Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 2016 Prayer Letter

"Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people." 1 Chronicles 16:8

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

Demir, a friend and fellow labourer, a national pastor with more than ten churches under his care, joined myself and two other nationals for a work day last week. We were meeting to hand sew Bibles and hymn books. (I never thought I'd be part of a male sewing circle, but the Lord's ways are mysterious.) As the labor is not arduous, there is plenty of time for fellowship while we work. I listened as the nationals recounted bygone days in Bulgaria, and in particular to the early days of this ministry. Demir said, "Years ago, whenever trouble came, whether it was sickness or persecution, we fell to pieces. I can't count how many times we begged, wept, and prayed for deliverance over the smallest trouble. But years have gone by, and we've grown up in the Lord and in His word. We don't fear our troubles anymore. We don't have to run from them. We've learned that when trouble comes, if you'll look around, you'll find the Lord nearby. We don't like them, but we like that the Lord comes with them." His small testimony, given among friends, was as honey to a famished soul: enlightening.

A few weeks ago, trouble came, in the form of our little Dixie Joy contracting pneumonia. She awoke around midnight with shortness of breath. We gave her what medicine we had, and watched her throughout the night. Sunday morning, she was none improved. We decided to take her to the ER. The doctor there diagnosed her with a mild touch of asthma, but to be safe, ordered an x-ray. The x-ray showed pneumonia in one lung. They admitted her into the children's hospital and started her on IV's. Our boys went to stay with their grandparents, Missionary and Mrs. Matt Welch; Hannah stayed with Dixie; and I played errand boy for nurse and patient. Dixie showed progress, while Hannah showed exhaustion (one of the medicines contained a steroid that kept Dixie wired for hours, nay, days on end). Praise the Lord, after four days they sent her home, much improved. A week later, her check-up showed she had completely recovered. While the family seemed scattered, the Lord was nigh to us all, comforted us, kept us, and brought us together again rejoicing.

The saints in Detelina have been begging to visit other churches for a while now. (I was scheduled to take them the day Dixie fell ill.) They're a good lot, strong in the faith, ready always to sing or testify. Last week, at our regular meeting, it seemed like everyone wanted to tell of God's personal handiwork. One girl said, "I've been waiting all week to give a testimony. Last week God nudged me to brag on him, but I was scared. All week long it's been like there's a fire in my heart!" She bragged on the Lord for near fifteen minutes while tears rolled down her cheeks. I was finally able to fulfill my promise, gathering them up early Sunday morning, bundling them off an hour and half away to the village of Zlatna Niva. Our meeting began when we pulled up. The saints from there greeted the saints with me with joy and weeping. The meeting moved into the building, where we sang for over an hour. We prayed and then called for testimonies. They testified for another hour. At preaching time, the power was present. It was by far the easiest time I've had preaching since coming to the field. And I had a cheerleading section that would have put U of T to shame. An hour later, we were all filled, happy, settled and secure in the goodness of our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The couple of the house, National Pastor Alish and his wife Safet, prepared what was in their hand (bread, pickled peppers, and meatballs), and we all dined with grateful hearts.

The Lord has seemed especially good to us of late. I say "seemed" because the Lord is always good, and seemingly to us in particular. But while the Lord is good, it often takes trouble and trials to center our attention upon Him. Once centered, we find in Him everything we sought elsewhere, and we marvel at his forbearance. I am glad to be a missionary. I am grateful to be laboring (though the work is the Lord's) here, in Bulgaria. I am blessed with a loving wife and three little chips off this big blockhead. I am humbled by your all's love, prayers, and support. Pray for us, that the we might show forth the goodness of Lord Jesus wherever and to whomever the Lord lets us go.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

PS – As of right now, we are planning a furlough in 2017. Lord willing, we would return to the states in September of next year, staying through the Spring of 2018. I know many of you pastors like to have advanced knowledge to plan accordingly. If you'd like to have us in to update you on the work, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our information is provided in the footer of our prayer letters. God bless you all.

Monday, August 1, 2016

July 2016 Prayer Letter

"Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to shew them light, and the way wherein they should go." Nehemiah 9:19

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

It sure is a comfort to know our gracious God will not, nor cannot forsake us; we are not cast off and have no reason to be cast down. The same guiding hand that led us to himself has promised to lead us home. In the brightness of day, the evidence of His presence is everywhere to be seen; His path lies plain before us. In the blackness of night, though unable to see a great distance, He gives us enough light to see Him, and we are consoled that He's near to hand, comforted that the same illuminating flame keeps the enemy at bay.

Being led of the Lord, we held our second big meeting of the summer recently. Believers came from all over to sing, pray, be edified by preaching, and worship the Lord Jesus. We started the meeting around 5:30 p.m., much later in the evening than usual, to help us beat the summer heat. Still, fetching them from their villages began much earlier in the day. The first service went very well. The singing was powerful; tears flowed freely. Bro. Cheatwood preached the first service from Romans chapter 5 about the love God demonstrated to the most unlikely: the weak, the ungodly, and sinners. After the service, four souls came, confessing their faith in Jesus Christ and desiring to be baptized. While half of the congregation repaired to the evening meal, the other half headed to the river. There, amid singing and praying, these fours souls were baptized, entering into the river with fear and trepidation, exiting with joy unspeakable, received by waiting and welcoming saints.

