Call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
Dear Praying Friends,
I think January 2022 qualifies as a day of trouble globally. For us personally, it has certainly been a confusing and challenging few days. Please read to the end for some specific ways you can join us in prayer, calling on God for his deliverance. Our frustration and disappointment pales in comparison to the discouragement our partners here in Ukraine (pictured above) have faced. We write to enjoin your prayers for them in their day of trouble more than for us.
We arrived here in L’viv on Sunday, only to learn Monday night that the conference we came here to help lead was cancelled. This was due more to the spike in COVID than to the political unrest, but as you can imagine, the threats to their border weigh heavily on every Ukrainian. The two together feel like a pair of punishing blows to a nation and a student ministry team that has endured so much this past year.
We want you to know that we feel safe to be here this week. L’viv is roughly 700 miles from active conflict. We have met with two families the last two nights here in Lviv for delightful evenings of food and warm dinner table conversation. These are some of our oldest and most beloved friends and ministry partners here in Ukraine, and we enjoyed the reunions around the meals together. But those lively conversations were shaded and the mood darkened by the very real prospect of war with Russia.
The senior staff team for IFES in Ukraine is still going to gather Thursday through Sunday for a strategic planning meeting they had already scheduled for later next month. The leader of this team has expressed eagerness for our presence at this gathering. We are honored to be invited to join them. Our hope is simply to listen, care for, and encourage them.
If all goes well, Sunday evening (Jan. 30) we will fly to Malaysia. Malaysia has opened a travel bubble for tourists, which means if we stay on a Malaysian island for a week and pass daily COVID tests, we can enter the rest of the country for 90 days. This works out about right for us, as we need to return to the US for the conference of Paraclete Mission Group at the end of April.
While it is encouraging and exciting to be able to enter Malaysia after such a long wait, a discouraging setback last week was the news that the long-term visa we had applied for was denied. We are not sure what God is up to with this turn of events. It is not our last option to pursue for living in Malaysia, but the other option we will try is a lengthy one. So, we find ourselves yet again living with quite a bit of uncertainty about the near-to-medium-term future. We’re getting good at this!
We are both teaching evening courses in Malaysia May—July, and we had been eager to teach those courses in person, so the visa news was a real disappointment. Failing that, we would love to be in SE Asia to be in a good time zone to teach via Zoom. If that does not seem feasible, the East Coast is at least a better option than the West (7 PM classes in Malaysia become 6 AM classes on the East Coast, and 3 AM ones on the West Coast.).
Our prayer requests:
Rich and Lisa
With our kids, Mark and Becca (photo credit: Avery) at Duke in early December.
Rich and Lisa Lamb