31 July 2009

Sunset in Ukraine

Since I wasn't up at the tent camp, but to visit and bring crafts, I drove back and forth and caught this lovely sunset. There is a beautiful cathedral in the mountains, but unfortunately barely visible with my little camera. Have to get Jeff up there some night with his more hi-tech device. This is the shore of the Kiev Sea.

28 July 2009

River Desna Dizziness - What Fun

Camp leaders Nikolai and Lena Dikteryenko dressed in costume. Camp theme was "Africa." Justin Berg and Jeff Franks look on with amusement in the background.

26 July 2009

Rafting on the Desna River, Ukraine

Bearing the flags as they rafted, the Americans and Ukrainians spent a week together in the woods north of Kiev in an intensive experience of friendship building. It culminated in Sunday services at the Belichi Bible Church in Belichi, Ukraine. They will all miss each other, but the Americans hope to return next year to do it again.

24 July 2009

Dishes on the Desna

Every one gets their turn,like it or not. Here Jeff caught a picture of L-R, Dan and Cindy Williams and Glen Hoffman on Desna dish duty. They are attending camp this week on the river. Weather has warmed and we are back to Arkansas style heat. All are from Antioch Baptist Church of Conway, Arkansas.

22 July 2009

Camping on the River Desna

This week the Antioch Baptist Church team, led by Dan and Cindy Williams is camping on the river. Last week we had Arkansas days. This week it's more like northern Wisconsin so it's cold at night and barely warm enough to swim during the day. Nonetheless, this camp is about fellowship and Ukrainian youth practicing their English language skills. Please pray for the relations and how the Americans might share with the Ukrainians.

Health Care Reform?

Osteen on Larry King Live

As recorded in Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity:

“In his interview with Larry King (CNN, June 20, 2005), Osteen said he is not sure what happens to people who reject Christ. King followed up with the question about Jews, Moslems, and other non-Christians. ‘They’re wrong, aren’t they?’ Osteen replied, ‘Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion but I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.’

“King (and a caller) gave him a few more chances to answer the question, but it kept coming back to the heart: ‘God’s got to look at your heart.’ Evidently the last judgment will be based not on God’s standard of holiness and justice but on the purity of our hearts.

“Certainly there is truth in this position. God will expose all the secrets of our hearts on the last day. But where Osteen seems to think that God’s judgment of our heart (like his record keeping) is good news, Scripture treats it as the worst possible report since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9 NKJV). Jesus adds, ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matt. 15:19 NKJV). My heart has conceived and committed sins that my hands have never carried out. Far from being a relatively unspoiled beach of sanctity, the heart is the citadel from which our mutiny against God and neighbor is launched. Even when I have done the right thing as far as other people are concerned, if my sincerity were weighed, it would actually count against my righteousness. So it is a dangerous mistake to think that our trial before God’s all-knowing justice can somehow turn in our favor by examination of our heart or the record of our life.”

My Take: A little bit of truth can make make a lot of things sound good. That is what goes on with all the cults. There is a little bit of truth in them or they wouldn't be believable and have the followings they have. The greatest danger is that Osteen has a lot of charisma and pulls those who don't know truth. He's a feel good guy. Coleen

21 July 2009

Cindy William's English Class

Ok, so it's not actually her class, but the kids had great fun making pictures of themselves and labeling to learn parts of the body. This was displayed after camp in the church on Sunday morning. Cindy, as always, does a superb job with the kids.

If you look through the glass you will see that Jeff Franks is on the stage opening the service with a prayer message about his Baptist Medical Missions International (BMMI) trip to the country of Georgia where he worked the week prior.

Village of Hope Orphans

This is Misha and Maxime who attended our kid's camp this past week. Maxime is a new child at our "Village of Hope." He was pretty rowdy and out of control, but he has much to learn and he will settle down after a while. He was placed with a loving family who are houseparents to other children at the home as well.

19 July 2009

More Scrapbooks from Camp

These scrapbooks the children made have another great purpose behind our doing them. When they go home and are shown to friends and relatives, they are full of verse, Christian songs and pictures from camp besides being pretty in themselves. They are a witness for Christ. To Him be the glory.

16 July 2009

English Class

We are so grateful to Vicki Nelson, a missionary here in Ukraine that has come to work with Cindy Williams from Antioch. Together, these ladies are giving the kids a great and fun experience of the English language. This whole week is about planting seeds and these two ladies are the best.

