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Joshua Days

Holly Friesen on April 11, 2011

In the days leading up to Miriam’s departure my Bible reading just happened to be the last part of the book of Deuteronomy and starting in to the book of Joshua. While Miriam’s departure for 6 months from Ukraine is not nearly as momentous as the death of Moses was in Joshua’s life, I still found these verses to be very encouraging.

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage” Josh. 1:5-6

“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1:9

I am thankful that the internet will still allow me to have access to Miriam’s help and advice as I take on the responsibility of the medical ministry here, but I am even more thankful that my God will never leave me and will daily give me the strength and wisdom I need for the task! I have also quickly come to appreciate our Ukrainian partners in ministry even more! They have already been a huge help to me in taking care of all the logistical details that go along with the medical ministry.

There is much I would like to share with you and not all of it will fit into a prayer letter – which I do hope to write within the next couple of days. So here is a smattering of other happenings within the last few weeks.

I am enjoying having Jenn here for two weeks. She is a physical therapist and has been providing care for some of our patients. She has been helping many people with neck and back pain, as well as helping some of our patients who have chronic disabilities learn exercises they can do to increase their function. This lady had a stroke two years ago and received almost no rehab. She literally cried tears of joy when Jenn was able to work with her and give her the hope of having increased function if she would continue with the exercises Jenn prepared for her.
Jenn has done a number of home visits in between our regular clinic days. One patient that we visited at home was so grateful she gave her this still warm from the oven loaf of bread! It was delicious! (sorry for the poor quality of photo, I only had my phone with me at the moment)

I went with Jenn to the village of Sahanskoye to see patients one day last week. It was not a regular clinic day so I did not see patients myself. I enjoyed the chance to visit with the church leaders and their wives there. Usually clinic days are so busy I hardly get to talk to them. I enjoyed getting to know them a bit more. These men were at the Good Soil conference I attended in Odessa a few weeks ago that taught them how to use some evangelism and discipleship materials developed by ABWE missionaries and recently translated into Russian. I asked them what they thought of the conference. Misha told me that after the conference he went to visit a cousin here in Odessa that he had not seen for a number of years. He told this cousin about the conference and using his book presented God’s plan for salvation in a chronological fashion from Genesis to Revelation to his cousin. He said his cousin did not make a decision but they talked about it for over two hours. Misha was very encouraged by the visit. How exciting to hear that he used some of what he had learned that very day! He did say that they are a bit discouraged by the lack of response to the gospel in recent years from the people in Sahanskoye. You can pray that God might allow them to see some more fruit for their labors and that they would not grow weary in their service for him. The pastor there is Styopa and his wife is Tanya. Misha is the deacon and his wife is Alla.

This past weekend I enjoyed showing Jenn a bit of Odessa. We enjoyed “Swan Lake” at the Odessa Opera House with Jacky & Joanna Taylor on Friday night. Saturday we did an official downtown tour and I learned lots of interesting facts about Odessa’s history. On Sunday Odessa celebrated the day the Nazi’s were driven out of Odessa. There was a group downtown dressed in period military uniforms to commemorate this event. We were glad we happened to be in the right place at the right time so that we got to see it.
On Sunday I took Jenn to church with me and she helped us with our English club in the evening. Praise the Lord the English club has helped to increase youth group attendance. We start with English club, then have a time of food and fellowship, followed by a study in the book of Proverbs led by my missionary co-worker Ted Welch. Not only has attendance increased but the young people have said that they are really enjoying the study in Proverbs and learning a lot. We will soon be making plans for the ministry for the summer months so you can pray that the Lord will give us wisdom for that.

Well, this has turned into quite a long post. For those of you who made it this far. Thanks for reading and for praying for the ministry here.