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2010 - January/February PDF Print E-mail

CROSSOVER MINISTRIES

239 Duke Road

Columbia, Louisiana 71418

(318) 649-5452

E-mail:  crossovermin@juno.com

Web address:  www.crossoverministries.com

January - February 2010

 

            Greetings to all of you in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  This last year was a memorable one for us!!!  Wow!  From the death of some precious friends and family members, the scare of a mother's heart attack, some terrible illness in the family, all the way to one of the sweetest celebrations of our lives--our own daughter's marriage--it has been a year to remember.  From the time I was young, I often wondered what it felt like to be the oldest generation still living.  I have always found comfort in looking up to my elders for example and advice, and admired those who had fought their way through life ahead of me.  After experiencing some life-changing "stones" placed in our life this year, I am beginning to panic a little bit in the fact that we are gradually, but steadily, making our way upward to becoming that last generation at the top of the ladder of life.  Shane's mom and dad have gone through some tough times the last few years, but none like this last year.  His mom has always been the one who seemed to be able to have all kinds of physical challenges, but still possess the resilience of a yo-yo that bounces back again and again before it hits the ground.  Yet, she has recently experienced a heart attack and had to have three stints put into her heart to open up veins that were blocked 90% in two and 75 % in another one.  We are praying that she will again be able to bounce back again.  Please pray for her as she struggles to keep their place of business afloat and also as she takes care of Shane's dad, who has recently been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's.  Things are changing quickly for them, and it has been stressful for all.

 

            Because of all the major changes in the lives of our family, we had to make some adjustments to our schedule at the beginning of the year.  We were scheduled to return to Ukraine just after the New Year, but decided to cancel our tickets and postpone our return so that we could stay to help Shane's mom and dad, and to take care of some personal business.  It gave us a chance to spend precious time with our families, but we were also missing our friends in Ukraine.  I think Shane's dad even got to feeling better and seemed to be a little bit more stable mentally than he was before.  I'd always thought that Alzheimer's, although more than just difficult for a family, was merciful in a way for the actual patient.  I was only considering the very last stages of Alzheimer's instead of the journey to get to that point.  I am beginning to see that a person who suffers from the disease truly suffers!!!  It is a cruel disease.  As it pulls from the brain, the patient realizes he is losing control, which can make them frustrated and panicked.  Because a person with the disease can be totally at themselves one second, but completely confused the next, they understand a lot of what is going on.  It is so sad to watch the person struggling to maintain his personality.  People around them begin to "ignore" them in conversations, and even when they are aware of what is said, family and friends have a temptation to focus on others in the conversation instead.  I know for myself that I sometimes feel intimidated by what Shane's dad might say or do, so I try not to "upset" him by saying anything that might spur a thought to keep him involved.  I think others in our family have, at least at some point in time, felt the same.  I know this can cause a lot of insecurity for him!  Please pray for our family.

 

CAMP MINISTRY: 

We welcome you to summer camps!  For information, contact us at our emails:  crossovermin@juno.com or mdwriterx1@juno.com.

 

            Since getting back into Ukraine, we have realized that the year will be filled with changes that will affect the life of our camps here!  This camp has been used for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ for many years now, and we hate to even consider turning it back over to the coal mine after so many years of upkeep and Bible teaching, but the financial situation is affecting all aspects of life.  There has been a legal wage increase in Ukraine this year of 50% along with rising prices and loss of jobs to compensate for these increases.  Because of rising prices, we felt we needed to make some needed changes in the camp schedule.  In the past, our legal agreement with the coal mine has been to have three 15-day children's camps and provide needed upkeep for the grounds along with giving the coal mine workers a percentage of invitations for their children.  While we have always been able to fulfill these obligations, and even have a 6-day youth camp for the past two years as well, now is the time we have needed to ask for a change.  We have made the decision to cancel our third children's camp altogether and also to decrease the number of invitations for the remaining two children's camps.  The third camp has been the one which is always hardest to get needed workers and financial support because of the late date and previous work-out in the first two camps.  Therefore, we have also moved the youth camp up into the start date of the previous planned third camp.  We have offered these changes to the coal mine, and they have accepted it.  We will be trying to meet with key supporters in March to consider whether camps will be able to go on after this year.