The last meeting of the evening proceeded much like the first, if not stronger. National pastor Alish testified concerning the death of Yashar, the national pastor he was saved under. He said Yashar had three possessions he was most identified with: a coat, his minivan, and his Bible. At his death, his oldest son took the coat to remember him by; his other son asked for the van; Alish said, "All I wanted was the Bible." Alish testified, "Ten years later, and the coat is gone, the van has since been turned into scrap, but I still have the Bible. Moreover, the son who wanted the coat is no longer in church; the son who drove off in the van went to Europe and ruin; but here I am with the Bible, still in church, still praising God." Later on, while preaching, he said, "As preachers, I'm sure we upset God more than anyone else. Who else plants a crop and then never goes back to see if anything came up? We go everywhere preaching and then are surprised when something grows." Pretty good for a man with only a Bible for an inheritance.

During the second meeting, national pastor Ahmed testified about goings on in Vezenkovo, a village three hours to the southwest, where our farthest church is located. He said last month, during one particular service, a woman visibly distraught came to the door. She was inquiring if anyone knew where "the believers" were. Ahmed answered, "We're the believers." Stunned, the woman said, "I set out from a village down the road, determined to find you. This was the first house I stopped at." She told those assembled of a tragic accident that occurred a few days before, that left her son in a coma, and she was asking them to come and pray. Ahmed took a group and returned to the woman's house. There he found a small congregation of broken-hearted and fearful souls. The man of the house testified to Ahmed, "Years ago, we had nothing and were the poorest people in the village, then Europe opened up to us. We went, worked, saved and got rich, but forgot about God. We never gave a single thought to God. We had everything. If I wanted a house, I'd buy it; if I wanted a car, it was mine. Now I've learned there are things that money can't buy. All my money can't wake my son up. All my money can't buy God." Ahmed preached to them, "What money can't do, faith in Jesus can. We're still poor, but we can talk to God, and he listens and answers." Ahmed said, "We preached to them, prayed, and then went on our way waiting to hear what God would do." A few days later, the answer came. The boy was awake and responsive, able to move his hands and legs. The family has since started attending the meeting in Vezenkovo. Our second service concluded after 10 p.m., and it was well past midnight before I returned home, weary, but happy.

A little more than a week ago now, we received excellent, though unexpected, news. A chance visit to the migration police resulted in learning we could now apply for permanent residence in Bulgaria. (We had been informed, before ever coming here, that obtaining permanent resident status would be a ten-year process. After completing five individual-year visas, we would be eligible for a single five-year visa. After that, we could apply for permanent residency. By that math, we assumed we would be applying for our five-year visa soon.) Delighted, we began the mad scramble to gather up all the paperwork. I first contacted our attorney to relate the good news and solicit his help. He informed us that a mistake had obviously been made, as there was no way possible we could be applying for permanent resident status. He listed his reasons and ruined our elation. Determined to press on, we returned to the migration office and laid out everything he had said before the case workers. They derided his so called "expertise," told us not to pay any attention to him, and assured us they would help us every step of the way. A week to the day, and with special and invaluable assistance from fellow missionary Larry Leach, we were able to turn in our documents. The ladies in the office asked us, "Did that lawyer help you in any way getting these?" "No," we replied. "Good," they answered, as they processed and approved our application. Lord willing, we return in September to pick up our permanent residence visas. On a side note, due to the time constraint (one week from when we were notified, to when we applied), we borrowed the necessary funds. Permanent visas are double the cost of our yearly visa expense, making it around $3,500. Yet, we are confident that the Lord — who led us here, went before us, and prepared the way — will provide. Keep us in your prayers. We love and miss you all.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Saturday, July 30, 2016


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Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 2016 Prayer Letter

"In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

Years ago, Pastor Fred Potter preached a message from Philippians chapter four that he entitled, "Something to Think About." He related that the Lord Jesus is the source of all the true, honest, just, pure, He related that the Lord Jesus is the source of all the true, honest, just, pure, and lovely things we know, and that of all the things of good report, He is the best. To think on Him is the best preoccupation of one's mind. Such is life, however, that the cares of this world seek to crowd out the loveliness of our Lord. It is a struggle, therefore, but one well rewarded, to think on Him. Our meditations of Him are a steadying force in an uncertain world. To think on Him is to seek comfort and obtain delight. "My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD." Psalm 104:34

This past Sunday, I was again in Zlatna Niva, worshiping with fellow believers there. Before service began, two ladies entered, one a regular attendee, one a first-time visitor. The visitor was introduced to all and was welcomed heartily. We began our song service, and soon, through the singing, hearts were opened and tears flowed freely. The visitor sat stunned, wide eyed, and appeared bewildered. As she gazed upon us, she began wiping tears from her own eyes. At the conclusion of the service, while others were leaving, she remained behind, as if rooted in place. Silent through the entire meeting, now she began to sob and talk simultaneously. She testified that she didn't understand what was happening to her, her heart was full to bursting; she had never felt anything like it or heard anything so amazing. She embraced all the women, and weeping tears of new joy, departed. Thank God His presence and the sincere praises of His people are still sufficient to draw sinners to the Savior.