The Best Job of All

It doesn't get better than this when you can play with the kids and give them that attention that so many of them desperately need. We have several children from our church orphanage (Village of Hope) attending the camp and they are our special kids. We try to give them a lot of attention. Here, Steven Hoffman, also from Antioch in Conway, is having a wonderful time with Seriosha, one of our little ones from the orphanage. Sometimes it's just that one-on-one that really gives the children what they need. Thank you guys for coming and giving of yourselves. And thank you Antioch for helping make it possible for them to come. What a blessing they all have been.

A Tough Job

Dan Williams and Justin Berg from Antioch Baptist Church of Conway, Arkansas overseeing kids sports activities. Supervision, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Bethany Church Kid's Camp in Ukraine.

The Joy of Play

Kyle Hoffman playing with kids during sports time at our Bethany Church of Bucha, Ukraine Kid's Camp. We are all enjoying the kids and they are having a great time.

15 July 2009

Jeff Home

Thank you to those who have prayed. Jeff returned to Kiev at 5:30 a.m. today after all night in the airport and travel. He will rest this morning some and meet with our team this afternoon. The rest of this week will be some catching up and a new camp (actually camping on the river) next week. Then a week break to catch up again before his next mission. Your prayers hold us up. We are grateful.

14 July 2009

Last Medical Mission Day in Gori

I just spoke to Jeff as they were pulling up to the airport at almost 1 a.m. their time. They will be in the airport until they leave. Registration opens at 2 and their flight goes at 4 a.m. That already made for a long tiring day and they have lots of travel ahead so please pray them all home.

Jeff said they had a great clinic day with 134 to make for a strong finish to this mission. Emotions ran high for several folks and one lady cried as she heard the gospel message. This team works very well together and everyone seemed to find their niche early on so that all ran quite cohesive and the Lord blessed in many ways.

After clinic closed today all gathered in Dr. Ralph's room for prayer, debriefing and fellowship when Georgian Pastor Beso came to see them. He shared about his church and his vision for the future and how he's reaching souls. For 8 months they have received refugees at their church soup kitchen, bringing them into the church to care for their needs. Many are now in the church which has grown 150% this year and Sunday school by 200%. Experiencing alot of growth has also meant alot of problems so this seems like something that would certainly benefit from prayer. May the Lord bless as they go through all these changes.

Ukraine Camp Experience

Kyle Hoffman with his class of little ones. We have assigned each American youth to a class so they are rotating throughout the camp bases and experiencing all the activities. This also gives them a chance to get closer to one group of kids. We have several orphans from our church orphanage that have love camp and love the attention they get from our visitors. Three more days of camp. We had an extra 15 kids come in today who weren't here yesterday. Please pray for more.

13 July 2009

First Day of Camp in Bucha, Ukraine

Craft team along with the guys from Antioch Baptist Church of Conway, Arkansas did a great job of decorating for our week long kid's camp. Today we had 60 children and it will grow from there. The sign in the window greets the children with "WELCOME" in Ukrainian and you can see the kids sitting beyond that. Please pray that more will come and God will bless.

Gori, Georgia Medical Team

After no contact for a couple days, I spoke to Jeff this evening from Gori where the Baptist Medical Mission International (BMMI)has been ministering aid for several days. Check out this site if it would interest you to read a short history of Gori: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gori,_Georgia

Yesterday being Sunday, had the group in a small Georgian church right in Gori where Anatoly Krivo serves. They had two ladies give testimony and three men from the team. Three men preached, the last being Pastor Charles Johnson from Rosewood Baptist Church in Gilmer, Texas who gave a moving message called "This Same Jesus" from Acts, chapter one. Though there were no professions of faith, the service was well attended including several from clinic evangelism during previous days.

After church they went to a restaurant where they were able to experience some delightful Georgian cuisine. From there it was on to an ancient rock-hewn city. You can go here to see a great picture and read about a tour of the area that is quite fascinating for those who like to go more in depth: http://www.travel-library.com/tours/asia/georgia/tbilisi/fascinating_georgia.html

Today, Monday they saw about 100 patients and many made professions of faith working with the evangelists on the team.

Jeff said that prayer meetings with the team have been a joy and inspiration with great camaraderie and spirit. God has continued to bless the mission and Jeff is grateful to be a part of it. Tomorrow is their last day. Pray for a strong finish with honor and glory going to the Lord.