 

The camp schedule for 2010 has been changed to the following:

Camp One:  June 13th - 26th

Camp Two:  July 4th - July 17

Youth Camp:  July 25th - 31st

 

            We have several young people who plan to come this summer for at least two of the camps, so we ask that you pray for all of them.  Bro. Jeff Robinson, who recently resigned as a full-time pastor to become a missionary, will also come for the summer.  He will come to Ukraine in the middle of May with a team led by Bro. Stan Wyant to help prepare for camps and to do evangelistic ministry, and then he will be with us for the rest of the summer.  Bro. Jeff is also at a cross roads in his life as well.  He is praying and considering all directions of ministry for his family, and desires to do the will of God, and is considering the possibility of future ministry here in Ukraine.  Please continue to pray for guidance and direction in the decisions they'll be having to make as a family.

 

RETURN TO UKRAINE:

            We were met at the airport by a young lady named Lori who has been living in Ukraine for about five years. She was in her 20's when she became burdened to come to Ukraine with a team after praying for a friend of hers who had come on a summer trip. She has survived for all these years, learned the language fluently, and is pressing on. She was working through another Ukrainian youth ministry that did camps around Kiev, but she raises her own support. She was faithful, and has testified to a time of eating bread and water. A Ukrainian family invited her into their home, and they took her under their wing for a while. Later, she got her own place, and began to work with Americans who came to adopt children, serving as a personal interpreter and helper.  Just last year we met her for the first time, and she is a "little dynamite" of a girl!  I am always cautious when meeting new people, but she was one of those people that absolutely everyone loves and finds easy to get to know and talk to.  She had come to our area with a young lady we knew from our summer camps. She was returning, and asked if Lori could come with her for a few days. Well, those few days turned into the summer. She served with us faithfully for every camp, and only returned home one time just for a few days in order to fulfill a commitment she'd already made.  Just as us, Lori is also in a BIG transition time of her life.  She will be losing her rented apartment soon due to the Ukrainian family's need to sell the home. So...we are praying and considering how God may work in this situation.  She is expressing a possibility of moving and working in our region.

            We were also met at the airport by a young man we've been working with for the last few years. He was a come-and-go person in our lives in the beginning.  He had gotten saved in his earlier years through camp ministry.  He and his family attended a Baptist church in Lugansk.  He later left home, and after a heart-break, began to search for what life was all about. He even got a tattoo across his arm that read, "All is vanity!"  We realized Yuri's talents and virtue, and Shane was led by the Spirit to ask him to come to the camp to serve as electrician and as a minister with us.  We have truly grown to love him.  He has matured tremendously as God continues to grow and raise him up in His word.  Last summer, he applied to go back to Kiev to study for two years in a type of Bible college sponsored by American professors. He is faithful in church there, and serves in orphanage ministry as well as attending college each day.  His desire is to continue in full-time ministry after his graduation. He told us that he was praying that God would keep us in Ukraine for three more years, but then he said that he later became convicted by his prayer. He then asked God that if it wasn't possible, then maybe He would allow us to come and go for the two year time he is in college, and then return for at least one year after he graduates. Please pray for him as he struggles to step out in faith.  You never know what tomorrow might bring...and we have to learn to never set stipulation or limitations on what God might do with and for us.

