Tuesday, December 3, 2013

November Prayer Letter

 "O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people." Psalm 105:1

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

As Christians we've so much to be thankful for, one day a year just wont do. While we endeavor everyday to be thankful, we find the days too short and our blessings far too exceedingly abundant to express our gratitude with any measure of sufficiency. The late Preacher John Geouge asked, "Who can truly comprehend all it is we have to be thankful for?" Still, as best we can, as sincerely as we can, we offer our praise and thanksgiving for what we understand.

In one of the last meetings I attended with Bro. Ismael, an elderly woman testified of God's intervention in her life. She had a problem with one of her teeth that caused her jaw and face to swell. She tried to wait the problem out, hoping that a home remedy or two might prove an ample solution. To her dismay, as the days passed her problem grew worse. She finally broke down and went to the doctor. The doctor took one look at her and said they'd have to operate on her jaw. She came home terrified. She testified, "I wasn't afraid of an operation, I was afraid of the surgeon." She laid down that night in much distress, but called to mind the new song we sang at church 'the Great Physician'. She prayed, "Lord, if I have to have surgery, would you do the operation?" She awoke the next morning cured.

The second week of this month we headed North to Romania for our final camp meeting of the year. We enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship with the other missionaries in the work here. We were refreshed spiritually and physically. We also witnessed the new birth of one of the children in the home, Aslan. We saw his tears, and heard his first words as a child of God, "I'm saved! God saved me!" As we're presently exploring ways and means of getting the gospel into Turkey, towards the end of the meeting Bro. Ralph mentioned that he would like my wife and I to take a survey trip there with several of the other missionaries. We were minded to go before the Bulgarian weather turned bad, so we set off three days after camp meeting. We took six days, toured as many biblical sites and cities as weather permitted, and made many contacts. Please pray that the Lord will bless these endeavors; guide those souls to whom we gave bibles to the truth; and show us what to do.

We are considering a short furlough to the states next year, Lord willing. As part of the parameters of the residence visa application, we can not be absent from the country for more than ten months in a five year period. Pray the Lord shows us what to do, and when to do it. God bless you all. We love you and thank God often for you in our prayers.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Visa Update

As you recall, we weren't told until just a few days before when our visas were due, and then had to scramble to complete the paperwork and raise the funds to pay for them.  Praise the Lord we were able to turn in our paperwork on the 2nd of September money in hand. However, we were informed then and there that some of our documents were not in order.  It became apparent that our attorney had neglected to sign certain certificates of validation that were vital to processing Carrick and Christian's visas.  We were told that none of our paperwork could be processed until these documents were completed correctly.  We stepped out of the Migration office and tried to contact our attorney only to learn he was on vacation in Turkey for the next nine days.  Finally we were put in touch with his secretary who immediately set to work to rectify the problem.  Two days later we turned in the new documents properly done, and were told to return in two weeks with our final payment.  Yesterday the migration police showed up at our residence making inquiries as to our work and whereabouts in the country.  It was a bit disconcerting as we've never had them do that before. That night, Hannah and I prayed and committed our concerns to the Lord and trusted Him to work them for his glory and our good.  We returned today, made our payment, and were told everything was in order and our visas were accepted.  They even stamped our boys passports right then and there, something they've never done before.  A month from now Hannah and I will receive our identity cards which indicate our status in the country.  Praise the Lord that through all the unforeseen events of this application process, the Lord has supplied our every need.  Thank you to all who helped financially, and to all who prayerfully took our needs to God and believed for their supply.  Words cannot express our gratitude, but know that you are loved and prayed for often.  God bless you all.

The William LeFevre family

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Re: August 2013 Prayer Letter

praying about your finances for visas.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

August 2013 Prayer Letter

Dear praying friends,

Please help us pray.  As I wrote in our last prayer letter, over the last two and half years we've been here, we have always applied for our visas in October.  Our attorney prepares the paperwork well ahead of time, usually in mid-Summer so that it's ready when necessary.  This also helps stagger our payments, as we pay his fee earlier.  This year there has been a change in the law, and anyone seeking visas are required to submit their applications 45 days in advance, a fact our attorney failed to mention to us when he contacted us to begin this years visa application.  That means our application is due next week.  Presently we lack the funds requisite for our visas.  The Lord knows our need.  Please help us pray and believe to see it met.  The Lord bless you.

