The Encouragement of Christ’s Love, Hope, Peace & Joy

The Encouragement of Christ’s Love, Hope, Peace & Joy

During these stay home days, we are trying to keep in touch with our friends and co-workers overseas (as well as here in USA) and to be an encouragement to them. Sometimes when Della says, “I have an idea!” – I flinch! (What am I getting myself into if I just smile and say okay?) 😊  This was one of her really good ideas, however! She suggested that we make encouragement the major theme of our May prayer letter! All right! We hope you find encouragement, inspiration, and courage to just keep putting one foot in front of another in faithfully serving our risen Lord Jesus Christ!      

We are starting with powerful portions of the Word of God for pressured persons in puzzling predicaments. Then potent principles providing perspective!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:18, 28-29 (NKJV)

Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward

one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21 (NKJV)

From Our Mailbox

“I really appreciate your kindness and consideration that you reveal to your friends in Ukraine in this time very hard for both our countries. Thank you very much. And I also apologize for not responding as fast as it should be. Even if I try to pray every day and ask our Lord to strengthen me, it’s very difficult to stay spiritually alert.  And your letter is sort of awakening sound of a bell calling me to stop for a moment and ask myself where I am and where I am going to.

How do you cope with hardships of today’s situation? How are you in terms of health? May God strengthen you and provide with everything you need to go through the trials of life.

As for my situation, my life is specified by the conditions of quarantine in Ukraine. I still teach at the university using remote methods – skype and email. In some way it is beneficial for students, but it has increased tenfold the teaching load in terms of time spent on checking the assignments students send back.

I can only afford to buy foodstuffs and have noticed that I have to pay twice as much for the same modest set of alimentary products compared with the period before the quarantine. The salary, naturally, stays the same. No wonder, when you go to the supermarket, you have an impression of being at a museum, so rare are the visitors. I praise the Lord for not being one of many of my compatriots who have lost their jobs; they can only survive thanks to their savings. The vast majority don’t work… because many businesses are closed and the main means of transportation – the subway – hasn’t been working for two months already. Our university, as the other universities before the quarantine, has increased twice as much the tuition for students enrolling for the first year and a half as much for other students. Not many parents will be able to pay for their children’s’ studies, so considerable cuts of teaching staff are expected. My second daughter, Lisa, is finishing high school this year.

So, as always in our hardest times, we are learning again how to set our hopes upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ, Sergey (Nikonorov)”

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Dear Sergey,

Thank you for your very thoughtful and clarifying reply (dated 4/29/20). I would like to use it in our May prayer letter in the section, “From Our Mailbox,” because I believe it will give our American friends a much better, clearer picture of the hardships that our friends (brothers and sisters in Christ) are having to cope with in Ukraine. Also, your last line before closing is so pertinent: “So, as always in our hardest times, we are learning again how to set our hopes upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In answer to your questions:

First – We are coping with the situation just fine. Actually, it would have been much more difficult in former years when we were still operating our business (Rick Deighton Lighting) on a full-time basis, plus trying to keep up with responsibilities with three part-time ministries. However, we sold our business two years ago this month, but were still very involved in phasing it out for several months. Also, in November I resigned from the Board of Directors for Northwest Science Museum and now we are concentrating on encouraging our friends and co-workers overseas for Overseas Outreach, helping with West  Valley (a new church plant as an extension of Eagle Christian Church), serving on the prayer team for ECC and catching up on neglected projects (including reading and research).  In April I read 18 books and magazines thoroughly.  In the not too distant future, I hope to launch a radio call-in program to answer questions about the Bible and Biblical Christian worldview as well as controversial issues of our time. (Popularity is not my motive!) 😊 Would “Ready to Give an Answer” be a good title for radio?

Second – Healthwise, Della and I – as well as our family members – are doing good pertaining to the Covid 19 epidemic. However, Della is still suffering from chronic pain in her feet and sometimes in her eyes and her one kidney. Several family members have other health issues – please pray. As for me, as far as I know I am still healthier than I deserve (for which I am so thankful). Praise God! Thank you for asking and thank you for praying.

I hope to be able to see you in person again in autumn – but I don’t know yet if it will be possible.

Your friendship is a treasure!

May the resurrected Lord Jesus be always your joy, your hope, your comfort, your strength and victory!  May you come to know Him deeper, love Him dearer and follow Him nearer!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Respectfully yours & His, 

Rick

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“I’m sorry that it took me a long while to answer you.  We are doing ok by God’s grace. The lock down is in full swing. I lost all of my work with missions and Bible College, for obvious reasons. I think at least till September, until the borders are open again. This reminds us how fragile our plans are. My mom was also not able to go to work for around two months now. Dad is teaching from home.

