A Letter from Roman

by Steve Hale

“As cold water to a thirsty soul, So is good news from a far country” (Proverbs 25:25, NKJV).

Few things are more frustrating than trying to get ready for a mission trip, particularly one in the former Soviet Union. For one thing, the rules change…constantly.

One year, we just had to have legal registration to get religious visas. The next year, we could not get them because we had to have a religious stamp.

This year, our young preacher, Roman Lebiayed, got the invitation. But, he had to go through the mayor of Krasnoarmeysk, as well as the Provincial Capital, Donetsk. Then, we heard about missionary abductions in Russia, and after that, their release. After that, Boris Yeltsin dissolved his entire cabinet, a virtual coup!

Because we waited so long on our visas, the travel agency had to release our reserved tickets. So, instead of leaving the 13th of April like we planned, we now have to leave the 19th. In addition, our tickets are $200 more. Frustrated? DoEs iT ShOw?

The Lord blessed me to get the following email from Roman. Here is a handsome, intelligent young “man, able to speak several languages, laboring in the midst of this frustration all the time. Government workers in his country have not been paid in months. The church is impoverished and small (about 25-30) by our standards.

He’s busy with school, yet works hard with the church in Krasnoarmeysk every weekend. He rides the Ukrainian train from Gorlovka (where he’s going to school) to his hometown of Dimitrov, the neighboring city to Krasnoarmeysk on Friday evenings. He leaves Sunday afternoons back to Gorlovka. While planning this trip is a frustrating experience for me, Roman lives in this frustration. Yet, just read his email he sent to me yesterday:

“Hello, Brother!

We are doing great. So nice to hear from you often.

The invitation’s been arranged. local authorities (Helen) are preparing for the ‘official part’ of your being here. The Church is eagerly looking forward to seeing you, praying days & nights for the success of preaching the Gospel. Of course we are so excited about the campaign that we can hardly think about anything else. I’m so thankful to God for the Church & glad that it’s become a real family, though many had left, these who stayed are the strongfold. By the way, we had a new visitor (a man!) this Sunday. How are you doing? let me know what else do I have to work at? What kind of advertisement would you like? When we have to hire a bus & all? Keep us informed, please. May He bless your efforts in getting ready.

love, Roman”

I have really grown to love and appreciate Roman, and you can clearly see why by his letter. This is just the way he is, dedicated, enthusiastic, encouraging. I must confess I feel ashamed for getting so frustrated when I see his enthusiasm in the midst of living in it.

The Ukraine is decades behind us in technology, infrastructure, economics, production, and modern conveniences. The government is slowly leaving communism. If you think we have governmental red tape,

friends, it’s nothing compared to over therel Those of us, the lord willing, going on this trip will only endure it for a couple of weeks. Then, we’ll i’ be back in our nice homes in this land of plenty.

Brethren, please pray for us, and also this talented young brother as he preaches the gospel in the midst of all kinds of snares.

Would your child like a pen-pal from the Ukraine? We need to take about 25 pen-pals back with us. Just have your child write a letter, “describing himself/herself, and his/her life in America. Please include an , envelope with your address. A picture of your child would be super. One caution, please don’t let your child invite his/her pen-pal to America for a visit unless you really mean it. Thanks for your help!