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Monday, December 7, 2015

December 2015 Prayer Letter

 "And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation." Psalm 35:9


Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

The holiday season is upon us. We have just celebrated our Thanksgiving here and are preparing for Christmas and the new year. As believers, however, every day is Thanksgiving; we celebrate every day the Lord's birth, life, death, and resurrection. Still, we don't begrudge a fallen world's attempts at imitating our joy. Some complain, and with good cause, of the world's commercialization and abandonment of the sacred; but what do we expect from those in darkness and at enmity with God? Rather, I praise the Lord that at this season, above all others, whether consciously or in ignorance, the Lord is exalted. Songs and hymns of adoration can be heard in the most unlikely of places. I have heard, "Christ, by highest heav'n adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord... Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th' incarnate Deity! Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel" echo through the halls of commerce and fall on seemingly oblivious ears, but it sung, nevertheless. "What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:18 What a privilege is ours then, to guide lost souls from imitation to sincere acceptance, from ignorance and unbelief to faith in the resurrected Christ!

This year, as you know, I've been helping national pastor Alish in his meetings. At the start of the year, Alish pastored ten churches and preached at other meetings beside. Midway through the year, he assumed the care of three more churches without forfeiting any of his regular meetings. On some days we go together to meetings, on others we go to separate meetings. It is my joy to witness these souls growing both in their understanding of the Word and their love and care one for another and those around them. The woman of the house where we meet in Shkorpilovsti has cancer. She has been through several rounds of chemotherapy already, seemingly to no avail. She suffers a great deal from the treatments and a great deal more from her condition. The other day, during our service, she was weeping inconsolably. When it came time to pray, she asked prayer for two boys she had seen at the hospital during her chemo session. She said the boys had been in a terrible accident and were writhing in pain, crying out for relief. Though she suffers pain of an increasing nature and herself often succumbs to its effects, she was moved by the plight of these boys. Her heart was broken for them. She testified, "I suffer with hope, that one day my suffering will all be over. Those boys suffer with no hope, without faith; their sufferings are only starting." That service she prayed fervently for those souls, and her zeal took hold of our hearts, as well.

Pray for Nasuf. He's one of our national pastors laboring in Targovishte. Recently I was asked to attend his meetings with him and distribute new hymnals to all of his members. I was happy to do so. I was made happier by the welcome I received from all his churches, not just in hospitality shown, but in heartfelt gratitude for our work in the LORD. Nasuf has been having heart trouble, and just this week went for a heart catherization in Sofia. Praise the LORD the procedure went well. Please pray he makes a full and speedy recovery, as we miss him in the work.

With the exception of visas, I seldom mention any of our personal needs. Some churches have chided me for this, stating that's partly the reason for prayer letters. I chafe at this and don't want to be burdensome, but on this occasion trust to your understanding and ask your prayers. Our winter wood supply, our primary heating source, is depleting rapidly. So please pray that either the LORD turns up the heat or sends in the wood. God bless you all. We love and miss you, and more so during the holidays. From our family to yours, we pray you have a Merry and Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.


Because of a living Saviour,


The William LeFevre Family

Friday, August 21, 2015

An August Update

 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,

shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7



Our praying friends and family in the Lord,


[I posted some of this on our Facebook page, but for those of you who don't Facebook, I thought I'd send it in an email as well. It's an answer to prayer, a testimony of God's goodness, His care, and provision. What a blessing to see His handiwork, and to know that He does things just for us!]



We begin our visas for another year. While the whole process takes about a month, from application to finally picking up our visas/id cards, we begin making preparations mid Spring. It's one of the more stressful things we have to deal with to live and work here.

This year we hit a bit of a snag early on. It came to my attention that Christian and my passports were due to expire, and that we would need new ones prior to applying for visas. Normally that's not a problem, new passports are fairly easy and quickly obtained. However, and unbeknownst to us, we learned from direct communication with our embassy, America is experiencing difficulty and delays in processing passport applications worldwide. We were advised to apply as early as possible, which we then did.

After a month had elapsed, with no word from the embassy, our lawyer phoned us this past Friday to ask for our updated information. When I mentioned we had not received our passports, he asked when had we applied. Mid July was my answer. He informed me, that on average it's taking at least four months from the date of application, and that's with constant communication with the embassy. We discussed various scenarios and options should our passports not arrive before our visa renewal in a couple of weeks. We decided to wait on it, and see what, if anything would develop over the weekend. We ended the conversation on a general note of anxiety and despair.