 

            Later we were visited by a young man named Yeager who studies English and Chinese, and already speaks Russian (his first language), Ukrainian, and a little bit of German. He is an awesome young man. He visited the camps the first year we arrived when we were serving as teachers at the time.  Shane had a young interpreter who was also a youth leader in ministry.  He was somewhat of a rebel when it came to traditional "church" beliefs that might not be based altogether on Scripture. He hated any strict traditional rule, and was something like a crusader to make things right, but he was a faithful member of one of the Baptist churches, and had been pretty well discipled for his age.  Yeagor came to visit the camp only to see a friend who was working.  He just came right up and began talking.  He was still in the learning stages of English at the time. He was so friendly and funny though.  After visiting with us at camp, Yeagor began to come to the services at night and to listen to the gospel being preached.  He liked visiting and talking with us in English, and soon became friends with Shane's interpreter Sasha.  They hadn't known each other before that time.  Then one day, Yeagor asked Shane if they could talk seriously because he wanted to know more about the gospel.  Shane, Sasha, and he just got in the car and drove to town. That day, Yeagor asked Christ to be his Savior and Lord.  Between camps, Sasha and Yeagor began hanging out together, and Sasha poured into him the Words of God. At other times, he visited at our home, and we sat for hours and hours discussing the Bible with him. I don't think I've ever seen a kid more desiring to learn.  Yeagor now serves as church interpreter and for a while, he refused to take any pay. He said it was his way to give to God.  He also serves with us in summer camps, and from time to time will even forego his salary for camps because he said he wants to give back some of what God has given to him. During this time of transition for us, Yeagor has been so encouraging. He wrote to Shane often, and has expressed his appreciation to him, and his desire that Shane be with them a little while longer with his "tender" leadership. Shane actually thought that was funny since we are always telling him how "mean" he has gotten since moving to Ukraine. But...I know it was an encouragement to Shane. Yeagor has been such a blessing, and desires to serve however the Lord leads him. He visited China for one school term, and learned much of the Chinese culture and ways. This has been a blessing for us since one of our most faithful workers in ministry here has been a young Chinese man who lived in our village and who met Christ during the first year we served in Ukraine.

 

            This young Chinese man's name is Alec. It's not his given name, but the name he chose to use when he came to Ukraine. He had come to Ukraine to find work ten years before we arrived. He soon found a young wife from our village and had a little girl about three years old at the time. She was so sweet, but shy.  Alec came to our home looking for someone to work with him in farming. Shane had already been considering all the things that could be done in farming ministry in Ukraine, but did not know about how to begin.  Alec had tried some years before, but his complaint was that all Ukrainians he had worked with were alcoholics, and couldn't be counted on. Shane used an interpreter to explain to Alec that if he worked with him, we would not be like a normal partner.  We would only offer financial help to get things started, but we did not desire any of the profit, only expenses paid back from the sales. Shane explained to him that he only desired to do this as a ministry with him to be able to reach people with the gospel.  He would work with them whenever possible, and hopefully, that would open doors to minister to Alec and to his workers. When Shane explained to him that he would be working for Jesus, Alec was thinking that Shane had a boss in America whose name was Jesus.  Alec had heard the Ukrainians mention about the church traditions and about Jesus, but he'd never really heard about Jesus as God.  No one had ever explained to him about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Alec could not understand the concept of Shane's idea, and even expressed that he thought Shane was a little bit crazy to think this way, but nevertheless, he was happy with the deal. Alec had also been doing illegal coal mine work, and was supporting many of the workers by feeding and taking care of them.  Alec and Shane began to spend many hours together.  Alec was filled with so many questions.  He was a little bit shy, and he would seldom talk to Shane about the more serious things when there was an interpreter with them.  He began to visit the church services from time to time, and when they would be alone, Shane did his best to explain to him about the gospel.  Then early one summer, we were having a baptism service at the lake when Alec drove up to see what was going on. He asked Shane if he would wait because he wanted to go pick up his wife since she'd never seen anything like this before. Shane tried to hold off by preaching, but we could see a big black cloud in the distance moving our way. Alec drove up just as Shane began to preach about the demonic man, and he was saying, "If God can help a man like this, then how much more can he help you?".   After Alec arrived, we sang some, and then Shane baptized.  After baptism, Shane was speaking as he waited on the lady changing clothes in the little sheet dressing room area we'd created along the banks.  At one point, Shane prayed with the group, and then he asked, "Would anyone else desire to be baptized today?" After asking this, everyone was amazed as Alec began to empty his pockets and give his things to his wife as he made his way down to Shane.  Others told us his wife was saying, "Alec, sit down. This is serious!" Alec had answered that he knew it was serious.  Shane asked Alec did he believe that Jesus was the Son of God.  Alec answered in his stuttering Russian, "I think so!" Shane asked him when Jesus came into his heart.  Alec answered, "I prayed a just a few minutes ago whenever you prayed."  That was the start of a new life changed. 

