Saturday, October 31, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Satuday 31 October 2009

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Кроткий ответ отвращает гнев, а оскорбительное слово возбуждает ярость. (Притчи 15:1 Russian)
All Wise and Merciful God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the radiant beam of love that flows from your vast heart of kindness. Give us more of the wisdom of Christ so that we will avoid stirring up strife by using sarcastic or cynical words that hurt people we speak with. Help us to have a kind disposition in each situation. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday was another day filled with much pleasant activity. First we met Evgenia for another productive Bible study. A little after noon, I got a call from Natalie, the English teacher who is giving up her office in our building that she was ready for us to move the furniture. Two men that work in the building heaved to and carried the heavy cabinets and desk to our room. We carried the chairs and smaller items. Then, Galina and Evgenia proceeded to arrange everything and shine things up so that our room will look nice for Sunday. Later in the afternoon, we met four of our Nigerian young men for late lunch at a local cafeteria that is situated in a large grocery and miscellaneous market. After we ate, Galina fetched cake and tea/coffee and we had a nice send off for two of the men who leave today by bus to catch a flight in Simferopol to Istanbul, then a connecting flight to Lagos. Simferopol is the capital of the Crimea and is about an 8 hour bus ride from Nikolaev. I had a few conversations with our brother Nikolai since he is back in the city for a few days. God willing, we will benefit from his presence in our worship tomorrow. Last night while checking E-mail, we received a bulletin from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev advising Americans about the recent outbreak of H1N1 virus here in Ukraine. The advice was letting us know that the Health Ministry is taking sharp measures to try to fight this outbreak and it may include some restrictions on our activities. Schools are closed this coming week due to the end of First Quarter. The Minister of Health has ordered schools be closed for three additional weeks. We will pray and wait to see what happens. Meanwhile we will not adopt an attitude of fear as many seem to be doing. "We'll work till Jesus comes..."

Friday, October 30, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 30 October 2009

And Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has wrought a good work on me.” (Mark 14:6)

Но Иисус сказал: оставьте ее; что ее смущаете? Она доброе дело сделала для Меня. (От Марка 14:6 Russian)

O LORD, our God, our Strength and Mountain where we seek refuge ~ Thank you for the uplifting gift of new life on this day. Help us to rediscover the power of sacrificial love as overcome the influences of popular opinion and make our own loving sacrifice for Jesus our Glorious King and Savior. Give us courage as we follow the approved example of this woman at Bethany. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Our appointment yesterday with Yuri who comes from the country once or twice a week was canceled since he had some problems with some equipment. He was going to bring some members of his family so that I could acquaint them with our teachings. We hope that some of them will be able to come this Sunday. This gave us a chance for me to write some lesson outlines and then Galina finally had a little time to do some translating. In the evening we had excellent participation in our Thursday night Bible study. Today we will meet people at the House of Culture where the church meets and move some furniture that we are purchasing. A woman, who conducts some private English classes, is giving up her office in the building and she has some good chairs and a nice bookcase and table that we can put to good use. We agreed on a price with Natalie and we will have some men in the building that will help with the move. It is also another way to get to know more people. Thank you very much for your prayers and words of encouragement.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 29 October 2009

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Вор приходит только для того, чтобы украсть, убить и погубить. Я пришел для того, чтобы имели жизнь и имели с избытком. (От Иоанна 10:10 Russian)

Our Most Excellent and Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life, especially the new life promised by Christ to all who choose to follow His perfect directions. Give us wisdom so that we will not be deceived by the Evil One who desires to take everything that is dear away from us. Be with us now and always as we make the decision never to give up on the abundant life. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday afternoon we had our weekly individual Bible study with Lyudmila and Stepan. This went very well as they both are very devoted to keeping their appointments regardless of weather or other circumstances. We are amazed how far they walk from our meeting place at night to catch a streetcar and then they must change in order to get to their homes. Of course Akinrinde walks 45 minutes to our meetings, but he is much younger. It is now getting much colder. It was encouraging to have Evgeny in our meeting last night. We had gotten used to the unusually long Indian summer. There is still no heat in the city due to the economic times we are living in. It is a problem all over Ukraine as municipal leaders struggle to come up with money to purchase fuel for the heating plants. We have a very small space heater that helps a little. We are told that since we will have sub freezing temperatures this weekend, that we should have heat in our batteries. Well, we keep all this in perspective since we have spent time recently in the winter of Inta and Magadan. It is definitely warmer here in southern Ukraine than in those far north cities. In any case, God is always with us and we are warmed by His great love. Plus, we put on extra layers when we are out walking. In addition to all the work of an interpreter/translator, Galina continues to provide encouragement to all we come in contact with; by the way she pays close personal attention to each individual. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 28 October

For whosoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:11)

ибо всякий возвышающий сам себя унижен будет, а унижающий себя возвысится. (От Луки 14:11 Russian)

Our Dear Father in Heaven, we honor Your name as Holy ~ Forgive our sins as we forgive those who are indebted to us for some wrong we have endured. Give us wisdom so that we will practice sincere humility even as we show proper respect for other people. Through Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.

Our session at the university yesterday lasted about two hours and involved excellent discussion and gave me another opportunity to describe God's wonderful plan for all humanity to be one in Christ. We were with the best and brightest 5th year students in a round table discussion atmosphere. The English of most of these students is impeccable. One young woman, who helps as a student assistant, came up after the class had left the room and told how she always knew that God exists, but she confessed she doesn't know anything about the Bible. We have an appointment on Monday since she is going out of town for a few days. Yesterday afternoon before our Tuesday night Bible study, we had an excellent study with our newest regular visitor - Evgenia. When I questioned her about her faith, repentance and baptism, since we have been discussing it rather thoroughly, she said with a quizzical look at me, "that's why I'm taking these lessons to know how to become a Christian!" Today at 4.00, before our Wednesday night Bible study, we have a Bible study scheduled with Luda and Stepan. Our little kitchen planning board stays full and we hardly have time to keep it updated. Thank you for your fervent prayers for this soul saving and church planting effort.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many that go in through it. Because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Входите тесными вратами, потому что широки врата и пространен путь, ведущие в погибель, и многие идут ими; потому что тесны врата и узок путь, ведущие в жизнь, и немногие находят их. (От Матфея 7:13-14 Russian)

Most Kind and Holy God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the exhilarating joy that we experience on this new day as we face fresh opportunities and obstacles under the wings of your loving care. Give us more wisdom as we learn more about Jesus, the superior Way that leads to eternal life. Give us courage and strength to overcome the ever present temptation to follow the multitude. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

On Monday morning we headed out to the University for something different than what I am usually asked to do. The head of the English department wanted me to view a movie entitled, 'Everything is Illuminated'. I explained to Tatyana that I had never read the book or seen the movie. That was OK, since they just wanted to hear me talk about it from the perspective of an American. They know already that I always find a way to introduce the Bible. That was not difficult since this movie about a young Jewish man who travels to Ukraine searching for clues to a woman who helped save his grandfather from the Nazis. There is a period in the movie where they tell how the executors would order the Jews in this small village of a little over a thousand people to spit on the Torah and stomp upon it and other mutilations. Then they summarily executed all of them. I asked our group if they knew what the Torah was and one gave the right answer and earned a Snickers bar. That gave me a launching pad to discuss the Bible and Jesus Christ. They invited us back again today and I will do the same for another group of mostly 5th year students who were not present yesterday. In the afternoon we had another Bible study with Evgenia the young woman that is attending our services. She is growing daily in her knowledge of the Word. Later we had our regular nightly Bible study and as usual, a few came to learn more about Christ. When we left home yesterday morning, we only put our light coats on, and when we left the meeting place of the church at night, it was already cold. We will prepare better today. Thanks for the prayers.

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 26 October 2009

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15)

Я есмь пастырь добрый; и знаю Моих, и Мои знают Меня. Как Отец знает Меня, [так] и Я знаю Отца; и жизнь Мою полагаю за овец. (От Иоанна 10:14-15 Russian)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the sparkling array of blessings that are ahead of us on this new day. Help us to increase our knowledge of our Good Shepherd by studying His doctrine and living out the principles in front of this evil world. Give us wisdom and courage so that we will only listen to His voice that leads us Home. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we enjoyed another wonderful worship experience. We had mixed emotions even as we joyfully greeted one another. Three of the Nigerians who have been attending with us since we first came here in May, will be leaving to return home this Saturday. We will be saddened by their departure, but we plan to stay in touch with them once they reach home. We had one young man who came for the first time. Alexei studies computer science student in a local university. He saw our advertisement and decided to come check us out. He is also studying English. We are humbled and thankful to God for constantly challenging us with quality young people who are interested in hearing the Truth. Thank you for being faithful in prayer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 25 October 2009

