“My understanding has failed me.” That is how I describe my recent health. About a month ago my right leg began to ache due to a pinched nerve. This makes it extremely painful to walk. Therefore I am in a wheel chair or on crutches. My doctor is hopeful it will correct itself with aggressive physical therapy. If not, then maybe surgery. So that is what I have been doing lately. There has been some improvement but it could take several months. Other than that I am healthy, sane, and busy with therapy. Thanks for your concern and prayer.

Our children invite you to our 50th wedding anniversary celebration Aug. 17 (2 to 4 pm) at church this Saturday. All of our kids and grand kids (100 %) will be here from around the globe. We don’t have a clue what they are up to but they tell us it will be very interesting and fun. Nothing to bring but yourself.

This Sunday Aug. 18 I will have the special privilege of doing a baby dedication for our first great-grandchild. Our little Chilean girl is here with her parents Jorge and Naomi for the events mentioned above.

Caleb Suko is here briefly from Ukraine for the family celebration too and will preach this Sunday and report, so don’t miss it. They return to Ukraine next week..

Mike and Rachel (Suko) Gustafson and children are here also from Ukraine. They spent time seeing family in New York then set out to drive across the US; it is a lot bigger country when you drive it vs. flying. They are on furlough here until January. Mike will be speaking and reporting Nov. 3. Take time to get to know them again as one of our sent missionary families.

Some of the Gustafson kids said, “When are we going to get to America?” Arriving after a trip across the US. To them America was grandpa and grandma’s place.

Some of the Gustafson kids said, “When are we going to get to America?” Arriving after a trip across the US. To them America was grandpa and grandma’s place.

Watch the July 21 presentation Nancy and I did on“Biblical Insights from 50 Years of Marriage: No 50/50 Deal.”

Pastor Mark


"God in the Old Testament is a god of vengeance and wrath, while in the New He is loving and kind."  "How could a loving God cast people into hell?"  These are common questions that deserve some thought. With wars and crisis around us how could God be loving or even care?

But what does the Bible actually say? It is clear that God is not an either/or God but a God who is both.  God's vengeance is seen in the Old and New Testament as in this NT verse that quotes the OT. Heb. 10:30 says, "For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." " 

God's love is also illustrated in both testaments. The OT Hebrew word "Chesed" is commonly translated "loving-kindness" and refers to His "love." Psa. 118:1 is one of my favorite verses. "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting."  Well known NT passages like John 3:16 remind us that God's love (Gk. agape) is primarily expressed through Christ's sacrifice on the cross for sinful man. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Since God is absolutely just He, in his love, must deal with the sin and corruption of this world. Some feel like He has not. But the book of Revelation makes it clear that He will deal with all sin and corruption eventually upon Christ's second coming as we have been studying in Revelation 6. The scariest place you could ever be is as in the hands of God when He deals with sin. "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31).  He will eventually deal with all sin.  But the most wonderful place you could be is under the protecting love of the Good Shepherd's fold (Jn. 10:14ff).  That can only happen when we come through repentance and faith to Christ who paid the price for our sin.

The picture my son Caleb sent shows a building destroyed by war in the area of Ukraine we visited recently.  The building pictures what sin does to our world. But the beautiful blue sky reminds us about the promise of Christ's second coming in the clouds to deal with the corruption of this world and give His own the hope of heaven.  What a picture!

Building destroyed by recent war in Slavyansk, Ukraine. 

Building destroyed by recent war in Slavyansk, Ukraine. 

Pastor Mark


Don't miss our annual noon Memorial Day Picnic at the Marshall home on Fox Island (684 6th Ave).  Bring your own meat to grill, and a salad or dessert to share.  Beverages and tableware provided.  Stay for the afternoon and enjoy various outside activities and games for kids and adults.  Dress for being outside most of the time.

In case you missed it, here is a video about Camp Gilead that was shown a few weeks ago. It is has been consistently rated the best Christian camp in the NW for the last three years. Time now to register at for summer camps. 


Did you know the name “Ukraine” means “borderland?” Late last week Nancy and I parted ways in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv and Caleb and I traveled from border to border in this borderland. It is about the size of Washington, Oregon and Idaho combined but with over three times the population.

It borders both Europe on the west and the old Soviet Union on the east. This has resulted in wars being fought here over it as well as ideological differences as well as the rich soil and access to the Black Sea. If you lived here, rather than the U.S., statistics say you would die ten years sooner, make 86% less income and be 13% more likely to be murdered. That being said, it is a great place to proclaim the gospel of Christ. 

Recently we were in Lviv on the western border. It feels much more European with many historic buildings and lots of beautiful old churches with minor key choirs, candles and incense. People cross themselves just walking by churches. There are also lots of coffee shops and sidewalk cafes. Tourist abound here.

Then we boarded a train to the far eastern border. The next morning we had a few hours in the middle of the country in Kiev where the Maidan revolution took place in 2013/14. We walked through the war ravaged area that has been cleaned up. It now has many memorials with pictures of those who died to free the country of corruption. There were still damaged buildings and bullet holes evident. Yet there was a festive attitude that was sad considering the death of the "heavenly hundred" that took place here as they are called.

Then we boarded another train and arrived in Druzhkivka the next morning near the front line of the current war. That is why we were here. A special seminar was being held to help Christian handle the stress of war and also minister to others with the gospel.  It alone provide answers for the evil of war and the problem of a sinful world and the promise of eternal life. 

We met with over a hundred church leaders in the Light of the Gospel Church.  The city was taken over by separatist forces in March of 2014 and freed several months later.  However, many surrounding cities have not done as well. People have fled, businesses closed, jobs became more rare and some places have been destroyed by fighting.  We were warned not to walk in fields because there may be mines there.

We also had the rare opportunity to visit an army base to do an outdoor chapel for the soldiers. The place looked like a war zone for sure.  Around it were numerous weapons. About 25 came into a dusty court yard to listen as we sang Christian songs to a guitar.  I spoke about our son-in-law Gabe who died in Iraq and how God sustained us through faith. Another speaker also gave a similar testimony. The soldiers clapped when each finished and many even wanted pictures with us.   

All of this took place as dust blew and an occasional troop truck arrived from the front with soldiers and guns going off duty.  We chatted with them after the service. One told me he had also served in Iraq the same time Gabe did as brothers in arms. What an amazing day. 

See the videos for more detail.