 

            Alec has had many struggles since that time, and his wife struggled to accept his new faith even though God has been good to Alec and his family. Almost immediately, God appointed something like a guardian in Alec's life. An American friend of ours became very interested in doing for Alec and seeing that he was given the freedom to be discipled in Christ.  He became like Alec's father in the faith.  This man bought Alec his very first Chinese Bible, and when Alec received it, he held it close and began to cry.  After four years of discipleship, we cannot say that Alec is perfect, but we know that God has done a miraculous work in his life.  Later in his walk, Alec began to express to Shane that he had a desire to "carry God's Word", and especially to His own people in China.  Alec did not wait to teach and preach, but he started to do what he could in Ukraine.  He even began a small church group meeting in another village close by.  Ukraine is a hard place to minister since so many seem to just shrug their shoulders any time the gospel is presented to them and say, "So what?". It has also been hard for us.  Alec did not stop, but has continued to press on.  Shane taught him to build small furniture, and spent many hours with him discussing the scriptures.  Alec has been faithful to serve in every ministry spot we have had.  Shane eventually began to allow Alec opportunities to teach, and when he spoke, it was clear that Alec has a gift from God.

 

            Eventually, there was a very short few days that, after pressure to return to his old way, Alec did try to go back to do the things he'd done in the past.  Then he came back with such sadness on his face and with a cigarette burn on his arm. Shane talked with him and soon found out what he'd done. He explained to Shane what had happened, and told him that he was so ashamed.  He said that even though he felt pressure to return to his old life, he just could not do it.  He was no longer the same person as before.  There was no going back!     

 

            Alec has had some tough times with his temper.  He was a well-known fighter before, and he has done some pretty stupid things since his salvation, but he is not proud of it.  He has also had to deal with some cultural issues in defending his honor with his wife.   It is with sadness that Alec and his wife were not able to remain together, and they now have been divorced.  We pray that God will continue to use Alec for His honor and for His glory in spite of all he has faced.  God is able!  Alec is normally a very kind and gentle man.  Our small discipleship group formed a circle around him to give him a type of send-off, and after our prayer, Alec openly wept.  We all knew this may be one of the last times that some of us may see our dear friend on this earth.  Through the help of his sponsor, Alec has now already returned to China to attend a Bible school there.  He has taken his little girl to see his parents for the very first time ever. Please pray for them.  we have heard from him little, but he has said that they are doing okay!  He also says that little Ira has been taking walks in their village with her grandmother and they have communicated by pointing from one thing to the next.  What a precious thought!

 

            Our first day back in the city church, Shane preached a long, but good sermon about how God has chosen us, and how He has confidence in us.  He used the passage where He called Peter out of the boat to walk on the water.  It was when Peter began to look around him that he began to sink.  There is an older man who is now attending the city church meetings who has been trying to help the group while we are away.  God has to make a way for a leader to be raised up that others will be willing to follow.  I think they like this man because he is a smart and sweet man, but I don't think they are sure of him right now.  We have purposefully held back on creating a legal church with the few members who are faithful Ukrainians because we feel that God needs to raise up leaders, and in due time, the Ukrainians will begin to form church groups themselves.  Please pray for these young people and the few families who are meeting together there.

 

            After church on Sunday, we were also able to go and visit with Yeagor's family.  Wow!  The Ukrainian women sure do know how to cook!  His mom and dad are such sweet people, and were very much a blessing.  They have always been extremely cordial to us since the time that we have lived in Ukraine, and even attended Yeagor's baptism.  They are loyal to traditional Orthodox religion, but they allow Yeagor to make his own choices without passing judgment or holding him back from seeking God in his own way. 