And he went from there to a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west and Ai on the east: and there he built an altar to the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 12:8)

Оттуда двинулся он к горе, на восток от Вефиля; и поставил шатер свой [так, что от него] Вефиль [был] на запад, а Гай на восток; и создал там жертвенник Господу и призвал имя Господа. (Бытие 12:8 Russian)

O LORD our God, Kind, Holy and Awesome Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new Lord’s Day that greets us with opportunities to assemble with the Body of Christ. Bless the worldwide community of believers who gather on this day and take time out from all this life’s ordinary activities in order to worship together in spirit and truth. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we went to the Post Office to see if any of the many boxes we are expecting from EEM have arrived. There was a stack of 19 notices in the box. A few were from what we had shipped when we were in Slavyansk. Most were part of the first wave of boxes coming from EEM in Vienna, Donetsk and Slovakia. This is so exciting for us to have this good literature. Now, if we can only get Truth for Today to start their shipments we will get our storeroom loaded with valuable Bibles and literature that help spread the Word of Truth. We ordered a rented truck through a taxi company and he helped us carry the 19 boxes. I called Akinrinde and Afolabi to come help us, but they were not able to get there in time since we had to move things out of the Post Office into the truck right away. Our son Zhenya helped us load and unload. Also, we were pleasantly surprised that our new friend Sasha, who is one of the guards on duty in the building where we meet, dropped what he was doing and came over to help us. He is a very good artist and they allow him to use a room to work on some icons for a new Orthodox temple. We had no time to catch any of that activity on ‘film’, so I have attached a photo from our last visit to the University where the students gladly received the Word that was preached. We waited a long time for children to come to our Bible Class, but none showed up. It is possible that they didn't come due to this weekend being a holiday. This is the end of the first quarter on the school calendar. So, they get a day off. As we were leaving to go run our errands, we stopped to speak to Galina who manages a little kiosk in front of our building. She was telling someone in the background, ‘here is a real English speaker that you can talk to.’ We thought Galina was speaking to some little girl, but Olga turned out to be an English teacher of 9th grade students at a large school near the hotel where we stayed when we first came to Nikolaev. She invited us to her class on Monday November 2nd. God continues to amaze us with more open doors. We continue our prayers for more workers in this harvest field. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - 24 October 2009

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man, who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23-24 NIV)

Ибо, кто слушает слово и не исполняет, тот подобен человеку, рассматривающему природные черты лица своего в зеркале: он посмотрел на себя, отошел и тотчас забыл, каков он. (Иакова 1:23-24 Russian)

Great and Mighty God, our Most Holy Father in Heaven ~ We bring our highest praise and thanksgiving into your presence on this new day that portends even more bounty into our laps as we consider and obey Christ our Lord. Give us more wisdom as we study the word so that we will realize our responsibility to be obedient to the One in whom we trust for eternal salvation. Please forgive us for the times when we heard what Christ said, but just walked away as if it didn’t apply to ourselves. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

