Missions Moment – Ukraine

Posted in: Missions

Eric and Beth Yodis, WorldVenture

We don’t usually get phone calls at one o’clock in the morning, but someone was persistent.  Beth’s dad had been taken to the hospital and it wasn’t looking promising. We grabbed the computer and called her mother who had just been told the doctors had done all they could. Her husband, James Franks, had shed the mortal shell he donned here in this world, took on immortality and joined the saints who have gone before.

Less than two days later, we boarded a plane and flew to the states to mourn, to comfort and to serve. Jim’s passing was unexpected, but not sudden. Chemotherapy and radiation had weakened his body, but not his spirit. All his neighbors and many others  were told, “Don’t worry about me. I know where I’m going.” Gentle and unassuming, he had ministered to many people who gave testimony to the impact he had on their lives.

Mr. Franks was also a champion for world missions. He loved to attend prayer meetings, give to missions, talk to missionaries, send them packages and humanitarian aid, and even went overseas a number of times to help missionaries and mission associations. For a while he was a part-time volunteer mobilizer for our mission, WorldVenture, and the number of short-term to mid-term missionaries he recruited astounded the full-time staff mobilizers under whose direction he worked.

Our tragedy was Jim’s triumph. Beth has lost her dad. Her mother has lost her husband. I’ve lost a friend and father. The world has lost a powerful ally for world missions.  But that’s alright… we’ll be seeing him again – we know where he went.


Praise and Prayer:

We praise God for a strong showing of support for Mr. Franks’ loved ones from friends, relatives, neighbors and many others. We thank Him for the opportunity to praise God in both song and the spoken word during the memorial service. We thank God for safety and efficiency in travel.

We pray for the ministry in our absence, both that which is being covered by colleagues and that which had to be postponed. We ask God for special grace for those who are having to make plans and hold meetings that we were supposed to do. We also ask that God would give us clarity of thought to accomplish the ministry we need to do both locally while in America and by SKYPE® to Ukraine.

We ask God to lift up Beth’s mom during this time of mourning. We pray that she would have strength, wisdom and ability to weather this transition after 58 years of marriage.

We are thankful for the opportunity to spend this Christmas with Brandon and Charity, our son in law and daughter, and for the joy of seeing them after one and a half years of being apart. We pray for mercy as we travel to see Eric’s parents before returning back to Ukraine in January and that we would be refreshed by some time off there as well.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to always rejoice, to pray continuously, and to be thankful in all the situations in which we find ourselves. So this year, we will be thanking Him that one we held so dear is celebrating eternal life free from cancer in the presence of the Savior whose birth we are remembering here on earth.

Thank you for praying and giving. We wish you the best of Christmases. Regardless of what the new year brings us, we have a Savior who knows what it is like to be one of us… Emmanuel.