Sincerely for Him, 

William LeFevre

"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

The last two months have been busy but blessed. Since our last letter, we have had two more Turkish meetings and our American camp meeting. The first of these meetings saw close to 300 souls coming out to worship the Lord, of whom 30 came to publicly confess their faith in Christ by following the Lord in baptism. Three hundred souls singing their hearts out on an early July evening in a room built for half that many made things almost unbearably hot, but we cheerfully carried on. As one brother remarked, "Think of how many preachers and missionaries would love to have our problems - too many people!" At the start of the service, several men came through with newly printed hymn books and New Testaments. Immediately people began clamoring for a hymn book. When they discovered we were giving away Bibles as well, they began to surge forward almost to the point of trampling others to obtain a copy of God's word. Again a fellow missionary remarked, "Years ago they acted this way when we gave out bread. Now they're hungry for the word of God."

We decided to scale our second meeting back some, and we were able to proceed more effectively. In this meeting, another 19 souls who had trusted the Lord during the year came to be baptized. These baptismal services are some of the most blessed. Family members rejoice to see loved ones follow the Lord. During this last meeting the Alishes, Pastor Alish the elder from Zlatna Niva and Pastor Alish the younger from Dabravino, were brought to tears as both were able to baptize family. Several of our longtime believers, as well, came to be baptized. Their faith in the Lord grew to master their fear of the water.

Earlier this month, a group of Americans visited the work in Romania on a medical missions trip. Not only did they aid the people with medicines and rudimentary health care, but they were also able to assist in some much-needed work around the children's home. While conducting a clinic in a nearby village, a boy was brought in with a severely abscessed tooth. Half the child's face was swollen to near bursting. The doctor, upon seeing him enter, remarked the boy needed to be hospitalized immediately, that his life was in jeopardy from the infection. This was translated to his mother, who declined not only to take him, but also for an ambulance to be called. Several frustrating minutes passed trying to reason with this woman to no avail. At the last, they obtained permission to at least pray with the boy. Everyone present, inside and out, felt the urgency of the situation, and with one heart and mind called on the Lord to intervene. Within moments of finishing the prayer, an ambulance pulled up outside, asking if anyone there had called them. When they saw the boy and heard the explanation, they immediately conducted him to the hospital. We heard later in the week that the boy was much improved.

Pastor Ismael received bad news this last week. After a trip to a specialist in the capitol of Sofia, he was told he has a cancerous tumor in his head. He has started chemotherapy. In spite of this setback, he attended our big meeting in Dabravino and has remained faithful to go to his meetings. When I mentioned it might be better for him to rest at home for awhile, he said, "I don't know how many more days I have. I want to go as long as I can."

Please keep us in your prayers. We submit our paperwork for our third-year visas soon, and as yet lack the funds for their payment. But my Lord is faithful and will see to all our supply. God is so good.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 2013 Prayer Letter

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:

for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Psalm 118:23

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

We have begun our series of summer Turkish meetings. This month's meeting took place in Dabravino, Bulgaria. More than 200 souls came out to sing, pray, testify and listen to preaching. Last month, in Romania, was our first big gathering of believers for the year. We met for three days and two nights at facilities belonging to our children's home. The property is the former residence of the mayor of Constanta, who was no friend of the gypsies. It is a blessing to behold the handiwork of the Lord and to witness these poor, despised, and most neglected members of his constituency worshipping God in the former mayor's living room. We were able to bring more than 40 souls up from Bulgaria, each missionary making two trips. It was a long day of driving, fetching people to the meeting, but the joy that filled their souls that weekend repaid any toil on our part.

One of the believers that rode with me to the meeting was a middle-aged woman named Ihtsaniye. Though faithful in church attendance, Ihtsaniye had never, ever testified or indeed said much of anything in church other than "hello". On our way home from the meeting, I couldn't believe the change the Lord had made in her. She was freely praising the Lord, singing for joy without a care in the world. Since returning from Romania, she has testified at every meeting we attend and often begs to carry our bags to and from the services.

During a break between services, at this first meeting, I was conversing with a small group of people. A couple of them remarked at my progress in the language and said they had been praying for me. One woman in particular, Narchis by name, said she prays night and day that I learn good Turkish. She is a Romanian-Turkish believer. She said that several years ago, before Zachary moved down to Bulgaria, she overheard him listening to a sermon of an American preacher. She said she couldn't understand a word of English, but something moved her heart at the preaching. She asked who it was, and Zachary replied, "My brother." She said from that day on she began to pray that God would bring me to the mission field. And now she prays I learn Turkish that I might preach to her.