Özlem is a beautiful 9-year-old girl who lives in the village of Staro Oryahovo. Her mother, Ahsi, is one of our faithful church members. A few years ago, when the devil came against the meeting there, Ahsi and her sister, P'ska, were some of the few who stayed true, opening their hearts to God and the doors of their houses to what was left of the church. Özlem grew up in that meeting, loves it, and gives herself to the hymns. Last year, when everyone was readying to go to Romania to our bi-annual Turkish camp meeting, Özlem threatened that if we didn't take her, she would pray car trouble on us and storms the whole journey. She won, and went. Recently we learned one of the cults had moved into the village and was trying to recruit children with the promise of games and candy. Özlem's friend invited her, saying, "Come to our meeting, we have candy for you." Özlem responded, "Come to our meeting, we have Jesus!", "...Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise..." Matthew 21:16

Praise God, the Lord is still working here; though the laborers are few, the labors are increasing. We have installed all the windows and doors in our printing facility in Avren. This week we've been preparing the roof to set the tiles. We'll soon be ready for rewiring and plumbing. Once the roof is tiled, Bro. Ralph will move all of the copiers and printing supplies in, and we'll begin in earnest the printing of New Testaments. Please remember this endeavor. Printing is costly, averaging $1,000 a month, but it's our desire to make the word of God available to all who want it. In addition to printing, we want to begin streaming our Turkish services in Avren, to go where we haven't been as yet, and as supplements to existing meetings, but not in place of them; there is no substitute on earth for the local church. To do this, we are in need of a technology update, a laptop and camera capable of the task. Please help us pray and believe for all of these needs to be met. One more prayer request, not as urgent, but growing so: Our car has been in and out of the shop quite a bit recently, with little problems and big. The rough village roads and long miles are taking their toll, not to mention packing it to capacity with believers bound for meetings. Please help us pray for a replacement. This isn't just our ministry vehicle; this is our only vehicle. Praise God, He knows all of our needs and is the source of all of our hopes and joys. God bless you all. We love and miss you.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family

Monday, February 8, 2016

February 2016 Prayer Letter

"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me,

Write: for these words are true and faithful." Revelation 21:5

Our praying friends and family in the Lord,

The old year is gone, having passed, never to return. With it the experiences, the blessings and failings, triumphs and tragedies it saw have gone as well. They exist now only in memory or in resolve taken from lessons learned or faith strengthened. Some we mourn the passing of, others we are glad to see go. Some experiences have marked us and made us different, but all have passed. And we press forward into the new, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." Preacher John Geouge warned of the dangers of building a house on Memory Lane. "Too many people who move in, never move on," he reasoned. Lot retired to the well-watered plains of Sodom because it reminded him of early days in Egypt, while Abraham kept looking for a city. Lot surmised it couldn't get any better; Abraham believed God, that the best was yet to come. I don't know what this new year holds, but I'm determined to meet it with a new heart, new love, new faith, trusting God for new grace, looking to the old book for fresh promises. Maybe this will be the year we receive a new name, sing a new song, convene in new Jerusalem to worship Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever. Amen.

December closed the old year with mild temperatures and open skies. The holiday season passed with more choruses of "Mele Kalikimaka" than "White Christmas." So amenable was the weather, the late December nights barely necessitated our fireplace furnace. Still, taking the chill off the old rock house we rent took a toll on our wood reserve. Then January arrived determined to make the most of winter: temperatures plummeted while snow fell. Thankfully, as a result of your generosity, and just prior to the first major snow, I was able to purchase sufficient wood to weather the storm. Then again, midway through the month, I purchased another truckload that will hopefully see us the season through. While in comparison many of you receive much more snow than us, Bulgaria's agricultural countryside and open fields result in massive drifts that can close a village for days on end. A snowfall that began one Saturday afternoon accumulating eight inches of snow, by Sunday morning saw drifts covering our roads in excess of four feet. On that occasion they weren't able to plow us out until sometime on Tuesday. Even then they seldom plow the roads clean, and in some places plow only one lane. Still, ample firewood for home and good tires for the road mean the worst of winter's burdens are borne much easier. I cannot sufficiently convey my thanks to every one of you who gave to help meet our need. Please know that we love you and pray often for you, that God would provide in blessings what we lack in words to communicate.

In spite of inclement weather, the work continues. While present, we hear of those who met in our absence to pray and sing and carry on. When we can meet, we are making preparations for our flour and oil distribution. In addition to this, we are manufacturing hymnbooks with the gospel of John added to them. Also, at Bro. Ralph's invitation, we are all helping proof portions of the Turkish and Cyrillic New Testament. There's never a dull moment, and never a moment at home or in the village when there isn't work to be done. Thanks be to God for both strength and light to work in, for "the night cometh, when no man can work." We also thank God for you all, for your love and prayers and your faithfulness to us, making mention of you often in our prayers. The Lord richly bless you all.

Because of a living Saviour,

The William LeFevre Family