Yesterday morning, at the breakfast table, after rehashing the lawyers conversation, and fed up with worry, we committed the matter to God, trusting him for whatever the outcome. A few minutes later, national pastor Alish called me to say, our meetings had been canceled for the day, and that I was free to do whatever. A few minutes after that, Hannah came down from upstairs, having just heard from the embassy that our new passports were ready and waiting, and that if our schedule permitted, we could come that day for pick up. I grabbed my hat, wallet, and keys, and with my old passports in hand, headed to Sofia. I returned, twelve hours later, exhausted but rejoicing.

My text for today's meetings was, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6 Thank God, The Lord knows what we have need of before we ask, and when we ask he can sure get it done in a hurry.

More paperwork to get done this week, and then we reapply the second of September. However, knowing the Lord is on your side makes things a lot easier. Pray for us.

On a personal note, we're doing well. Carrick will begin first grade in a few weeks. He's our top student at LeFevre Home-School Academy. For the last two years he's been our only student. However, this year he will be joined by new enrollee, Christian. I would say that Christian is excited to start school, but I think that would be an exaggeration. I think Christian is intrigued by the concept of school, it's the mandatory attendance and participation he might find difficult. We'll see.

As many of you had heard, Carrick suffered a fractured ankle mid July, an unfortunate accident on a trampoline. He has now been officially cleared to resume life as he knew it. After the doctor's pronouncement, he was so excited to show me he was better, he jumped off a high porch nearly sending us all into cardiac arrest. He landed safe and sound and all smiles, until he saw our terrified expressions. We gently urged him to reconsider jumping from heights for the immediate future, to which he responded positively.

Dixie Joy is ten days away from turning one. She can say Daddy, and that's it, but that's enough for me. She is on the verge of walking, like she is on the verge of saying Momma, almost, but not quite. She is petite for her age, still in nine month clothing. She has white blond hair, bright blue eyes, and an infectious smile. She prefers the company of anyone who will promptly put her on the floor to crawl around.

Hannah is well, and more than anyone else, ready for school to begin. The temperature has dropped into the low seventies here, the sky is gray, and portending rain, and Hannah is in her element. She loves this time of year. Very soon the house will be decked in all the glories of Fall. I haven't the heart to tell her the weatherman is giving Summer another few weeks to do its worst.

The meetings I attend to are all doing well. A couple of weeks ago, my brother Zachary attended with me. It made me very happy to be in church with him, just to lead singing and listen to him preach. All of the churches were blessed, and entreated his soon return. With the break in the weather, services will be a little easier. It's a shade difficult trying to sing and preach when it's ninety-five outside and no breeze inside. By the second meeting you look and feel like you've been to a baptism and fell in. Alish had started packing extra shirts on days with multiple meetings.

Whatever the weather, I'm thankful to be here. These Gypsy-Turks are a despised people, oft neglected of men, sometimes rightly so. Still, the Lord of Glory is a frequent guest in their hovels, and I'm blessed to be there when He is. Yesterday, at our little house church in Krivnia, fourteen souls gathered to worship God, and He came to accept it.

Moses was a man "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians", "mighty in words and in deeds", but one day it came to his heart to visit his brethren. I reckon after that visit, he was never the same. He refused a place in Pharaoh's home, the pleasures of sin, and Egypt's treasures to bear the burdens of the people of God. Moses chose his crowd, knowing the cost, but confident in the blessings. One day it came into my heart to visit God's people, and like Moses, things were different after that. I'm not as smart as he was, and certainly lack the education, but you don't have to have exceptional intelligence to choose right or good, just enough to know the difference. Like Moses, I made the people of God my choice, and haven't regretted it. I'd rather be in the little unknown unheralded gypsy meeting, singing the praises of our great Redeemer, and testifying of His grace, than anyplace else on earth. And I think the Lord would too.


Pray earnestly for us. We love and miss you all. May God continue to richly bless you for Jesus' sake.


