When God Provides

The March/April issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. You can read the text of this issue in its entirety here in this post, or download the PDF version by clicking the link below.

OFR-Mar-Apr-2015Download the PDF here » March/April 2015 (2.29 MB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.

 


When God Provides

steele-family-spring-2015

After nearly seven years living in a 775 square foot apartment, God has graciously provided the Steeles with more living space! We’d like to share with you the story of how God recently led our growing family to a new home in L’viv.

When we arrived back in L’viv on February 20, we had one item on our to-do list that overshadowed all the others: find a bigger place to live. Our little apartment on Tychyny St. had been a wonderful home, and was itself a God-send back in 2008 when we found it. But after Kathryn was born late last year, Kelsie and I knew that it was time for a change of address.

For those of you who’ve never lived in L’viv, the idea of moving to a flat with a bit more space might seem straightforward. Sadly, it’s not. While one and two bedroom apartments are relatively easy to find (assuming you’re not picky about their condition) larger apartments are much rarer. Finding a home for an American family of six that was in decent shape, located near the city, and reasonably priced, threatened to be a daunting task indeed, and one that could stretch out for weeks or even months.

Yet nothing is impossible with God. As we have experienced time and again, God loves to lead His children to green pastures, providing for their needs at just the right time in ways that often astound.

So without further ado, here’s the blow-by-blow of how God blessed us with a new home that fits our needs better than we could have hoped.

Monday, February 23 – We’d been in Ukraine all of three days. That morning I had a meeting with our attorney to discuss the upcoming renewal of our residency permits. As we were finishing up, I mentioned to him that we would like to begin searching for a new apartment. His daughter, Victoria, is a realtor and he promised to pass along my request. As I returned home to continue unpacking from our trip, I had no idea how quickly things were about to move.

That very afternoon, I received a call from Victoria. She had gotten the message from her father, and now she wanted to know more details about what we were looking for. Location? Number of rooms? Cost? I gave her some general criteria, but emphasized that we were willing to be flexible. We haven’t been apartment hunting for ourselves in several years, and I wasn’t sure what we’d find on the market.

Tuesday, February 24 – To my surprise, Victoria called and said she had found a large apartment right in our region that was for rent. When could we come and see it?

The building where our new apartment is located.

The building where our new apartment is located.

Wednesday, February 25 – At the agreed upon time, Kelsie and I went to the address Victoria had provided us. It was only about a five-minute drive from Tychyny, and almost across the street from the apartment that ETO rents as our “Ministry Center”!

The wooden staircase leading up to the second floor of our apartment.

The wooden staircase leading up to the second floor of our apartment.

Victoria was waiting on the street with the owner, and together we went inside. To say that we were surprised by what we saw would be an understatement. We had been told that it was large. Victoria thought it had four rooms? But when we entered, we found that there were five rooms, plus a dining room, and TWO BATHROOMS! (In my fourteen years in Ukraine, I’ve never lived anywhere that had two bathrooms.) Also surprising was that this apartment was actually two stories!

The price was significantly more than what we had been paying, but it was still in the range we could afford. We tried not to look too shocked, and after taking some measurements, we told Victoria we would call her back later that day.

Since the Ministry Center was just a couple of blocks away, Kelsie and I walked over there to discuss our options. We went through our list of criteria and, scarcely able to believe it, found this apartment met almost every single one: great location, lots of space, interior in overall good condition, good plumbing and electrical (good-bye aluminum wiring!), attic area for storage, access to internet, close proximity to parks/play areas for the kids, water tank to ensure all-day water access, etc, etc, etc.

Needless to say, we called Victoria back with a positive answer.

Thursday, February 26 – At 2pm, we sat down and signed a one-year lease for an apartment well over twice the size of our previous one. We had been in Ukraine for six days.

Let the “Remont” Begin!
The Ukrainian language has a wonderful little word that translates “remodeling job”: remont. Even the Americans here use the word remont in everyday speech, partly because it’s short and easy to say, and partly because it seems everyone is either doing a remont or needs to do one.

Nana helped with everything from painting to dishes to homeschooling kids!

Nana helped with everything from painting to dishes to homeschooling kids!

Our new place didn’t actually need much repair, but it did need paint. So for the next week and a half, I worked with my mom and several members of the ETO team to repaint the house.