Church services are now on-line, along with other meetings, like Bible studies and small groups. It’s hard for me to get used to this, makes you feel distant, especially when internet connection isn’t that great, and you get cut regularly.  But God is faithful and whatever happens, we need to trust him and try and organize our lives accordingly, trying not to grumble.   

Please let me know how are you and Della. The coronavirus is more severe in US than anywhere else now.  Praying for your safety.

In Christ, Katya (Nikanorova)”

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Liebe Katya,

It is not surprising, but I am sorry that you have lost your livelihood because of the pandemic and the shutdown of Ukraine. (It is certainly impossible to be interpreting for missionaries who are not allowed to come into your country!)

Your father sent his reply on 4/29/20, so I’m asking Sandy to send you a copy of his letter and my reply (that also answers your question).

Also, I’m asking Sandy to send you two very encouraging prayers and an encouraging article about Hope to help you keep busy using your skill to translate and share them with your mom and sisters – and also in English with other members of New Hope Church. How are Vitali and Anna? How old is your Anna? And, is your Lisa now 16 years old?

Respectfully yours & His, 

Rick

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“Thank you so much for the February prayer letter. It is very interesting and encouraging. You haven’t mentioned how Della is doing, unless I missed it. I apologize if so. What are your plans? Do you intend to come to Ukraine this spring? We miss you and hope to see you one day this year. We pray for you and hope you and Della are well and your ministry is going smooth. Praise God for both of you, since you are a great blessing to many people.

Love in Christ, Volodya and Maryana Vakula”

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“May the Lord bless you as much as you have blessed us. Thank you for your generous hearts and being a part of what God is doing around the world (2 Corinthians 9:11-15).

“Spirit of Martyrdom Staff”

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“In these troubling times. Stay strong in health, faith, and mind. We will get through this with trust in God and family and friends. God bless.

With love and blessings your brother in Christ, Matthew Conti”

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“God bless you as you serve Him!

Nearly finished with More than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes. Finished Is the Bible without Any Errors? Excellent books –

In Him, Carol Gilbert”

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“… Through tragedy and trial, we trudge toward triumph.

I still have a lot going on right now. Little rest for the weary – so I’ll wrap-up by saying, “I’m so blessed for knowing you. Until here, there or in the air with our Savior in His care.

Jesus Saves

I was lost but not forsaken,

In His arms I’ve been taken.

Why should I tend to worry,

In the midst of life’s flurry.

In His care safe and sure,

Through any trial I can endure.

The above verse came to me after finishing your letter. What unplanned blessings we receive when we continue to believe!

Through His love we love each other!

In Him, Dave Black”

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“Christ is risen! By His suffering, death and resurrection Jesus conquered sin, Satan and death. By the knowledge of Him He will justify many and bear their sins. May the glory of the resurrected Christ shine in and through your life at this time of test and darkness! May it fill your hearts and lives with hope, power and victory!

Christ is risen! Inga”

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“Your article in One Body entitled ‘Why Creation Matters’ was excellent!!!  Your monthly publication ‘Overseas Outreach Serving our Awesome God’ is read at our home with great interest and profit. Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list. We pray for you.

My oldest brother, who lived in San Jose, was an earnest follower of the Savior. His son, Steve, started wandering while in high school and did not darken a church door for years. A couple years ago his atheist wife died. He has reconnected with my brother Earl’s daughter, Earlene. He has been attending church some with Earlene and she has been witnessing to him. He is not an atheist, but has doubts. He had a successful business in San Jose, owning and operating several muffler shops. He is intelligent, but not a reader. What video would you suggest for Earlene to show him? I’ve heard positive things about The Privileged Planet, but thought you might have a better recommendation. If you have in stock what you believe would be best I would have you send it directly to Earlene and then I would send the payment to you…

In His Happy Service, Bob Chambers”

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“Thank you, Rick & Della, for the delightful 2 envelopes of letters and positive and uplifting information, letters, etc. – and promise of books and videos. Thank you for the items, so well written, about which we are praying, including Della’s. Yes, I love those old hymns, having been church pianist most of my life.

I do have Louie Giglio’s two DVDs and have shown them to Steven.

The information about your ministries was very interesting. Thank you for you both giving yourselves to the Lord’s work so wholeheartedly, in spite of lonely times.

I was also glad to read Gary Bauer’s letters. That has been my feeling all along – I live in the country, isolated by no TV and limited computer access (because of health issues). So was glad to get the stats. Bless Uncle Bob for writing to you about this issue. Steven isn’t very vocal about this and sometimes he surprises me with his positive statements, so I just keep sharing and watch videos with him.