Because of a living Saviour,


The William LeFevre Family

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015 Prayer Letter

 "Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart:

for consider how great things he hath done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24



Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

"The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad." (Psalms 126:3) We have just returned from our Missionary Camp Meeting. As many of you know, we gather three times a year with the other missionary families cooperating together in this work, for the exaltation of the Savior and edification of the saints. Our Spring and Fall meetings last from Wednesday until Sunday. However, in the summer, we meet for ten days. This last meeting was perhaps one of the best we've been in since our arrival on the field. One night in particular, the Lord's presence was especially strong, and by the end of the night seven souls had been saved. The service spilled over from the church room to the dining room and continued well into the night. Over the course of the week, many prayers were answered. Indeed it seemed that whatever we asked, the Lord answered. The meeting was completed with a baptism at the Black Sea. It was then with a bitter sweetness we departed Sunday afternoon. I sympathize with the Apostle Peter, who on the Mount of Transfiguration expressed a desire to build tabernacles and tarry where they had witnessed the Lord in his glory. And yet, glory to God! We found the Lord awaiting us as we returned to the little village church and our regular meetings. In the village of Shkorpilovtsi this last Friday, closing prayer felt like we were more in heaven than on earth. If you'd like to partake of some of our services, you can join us on our YouTube channel: Brookside East Baptist Church.

The last few months us missionary men have been taking a few days out of our schedule every week to work on our Bible printing facility in the village of Avren. Bro. Cheatwood purchased the house and property two years ago. It used to be a cheese factory before it fell into disuse and disrepair. It was Bro. Cheatwood's burden to "do what we can and believe God to do what we can't." So, by faith, we have been slowly tearing away the old failing substructure in preparation for new construction. Our aim is to have a room for the church, an area for the printing and assembling of Bibles and hymnbooks, and finally a living area for a facility caretaker. We trust the Lord will provide; help us pray it in.

Summer is on us. Many of our believers are busied with seasonal work. Church attendance is down because of this, but the Spirit of God is still rich unto all that call upon Him. Every week, in almost every meeting, someone stands and testifies of God's protection or provision. This week alone, a number of our elderly women testified of God's grace, how the Lord had given them strength equal to the day. In the village of Staro Oryahovo, a young lady testified recently: "I don't know what we are. The Bulgarians wont claim us because they say we are Turks. The Turks don't want us because they say we're Gypsies. The Gypsies say we can't speak their language, so we don't belong to them. The Muslims don't want us because we've turned to Jesus. The Orthodox say we're not Christians because we don't cross ourselves. I guess we're just Believers." What a glorious privilege, to be rejected by men and yet accepted in the beloved, all by faith in the Lord Jesus.

Pray earnestly for us. We love and miss you all. Our every need is known to the Lord, and we marvel at his provision.

Because of a living Saviour,

 

The William LeFevre Family

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April 2015 Prayer Letter

"For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;

so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" Isaiah 61:11


Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

Spring has arrived in Bulgaria. A revival is taking place. The deadness of Winter is giving way to new life. Flowers are appearing, sometimes springing up in the most unlikely of places. The birds have regained their song. The fields, sown when everything was gray and dreary, are now green and lush. In every village the conversation centers itself upon what has been planted, how it is progressing, how to maintain it, and what remains to be done, all in earnest expectation of harvest. So too goes the work of God.

Since late Winter I have been attending meetings with Alish the younger. We traveled together four years ago, when I first arrived, and it is good to return to his meetings. Presently Alish is pastoring fourteen churches. A couple of years ago I wrote about his church in Staro Oryahovo; about how they needed to build an additional room due to increased attendance. Well, wherever the Lord is blessing the enemy is sure to fight. The family in whose house the church met, assumed preeminence over the pastor, and consequently splintered the church. Alish was devastated, naturally. He went from having a thriving church, with the need for additional meetings to accommodate people's hunger, to not even having a home for the faithful handful to meet in. One of his number volunteered to open a room to make due for the next service. At that service another member volunteered their home for a service. And so it continues to this day, except, it is no longer just meeting a necessity, believers are clamoring to have the church meet in their home. The woman of the house we met in last week, stood, testifying with tears in her eyes, how thankful she was that the church had come to her house. So thankful are the hosts and hostesses, that in many cases, to show their appreciation they fix a meal. What the enemy had thought would be their ruin, God turned into their blessing.