This brings up another amazing (at least to us) part of this story: all of this happened while my mom was still with us in Ukraine. We had tried to plan her trip such that *maybe* we could find an apartment and fix it up and move during her stay. For that we allowed six weeks, although at the time, it seemed like quite a long shot. As it turns out, had we known exactly what would transpire in advance, we could not have picked better dates for her trip.

As the painting progressed, we began slowly ferrying our belongings over in Jessie’s van, which he graciously allowed us to use throughout this time.

Moving Day
Finally, the remont was finished and it was time to move. We packed everything in advance, wrapped all our furniture in plastic film, and steeled ourselves (no pun intended) for what promised to be a whopper of a work day.

Moving day. The guys we hired said that in all their years in the moving business, ours was the biggest job they’d ever had!

Moving day. The guys we hired said that in all their years in the moving business, ours was the biggest job they’d ever had!

At Tychyny, we lived on the tenth floor. And the elevator is barely large enough for four people. And we have a piano. :)

Our last move happened right in the middle of CMO, and thus we had lots of help. This time around, I wasn’t too excited about carrying everything I own down 22 flights of stairs on my back. So we hired a moving service.

A few days before the move, two young guys came over, glanced briefly around the apartment, and told us they could do it for 200 grevenas ($8) an hour.

On the day of the move, they arrived at 8am sharp. They worked all day long, helped by me and two other guys from our team. When they finally carried the last of our belongings into the new house, it was past midnight. Exhausted, they told us that it was by far the largest job they’d ever had.

Taste and See
2015-02-26 15.20.14For our family, stories like the one I’ve just told are highlights in our walk with the Lord. They are our own little Red-Sea-crossings, miracles that remind us that we follow a God who is both powerful and kind. He is a Father who loves to do good things for His children.

In the weeks leading up to our move, our family had been memorizing Psalm 34. The first time we went to see our new apartment, Kelsie noticed that it was number 34, a not-so-coincidental reminder to us of the many times we have tasted the goodness of our God. “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Psalm 34:8)

This is the first house we’ve ever had that has a dining room. Great place for family meals... or for homeschooling kiddos!

This is the first house we’ve ever had that has a dining room. Great place for family meals… or for homeschooling kiddos!

Plenty of room in the kitchen.

Plenty of room in the kitchen.

Now the kids actually have a place to put away their toys. :)

Now the kids actually have a place to put away their toys. :)

Space for dad to have his office at home!

Space for dad to have his office at home!

An 8-man CMO Team
The roster for CMO this year is filling up quickly! As of this writing, we have six men confirmed to come for the project. Adam, Isaiah, Ben, Joe, Caleb and Emmanuel will be joining Nathan and I in mid-June for six weeks of literature campaigns, film showings, mountain travel and hands-on missionary training.

This will be our 9th CMO project, and while we’ve covered lots of ground in years past, there is so much yet to do! As Christ admonished His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” God is calling new laborers to the fields of Ukraine this summer, and we ask you to pray for them, for our staff, and for those we will reach.

So that you can be more informed as you pray, we would like to encourage you to visit our web site (www.euroteamoutreach.org) and subscribe to our email newsletter. During the off-season, we send emails infrequently, but during the summer there will be updates nearly every week, written by various team members.

How You Can Pray

  • Praise the Lord for His provision of a larger apartment for our family!
  • Pray for Adam, Isaiah, Ben, Joe, Caleb and Emmanuel as they travel to Ukraine in June.
  • Pray that God would open the hearts of Ukrainians this summer as they hear the Gospel preached.
  • Pray that God would continue to bless and expand the impact of Bible First! in Ukraine, the U.S. and other countries.

To God be the Glory!

 

Welcome, Kathryn Grace!

The January/February issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. You can read the text of this issue in its entirety here in this post, or download the PDF version by clicking the link below.

OFR-Jan-Feb-2015Download the PDF here » January/February 2015 (1.92 MB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.

 


Welcome, Kathryn Grace!

Kathryn Grace Steele

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of our fourth daughter, Kathryn Grace Steele! Kathryn was born on December 30, 2014 at 12:00am. She was 20 and 3/4 inches long and weighed 8 lbs., 12 oz.