After we purchased our return bus tickets in Rostov-na-Donu, (Rostov on the Don) we had a long day of just waiting around until the bus left at 5.40 PM for Odessa with a stop to drop passengers off in Nikolaev. We decided to make use of that time by first getting something to eat. We headed out toward the center of the city and found a nice little cafe near the Rostov Pedagogical University. We had a good hot meal there and asked a nicely dressed business man who was meeting another man for an appointment if he knew how to get to the address we had for the Church of Christ. When we told him it was situated at 172 Maxima Gorkova Street, he pondered that over a little, and first responded that he wasn't aware of a church in that area. Then he suddenly remembered that there is "tserkvushka - a small church there" and proceeded to tell us exactly how to get there. We were on Bolshaya Sadovaya Street and he explained that Gorky St. ran parallel with Sadovaya and was two streets up from where we were. First we would pass Pushkin St. and then we would be at Gorky. That sounded rather close, so we finished our lunch and proceeded to walk up to our destination. That was a pretty good hike itself, but was welcome after the long bus ride. When we came to Gorky, we realized we were at the block of 70 Gorky and the church is situated at 172. So we decided to walk until we could catch a tram since we noticed tracks in the street. We walked up to the 100 block and then were able to ride a tram a little past where the church is located. As we passed the building, we noticed the places on the outside wall that had been recently vandalized. It is my opinion that this act of vandalism was something that reflected the attitude of one person toward the church and not a general sentiment. This is due to the nice way the man referred to the church and was kind to give us detailed directions. When we arrived in front of the building, we were at first greeted by a large barking dog. Then a little girl came by on her way home from school and walked over and talked and petted the dog. A sister in Christ Lyudmila came out to greet us and informed us that brother Gheorge Tartarchyk was in the hospital for some treatments relating to some cardiac problems. It was considered routine treatment. She also informed us that the other minister, Artash Andriasov was out of town in Moscow on a business trip. We were disappointed that we didn't get to meet these brothers, but we had a very nice visit with our sister Luda. I have known about the Rostov church since its beginning and even before I made my first trip to Russia in 1992, I was aware of the work going on there. Then, in 1994 a group of us met in Magadan to launch that congregation through the preaching of the Gospel. One of the evangelists brought an interpreter whom he had worked with before by the name of Igor Egirev along with him. It turned out that Igor was born in the Magadan region and was a great help to our work in planting that new congregation. Nowadays he is involved with the work at the Institute for Theology and Christian Ministry in St. Petersburg, Russia.
When our bus finally left Rostov, we had smooth sailing until 03.33 in the morning when a loud noise and a bump under near where we sat. The driver kept the bus under control and pulled off the road. There is a crew of two drivers that go along on the long international trips and they have many kinds of emergency tools on the bus. They discovered that they had run over some object that wedged between the left rear tandem tires, and that had caused two lugs to break. We were all told to get off the bus, and it was cold. So, all of us passengers began scrounging around the foliage near the road and came up with enough sticks to build a fire. We were stranded by the side of the road in this very remote part of Ukraine for seven hours while these men worked hard to replace the lugs and repair a tire. They had to do most of this work in darkness and with small flashlights. We helped keep the fire going by finding wood to burn. The best part of the trip that made this incident almost unmentionable was how we prayed fervently from the time we left Rostov until we reached the border with Ukraine. The man at the same border had told us that when we returned it was possible that we would not be allowed to re-enter Ukraine due to a new law that has the provision like Russia's that you cannot stay in the country longer than 90 days out of 180 days. First there was the crossing the Russian border. That was no problem. Then, the bus drove a few meters up to the Ukraine border guards, and we are praying. An officer came on board the bus and collected everyone's passports. We had to wait what seemed hours and when the passports came back ours was handed back to us with the appropriate stamp and without any comments. It seems that this new law in Ukraine is applied according to the whims of local border guard officials. As we think back about our trip, it was difficult with the problem on the side of the road, but we met a young seaman by the name of Vladimir who is only 30 and has already achieved the rank of Chief Mate. He promised to visit our services when he is in Nikolaev. The ship he works on is home ported in Kherson which is only about an hours bus ride from us. He is trying to improve his English so he was very happy to meet an American. His wife is a Mary Kay dealer and their home is in Rostov. It is always amazing how we meet up with so many nice people. We also became friends for the night with a Roman (Gypsy) family. Thanks again for your fervent prayers. Now we prepare for today's Children's Bible Class and tomorrow's worship service.

Friday, October 23, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 23 October 2009

Let not your heart envy sinners, but be fervent in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:17)

Да не завидует сердце твое грешникам, но да пребудет оно во все дни в страхе Господнем; потому что есть будущность, и надежда твоя не потеряна. (Притчи 23:17-18 Russian)

Great and Mighty God, Our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for this day on which we receive numerous blessings and opportunities to do good deeds that honor and glorify our King of Kings. Give us wisdom and strength so that we will not look longingly at the so-called ‘good life’ that many people chase after at the cost of their own souls. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Here are some photos of our visit to the Nikolaev Pedagogical University on Wednesday, 21 October before we left on Thursday to Rostov, Russia. We returned to Nikolaev safe but exhausted, and our mission was accomplished to leave Ukraine and re-enter, thus achieving a new stamp in our passports and extension of our stay. I plan to tell more about this not uneventful trip tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 21 October 2009

“And I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

И Я скажу вам: просите, и дано будет вам; ищите, и найдете; стучите, и отворят вам. (От Луки 11:9 Russian)

