"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch." John 10:22-23
Our praying friends and family in the Lord,
The place is Jerusalem; the occasion, the feast of dedication; the season, winter. The air is chill, the landscape bleak, the skies gray; all nature is clothed in death. But then we read these words: "And Jesus walked in." And though time and place remain the same, and the season maintains its predetermined course, there is a change. Though He bears the weight of winter on His head, and His feet burn with the heat of summer, there is a perpetual spring time in His heart, and wherever He goes, harvest follows. As Charles Butler wrote, "Where Jesus is, 'tis Heaven there." It may have been winter outside, but when He walked in, life sprang to attention.
In Genesis chapter eight verse twenty-two, the LORD gave us the seasons in perpetuity. He promised, "While the earth remaineth… summer and winter… shall not cease." For our part it seems He's making good on that promise this winter, as it feels never ending. But, thanks be to God, we have the hope of summer in our hearts. Winters must be endured for summers to be enjoyed; and without "seedtime," there is no harvest. Still, regardless the season, we rest confident that nothing hinders our God: the bitter cold of winter can't chill Him, nor the stifling heat of summer fatigue Him. He is master of tempest and wave; stormy winds fulfill His will; snow and rain accomplish his purpose; night and day are alike to Him; the sun and moon move or stay by His permission; all things were created by Him and for Him and, as such, obey Him. Therefore, come what may, I bless Him. And "when I am happy in Him," John Newton declares, "December's as pleasant as May."
This January, according to the Bulgarian news, has been the coldest in 30 years. We have seen more snow this year than our entire six years on the field, and, according to the other missionaries, more than in their twenty-year tenure. We have been snowed in on several occasions, for days at a time. During the biggest snowfall, two thirds of the country lost power, and in many places, it remained out for days. Ours was reduced to a trickle, with just enough current to charge our cell phones. In our little village, the main road to and from the big cities was completely covered over with drifts. When they opened the main road, we still had to wait a couple of days for them to clear our side roads. Once we were able to get out and about, we were amazed at the sheer amount of snow. The berms the tractors plowed up in opening the roads were well over the top of our vehicle; they created deep, one-lane canyons of snow, that though you could pass through them, you didn't relish the prospect. Stuck at home, I tried to make good use of my time sewing Bibles. At present, the weather has cleared, though it's supposed to get cold again.
During this break in the weather, my brother, Zachary, national pastor Alish, and I headed to Romania to attend the funeral of national pastor Ahmet. Ahmet maintained a good profession before many witnesses. He was saved from a life of alcoholism and abusiveness. He was changed gloriously by the gospel, and set out to preach the Christ that converted him. They said the day he got saved, he entered the church and listened to them sing a hymn that talks about seeing God. He prayed that day that God would make him fit, that he might be able to see Him. The Lord did much more than that, he used Ahmet to show Himself to hundreds. Finally, the other day, Ahmet's very first prayer was answered, and he got to see God. His wife testified at the funeral, "These aren't tears of sadness, these are tears of Joy. My husband's happy and home, and I'm happy for him."
A few days later, all the missionaries and nationals met in Dabravino to sew our reserves of Bibles. Midway through our day, a young couple showed up to the church asking for prayer. It seems the young lady was in the grip of fear, afraid to live, afraid to die. In a few minutes, we had assembled a crowd of believers. We sang, and then Bro. Cheatwood preached from 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." He said the perfect love of Jesus secures us that we need never fear. We don't have to fear Him never loving us, never helping us, never hearing us. At the end of his message, we all knelt around the young couple and prayed for them. By this time, a significant crowd had gathered, and there was power in that prayer. What a marvelous thing! Whether enduring the storms safely at home, shedding tears at a funeral, laboring with brethren to ready Bibles for distribution, crowding around a hurting heart seeking God's strength, the Lord was always near to hand, ready to bless, eager to comfort. Is there anyone like our God? Is there any work better than His?
As of right now, we are planning a furlough this fall. Lord willing, we will return to the states in September, 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.
Because of a living Saviour,
The William LeFevre Family