PASSPORTS & APPLAUSE

Nancy and I were excited about helping Mike & Rachel and our grandkids get back to their ministry in Ukraine. It was a special trip also because my brother, Gary, was going with us for the first time. After our 9 hour flight to London we scrambled to get to our connecting flight to Kiev.

At one of the checkpoints in London we realized Nancy didn’t have her passport. We searched our things several times while the others went ahead. But, no passport. Passports are our identity and prime targets for theft. The nice lady at the desk called to see if it had been found on the plane. Nothing!

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We couldn’t continue to Ukraine or even leave the airport. We were trapped with no proof of identity. Since it was a weekend the US Embassy was closed too. In desperation, we enquired at another airline counter. The Indian man with a large turban behind the desk was sympathetic. We asked if he could call for someone to check our seat in the plane one last time; we waited and prayed. We knew God had a purpose. Twenty minutes later an airline employee brought us the missing passport. What a relief!

But it was too late to catch the last plane to Kiev. No problem! We’d catch it the next day. The following morning we realized the passport was missing again. How could this be? We searched everything as our hearts raced. Did someone steal her identity? The hotel checked places we had been the night before. Next was to call the London police. Again we prayed and did one more search. In a few minutes, we found it in clothing I had worn the night before. Wow! In a flash we were out the door to grab a cab to the terminal.

A passport is your identity. Without it they don’t recognize you. It is well known that in the last days the mark of the beast, “666”, is an identity. It will be on those who follow the Antichrist. But, true Christians will not take this mark because it represents apostasy. Much of what Satan does is a phony version of the real thing. But the true believer has God’s true and lasting mark. “’…I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” (Rev. 3:12). This mark pops up numbers of times in Scripture as a comfort to those who have repented (cf. Rev. 13:8; 14:1). In the eternity believers are promised that “they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4). Do you have His name on you and is your name in His Book of Life?

An interesting part of the story is when we landed in Kiev. When the plane touched down all the Ukrainians on board clapped. We had heard this many times before, but this time we chuckled. It was worth the applause for just getting there. In heaven we will definitely rejoice for God’s grace getting us there.

Next we headed to Odessa by evening train where Caleb met us at midnight. Sunday was a super blessing to be in their Zhatva (A harvest service) with lots of music, praise and hearing our son Caleb preach to a packed place.

 Enjoying seeing out other Ukrainian grandkids again in Odessa.

Enjoying seeing out other Ukrainian grandkids again in Odessa.

 Bread, symbol of the harvest, with Nancy & I and our mission associates Maria & Velodya Sagadeyev.

Bread, symbol of the harvest, with Nancy & I and our mission associates Maria & Velodya Sagadeyev.

 Pastors thanking the Lord for the harvest.

Pastors thanking the Lord for the harvest.

Here's the video of the Zhatva. It’s all in Russian but you can fast forward to enjoy the many musical groups and be blessed. The only English part is me giving greetings at the end. https://youtu.be/OY2DAI32AYA

-Pastor Mark