Last spring, when Kelsie and I learned that we were expecting a baby, our first task was to decide where to have the birth. Given the complications we experienced during Hosanna’s birth, we felt that this time it would be wisest to come home to the U.S. We’ve been here for nearly five months now, and God has blessed tremendously. Kathryn was born at my parent’s home in Texas, and both mother and baby are recovering quite well. Our midwife, Judith Hynds, and her assistant Jenee Ohrvall, did an outstanding job, and we highly recommend them both!

Kelsie did have some trouble delivering the placenta, but we were able to transport her to a local hospital and in a few hours everything was taken care of. While this was definitely one of Kelsie’s hardest births from a labor and delivery standpoint, we are grateful that God led and protected us as He always does.

In just a few days, our family will be flying back to Ukraine to continue our ministry. Although the political situation there remains tenuous, we’re grateful that L’viv is far removed from the violence. We’re also excited to report that over the past few months, we’ve seen a significant increase in requests for our Bible materials! My inbox fills up daily with emails from people enrolling in our Bible First! course or requesting copies of the book Good and Evil. We are optimistic that God will use this time of turmoil in Ukraine to turn many to Himself. Please continue to pray with us as we communicate the message of Christ to these precious people!

(HINT: More baby photos at the end of this post!)

CMO 2015
This year’s CMO project is on track to begin June 15th. As I mentioned above, the military conflict in Ukraine has caused many to give greater consideration to the things of eternity, and we believe that we are facing a special door of opportunity to sow the seed of the Gospel on fertile ground. We’re praying that God will raise up a strong team of young men to help us preach Christ in Ukraine this summer!

cmo_2015_logo

The deadline to register for CMO 2015 is May 1, so if you or someone you know is interested in coming, please contact us right away! And of course, please continue to lift up our team in prayer as we make preparations for the summer.

Bible First! Update
Our list of Bible First! graduates in Ukraine continues to grow, with the majority professing faith in Christ and expressing interest in receiving more of our materials in the future. One of our next major objectives is to make Bible First! available online, and to this end we’ve begun developing a web-based application that will allow anyone world-wide to begin and manage their own Bible First! course. This application will open the door to allowing our Ukrainian graduates to begin their own indigenous ministries, reaching their fellow Ukrainians using the same materials that brought them to Christ.

Trevor Brown and I spent a week getting the Bible First! online project started.

Trevor Brown and I spent a week getting the Bible First! online project started.

In late January, we were very blessed to have Trevor Brown, a software developer from Florida, visit us in Texas for an entire week. Trevor and I spent many hours writing code to get the Bible First! app on its feet, and while there is still much to do, we made a great start! Trevor will continue to work with us remotely as we develop this software.

How You Can Pray

  • Pray for our family as we depart for Ukraine on February 16th.
  • Praise the Lord for His protection and provision surrounding Kathryn’s birth!
  • Pray for this summer’s outreach, CMO 2015.
  • Pray for the development of the Bible First! web app.
  • Pray that God would continue to bless and expand the impact of Bible First! in Ukraine, the U.S. and other countries.

To God be the Glory!

Beka, Abby, and Hosanna greet their new little sister.  No happier group of future mommies was ever seen!

Beka, Abby, and Hosanna greet their new little sister.
No happier group of future mommies was ever seen!

IMG_2681

IMG_2872

2015-01-17 11.18.06

Kathryn meets her cousins!

IMG_3723

2015-01-08 15.29.58-1

2015-01-08 20.47.38

Smoky Mountain Shindig

The September/October issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. You can read the text of this issue in its entirety here in this post, or download the PDF version by clicking the link below.

OFR-Sep-Oct-2014Download the PDF here » September/October 2014 (1.91 MB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.

 


 Smoky Mountain Shindig

 

ofr-shindig-cover

This September, Kelsie and I took part in No Greater Joy’s Smoky Mountain Shindig. Over 2,000 people gathered for an unforgettable conference filled with solid Bible teaching, singing, fellowship, games, and encouragement.

When Michael and Debi Pearl heard we were coming to the US for the birth of our baby, they invited Kelsie and I to speak at their third annual Shindig, scheduled for September 10-14. We agreed to come and were blessed beyond all expectation! While there isn’t room here to give a full report of all that happened during the conference, I’d like to share a few of the highlights.

The Shindig was held at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina. Nestled in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, it turned out to be the perfect venue for a conference that we believe was used of God to bless and encourage a multitude of families.