12 July 2009

New Team in Bucha

After a few days of touring, the three young men who came to do camp at Bethany Church of Bucha are over jet-lag and ready to go. Today the Lord opened up a great opportunity for them to get to know our youth as evidenced by the photo above. They played a long time, then a thunder shower came and they kept right on playing. Finally, late, we all went to the church to decorate for camp starting tomorrow. Please pray for Justin, Kyle and Steven along with those who brought them, Dan and Cindy Williams as they all start camp tomorrow. Hope you all are having a wonderful day in the Lord. Ours is over and we did.

11 July 2009

The Country of Georgia

The Baptist Medical Mission International (BMMI) has now had two successful days of treating and evangelizing patients. They have seen over 250 people and according to the observation of Jeff Franks and others on the field, it seems the people of Georgia are hungry to hear the story of Jesus.

Anatoly Krivo, one of our Baptist Missionary Association's(BMA) national pastors, who leads the church in Gori while also working on his semiary degree by extention from Ukraine, has brought people from his church and they are very happy with the doctors and the level of evangelism.

When I spoke to Jeff this afternoon he was on his way to a BMA of Georgia associational meeting with Charles Johnson, pastor of Rosewood Baptist Church in Gilmer, Texas, Brother Frank Garrido of Calvery Baptist Church in Laverne, California and Anatoly Krivo, mentioned above. This is a regular gathering of Georgian missionaries to report on what God is doing in their various works. On the agenda is plans and vision, future opportunities and the possibility of bringing in BMA pastors to discuss and teach BMA associational principles. They have also asked Jeff to do some leadership training so they will decide when it will commence.

This afternoon also, the team has moved to minister in a small village that is located in the buffer zone where there is a heightened military alertness from the Russian occupiers on Georgian territory of South Ossetia. This is a mission point from the Gori church where they hold services, and now medical mission in a private home.

Please be in prayer for these meetings today and for the further mission work in the next week. Pray God would put his words in the mouths of his servants that all might be blessed and many come to
faith and joy in knowing the King of Kings.

10 July 2009

Execution Risk Looms for Iranian Dissidents

Amnesty International USA A Great Need of Prayer

Desperate to regain control over a country that has been rocked by recent uprisings and mass protests, the Iranian government has made it clear that they will stop at nothing to restore order.
Urge Iran's leaders not to seek the death penalty for political activists who stood in support of dissident voices during post-election protests.

Four prominent politicians are being held in the notorious section 209 of Evin prison, where incommunicado detention and torture are routine and deaths in custody have occurred. The men face indefinite detention all because they publicly supported either Mir Hossein Mousavi – who according to the Guardian Council lost the disputed election – or the other "reformist" presidential candidate, Mehdi Karroubi.

Powerful Iranian government officials want to make an example out of well-known opposition leaders by charging them with serious offenses, where if found guilty, they could be sentenced to death.

These four opposition leaders are at risk of facing this senseless and brutal punishment unless we show Iran's leaders that even the harshest of sentences will not silence the Iranian people's calls for justice and human rights.

Remind the Iranian government that the world is still watching. Demand the release of opposition leaders from Tehran's infamous Evin prison.

We have strong reasons to fear that these four men – Ali Abtahi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Mohsen Aminzadeh and Abdollah Ramazanzadeh – are already experiencing Evin prison's infamous practices of severe torture first-hand.

For over three weeks now, these four men have been locked away without any official charges. Since being taken from their homes, they have had no contact with family members or lawyers. If the Iranian government thinks that it can coerce genuine confessions from these men using these disdainful tactics, then they are sorely mistaken.

But there are signs that Iran's wall is penetrable. Just last week, Mohammed Mostafaei, a lawyer mostly known for his work in defending juvenile defenders in death penalty cases, was released from Evin prison. While he must still face charges in court, he is at least free from the immediate threat of torture.

Call on Iranian authorities to release opposition leaders from Evin prison immediately.

Almost one month has passed since a flood of activism was unleashed on the streets of Iran. Over 2,200 people were arrested in the post-election unrest. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad most recently gave a speech on state television1 insisting that the meddling of Western nations was the cause of the violence. But as the fight shifts from off the streets and into the courtroom, it is imperative that all eyes stay fixed on those who stood up in opposition.

Since the post-election violence broke out, nearly 30,000 Amnesty activists have put the pressure on Iranian authorities by sending a firestorm of emails and letters to their offices. We've got to keep up this intensity if we want to get through to them that the responsibility for protecting human rights cannot be deflected, nor will it be forgotten.

