Saturday, January 30, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 30 January 2010

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

а вам, оскорбляемым, отрадою вместе с нами, в явление Господа Иисуса с неба, с Ангелами силы Его, в пламенеющем огне совершающего отмщение не познавшим Бога и не покоряющимся благовествованию Господа нашего Иисуса Христа.(2-е Фессалоникийцам 1:7-8 Russian)

а вам, хто утиски терпить, відпочинок із нами, коли з'явиться з неба Господь Ісус з Анголами сили Своєї, в огні полум'яному, що даватиме помсту на тих, хто Бога не знає, і не слухає Євангелії Господа нашого Ісуса. (2 Солунци 1:7-8 Ukrainian)

Almighty God, the One God of all people ~ Thank you for this new day and the fresh hopes that are ignited as we contemplate the certain promises contained in your Holy Word – the Bible. Give us wisdom as we read so that we will believe and obey Christ in all things and be prepared for His glorious appearance. Help those who are weak in the faith to be strong in their obedience to the Gospel of Christ. Help us to overcome whatever is restraining us from taking the Gospel to the entire world in our generation. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 29 January 2010

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Итак вера от слышания, а слышание от слова Божия. (К Римлянам 10:17 Russian)

Тож віра від слухання, а слухання через Слово Христове. (Ukrainian Bible)

Merciful and Kind Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for granting us the privilege to experience another new day that arrives with fresh opportunities and blessings. Help us to be more effective in communicating the message about Jesus Christ so that people who hear will clearly understand what is necessary for them to do in order to receive eternal life. Give us wisdom as we read and mediate upon your infallible Word. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

We have not heard anything from our dear new converts to Christ since we left Nikolaev on the 17th. We are not overly concerned since most of them do not have normal access to e-mail. That seems strange to us in the USA, but there are still many people in this world who do not have a PC at home or the necessary Internet connection. We can communicate with them by text mail (SMS), but that is not so convenient except for one or two people. We pray for God to strengthen the church as they study and obey His word. I am confident in the level of their faith even though it is new. Yesterday, I finally had a message from our brother Ruslan in Inta, Russia. He is the man who does shift work in the mines in a remote region far from home. The good news he sent is that the church continues to meet and that they sincerely want to do more work in spreading the Gospel. To that end, he asks that we will come again for another visit while he is in town and they will work to invite people to our meetings. When we were there in January of 20009, we had regular daily meetings but many times only two or three people were present. In Russia, it is not possible for foreigners to publicly advertise religious meetings. However, the local Christians can invite their friends and neighbors to the meetings. Now, we are praying and considering a visit to Inta on our way to Magadan before we return to Nikolaev. We are confident that God will be with us and help us on this long and difficult mission trip that we are currently planning. Thank you for the prayers.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 28 January 2010

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Ибо возмездие за грех--смерть, а дар Божий--жизнь вечная во Христе Иисусе, Господе нашем. (К Римлянам 6:23 Russian)

Бо заплата за гріх смерть, а дар Божий вічне життя в Христі Ісусі, Господі нашім! (Римляни 6:23 Ukrainian)

LORD God, the Source of Righteousness and Goodness ~ Thank you for this new day and the realization that we are not a mere accident in this vast universe, but part of your eternal plan for our eternal soul. Help those who are drowning in the hopelessness of a sinful life to realize it is time to have faith in Christ as Lord and obey Him in order to be saved and live the remainder of this life with sparkling hope. Give us a portion of your great wisdom so that we will be able to be more effective in communicating your perfect plan of salvation. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 27 January 2010

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15 NIV)

но истинною любовью все возращали в Того, Который есть глава Христос. (К Ефесянам 4:15 Russian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day and the immense blessings that come to all people - especially to your faithful children that belong to Christ. Grant us more of your wisdom so that when we open our mouths to tell someone else about the wonderful plan of salvation, we will be careful to tell only the truth and all the truth necessary for a person to obey the Gospel and be saved. Help us to speak and live in such a manner that people see our love for Christ and His word. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 26 January 2010

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can surely overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

Но Халев успокаивал народ пред Моисеем, говоря: пойдем и завладеем ею, потому что мы можем одолеть ее. (Числа 13:30 Russian 13:31)