Almighty God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the numerous uplifting benefits that greet us on this new day. Give us wisdom to recognize what is pure and holy so that we will concentrate our energies on things of the greatest value to ourselves and others. Fill us with your Holy Spirit as we obey Jesus as Lord. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Our Tuesday night Bible study went very well. It is truly remarkable that these dear people will come out under such difficult rainy weather conditions. We even had two more come in late to check us out. After my lesson dealing with 'what it means to be a Christian', Evgenia had an excellent question about the Lord's Supper.
We spent the majority of the day dealing with a problem regarding our visas. In the first part of this month, we visited the office of local police that deals with foreigners and other visa and passport issues. She said to come back five days before the date when we would be in Ukraine for 90 days, and she would extend our stay. That is why we were there first thing in the morning yesterday. We know from many similar experiences that things can change suddenly. And they did. This person who was in charge of the Nikolaev office decided she needed to consult with a higher up and that person told her that we must have our landlady appear with us to vouch that we indeed have rented that apartment and are living there. We came back to the flat and talked to our neighbor the landlady, and she did not want to go to the police about anything. That is not uncommon in countries of the former Soviet Union. The only option we have is to leave Ukraine and then return. Hence, late today we will catch an overnight bus to Rostov-na-Donu, Russia. We chose Rostov because it is the shortest bus ride - 15 hours. Even though my multi-entry visa to Ukraine does not expire until 2012, the problem lays in the fact that Ukraine law only allows us to be in their territory 90 days at a time on this type visa. So, we leave and when we return we will be given a new immigration card for another 90 days. It is a complication that many travelers who stay for extended periods have to deal with. We chose to go to Russia because we both have multi-entry religious work visas to Russia. We thought about taking a train to Moscow and visiting some people there, but that is a 30 hour train ride and a stay in Moscow for one night will eat up much of our expenses. We considered Moldova or Romania that are closer to Nikolaev, but both of those countries require that we have a valid visa. We will try to make the most of this short visit to Rostov. Igor Egirev helped our campaign group as an interpreter when we began the church in Magadan. He was born in the northern Magadan region, and converted to Christ there in Rostov and served the church as a preacher for several years. Even though we will not get to see him since he now lives and works in St. Petersburg, we will at least have some connection to the brothers and sisters there in case we have any spare time to visit with them. Our main mission is to get a stamp in our passports showing that we left Ukraine, entered Russia and re-entered Ukraine. Jesus didn't say we would be without complications when He said, Go! However, we have boldness since we are promised His abiding presence. We hope and pray that we will be back in Nikolaev in time for our dear children who come to the Saturday Bible Class. We sincerely appreciate your prayers for our safety and success.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 20 October 2009

“Which now of these three do you think was a neighbor to him that fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He that showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

Кто из этих троих, думаешь ты, был ближний попавшемуся разбойникам? Он сказал: оказавший ему милость. Тогда Иисус сказал ему: иди, и ты поступай так же. (От Луки 10:36-37 Russian)

Most Kind and Holy God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the myriad blessings and opportunities on this new day. Help us not to be stymied so tight in our religious knowledge that we will find in easy to overlook a person in need. Give us wisdom to be less judgmental and more kindhearted whenever we have the opportunity to do deeds of kindness. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was another cool and rainy day, but we had many bright faces listen to me make a presentation for English language students at the pedagogical university utilizing the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. A few had some good questions, and there is always hope that their interest in Bible themes will grow into some deep and sincere study. Thank you for the prayers about this work. Each day we are just amazed at how God is opening up these doors of opportunity to teach the Gospel.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 19 October 2009

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”(Matthew 18:35 NIV)

Так и Отец Мой Небесный поступит с вами, если не простит каждый из вас от сердца своего брату своему согрешений его. (От Матфея 18:35 Russian Synodal Version)

Great and Mighty LORD, our Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the fresh hopes that arrive with this new day that shimmers with evidence of your watchfulness over all creation. Grant us wisdom and courage to be quick to forgive rather than quick to utter a curse upon those who offend us so that we will not end this life with bitterness in our heart toward other sinners. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

The worship service here in Nikolaev was a wonderful experience. We had ten souls present to honor our risen Lord Jesus Christ! Ivan led us with comments at the Lord's Supper, and everyone sang with new enthusiasm. Yuri and his wife Sveta were with us again since they were able to escape from their dairy operation for a couple of hours. Ivan spent the rest of the day with us since he had to check out of the apartment that we rented for him earlier. We truly enjoyed the afternoon going over things here and in Magadan. Ivan can retire from his job as an Emergency Services Officer in two and a half years, and is so enthused about the work here in Nikolaev that he is determined to retire here and work with the church. If that is God's will, it will be a great benefit for this young church. We are truly thankful for the prayers about this work, and pray that God abundantly blesses you in your service to Christ.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 18 October 2009