This is an opportunity for the leaders in Iran to prove to the world that they are ready to embrace change. Until they do, we cannot lose sight of what continues to be the driving force for so many in Iran – an unrelenting need to protect human rights.

In Solidarity --
Elise, Zahir, Christoph and the rest of the Iran crisis response team

© Copyright 2009 | Amnesty International USA | 5 Penn Plaza | New York, NY 10001 | 212.807.8400

09 July 2009

Medical Mission to Gori, Georgia

This was a really good day according to Jeff Franks, my husband, as we spoke over internet. They saw 140 patients. "Everyone prayed with us except one," said Charles Johnson, pastor of Rosewood Baptist Church in Gilmer, Texas who was one of the evangelists on the team. The other is Darrell Ramshur of Good Hope Church in Columbia, Mississippi. Brother Darrel is the uncle of the last Ukraine team member Colby who was in the Carpathian Mountains just two weeks ago. All patients were invited to come to Sunday services so they are hoping to see many new faces.
The team is being led by Dr. Ralph Izard and attended by dermatologist Kathleen Chidester from California who is working as an examining doctor along with Dr. Ralph. Please be in prayer for this group that God's mighty hand will work it's saving grace among the lost of Gori and that God would bring many to faith.

08 July 2009

Baptist Medical Mission International

Baptist Medical Missions International (BMMI) led by Dr. Ralph Izzard arrived in Georgia at 3 and 5:45 a.m. this morning. My husband, Jeff Franks was there to meet them and help them get to their destination, the town of Gori (Stalin's birthplace) in the country of Georgia. They finally got settled into their hotel around 7:30 this morning and rested until noon. So today was about purchasing medicines and they had the opportunity to tour the Stalin museum. Please be in prayer for their medical mission starting tomorrow there in the town of Gori. Gori is the place where they were last year when Russia dropped it's first bomb on Georgia. Though things are still very tenuous between the two countries, the BMMI team is hoping for a better outcome to their mission this time around. God has his plan here as well. May these people be used to further His kingdom and help those who don't have good medical care.

Touring the Mountains - VSM Russia

Yesterday the team got to go to a place called Kieslievodsk. Brother Stan said it was rather like Hot Springs, Arkansas, but on a much more massive scale. A non-believing fellow has been traveling with them and is hearing a lot of evangelism. Pray for this young man.

Word is getting out that the American basketball team is in town and people are calling to set up games. Now they have a police team that has called to set one up. Keep praying for these opportunities. Bro. Stan has asked the young man I mentioned above to play with them in the next game. He getting a lot put into him and Stan feels he is very close to asking Christ into his life.

Today they dug a ditch (no ditch digging machines here) 100 feet long and 4 feet deep. It was very tough work in brick hard clay, but they are glad they did it because it shows that they were willing to go there and work and not just come to play. This is a very good witness for the Russian people because they think no one in America knows how to work. Everyone was tired, but happy.

When I spoke to Stan they were leaving to go do evangelism in the park. Pray for God's appointments and blessing.

Tomorrow morning they will do a four hour children's evangelism. In the afternoon they will play the game with the police team. Come evening is a worship service followed by a fellowship in honor of the team having come, and to say good bye to all. From there it's back to Moscow. So many great opportunities. Keep holding them up in fervent prayer before the throne of grace that mighty things may come of all this. God has his wonderful plan.

06 July 2009

Basketball Team Does Kid's Camp

Every day this week the team is doing camp in the mornings. They came to play basketball, but God has his plan and it is marvelous. Today in camp Chris Vines did a lesson on widow's mite and Colby Williamson did a lesson on feeding the 5000. The children paid very close attention. Following that Brother Stan did a magic trick which was a gospel lesson. He took a coloring book and showed the kids that it was blank. He said our lives are like stories we can learn from. Then he flips the pages and they have all the lines of the coloring book. When we believe, then God colors the pages and the pages were all colored in when he flipped the last time. It was pretty amazing and kids were all wide-eyed in wonder. Alexe did a very good job translating. Alexe is the son of Michael, the pastor who is brother to our friend here in Bucha. Interesting, I'll have to tell her.

In the afternoon everyone rested in preparation for evening games. They plan to meet with three non-Christian teams and one church team. They will have an evangelism service at half time where testimonies will be given and Brother Stan will speak.

There is about 9 hours difference between Russia and Central Standard Time so start praying right away for this tournament and half time. May the Lord bless.

