pathetic problems, all he see is a beautiful sky, wonderful shiny stars….they got absolutely different worldview, he is smart and mighty man from the view of God.
Now I’m making my relations with God more easier and more clearly than before.
2. After Rick’s lessons I will make my decisions more smarter, I have changed my worldview, he helped me to restore my relations with God.
I have found plenty of answers, the right way to behave, right way to live my life along with God support. Live my eternal life with our Almighty Creator.
I want to thank Rick for everything he have done for, for everything he learned us. Thank you so much Rick! ”
From Our Mailbox
From Sergei Golovin:
“Thank you very much for your care, support and prayers! With great joy I present to you the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics October 2015 newsletter.
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city…” (Acts 15:36)
Georges Carillet and Rick Deighton, two blessed brothers in Jesus who devoted many years for serving the Lord in Eastern Europe and specifically in Crimea, came to Ukraine with short term mission trips at the same time. Having a great history of joyfully working together in various ministries and projects, we decided to go and visit all our Crimean national friends and co-workers scattered throughout Western Ukraine – in cities of Rivne, Lutsk and Lviv. That was a great adventure of mutual edification, comforting, encouraging, developing and sharing of what the Lord is doing using troubles of the world for the glory of the Kingdom. Yes, modern technologies allow to communicate and cooperate effectively even when we separated by many miles. But nothing can replace the joy of sharing fellowship, meals and prayers! “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Ps.133:1).
At the same time the trip was a great opportunity for teaching, preaching, training the partners. We were able to do strategic planning with the co-workers involved with Christian textbooks on Science – both original national ones and translation into Ukrainian. At Lutsk local brothers even arranged a night of questions and answers for youth leaders from churches of the city on various issues of creation evangelism, Christian life, marriage and family, civil society, etc. May the Lord be praised for glorious work He is doing through his faithful servants who are IDPs to their own country, strangers and foreigners to the world, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God!” …..
“…..I praise the Lord for your vibrant investment of ministries to reach the lost for God’s Kingdom! As your ‘sold-out DNA’ testifies, RICK CAN NEVER SPEAK TO THE WRONG PERSON ABOUT JESUS CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH! Praise the Lord! God bless you Dear Brother!
Rejoicing in Jesus with You,
Thank you for sending this marvelous summary of Rick’s trip over and the contacts he has already made for Christ. We are praying for him and you daily.
love, Reggie and Esther”
“Another great letter, Rick and Della!”
“I have just finished reading your newsletter. How encouraging to read of all of the “coincidental” encounters that God arranged for Rick to connect with old friends and opportunities to witness while traveling!
I was delighted to read Roy Meyer’s testimony. What a beautiful story of God’s redeeming grace, His mercy and love to bring a person out of spiritual darkness into the True Light. “It’s just like Jesus to roll the clouds away ” of guilt, doubt, unbelief. What a wonderful testimony! When Rick mentions names, I stop right then and pray for that person.
Happy in Jesus,
“Thank you so much, Della, for sharing & keeping us informed of what is happening with and around Rick! God is awesome!! When I did see Rick, he ALWAYS encouraged me at ECC! He is an inspiration used by God! Thanks for all you do!!!”
“So glad to hear you are home safely and had such a wonderful welcoming! Thank you for including us in your joy! We love and miss you both! And Happy early Birthday – may God bless you with many more youthful years!! :-)”
“Congratulations. God has blessed your mission work to the point that it has outgrown you and your sponsoring congregation. May God be praised. I pray that the movement you have started will flourish and spread throughout the world, and that God will use it to reap a great harvest of souls.
With appreciation and brotherly love,
“Jodie and I just wanted to reach out and let you know we are thinking of you, praying for you, and holding you up before our Father as you teach, minister & preach this week in Ukraine.
Blessings and safety to you as you travel from Ukraine to Germany in the days ahead, and then as you prepare for your journey back to Idaho. We realize that your heart must be torn with each coming and going. We pray with you that your willing sacrifice will be used greatly by the Holy Spirit as He brings a bountiful harvest into the Kingdom in the days ahead.
We look forward to hearing all that God has done and is doing on the “other side of the world” when you return.
God’s peace & grace to you, Della, Sandy & all of your family.
Bob & Jodie” (Lucas)
I am so happy to hear you made it back safely! Praise God for answered prayers. I hope that your trip was fruitful and that the seeds you planted were in good soil. Welcome back sir!
Your brother in Christ,
I hope this mail meets you well. I sincerely apologize for sending this mail so late.
This is Austin from Nigeria and a member of the Young Adult Fellowship, IBC, Bremen with whom you had a Bible discussion. Thanks for the wonderful time with us and for the materials. You wanted to share additional materials with me if I wrote you a mail.
Austin Obinna Ezejiofor Esq.
Opportunities for Your Compassionate Giving
As God opens your heart of compassion with the desire to give and serve those less fortunate, please consider our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ukraine, who are reaching out to refugees and orphans. Our friends and co-workers at Tavriski Christian Institute and Love Cradle are two examples of opportunities to share your love gifts. You can send your checks to Overseas Outreach with a note “For refugees” or “For orphans”, and we will transfer the funds to them. Also if you want to contribute to the car fund for evangelist, Zhenya Molodchy, please include a note “For Molodchy Car Fund”.
Prayer & Praises
1. Please earnestly pray for God’s miraculous healing touch for our friend, Dave Adams, who is dealing with leukemia. Dave is the preaching minister of River Hills Church in Gresham, Oregon.
2. Please pray for God’s amazing touch for Irene Kalinichenka in Kharkiv, Ukraine. She is also battling an aggressive form of cancer. She and her husband, Griesha, are faithful, active members of Christian Life Church. I had the opportunity to visit them with Zhenya Molodchy, enjoy their warm hospitality, and leave them some funds for medical expenses, etc. Their three beautiful daughters treated me like their grandpa.
3. Please pray for the protection and peace of Israel, Ukraine, and America.
4. Praise God for the wonderful outreach to refugees by churches in Ukraine and Germany, which I witnessed on this trip. In spite of their own serious financial struggles from the devaluation of their currency plus high inflation, they have opened their hearts, their homes, and their church buildings to minister to refugees.
5. Praise God for the decision of two brothers from Romania, Adrian and Vlad, who expressed their desire to seal their commitment to Christ in baptism to me late the last evening that I was in Germany before departing early the next morning. They had seeds of the gospel planted before, and the loving warmth and gospel truth at Members of Christ Church in Eningen, Germany, led them to repentance and this decision. I simply had the privilege to hear their confession of faith and repentance with the desire to be baptized. Please pray that they can soon be baptized as they desire.
6. Please pray for God’s guidance as we form a Board of Directors for Overseas Outreach and incorporate some new representatives for this vital outreach ministry.
7. Pray for “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes” to be re-published by WestBow Press and be used of God to bring refreshing and revival to believers and convictions to those who do not yet know our wonderful Lord.
8. Please pray that my students become bold witnesses for Christ.
During this Thanksgiving month I recommend that you memorize and meditate on this potent quote and the following Scripture verses.
“A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be! – Abraham Lincoln.
“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.
“I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We are very grateful for your many prayers for both of us during Rick’s recent trip!!! We know that not only his safety, but the opportunities and results he had were answers to those prayers.
He plans to share more specifics about those in a later letter.
Thanks for your support and participation in outreach!
Yours & His, Rick & Della