Mighty God, in Whom we trust ~ Thank you for granting us life and breath on this new day that sparkles with fresh signs of your enduring presence in all our affairs. Give us courage and boldness like Caleb, to be obedient to our Lord’s command to take the blessed gospel to all people. Revive our faith so that we will overcome all doubts and fears that may hinder us from going where the resistance to Christ appears strong. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, January 25, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 25 January 2010

But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have life through his name. (John 20:31)

Сие же написано, дабы вы уверовали, что Иисус есть Христос, Сын Божий, и, веруя, имели жизнь во имя Его. (От Иоанна 20:31 Russian)

Most Holy and Eternal God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the uplifting sense of joy we experience on this new day as we consider how blessed we are to be under your providential care. Give us wisdom as we study the inspired words of the Bible so that we will have a clear understanding of what we must believe in order to obtain eternal life. Give us courage to simply trust and obey what is written and to share the gift of salvation with all people in the world. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 24 January 2010

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:4)

В Боге восхвалю я слово Его; на Бога уповаю, не боюсь; что сделает мне плоть? (Псалтирь 56:4 Russian - 55-5)

O God, our Most Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new Lord’s Day. Bless the faithful followers of Jesus Christ around the world who assemble on this day to remember and honor the great sacrifice that Christ paid for our sins at the cross. Give us wisdom and courage so that even if all the earth shakes with disasters and horrors of war, mortal man cannot rob our soul of its destiny to be with you in Heaven as we trust and obey our Lord. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

According to information from the Internet, temperatures in Nikolaev, Ukraine and Magadan, Russia are almost the same. It is -20 C in Nikolaev, and -23 C in Magadan. It makes me feel warm in this +16 C here in Alabama. We pray for our brothers and sisters who get out in this weather to worship our Lord.

WORD OF THE DAY - 23 January 2010

They said, “You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

и сказали: мужи Галилейские! что вы стоите и смотрите на небо? Сей Иисус, вознесшийся от вас на небо, придет таким же образом, как вы видели Его восходящим на небо. (Деяния 1:11 Russian Synodal Version)

Our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the radiance of your glorious presence on this new day that brings more blessings that will help sustain life and offer us more opportunities to tell others about the certainty of our Lord’s coming. Give us wisdom so that when we open our mouths to explain our faith, we will do so with the true words of Christ and His inspired apostles and prophets. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

A week ago today, with Galina's help translating my English to Russian, or interpreting my poor Russian, I was answering some Bible questions. Later, we left a little past midnight to catch a train to Kiev. After much waiting here and there and 48 hours later we arrived in Alabama. Finally, we are regaining our strength and stamina. Thank you for your many prayers! We miss these dearly beloved new Christians in Ukraine as much as we miss our dear brothers and sisters in Magadan - and that is very much!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 16 January 2010

But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

претерпевший же до конца спасется. (От Матфея 24:13 Russian)

А хто витерпить аж до кінця, той буде спасений! (Матей 24:13 Ukrainian)

Most Holy, Powerful and Righteous God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the sparkling gift of life on this new day that arrives with reminders of the uncertainty of the number of days on this earth and also the awareness of the many opportunities we encounter to be the good people that you want us to be. Give us wisdom as we study the scriptures in search of truth revealed in Christ our Lord. Give us courage even in the face of calamities to cling to Him for eternal salvation. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.
Our hearts are experiencing mixed emotions as we rush to take care of many necessary last minute details prior to catching the train to Kiev very late tonight - 02.30 Sunday morning. Yesterday as we walked through the beautiful park next to the "church building" (Palace of Culture), we encountered several groups of young people having snow ball fights. If it was not so cold, or another word that rhymes with cold, we would probably have stopped and joined in the fray. We completed paying our various fees in advance so that the church will be able to continue their meetings here without any problems. We also paid advance rent on our apartment so that we can leave many of our belongings until we return in about eight weeks. We are just amazed at the warmth and sincere feelings we receive from people everywhere that we have become friends with. We received a note of "we love you!" from faculty and friends at the University. The nice babushka who looks after many things in the meeting hall, said every time she thinks about us not being there every day she starts crying. One man who works there as a security person and also has a room where he can do his oil paintings said he also feels like crying. Of course we have all the same emotions regarding the love we have for people in the church as well as those friends we have made in many different places in this community. Today, we have a meeting scheduled with members of the church so that I can inform everyone about the opportunities and responsibilities they have while we are gone. Yesterday I completed writing down some of my thoughts and suggestions and Galina then spent time working to translate it into Russian. When I started, I told her it would just be a few words. She calls it First Nikolonians. Since we just entered a period of hard freeze after some melting of snow, we expect it will be very difficult for people to navigate around the city. However, we are never disappointed at their stamina and determination to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for the many prayers and words of encouragement about this special harvest field here in Ukraine. God is truly opening hearts to receive the message of salvation through obedient faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Friday, January 15, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 15 January 2010

