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Thoughts from Israel...

by Pastor Jerry Theckston

 

Often I use that wonderful Scripture in Isaiah 55:8-9, where God makes clear, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways… they couldn’t be further apart, as high as the heavens are above the earth!" God says this many times in the Scriptures (Psalm 94:11/ I Cor. 3:19-20 / I Cor. 2:11-16 / etc.) But usually we don’t listen!  Zechariah 7:13!


We had a couple major issues on this trip that I didn’t know how they could possibly be resolved!  Dr. Lev Prystupiuk had a medical conference in Basil Switzerland, right in the middle of our three week trip in Ukraine!  He is not only an excellent translator but a great friend, and not the least, he goes where God tells him to go- without fear! 


Another challenge popped up as well! We were going to enter one of the most violent parts of the War in a city called Nikopol- who would go there with us to lead and translate?!  Smart people seldom follow Jesus - for the most part, they already feel like they have most of the answers! I Cor. 1:18-31 / Jer. 9:23-24


But God provided two translators in Kharkiv - a 20 year old college student who did a very good job! And, a 30 something English teacher - who was great!


I have already spoken about the translator in Nikopol- she had just finished a 16 year study in China and Colorado, to complete her doctorate in Ancient Chinese language and culture!  The reason I mention these three new friends again, is what God said to me after we left them for Chernivtsi.  Everyone of them had a profound experience with Jesus and His Holy Spirit while we were together! 


The 20 year old man was Orthodox and everybody seemed nervous that the Elders and congregation would find out!  They did find out and I told them if he is not welcome then I am out as well!  At the end there was the gift of love, understanding and new life in Christ, really, for all! The school teacher was quite shy but by the end she was fully engaged with the gang!  She was honored and had new insights and experiences in her faith that she had never had before!


Our very proper and shy translator in Nikopol got loved up and blessed, and our parting ended up with a gigantic hug from her, great thankfulness and a beautiful tenderness you don’t often see from an academic scholar! But Jesus had a plan not only for them but for each of us! 


He told me while we were on our way out of Ukraine- I know your preference was Lev, and he will join you soon!  But I wanted to do a new work in these sweet friends who would never been able to travel with you guys if Lev were here!  He said, “ keep learning how to trust me! - I’ll never let you down!  My way is Always the best even if you don’t understand!


Finally,  a little bit about each of these pictures...


3 Amigos on the Sea shore in Jaffa (Joppa)…



Jerusalem Wailing Wall - we returned a second time to put little Prayer rolls from our friends in Ukraine!  Amazing history at this wall…








Lev is faithfully delivering the prayers of the saints from Ukraine! Things are not going well for the Ukrainian army right now, they are short on ammo and manpower… his is So tragic for both sides, taking young men right off the streets or from their workplace to pick up a gun!


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