The last two months we have been engaged in mission work of another kind. Once a week, as many men who are free meet together with Bro. Ralph to proofread the New Testament. We have only the gospels remaining to proof, and then we'll begin putting together New Testaments and gospel portions for distribution. In addition to proofreading, we have been hand-making hymnals. A few days before our most recent meeting, we gathered to put together and hand-sew more than 150 hymnals. We hope that, by the end of summer, every believer in every church will have his or her own hymnal and, soon, his or her own Bible.

Remember to keep us in your prayers. Hannah and I recently celebrated five years of wedded bliss. Pray that God gives us many, many more. Remember us also as we begin again the task of renewing our visas. Our attorney has already contacted us to begin paperwork to be filed in October. I suppose it takes that long to navigate the halls of bureaucracy, obtaining the same permissions from new government officials. The Lord knows all about it; he certainly knows more than anyone else in Bulgaria about visas, and we trust he will see to their supply. God is so good.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March 2013 Prayer Letter

"This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."  Psalm 118:23

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

 It may sound strange, but one of the hardest tasks to which a missionary obligates himself is the writing of prayer letters, particularly in this work. Where does one begin? I feel, as John wrote, that there are so many things the Lord has done, that I have heard or witnessed, "...the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books."

 Since my brother's return from America I have been at liberty to attend the meetings of some of our other nationals. For three weeks or more, I opted to go with Pastor Ahmet. Ahmet is perhaps the hardest working national I know. He looks after 17 house churches and maintains at least two big gardens to help feed his family and pay his way. His churches are also the farthest away from where he lives. On Mondays he heads up the Black Sea coast to Balchik, while Thursday through Saturday finds him in the Balkan Mountains, about two and half hours from his home. And he treats each church with the same care, as if it were his only church, dedicating to each one the same amount of time and attention to detail.

 Ahmet is by no means a loud or overly dramatic preacher, but his messages ring with the confidence that if you believe God he'll do the same for you. And all his meetings reflect the same hospitality and generosity he shows. In some meetings he has to cut the testimonies short to allow time for preaching, the result of his contagious faith. In Varbitsa he has a Gypsy meeting. While all our Turkish gypsies love to sing, pray and testify, the gypsies of Varbitsa do it with reckless abandon. In the short time I've been here, I haven't heard a more exuberant or joyful bunch of singers as reside in Varbitsa. Their joy is made all the more poignant because the house where we meet is less than 50 feet from the village mosque. And while the call to prayer does little to move the ritualistic Muslim, the songs of Zion raise the roof of the shack next door.

 Several years ago, on our honeymoon, we were able to visit the great Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, the jewel of Ottoman Islam. A little ways away stood the famed Saint Sophia church, a religious marvel of Eastern Roman antiquity. But neither of them hold a candle to the little dilapidated house on the hill in the mountain village of Varbitsa, where God comes down and visits with his people.

 Bro. Larry Leach has returned to America for furlough. In his absence I'll be going to his meetings with national Pastor Ismael. All of Bro. Larry's churches were sad to see him go. My first visits in his stead, they all told how they cried the hour they knew Larry and his family were in the air. Pastor Ismael said, "It was like my own son was leaving me." One woman, a little vague on international travel, assumed Larry would be taking a balloon to America, and asked how many days it would take. Still, all of his churches have received me graciously. On the way to the first meeting I asked Bro. Ismael who normally did the preaching. He replied, "Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was Larry, but now it's you – all you!" I said, "But I don't even know Turkish!" He replied, "Öğrenmek lazım" – you'll have to learn. Please pray then, that my Turkish is not only understandable but edifying.

 Recently I was able to accompany Bro. Ahmet in the flour distribution. As he's been doing this a number of years now, he had it down to a science. Four of us, myself, Ahmet and two other nationals, followed the flour truck in a separate vehicle as we made our way to the villages. In the village, Ahmet instructed the driver which house to go to and how many bags of flour would be offloaded. At the house, Ahmet inquired as to the best place to store the bags while we began the offloading. Let me say here, that it was a stroke of genius on the part of whichever missionary ordered the flour in 25 kilogram bags as opposed to the customary 50 kilogram bags; it was twice the work, but less wear and tear on us. It was softly raining on this particular day, so that by the time we finished the day, we looked as though we had collapsed in concrete, rather than having carried flour. Typically, as we worked, a crowd would gather, eyes wide, as bag after bag of flour was taken into usually the poorest house in the village. It was a blessing to know, that truly, "the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread." What a testimony!