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4 NIV)

И не сим только, но хвалимся и скорбями, зная, что от скорби происходит терпение, от терпения опытность, от опытности надежда. (К Римлянам 5:3-4 Russian)

O LORD our God, Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day and the awareness of your kind and righteous presence in every aspect of creation. Give us wisdom and deep spiritual insight to understand that physical pain and suffering in various degrees is part of our expectations in this life on earth. Open our eyes to see that very often these same sufferings carry blessings that may help us to become stronger in our faith, hope and love. Strengthen us as we strive to live before the people of this world as true followers of Christ. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday in our Thursday Bible study, Nikolai was concerned that since we will be gone for several weeks, and he didn't know how to read music, could we please sing several hymns and he would record songs on his telephone, then he could learn the songs and be able to lead singing. He is actually a good singer and learns by ear as my Mom used to say was how she learned to play piano. Prior to the Bible study, we had an individual meeting for an hour and half with Nikolai Thor so that we could give him the instructions that he wanted on how to conduct worship services and what to say to visitors. We are just amazed at how God is working in the lives of these dear saints here in Nikolaev, Ukraine to help them be the church that God wants them to be. As we discussed several Bible questions and practical matters, I brought up the subject of visitors. He commented, "You remember how I first came to you with a long list of questions, and you just took the Bible and showed me the answers from God's word. That satisfied me, and that should satisfy any visitors." He went on, 'when I explained to you that it seemed to me that it was not necessary to be baptized now, but wait until next summer, you went to the Bible and had me read the examples of how people were baptized immediately upon confession of their faith in Christ, and repentance.' Furthermore, in our conversations about some recent Bible studies, he demonstrated that he has been reading and studying deeply into God's word and he proved it to me by repeating several textual lessons from Truth for Today that I recently gave him to study. The church here will be in good hands while we are away. Nikolai explained his feeling of anxiety as a new Christian and we prayed for God to help him overcome this feeling. Galina recently showed Luda how to prepare the Lord's Supper and she is doing this with pleasure. On Saturday, we plan to have another meeting with everyone to go over their questions again. Today we must many errands to take care of at the place where we meet, the Post Office, and our apartment. Yesterday morning it began to snow, and since the temperature was at the freezing point and just a little below, we had about 24 hours of mostly wet snow. It was beautiful and at the same time difficult to walk around town. Some of the fir trees already fell over due to the heavy weight of the wet snow. We are supposed to have more snow today, but it seems nothing can keep our people away. Afolabi plans to leave Saturday to go over to Crimea in order to catch a flight to Turkey, then on to Nigeria. We didn't see Akinrinde yesterday since he was taking some special course to prepare him for work on a tanker in Nigeria. These brothers are optimistic that their education here at the Maritime University will help them land a good job in their country where jobs are very scarce. In any event, they are prepared to serve Christ in their native land. Thank you for the prayers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 14 January 2010

You who have shown me great and bitter troubles, will revive me again, and will bring me up again from the depths of the earth. (Psalm 71:20)

Ты посылал на меня многие и лютые беды, но и опять оживлял меня и из бездн земли опять выводил меня. (Псалтирь 71:20 Russian 70-20)

Great and Powerful God, our Merciful Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the fragile and uncertain gift of life that dwells in these physical bodies of clay on this new day that arrives with new and great challenges to demonstrate our faith and love. Help the people in Haiti who are struggling for life today even as they are drowning in sorrow as they watch life fade from their loved ones. We especially ask you to bless the sincere Christians who survived this tragedy as they remember the great reunion that is coming, and give them strength to help others. Give us wisdom as we consider how to show the love of Christ to those who are suffering during this huge affliction. Help us to remember the warning of Jesus and His apostles about the suddenness of the day and hour when our Messiah shall appear in the clouds with all His mighty angels. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 13 January 2010

