21 January 2009

Induced Coma

Thanks to all for prayers on behalf of my father and our family. Two weeks ago we went to say our goodbyes to our unconscious dad, but God had other plans. Now he is in rehabilitation and will return home next week. You just can't know what a miracle this has been for someone who was in induced coma for 10 days. God is great. Coleen Franks (Jeff) Your Missionaries to Ukraine

20 January 2009

Update On My Father

He is in a rehabilitation facility now and we hope will come home in a week or two. After 10 days induced coma due to artificial respiration he is having a time with cognizance. We understand in elder folks this can take months to overcome after such a lengthy time under sedation. He turned 86 while in that condition. We are grateful for prayers lifted on his and our behalf. I know the Lord has a plan for him or he wouldn't still be here after all he's been through. This is the second time he has escaped death. May all be for God's glory.

15 January 2009

My Dad's Bedside

My days have been spent assisting in the care and comforting my dad. He has made amazing step-by-step recovery. Today he will be moved to a rehab facility so he can continue to recuperate and take physical therapy to regain his mobility. He is on continual pain medication and his breathing is still assisted, but he lives. Now, as he gains cognizance more and more each day, I pray he will take the words of refreshment granted through a walk with Jesus Christ. Pray for us.

14 January 2009

The Challenges of Islamic Repression for Iranian Believers

After meeting with our repressed Iranian Christian brothers and sisters, I can’t help but compare their condition to us Christians in the West. I think formerly I have been too critical of way too many things. It seems to me now that the evangelistic and missions activities of our Western churches are just teeming with life. I find it delightful, even magnificent, that in our increasingly self-absorbed Western culture the churches of the BMA of America still care deeply about the Great Commission. We are still moved by the song, “Send the Light”. When it comes to laying it on the line for missions we are still stepping up to the plate. Every year the “50 Days of Prayer and Giving” are a springboard to 315 more days of continued joy and excitement about all God is doing. Our VBS teams of young people are traveling all over the world on summer mission trips, and God is using them to touch many hearts for Christ. They cannot conceal their excitement in the emails they send us. Our national missionaries are as active as ever in the face of so many challenges, starting new churches in many nations across the globe. I believe this is exactly what Paul was talking about in Philippians 2:15 when he said that God’s children truly shine as lights in the midst of a perverse generation. Praise the Lord, indeed!

Now to help you better identify with our Iranian brothers and sisters, try for a moment to imagine what would happen if suddenly our freedom to pursue these many Holy Spirit-inspired goals were abruptly curtailed. Imagine that public preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ were seen widely as a “hate crime” leading to prompt arrests and punishment. Imagine that government monitors were present in every church service to observe and record all that is said and done, coldly insuring compliance with the anti-Christian statutes. Some of you are saying, “Well, that time is not so very far away.” That may be true and I think you are right. Iran is just a case in point. The time for Christian missions in Iran came to an abrupt halt during the Islamic Revolution of 1979, forcing many western missions to flee the country. Since then, local Christians have been forced to abandon public evangelism and many other benevolent works, such as orphanages, especially those which were done in cooperation with Western churches.

Islamic state repression has created daunting challenges for us in helping believers from the underground churches of Iran. How can believers in the local church grow into devoted disciples of Christ without solid Bible teaching? How does the lack of good teaching affect evangelism, ministry, and worship? How do they answer the questions and challenges of their Islamic friends and family? What happens when hungry Iranian believers go to radio or satellite TV for Bible teaching and hear only the popular western “health-and-wealth” gospel? What do they make of hysterical laughing and people lining up on stage to be “slain in the spirit”?

Because of these issues, in the past I have taken one book of the New Testament as our subject for each Bible conference. This year I wanted to teach them the book of Romans in three seminars. However, after teaching Romans part 1, an outbreak of state persecution made it impossible to continue with the same group. Many believers were arrested in their city, and house church pastors were imprisoned.

What could we do in the remaining two conferences with two entirely new groups? Through prayer and wise counselors, God impressed me that they needed inductive Bible study methods, to observe, interpret, and apply the Word themselves. We chose several of Jesus’ parables as our text and I rejoiced as I saw them understanding and applying scripture for themselves. They were becoming self-feeders of the Word of God! In first of these two conferences, three seekers attended, and all three made joyful professions of faith in Jesus Christ before returning to their homes in Iran. So powerful is the Scripture to bring new life and faith!

Because of your faithfulness and giving we have planned three more such conferences in 2009. It is a great privilege, but only a drop in a great bucket of need. A great prayer need is to provide systematic seminary training to a few key individuals. Can I count on you to make this a priority in your prayer circles?

Please remember those who are imprisoned for their faith in our Lord and hold up their loved ones in prayer. Others are harassed by police observation, searches, and interrogations. Five of our former students are in prison as I write. Their only crime is sharing the gospel of freedom from sin and the life-giving love of Christ.

10 January 2009

The Miracle of Prayer

A step at a time, but today the artificial breathing tube was removed from my father and he is breathing on his own. He is no longer on anti-biotics since his infection is now gone. He is not out of danger, but so far so good. If his breathing fails then he will go, but for now he is still with us. I guess the Lord still has a purpose in his being here. Thank you for your prayers. God has been ever present and bountiful in his grace. Glory to Him the Great Physician.

09 January 2009

Prayer For My Dad

The Creator of the universe knows the time for each one of us. My father is still in ICU, but, though we didn't expect him to live this long, he is still fighting. He has been under heavy sedation with a ventilator tube breathing for him. Infection is now under control and he may just come out of this. Too soon to say, but doctors want to give him another few days to see how he does before we consider removing life support. We, his family are doing well. He is in God's loving hands and we trust Him. May He richly reward you for the prayers you lift on our behalf. To Him be the glory.

02 January 2009

Urgent Prayer

A couple days ago my father(Coleen writing) was hospitalized for a ruptured appendicts. If he lives long enough he will be 86 on January 5th. The following describes his current condition: "His white blood cell count is still above the maximum normal range, at 12,000, but his "bands" are significantly reduced which indicates the reduction of new infection. The doctor confirmed the peritonitis has spread everywhere now, is systemic. Doctor basically says that they need to stabilize him, the antibiotics are full bore, but his immune system has to be strong enough to work with the medications. So, they say it will be 24-48 hours before we will know whether he will improve or not improve."

I ask for your prayer because we don't know whether he is saved. He has had a very hard life being deaf and crippled and it would be my prayer that he could walk freely in heaven with Jesus and hear the birds sing.

Little Ones Crafting in Sunday School

One of these precious ones caught my camera as she was making her craft.