Mike presented an outstanding series on addiction and the brain. He shared many intriguing scientific discoveries which vividly demonstrate the terrible physiological effect sinful behavior has on our brains. He also showed that, while science can offer an accurate explanation of the damage sin does, only Christ can offer freedom to those in bondage.

I spoke at two of the main sessions, teaching on forgiveness and how to discern God’s direction. Kelsie spoke to the ladies about her experiences as a wife on the mission field. There were also many other speakers at the Shindig, including Nathan Pearl, Rick Batson (missionary to the Philippines), T.J. Slayman (missionary in SE Asia), Shalom Brand, Debi Pearl, and Mel Cohen.

In addition to the teaching sessions, there were family activities, sporting events, and gatherings for singles. In past years, there have been many new marriages which came about as a result of young people meeting one another for the first time at a Shindig.

NGJ also set up an exhibit hall where vendors could sell various products and services for families. Bible First! had a table there, and we were excited for the opportunity to share our vision with many who were interested in evangelism. One man who stopped by our table has already been using Bible First! materials in a prison here in the US!

If you’d like to learn more about the Shindig, be sure to visit www.nogreaterjoy.org/shindig. All the sessions were recorded on video and I believe they will be made available soon.

Missionary to Egypt
james-sliceThis year, we had just one CMO guy who joined us from the US. His name is James Slice, and he is now preparing to go as a full-time missionary to Egypt. Even before coming to Ukraine, James had his eye on Egypt, and has spent more than a year studying Arabic.

We ministered side-by-side with James for two months in Ukraine, and I can say with conviction that he is one of the most committed and faithful men who has ever served on a CMO team. I speak for the entire board of Euro Team Outreach in saying that we heartily recommend him as man of integrity who is stepping out by faith to obey God’s call on his life.

If you would be interested in supporting James financially or simply want to know more about his work, you can contact him via e-mail at
[email protected].

Family Update
Following a busy month of travel and speaking engagements in September, we’ve been enjoying some rest and fellowship with our extended family. Right now we’re staying with Kelsie’s parents, the Powells, and in early December we’ll be heading back to Fort Worth where we’ll spend some time with my parents and prepare for the birth.

Our fourth daughter is due to be born on December 19th, though past experience suggests that she’s more likely to come in the form of a Christmas gift. Either way, we’re thrilled to be receiving yet another little one from the Lord. Please pray with us for strength, health and safety for Kelsie and the baby.

How You Can Pray

  • Pray for a strong team for CMO 2015. Details are available now at www.CMOproject.org.
  • Praise God for over 50 Ukrainian graduates from our Bible First! program!
  • Pray for health and safety for Kelsie and our new baby.
  • Pray for Nathan Gregson as he serves with our staff team in Ukraine. (Nathan is a former CMO team member who came for the 2013 project.)
  • Pray for peace and liberty in Ukraine.

To God be the Glory!

Overcome Evil with Good

The June – August issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. In this issue, you’ll find an update on this year’s CMO project, as well as information about newly released Bible First! lessons. You can read the text of this issue in its entirety here in this post, or download the PDF version by clicking the link below.

OFR-Jun-Aug-2014 Download the PDF here » June - August 2014 (1.61 MB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.

 


Overcome Evil with Good

At a recent film showing in the village of Ilemnya (pronounced ee-LEM-nya) we had over 40 kids in attendance. Each of them received copies of Good and Evil Short plus starter packets for our Bible course.

At a recent film showing in the village of Ilemnya (pronounced ee-LEM-nya) we had over 40 kids in attendance. Each of them received copies of Good and Evil Short plus starter packets for our Bible course.

Carpathian villages, though beautiful in photos, can be surprisingly dark places. Entrenched in centuries of religion and superstition, the people who live in these mountain communities often embody a sad yet all too common paradox: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him…” (Titus 1:16)

Consider the children pictured above. The Bible literature they were given has the potential to lead them to salvation through faith in Christ. Yet some may never even have the chance to read the material or consider its claims. There is great likelihood that parents and grandparents, misguided by the deception of false teaching, will snatch away the books with a stern warning to avoid accepting propaganda from sects. Anyone from the outside who talks of God or the Bible is not to be trusted.