I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ” (Hosea 2:23)

И посею ее для Себя на земле, и помилую Непомилованную, и скажу не Моему народу: 'ты Мой народ', а он скажет: 'Ты мой Бог!' (Осия 2:23 Russian)
Oh God, our God ~ Thank you for this new Lord’s Day and the indescribable joy that we experience when we worship with other Christians. We are overwhelmed with love as we consider how we have been adopted into your Family – the Church. Help those who are outside of your special bond of love to be humble, and obediently run quickly into your arms of love and forgiveness and receive Jesus Christ as their new Lord and Master. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

We had one fine young man - Dima, to show up on a cold rainy day for our Saturday Children's Bible Class. He received the same full attention as if all the others were present. His Grandmother wants him to come, and during the week he reads from the Children's Bible that we gave him earlier. Without any warning, when asked if he remembered our last lesson, he recited all details of the story of the Tower of Babel. Yesterdays' lesson was from Luke 2 about the incident when 12 year old Jesus remained in Jerusalem after his parents had started on the journey home. Ivan will leave later today to resume his vacation here in Ukraine. We are hoping to have some visitors for worship today. We met one couple yesterday as we were out doing some errands. Demyan is an artist, and his parents have immigrated to America and live in Cleveland, OH. When I began to invite them to our meetings, he explained that he graduated from some 'protestant' Bible College. His wife Anna speaks English pretty well. We hope to get to know them better. He agreed to help me with my Russian and I agreed to help him with English. Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 16 October 2009

Therefore seeing we also are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Посему и мы, имея вокруг себя такое облако свидетелей, свергнем с себя всякое бремя и запинающий нас грех и с терпением будем проходить предлежащее нам поприще. (К Евреям 12:1 Russian)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for peace and joy on this new day on which we may have numerous opportunities to express our faith in Jesus Christ in word and deed. Give us wisdom and courage to endure and overcome the various trials that are sure to be part of our lives as we faithfully follow Jesus as Lord. We are very thankful and humble when we consider what great sacrifices have been made by many others to defend our faith. Give strength to those who are thinking about dropping out of the race. Help them overcome their doubts and fears and realize the victory in Jesus. We pray in Christ name, Amen.

Today was so full of blessings as we enjoyed being back in Nikolaev and meeting with various people as we took care of necessary errands upon our return. Ivan had so much enthusiasm as he told us about each session that he conducted on my behalf. His own faith has been strengthened with this opportunity to use up part of his vacation time in the Lord’s service. We also had much to discuss with him about the church in Magadan since that is never very far from our hearts. When we were talking everything over today, he expressed his sincere love for this new church here in Nikolaev. That is such an encouragement for us to hear another brother express what we already feel in our heart. Tomorrow we will be busy with the children’s Bible class and more preparations for worship on Sunday and my lessons for next week at our church services and the university. Ivan plans to leave tomorrow to visit with family in Sevastopol and then to Bella Serkov and then to Kiev. Even though we were constantly busy in Slavyansk, there was a little restful work in helping to dig the large garden at Galina's parents’ home. That kind of work revives body and soul like perhaps a round of golf or tennis for some folks. Here in Nikolaev we enjoy long walks carrying various parcels. Thank you for the prayers and encouragement.

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 14 October 2009

He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” (Luke 5:36 NIV)

При сем сказал им притчу: никто не приставляет заплаты к ветхой одежде, отодрав от новой одежды; а иначе и новую раздерет, и к старой не подойдет заплата от новой. (От Луки 5:36 Russian Synodal Version)

Almighty God, our Most Kind and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the spark of life on this new day. We are in awe as we consider the wonders of creation from the simplest to the most complex form of life. Give us wisdom as we learn and obey truth from Christ our Lord. Help all Christians to understand the great benefits we enjoy by following Christ without turning backward into Judaism. In the glorious name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.