How interesting that you remember us meeting in ’61-’62. We never know how God will reconnect us! Praise His name!  The Lord’s face shine warmly on you both today and encourage you.”  (We wish this for you readers as well!  – RD)

“In His warm Christian love, Earlene”

Words of Comfort to George – And to You!

You may recall that the first question in our April prayer letter was, “What Rocks Your World?” Now here is a copy of my letter to our friend, George, whose wife died on April 1st.  I realize that many of you are also dealing with grief and frustration, so I hope that God will also comfort you during this difficult time.

I do not know why our Almighty Heavenly Father has allowed you (or put you through) this severe test of another heavy sorrow – but these are Biblical truths that I do know:

  1. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle! (1 Cor. 10:13)
  2. Understanding the Biblical truth that we live on an earth that is cursed by sin and death is essential to accepting Jesus’ words recorded in John 16:33.
  3. No matter how deep the sorrow or how intense is the trial (which can easily become a temptation to doubt God’s love) – the love of God is deeper still and His purpose for allowing the trial will work all things together for our good and His glory! Romans 8:26-39
  4. God has already given you a kind and tender heart of compassion for others – but going through this trial will equip you to be even better than ever! (2 Cor. 1:3-5)
  5. No matter how distant God may feel to you or how often Satan whispers that He doesn’t care – He does! Psalm 34 (all, especially vs. 18)
  6. With these truths in mind – we can obey James 1:2-8.
  7. I realize that one of these days I may be dealing with the same kind of grief, so I’m going to ask Della to photocopy what I’ve written to you – I may be needing to take my own medicine! So – for now, please pray for Della….for her kidney pain, head pain and intense feet pains (neuropathy).

George, I wish I could be there to pray with you with my hand on your shoulder – and give you a hug.

May God comfort you during this difficult time.

Glad to be your brother, Rick

Prayer Requests

  1. Please continue to pray for George, for other widowers and widows, orphans and many others whose hearts are heavy with grief and loss. 
  2. Please pray for God to open the borders of Ukraine and other restrictions to make it possible for me to go this fall to visit and encourage co-workers – and for the funds to do so. 
  3. Please pray for God to provide the opportunity, the grant, and the travel funds for Edward Pintya to come as a student at Ozark Christian College this fall.*  If you would like to be a prayer partner or a sponsor for him, please let us know.  He would love to become a mission pilot.  (Edward is the young man in the red sweater on the right next to Rick.)

Great news!  This morning (May 11), we received a confirmation call from Ozark Christian College about receiving Edward as a student when they get his educational grant.  I assured Bob Witte that they will not be sorry!  The grant, however, does not cover his travel or living expenses, so if the Holy Spirit moves you to help Edward in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.  Classes usually begin in August.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning, my God turns my darkness into light.  Psalm 18:28 (NIV).

Introducing Sergey & Vera Yurivich and Baby Olivia

Sergey Yurivich is a servant leader!  He was one of my students for several of my Worldview classes in the English Department of Christian Open University in Odessa, Ukraine.  He approached me to ask, “How can I help you?”  He has helped me set up speaking appointments in one of the largest churches in the city (his home church), helped me by interpreting for me, and other tasks.

Not only is Sergey a servant leader, but he is also an entrepreneur.  Before graduation, he was already in the process of launching Eway as a bi-vocational outreach ministry

Sergey and his lovely wife, Vera, are a gracious host couple, and I’ve had the privilege to be a guest in their home repeatedly. 

Following is what Sergey wrote to share with you from his heart.  

“Back in 2012, I believe, God put a desire in my heart to reach out for the lost people in Odessa by teaching them English. Our God is great! He is faithful in providing everything for those who obey His calling. He built an amazing team from local believers and brought native speakers who are eager to proclaim the Gospel. Our goal is to Love, Serve and Proclaim. 

The society is very secular even though most of the Odessa people would call themselves Christians! The soil is very hard! For the first 7 years of our ministry very few people surrender their lives to Jesus. At least what we know. The Lord taught us to be faithful and keep moving. Throughout those years we can see how people were moving closer to the cross, and we believe that He who began a good work in those students will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians1:6).”   www.word4ua.com 

Sergey asks that you pray for them to be faithful to the end, to not give up, but to fulfill God’s will in their lives.

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A Note from Della

With everything going on in our world today, it is sometimes hard to keep a positive outlook.  As I was thinking about trying to write a short note of encouragement, the chorus of a song came to mind.

“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!

Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.

One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase.

So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

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