 For the last few months, Bulgaria has been in turmoil. What started as a protest against sky-rocketing energy costs, quickly turned into a rage against the entire Bulgarian political system. So rapidly did things escalate, that the prime minister's entire cabinet resigned soon after the protests began. And a few weeks ago, less than a mile from where we live, on the steps of the state capitol, a man set himself afire – dying in protest of a failing government. In the villages, the topic of conversation revolves around the amount of money they receive in pensions versus what they have to pay for medicine and utilities. As Bulgaria is the poorest country in the EU, the average worker making 540 lev a month ($360), and the average pensioner receiving less than half of that, they can't do both. It's either buying medicine and defaulting on utilities or vice versa.

 Regarding the unbelievers, it is easy to see the magnitude of their predicament and to sympathize with their feelings of hopelessness, frustration and resentment. And yet, faced with the same difficulties, our believers maintain their hope in God who hears and answers their prayers. In the village of Mirovsti, a woman testified that her pension was far less than the medicine her doctor prescribed for a life-long affliction. She got tired of always borrowing to make ends meet. One day, in her frustration, she complained to the Lord that he was going to have to do something about it because she couldn't live like that anymore. She went for her regularly scheduled checkup, and, after all her tests came back, the doctor said she no longer had to take the medicine; she was cured. She returned home, and in a few months had paid off all her creditors.

 Given the state of affairs presently existing in Bulgaria, it is easy to see and understand the joy that accompanies receiving a couple bags of flour and a bottle of oil. It means that amidst all of their present uncertainties, they don't have to worry about eating. It also means, as Bro. Zach recently preached to them from the life of Elijah, that while everything around them is drying up, God still takes care to provide for his own. We are still in the process of buying and distributing flour and oil if anyone else is interested in getting in on the blessing.

 Pray for our family.  The Lord knows all our needs and sees, and will see, to their supply.  God is so good.

We love you all.  God bless you.

Because of a living Saviour,

William LeFevre 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 2013 Prayer Letter

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:17

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

Happy New Year from Bulgaria! We pray your holiday season was a blessed one. Every season with the Lord Jesus is blessed, and every place sacred. We thank the Lord for the blessings of 2012 and look forward with expectant hearts for the blessings of 2013.

This month my brother Zachary returns from America. The last few months we have concerned ourselves with finding a place to move into as we depart his house. Thankfully, we have found an apartment in Varna and will occupy it for the foreseeable future. While we are overjoyed to have the LeFevres back, we are saddened to relinquish this part of the work. The believers in Zlatna Niva and the churches under Zach's care have endeared themselves to us. In every home, in every service we are made to feel like family.

In mid-December we received our first snowfalls. After the first snowfall we made our way as usual to our northernmost meetings. While the roads were relatively clear in our village, farther north they were treacherous. At our first really rough patch of snow, all the believers, including Alish the national pastor, said to turn back. I persevered and made it through, albeit slowly. The roads cleared for a bit and then again turned bad. To me, this section looked worse than the last, and I offered to turn us homeward. Alish encouraged me to go on, as he thought he spied a track of shallow snow. We went on easily enough and soon passed through with no problem. Time and again en route to church that day, these scenarios repeated themselves: one fearing it couldn't be done, the other encouraging the attempt. Eventually we arrived at our meeting. The Lord blessed our perseverance and taught us all the value of fellow believers.

A week later we received our second snowfall. A foot of snow fell in less than 24 hours. However, due to fierce winds, we awoke to six- and eight-foot drifts across all the major roads into and out of the village. On our own little street a drift had covered Zach's minivan. I spent the better part of an afternoon shoveling a way to the main road to Shumen, only to discover it had been closed. While we weren't able to get to the meetings for several days, here and there believers gathered, sang and prayed and thanked God they were safe and sound.

2012 witnessed an abundance of answered prayers, both personally and for the work's sake. We saw whole families become believers. We saw errant children return home and turn to God. We witnessed more than 160 newly saved souls follow the Lord in baptism. We saw babies born and dedicated. And we watched saints depart this life for their eternal reward whispering the name Jesus as they passed. Please continue to pray for the work. Pray for more souls to be saved, for more men to be called to preach, and for the churches to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. And pray for our family. The Lord knows all our needs and sees, and will see, to their supply. God is so good.

We love you all. God bless you.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family