As the boys reach adolescence and slip into drinking and other destructive habits, the parents shrug their shoulders and point to hard economic conditions. As the girls enter puberty, often lacking the protection and guidance of their fathers, they seek attention from the boys through seductive dress, sometimes bearing more resemblance to prostitutes than country dwellers. All this and more is tolerated as an unavoidable reality, blamed on anything and everything except personal choice.

Bound by sin, people turn to the priest to appease their consciences. They attend mass and confession regularly, repeating empty prayers to idols while their lives and the lives of their children slide ever more quickly towards the blackness of hell.

I write these things as one who has been visiting the Carpathians for nearly a decade. I’ve often asked myself the same question that is no doubt pressing your mind also: what is to be done? Is there nothing that can turn back this tide of evil? Yes, there is. The simple Gospel of Jesus Christ “… is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” (Romans 1:16)

As modern American Christians, we tend to be easily discouraged when we don’t see sweeping revival in response to our evangelistic efforts. But Christ’s redeeming work is focused on the individual. The village as a whole may continue its march to destruction, but all the while God is quietly calling out His elect, those who choose to believe the Word preached to them.

“…And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) We go to these places because we are sent; we preach because we are commanded to preach. We are called to hold the line as good soldiers, to shine Christ’s light in the darkest corners where hope seems lost, to proclaim the Gospel message until the day our Lord calls us home. This is the essence of our ministry in Ukraine, and of Carpathian Mountain Outreach in particular.

Please don’t stop praying for our team as we minister. God knows every heart in every village, and His Word is not bound. Every weekend camping trip brings our team into contact with new faces, new opportunities to preach the Gospel and distribute Bible literature. Pray that God would strengthen us and that He would use our efforts to turn many to repentance.

If you’d like to keep up with CMO 2014 as the project progresses, be sure to subscribe to the ETO eReport at www.euroteamoutreach.org.

New Bible First! Lessons
We’ve recently released Volumes 3 and 4 of our Bible First! course in English. These two volumes add an additional seven lessons to those already available. As our local Bible First! course in Ukraine continues to grow, we are excited to see more people using the English version of these materials in their own ministries. To learn more about how you can use Bible First! to reach the lost in your own ministry, please visit our web site: www.biblefirstcourses.com.

Baby Update
As you likely know already, we are excitedly anticipating the arrival of our fourth child in late December of this year! After much prayer and consideration, we’ve decided to have the baby in the U.S. For that reason, our family will be coming back to Texas in mid-October to prepare for the birth. Please pray for safety and health as we travel.

How You Can Pray

  • Pray for open doors to preach Christ in the Carpathians and throughout Ukraine.
  • Praise God for the many new responses we are receiving as a result of literature campaigns!
  • Pray for health and safety for our team as we minster.
  • Pray for health and safety for Kelsie and our new baby.

To God be the Glory!

Baby on the way!

Today, we’re very excited to share with you the news that God has blessed our family with a new member! Kelsie is about ten weeks into her pregnancy, and we expect to welcome our little one into the world sometime in late December.

steele-2014

We appreciate your prayers for our family as we make preparations for the arrival of our baby. We couldn’t be more thrilled, and we praise the Lord for His generous reward.

ultrasound

Seeing a new heartbeat for the first time never gets old.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: And the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
Psalm 127:3

Gearing Up for CMO

The April/May issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. In this issue, we’ll tell you about our current preparations for CMO 2014, especially with regard to the political crisis in Ukraine. Also included is an update on our Bible First! program.

Carpathian Mountain Outreach 2014 will begin in just over a month. This will be our 8th project, and we’re excited to see what God will do in western Ukraine this year!

Carpathian Mountain Outreach 2014 will begin in just over a month. This will be our 8th project, and we’re excited to see what God will do in western Ukraine this year!

OFR-Apr-May-2014Download the PDF here » April/May 2014 (1.72 MB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.

 

News from the Front

OFR-Jan-Mar-2014The January-March issue of our newsletter, Overseas Field Report, is now available. In this issue, we’ll give you the latest news on the developing crisis in Ukraine, including how current events will affect CMO 2014. Also in this issue, meet Nathan Gregson, our newest missionary intern here in Ukraine!

Download the PDF here » January - March 2014 (860.9 kB)

If you subscribe to Overseas Field Report by regular mail, you should be receiving a printed copy of this issue in the next week or so. As always, we greatly appreciate your prayers and support for our ministry.