On Sundays, Bro. Cheatwood, our senior missionary, travels with us, and preaches at the meetings. He is 76 years old. Years ago, when the work began here, Bro. Ralph said it was his desire to take the right word in the right spirit to the people of Bulgaria. Bro. Ralph's advice for missionaries? Love the people and learn their language. He has given his life to the translation of the bible into Turkish. He works day and night, pouring himself into this labor of love. It is therefore both a blessing and privilege to watch him at work in the meetings, to hear him preach, to see his love. A few weeks back, after the last service of the day in Goren Chiflik, a woman who had attended the meeting invited us back to her house. There she confessed she wanted to be a believer but was fearful. For an hour Bro. Ralph addressed her fears, and witnessed to her one on one of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus. At the conclusion of his efforts, he told her we'd have prayer for her, and invited her to give her fears to God. We all knelt and prayed, and watched as a woman found a comforter. Thank God for faithful words and a loving witness.

Pray earnestly for us. We love and miss you all. May God continue to richly bless you for Jesus' sake.


Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Prayer Letter February 2015

"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God,

the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." Psalms 46:4


Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

The Kamchia River starts high in the Balkan mountains, flowing eastward, eventually emptying into the Black Sea just south of Varna. It flows near many of the villages where we hold meetings and, in some instances, directly through the village. In fact, every summer for the past several years, we have baptized in the Kamchia where it flows nearest our central church in the village of Dabravino. Recently, due to a mild winter and prodigious rains, the Kamchia river basin has flooded. At one point, many houses adjacent to the river had to be evacuated, and many of the surrounding fields, planted in cold-weather crops, resembled vast lakes. Driving by the flooded areas with a car load of believers headed to a meeting, we couldn't help but marvel at the scope and the effects of the flooding. I was reminded of the river Ezekiel notes in chapter 47, proceeding from the sanctuary, growing ever deeper the farther it travels. Unlike the Kamchia, this "River of God" brought healing and life wherever it flowed. While Ezekiel's river is physical, I couldn't help but draw certain spiritual parallels between it and the rivers our Lord mentions in John 7:38: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." This "river of the Spirit" proceeds from God out of the sanctuary, through believers, to bring life and healing to a world devastated by Satan and sin. Just as we witnessed the damage and loss the Kamchia's overflowing wrought, at the meeting we marveled at the scope and effects, equally as literal, the River of God has produced here among the Gypsy-Turks. While we pray for those effected by the weather, and thank God for the Kamchia's subsiding, we rejoice we have another river and pray it floods often. Like Daniel Whittle wrote, "Mercy drops round us are falling, But for the showers we plead." Pray for another heavenly deluge here in Bulgaria.

For the last two years, as many of you know, we have resided in a small apartment in Varna. We don't take for granted the Lord providing this place for us. It was what we needed and where we needed to be. With the addition of Dixie Joy and all the accoutrements a new baby requires, not to mention the increasing energy growing boys need to expend, our apartment has shrunk. We have been praying the Lord would open up something a little more suited to our expanding family for some time, but all searches and inquiries led nowhere. Just recently, however, in answer to many prayers, we found a house for rent. It is located in the village of Levski, 30 minutes to the east of where we live now. It has everything we had been looking for: a walled in yard for the boys, another bedroom for the baby, and more than double the space we have now. The icing on the cake? It's only 50 leva more a month than what we're paying now. You can't tell me our God isn't interested in details. He knows our needs better than we do. So, by the next prayer letter, Lord willing, we will be country folks again, living in a new village in a new place. Please pray for us as we make this transition.

ince late September of last year, I have been attending my brother Zachary's meetings. I welcomed the opportunity to return to these meetings. It has been good seeing his people again, especially since my ability to communicate has improved since the last time I had been in their homes. In the village of Sekulovo, the man of the house fell desperately ill. His wife, distraught by thoughts of life without him, was the very definition of importunity. She pursued us by every means at her disposal, at one point offering to come to Varna to get me; she would not be denied. When finally we returned to the village, we found the man unable to rise from his bed. We prayed for him, committing his recovery to God, and paid his way to the hospital. At the hospital, he was denied admittance due to his lack of insurance. He returned home, where we prayed for him again the following week. Returning this week, a crowd had gathered. We found him up and about, in good health and spirits. His wife testified that whatever his illness was, it was gone, and that the Lord had done what the doctors refused to do.

The Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting. His blessings are ever new and exceeding abundant. He not only knows us, he loves us and delights to help us. We thank God for every one of you. You are often in our prayers, that the Lord who has blessed us bless you more. We miss you all. Please keep us on your hearts and in your prayers. Our needs and the needs of this work are many, and every one known to God, and we rest in the promise that He will meet them all for His glory. We love you all.


Because of a living Saviour,


The William LeFevre Family