I met Fedor Bespalov when he visited our church and briefly spoke. He was on his way to LA for the Shepherds Conference with some other pastors from the Donetsk Region of Eastern Ukraine. We all met at my son Ezra’s house for pizza one night. Following the conference Nancy and I helped Fedor find his flight while we were also were heading home. As he ran to the gate he said goodbye.
We met with Fedor again in 2016 in Eastern Ukraine at his Light of the Gospel Church where I was with my sons at a conference to help the war torn people recover. His church was a key church in the area. He welcomed me and introduced me to many pastors who had been through much. In some cases their church buildings were destroyed. I had the privilege of praying with him for some of them that had spent all day going only a few miles through Russian check point to get from where they lived to the free side of Ukraine that day. It was a side of ministry we don’t see here and a highlight of my life to meet these brothers and see Fedor in action. As we departed he gave me coffee cup with his church picture on it and a copy of the ten commandments in Russian.
This spring I was was in LAX again catching a flight home. My phone rang and my son Caleb said Fedor had suddenly died in Ukraine. I was shocked because he was trim, full of life, and not even 60 yet. I learned he had been on the phone, finished the call, hung up and fell over dead. It was instant. His work was done and he was called home. What a shock to his family. He was not even 60 yet. Last week his family was celebrating his 60th birthday while he is in heaven.
We never know when the final call comes. “…It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…” Hebrews 9:27 says. Only God knows the “appointed” time.
Recently one of our members, Galen Hansen, suddenly died from complications of COPD. It was sudden also and he may not have known he was dying. He was ready to see His Lord.
Genesis 5:24 says, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” He was gone in an instant. Elijah the prophet also was suddenly taken up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2). How good to walk with God and be ready to go. We may not get a quick ride up in a whirlwind but we all have an appointed time. We just don’t know exactly when that is.
Ananias and Sapphira were not such good examples. They were dishonest about their giving promised funds in the early church. They were lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11) so were both were fell over dead that day as the Lord took them.
We never know when our time will come. “It is appointed for man to die once…” so we should be ready. God knows the “appointed” time. Are you ready to meet the Lord in good sense? It starts with recognizing you are a sinner, confessing to Christ your need for forgiveness and simply trusting in Him to forgive. He does forgive and in turn gives you His righteousness. You can see the What About Gospel video on our website home page.
Fedor was ready to go. God used him well in Ukraine and then gave him the final call. There is much work to do there and about everywhere in this world. Be ready to meet the Lord and then be busy serving Him as He directs you.