 

            Another young person we have grown to love so much over the last few years is a girl named Anya.  She is a precious person--like a "gentle giant" in the faith.  Shane teases her because he thought she told him her name was "Onion" the first time he ever met her.  She didn't speak English very well at the time, & he responded to her by saying, "My wife loves onion too!"  So funny!  Anya has learned English well enough to help with interpreting, but it seems her true gifts are in serving, organizing, & teaching.  I'll never forget when we first came to Ukraine.  She was the one willing to take the little children to the back room for Sunday school.  She was so faithful!  She still struggles to become even more faithful to whatever way God chooses to use her life.  During the summer camps, she became convicted that her life should not be just something ordinary...not something familiar, but a life of honor to God.  She was striving about whether to hold on to some of the desires we all have in life, and to cling to what she was most comfortable with, or to let go, step out of her comfort zone, and let God have his way with her for the future.  Anya is now serving to interpret letters for the little ones at the orphanage.  They write letters to Americans & then she interpreters them and sends them on, & vice versa.  She will soon be graduating with a degree in some type of newspaper editing...I'm not sure exactly what it is.  But...in the past, she has expressed a desire to have a type of Christian newspaper some day.  We are waiting anxiously to see how God will use this young lady of such great faith.

 

            Since coming back to Ukraine we have also visited the Belerechinka orphanage on three days for Bible Study, and on another Saturday, we went to have a Valentine's party with them.  It was a sweet time of fellowship!  The kids had grown up so much since I had gone back to America in early fall.  I was amazed at how many of them seemed to be a foot taller.  We also went to the little orphanage in our village on a Sunday night to have a Valentine's party.  Those kids are something else.  When we first arrived, the were all shy and quite reserved.  They all seemed afraid to open up, but we started singing and eating and playing games, and before it was over, the kids were trying to get as close to us as they could.  Trevor Victalic, a young man who had been working with us in the past and who is now going to a Bible school, has taught the kids a lot of English words.  They were so proud to show me all of the words they knew.  It was such a good time to spend with them...a lot of one on one interaction.  We promised to bring them two ping pong paddles back one day, so we'll be trying to remember to do that before we leave again.

 

            Another young man that we have just begun working with from the summer camp this year is now serving in the orphanages with us.  He has a small car, and while we were in America, he was even using his it to go each week to Bele orphanage.  This young man is a go-getter, and a pleasure to work with.  His name is Sasha.  We are beginning to think that he might be one of the national leaders!  His father is a pastor.  Everyone seems to love him, and the kids listen well when he teaches the lessons.  His car is broken right now, but we're trying to help him get it going again so that they can continue to go there after we return again to America in March.  I had noticed when he worked with us in camps this summer that he was a hard worker in whatever job we gave him. 

 

            I am reminded of the scripture that if we are faithful over a few things, God will make us rulers over many!  May God continue to grow and enable these young people in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen!

 

            With sadness, we ask that each of you pray for Bro. Eddie Gerodias, our pastor friend from the Philippines.  He has written with the bad news that he has been diagnosed with cancer and needs treatments.  Please remember his family in your prayers always.

 

            We also have another friend in the faith from India, Bro. Moses Shah.  He has written us many times about the tragic loss of property, churches, and lives during the time of their persecution there.  He is such a positive man as he has testified that he believes that God will take the remains and rebuild the Saints in the faith for His glory.  He doesn't seem to be looking back as it seems it would be so tempting to do, but rather, he is seeing hope in their future! 

 

Shane will be preaching revival at Linsmore Baptist Church during the week of March 21 - 24, 2010.

 

If you would like to have a 2009 financial report, please email us at crossovermin@juno.com.

                                                                                                           

 We love you all!   God Bless you!

Keep Pressing On!

Shane and Marilyn Duke

Crossover Ministries

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 10 May 2010 )
 
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