February 2013 Update
Doug & Karen Phillips (1991)
Dear Prayer Partners,
The Lord has taught us a lot about faithfulness this year - through you! You stuck with us even though there were times when it seemed we might not make it back to Ukraine. Thank you for being an example to us. We hope you enjoy this brief look at how the Lord showed Himself faithful to us in 2012. Some of you may not have heard all that has happened to us over the course of 2012, so we wish to relate the story here. For those who have been following us all along this review will help show the big picture. F amily ministry in the US – The year began with us in Florida on an extended furlough. We were ministering to our family and seeking new ministry partners. Luke was on our minds often as he looked for a job and sporadically went to college. Our biggest concern for him was his spiritual condition. Luke is now working at Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, just seven miles from where he lives. He completed three courses at Polk State College. Karen had numerous opportunities to listen to her family about their problems. There were times she was able to give advice. Her youngest sister probably appreciated her presence the most. Stable church situation – We attended Doug’s brother’s church whenever we were not on the road visiting churches or up in Pennsylvania. Hearing English sermons and Sunday School lessons is such a blessing when you struggle to understand half of what you hear when you are on the field. Partnership Development – Changes in our support requirements and the home goings of a couple supporters meant we needed to raise a significant amount of funds before we could return to the field. The Lord taught us patience as we went nearly a year and a half without any gains in our support level. But at the right time He added several new individuals and one new church. Arrival in Ukraine – We gained financial clearance in April and flew to Ukraine on May 11 without visas. Back on the ground we worked to get our invitation letter. However there was a requirement for property ownership in order to obtain our Temporary Residence Permits. The timing seemed perfect for getting this done and receiving the invitation letter. However, a snag postponed the signing date for the ownership transfer until the end of September at the earliest. The Lord was in control of the timing, but we had no idea what that was. Quick Return to the States – Without our invitation letter or the possibility of completing the permit process we were forced to go back to the U.S.A. We stayed seven weeks in Pennsylvania to wait until the time was right to return. (See the timeline on page 3 for details.) Second Arrival in Ukraine – We returned to Europe through Romania staying in Bucharest at the ABWE team office/apartment. The day after we arrived we attempted to get our visas in Bucharest, but the way our letter was written prevented that. After the regional conference in Bulgaria we head for Moldova by train. There we obtained the visas and got on a bus to Ukraine. Finally, on October 5th we arrived back home in Odessa. Regional Conference in Bulgaria – Bulgaria was a nice place to gather with our colleagues from around Central & Eastern Europe to be refreshed spiritually and emotionally. We made new friends and renewed old friendships. The training topics and preaching of the Word really encouraged our hearts in the ministry. Katie’s visa – Now in order for Katie to stay with us she needed to have a permit for herself. So the day after Christmas we went once again to Moldova for her visa. Two days later we returned to Ukraine to begin the permit application process. This part of the story is not finished, so stay tuned. Counselor Training – Our teammate Holly Friesen began training for the pregnancy care center counselors the week after we got back to Ukraine in May. Karen and Doug participated in the training for two reasons, Karen would like to help in that ministry and Doug was monitoring the testing of the translation of the materials. The training lasted for six weeks during late spring and picked up again the fall after everyone had a summer break. Translation Projects – Doug continued coordinating the BCF translation project while we were in the States, but it moved forward much quicker once we were back on the field. During the first block of 90 days back in Ukraine our translation team edited the first six lessons of the Self-Confrontation Manual. It took eight final reading meetings to edit those six lessons. Beginning in October we are conducting final readings for lessons 7-12. So far we are done with lessons seven and eight. The Story of Hope Leaders Guide is back on the agenda. We expect to be done with it by the end of February. Doug also was asked to do the layout and help with translation of the CMI Catalog and two course workbooks. CMI Administrators Conference – Each year the CMI holds a conference for its administrators for professional development, training, and encouragement. Doug was able to go to the beautiful Carpathian mountains of western Ukraine at the end of October for this important conference. It is a real blessing to be part of training these choice servants of Christ and to see how they are working in the harvest for Him. Temporary Residence Permits – You will remember from previous newsletters that the Ukrainian immigrations laws have changed many times over the last five years. The current procedure for foreigners who desire to stay longer than 90 days at a time is to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit. To qualify for this permit we must have either a Ukrainian relative or own property in Ukraine. The procedure for getting it is to: 1) obtain an invitation letter from your inviting organization or individual; 2) obtain a class D visa which is a single-entry visa good for 45 days; 3) apply for the permit; and 4) register with two immigration offices (regional and local).
That's all for now. Thank you for your continued support and prayer!
Doug & Karen
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