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. (Proverbs 19:17 NIV)

Благотворящий бедному дает взаймы Господу, и Он воздаст ему за благодеяние его. (Притчи 19:17 Russian)

Хто милостивий до вбогого, той позичає для Господа, і чин його Він надолужить йому. (Притчи 19:17 Ukrainian Bible)

Almighty God, our Glorious, Kind and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day that arrives with many more blessings for which we do not take for granted. Most of all, we are thankful for the gift of our Savior – Christ the Lord, who gives the abundant life to all people who will believe and obey Him for salvation. Give us wisdom so that our eyes will see the poor among us that are in need and give us opportunity and courage to quietly show them kindness. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Photo: Studying English using the Bible with Sergey. At the present time we have two students in our World English Institute classes. This is all we can handle now with our other individual Bible studies for those not interested in learning English. English is very popular here as in many countries since people see it as the international language of business and other communication. Yesterday, we had a good meeting with a young woman who is interested in our WEI classes when we return in late March or April. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 12 January 2010

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our dwelling with him.” (John 14:23)

Иисус сказал ему в ответ: кто любит Меня, тот соблюдет слово Мое; и Отец Мой возлюбит его, и Мы придем к нему и обитель у него сотворим. (От Иоанна 14:23 Russian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the splendid gift of life on this new day that brings more blessings and opportunities for doing good. Give us courage and wisdom so that we will not just talk about being Christians, but will actually do the things that are expected from His followers. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Presently, these are the ones who will keep the fires burning while we are on our business trip to the USA. In this picture are Lyuda, Nikolai Thor, Nikolai Gagarkin, and Stepan. Zhenya was not able to attend on Sunday. We pray for their spiritual growth as they grow in their knowledge and understanding of God's word and put His word into practice in their daily lives.

Monday, January 11, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 11 January 2010

You will show me the path of life, in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

Ты укажешь мне путь жизни: полнота радостей пред лицем Твоим, блаженство в деснице Твоей вовек. (Псалтирь 16:11 Russian 15-11)

Most Holy and Wise God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on this new day. Give us more love as we follow Christ so that we will experience joy in this life and for all eternity. Help us to share this joy with people who are downtrodden. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

We had 9 people for worship yesterday and nearly everyone remained for our meeting and time for tea. Our men did a wonderful job in leading the worship in songs, the Lord's Supper and prayers. Galina trained Luda to prepare the communion prior to the worship service. Nikolai Tkhor is preparing himself to handle the sermon period of the worship. We will have meetings each day this week and one specifically with him. Nikolai Gargarkin is not able to be here in Nikolaev very often due to his work that carries him all over Ukraine. But, he expressed his desire to help the church as much as possible while we are away. During our time of getting better acquainted, our new brother Tkhor treated everyone to an expression of the joy he has in his life now that he has finally found the Lord after so many years. After everyone left, our first English student appeared very well prepared for our study. Sergey had excellent comments about our study from the Bible. Vlad also came at his appointed time later in the afternoon, and since he has missed so many appointments, we had to do some catch-up with him. He wanted more information about our beliefs before he left. We are hopeful that one or both of them men will soon visit some of the meetings of the church. Galina is a great help in these studies when it comes to English grammar. It's nice to have an English teacher around to clarify the finer points. Thank you very much for your prayers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 08 January 2010

I sought the LORD, and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Я взыскал Господа, и Он услышал меня, и от всех опасностей моих избавил меня. (Псалтирь 34:4 Russian 33-5)