We shipped two large boxes of books from the Slavyansk post office yesterday. Today we spent the morning packing and repacking all the Bibles and literature that we have here in Slavyansk. Today we took 6 boxes by taxi to the Post Office and finally got everything we have here in Slavyansk shipped to Nikolayev. We even have about 50 copies of the very valuable little Russian/English booklet ‘Things Eternally Important’ that me and many other evangelists and teachers have used in conducting individual Bible studies to lead many good and honest hearts to obedient faith in Jesus Christ. For several years, we have stored much valuable Russian language materials in the various places that we have called home. It sure is expensive to ship it around, but it is a feeling like Paul had when he asked for his scrolls and especially the parchments. We will carry the laser printer with us on the bus when we return to Nikolaev Thursday night. Thank you for your prayers as we pray for you to have constant peace and joy in Christ.

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 14 October 2009

And He said to them, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast, while the bridegroom is with them?” (Luke 5:34)

Он сказал им: можете ли заставить сынов чертога брачного поститься, когда с ними жених? (От Луки 5:34 Russian Synodal Version)

Most Kind and Holy God of our fathers ~ Thank you for this new day on which we are awakened with awareness that we are created beings with the responsibility to do some good thing today and each day that will reflect our faith in our risen Lord. Help us to rejoice in all circumstances. And while we wait for the appearance of Christ to carry the faithful home, give us wisdom and courage to fast without tooting our horns, so that we will be more lucent in our prayers and scripture studies. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

After an all-night bus ride, we arrived in Donetsk this morning about 7.45. Today we are packing and repacking boxes of Bibles and literatures that we brought to Ukraine in 2000 when I could not reenter Russia. We thought that we could work in Ukraine, but that was not possible at that time either. All these many boxes have been stored at Galina’s parent’s house. Last year, we shipped several boxes to Magadan. Now, we are elated that we have this grand opportunity to spread the Good News in Nikolaev, Ukraine. We also have a good working laser printer that will help us tremendously. As we were at the Bus Station preparing to leave for Donetsk yesterday, we received a phone call from EEM telling us that our Bibles and literature that we ordered from them is finally being shipped this week. We will ship what we have here by Ukraine post, and we should have a good supply to last us for a few months. God willing, we plan to be back in Nikolaev Friday morning. Last night before we left, we were with the group for a Bible study until 7.00. Ivan brought a good lesson and we had several good questions. He called us later to let us know that people stayed around until 8.00. Thank you for the prayers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 13 October 2009

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for beautiful pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

Еще подобно Царство Небесное купцу, ищущему хороших жемчужин, который, найдя одну драгоценную жемчужину, пошел и продал всё, что имел, и купил ее. (От Матфея 13:45-46 Russian)

Almighty God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on this new day that arrives with fresh evidence of your loving care and boundless love for all men. Grant us wisdom to recognize that there should be nothing in this world worth more to us, than gaining entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven where every treasure is that can fulfill all our desires for peace and contentment. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Our worship yesterday was another wonderful experience. We had a smaller group of people, but we had our brother Ivan Tupchanenko from Magadan as our guest. He made excellent comments before the Lord's Supper. Following my sermon, Ivan gave a preview of what he will be teaching each night this week as he leads the group in a Bible study about life in the church. We are blessed that he is with us for this week. Galina and I will take this opportunity and go out of town for a few days. We will return on Friday. We need to pick up some Bibles and literature that we desperately need in Donetsk. We recently heard from Eastern European Missions that they have had an unusual amount of orders this year, and that is why our order is being delayed. It is an overnight train ride there and back. We plan to be back here on Friday. We are very thankful that Ivan will continue to conduct the daily Bible studies. Thank you for your prayers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. (Psalm 49:15)

Но Бог избавит душу мою от власти преисподней, когда примет меня. (Псалтирь 49:15/ 48-16 Russian Synodal Version)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Father enthroned in regal Majesty ~ Thank you for the numerous blessings on this new Lord’s Day. Bless Christians around the world with your presence as we assemble in sweet communion on this day to worship Christ our Lord. Help us to love one another as we obey Christ our great Teacher. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

We greeted our brother Ivan when he arrived from Kiev on the train this morning at 06.00. Ivan will be with us for several days. He has an extended vacation and is spending time with his family in Ukraine and came to Nikolaev to work with us in planting seeds of the Gospel. He regularly preaches for the church in Magadan. While Ivan is away, our brother Vasily is handling those duties. It is a great joy for us to have him here with us. I first met Ivan in Magadan when a group from various parts of America met there to preach the Good News and plant a church. Now, God is making it possible for Ivan to help in this work. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Thank you for the many prayers.