Danelle and I just returned from leading a week-long sports camp in Dimitrov, a poor mining town in eastern Ukraine. The local church invited us to work with them in this outreach to the youth. Not only did dozens of teenagers and adults hear about the Lord Jesus, but God strengthened our relationship with the church there. He also did some transforming work on our character as well. The living conditions were, let’s just say, rather Spartan! David Henson, a fellow GCM missionary, participated, as well as Dima Gusar (in the yellow shirt), a young Ukrainian lawyer. This was Dima’s first mission trip, and he said he was thrilled to share the gospel for the first time. Andris (in black & red shirt), a young man from Latvia, was staying with us in Kiev, and then he traveled with us to Dimitrov. Andris had come to observe what God is doing in the Ukrainian churches and serve where needed. He said after the first day in Dimitrov, “I think God has me here to learn to live outside of my comfort zone!” We all felt that way during the week in the heat, with only very cold water available from 6-10 in the morning and evening, sometimes not even that. And there was only one “shower” (I use the term loosely) in our entire four story dormitory! Danelle happened to be reading in the book of Job that week and I told her to stop! :-) Today she shared James 1:2-4 with me. Here is the Message translation, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” We trust that God will bear much fruit for His glory from our being “under pressure” for the gospel. Please pray for Igor and the church there.
“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” John 4:35 (Dima Gusar and David Henson)
Family MattersOur recent time in America was very encouraging because we saw many of you. Steve was able to attend the installation of his brother Kurt as President of East-West Ministries in Dallas. We both traveled to Omaha for the Great Commission National Pastor’s Conference, where we enjoyed catching up with old friends.
We were refreshed through by being with my mother and our children and their spouses, as well as our grandchildren. We attended Stephanie’s graduation from the University of Georgia and Grace’s graduation from Shorter College. We were also blessed to be present for the birth of our grandson, Ezra Lydon Stansell, on June 6th. Ezra is growing so quickly that he will be entering his first Peachtree Road Race in just a few years! Finally, Grace became engaged to Ward Bearden, and they will be married November 14th! We thank God for Ward and how He led them to serve Him together!
1. Danelle and I will travel with Timmy and Kenyon to Odessa July 23-25 to teach and encourage the believers.
2. Wisdom to effectively disciple leaders in Kiev. Luke 6:40
3. For God’s wisdom on how to prepare the men in the rehab centers to transition to life, work, and family situations.
4. We will open a women’s rehab center. Pray this would be effective and life-changing.
5. The youth in Dimitrov who heard the gospel to get saved, and the church to love them. Pray for Vitalic, Natalie, and Artom in particular to trust Christ.
Yours in Christ’s love,
Steve and Danelle
* Please go to my Facebook page if you wish to see more pictures from our outreach in Dimitrov.