Sunday Night Team Time

The Volunteer Student Missionaries (VSM)have "team time" each day where they all gather together to discuss the day or to plan. Last night the team once again expressed how amazed they were at the reverence in the Sunday church services, the sense of love and such a spirit of worship. This can't help but make one wonder if there is not some element missing in some of our services at home? They also were in awe by the way the church went out after services and did street evangelism with speakers, guitars and preaching. The rain came and poured harder and harder until they finally had to quit. The boys were so impressed with how the church shared Christ in the streets. Should we not ourselves be so brazen as to take our faith beyond the church walls? I know it certainly challenges me.

Jeff chuckled as he said the youth palates have been challenged (he's such a diplomat)by the differences in the food. Everything here is fresh and straight from the garden. "They eat a lot healthier than we do," said one of the boys.

05 July 2009

Volunteer Student Missionaries-Basketball Team

Our team was in a large, 500 member church for services today. Jeff said it was a very conservative church where the men and women sit separately from one another. I can tell you that it also means that the women wear scarves to cover their heads, no make-up and no jewelry. It is just a different culture which of course is good for our young missionary students to experience. Jeff said the team was very impressed with the wonderful sense of worship they felt in the service. Praise God for his working. Though he didn't say this, I know that Jeff translates for people all the time in this situation.

In the afternoon they all rested until evening services where Vines and Walker shared their testimonies. Afterwards they went with some of the church members and did street evangelism. Briggs, Rayborn and Findley shared their testimonies which Jeff said were very well received. There was singing and preaching on the street. And then it started to rain, yet people did not depart. They were hungry for the Word and wanted to hear more. Even people in surrounding apartments were leaning out their windows and listening. One man said how they have been in great need of rain for the earth is so very dry and they have prayed for it to come. He went on to say that our hearts and souls need the watering of Jesus Christ in the same way. Amen! Jeff's summary on the day in a word was "Fantastic." Keep praying for this team.

04 July 2009

Moscow to Georiyevsk to Mineralny Vodi

The temperature this morning was 41 degrees and all felt the chill. Despite the early morning cold Jeff called it a fabulous day. They rode a rickety little jet that the team wasn't so sure was going to get them there, but all was fine. They were met with a bus and taken for lunch to a church. There Jeff met the pastor that just so happens to be the blood brother of one of the ladies in our church back in Ukraine....small world.

In the evening there was a youth service where two of the team member gave their testimony. Jeff said it was a wonderful service. Praise the Lord.

Afterwards they went to a gym where a basketball game was played. It was a tight game with the Russians winning 84 to 82. Jeff was impressed with the level of sportsmanship in all the players. He said they aren't professionals, but they are mighty good. When you are playing for Christ, even losing is winning he said.

There were two times of devotionals this eveing ending around 11:30. Pray for the teams.

Jeff in Russia

This past Thursday, June 30th, Jeff left for Moscow to meet Stan Scroggins from First Baptist Church of Magnolia, Arkansas who is bringing a team of basketball players. Their mission is to do a basketball camp and use that as a means to witness Christ. Jeff is there to get them from Moscow to their village of destination. Then he leaves, passing through Kiev for only 8 hours, before he get back on a plane for the country of Georgia. As many of you will recall the conflict between Russia and Georgia that I wrote about last year has cut off air transport between the two countries.

Please be in prayer for the basketball team (Volunteer Student Missionaries), for Jeff and for the Baptist Medical Missions(BMMI) team he will meet in Georgia. They will once again try to minister in the town of Gori where they were when the first bomb was dropped on Georgia last year. We are trusting in the Lord that this time will be without incident. It is all in his hands.

01 July 2009


No, I don't mean goats, though they may act like it at times. Kids are what the future is going to be. They are going to run this world in such a short time ahead. That makes their up bringing so important. I can't think of anything more critical than what we invest into their hearts and lives. Therefore, my hats off to all you children's and youth workers who sacrifice your time and dedicate your lives to leading Sunday school classes, camps and other kid/youth related activities. Our world needs you.

With that in mind, I would like to ask you to pray for the team of Americans coming to do camp here starting on the 13th of July. Dan and Cindy Williams of Antioch Baptist Church, Conway, Arkansas will bring a team to do a VBS style day camp in Bucha and then head for the river and woods where they will be camping for a week, participating in an English youth camp. I just thank the Lord for them and others who come to do camps with our kids.