O LORD our God, Holy is Your Name ~ Thank you dear Father, for the brightness of our hopes on this new day because of the assurance of your abiding presence and care. Give us wisdom as we study and reflect upon your word so that we will not think that we have all the answers for life’s problems. Increase our faith while we submit to Christ Jesus our Lord. In His blessed name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was Christmas day here in Ukraine and for many other people around the world, so we celebrated by meeting our two brothers from Nigeria who have been studying in the Maritime University here in Nikolaev. We had lunch together at a cafe situated in a large supermarket/mall. Nikolaev is a great historic seaport with a rich reputation for sending men to sea. In the late 1700's it became a military outpost and remained strictly a naval base and shipbuilding city for over a hundred years. Then in the late 1800's it began to be changed to include civilian maritime preparation and shipbuilding along with the military. Even though it has been very difficult for our brothers Afolabi and Akinrinde, they have finished the course and are prepared to be officers aboard merchant ships that sail the high seas. While we ate and visited with them yesterday, it gave me the opportunity to "commission" them for their task of carrying the Gospel to the world. They know that they will have to look hard for a job once back in Nigeria and they have high hopes. But, most importantly - these men gave their hearts in obedience to Christ and His church while here in Nikolaev. They are prepared to share what they have learned with others. I talked to them about 2 Timothy 2:2 a verse that a certain preacher drilled into me long ago. One of them spoke about preaching the Gospel, and the other spoke about teaching seamen aboard ships the glorious gospel of Christ. Galina and I have grown to love these young men as our own. And as we make preparations for our business trip to the USA, they are preparing to return to Africa at about the same time. We hope and pray that our paths will cross again here on this earth, but if not, we have that positive hope of a happy reunion in that Better Land after all of this is over. Today we have a Bible study with the church at 2.00 this afternoon, and then two English students are scheduled to meet with us at 4.00 and 5.00. Your prayers for these young men of faith and all in the church here and those with whom we search the scriptures are vital and sincerely appreciated.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 07 January 2010

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:21-22)

Возлюбленные! если сердце наше не осуждает нас, то мы имеем дерзновение к Богу, и, чего ни попросим, получим от Него, потому что соблюдаем заповеди Его и делаем благоугодное пред Ним. (1-e Иоанна 3:21-22 Russian)

Dear God, our Most Kind and Holy Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day on which we awaken to be reminded with increasing confirmation of your constant presence and providential care for all creation. Father, with the risk of sounding over confident, we ask that you grant us wisdom as we study and obey the teachings of Christ, especially about loving one another, and give us courage to take action that reflects our new perception into spiritual matters. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we awakened to a white blanket of fresh snow that turned to slush and ice by the end of the day. We noticed that the temperature in Montgomery, Alabama is colder this morning than here in Nikolaev, Ukraine. It is an interesting winter in Europe with record snowfalls and countless delays at airports. That seems to be the same report from the USA. We spoke with all our people yesterday and they were not interested in venturing out in the weather at the time of our meeting. Last night was Christmas Eve here and it was interesting to see and hear on TV as one of the presidential candidates openly expressed what seems to be very sincere faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Savior of the world and the New Testament as our guide today. It was a very bold statement and most refreshing to hear during this age of enforced political correctness regarding one's beliefs. We had to venture out on the city bus system that was partially working, to purchase our train tickets to Kiev. We were successful in getting just what we need in order to arrive in time to make our flight. Thank you for all your prayers for this work of evangelism in the great city of Nikolaev.

Monday, January 4, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 04 January 2010

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Посему, как вы приняли Христа Иисуса Господа, [так] и ходите в Нем, будучи укоренены и утверждены в Нем и укреплены в вере, как вы научены, преуспевая в ней с благодарением. (К Колоссянам 2:6-7 Russian)

Eternal God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the kindness and love that we receive from your providence on this new day. Give us wisdom, strength and courage to live the best possible live as we follow Christ our Lord. Give us opportunities to teach what we have learned about Christ to those who are seeking the Way. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Our Sunday worship service was another great experience as our new brothers led the church in songs, during the Lord's Supper and in prayer. After the worship, it was such a cold day that we just couldn't send everyone back out into the cold without some warm tea. So we had a small time of getting better acquainted. I used this opportunity to our group that we will have our worship service at 09.00 on 17 January so that we can catch our ride to the airport in Kiev. Our flight to Frankfurt leaves early on the 18th, so we must get there on the evening of the 17th. Nikolai Tkhor, our newest brother assured us and the others that he will be responsible for opening up on Sundays as well as Wednesday or Thursday afternoons while we are on our "business trip" to America. With encouragement from us and the rest of the group, he also agreed to lead the church in worship and Bible study. I already gave him many lessons he can use as a guide for studies in the Word of God. Later in the afternoon, our World English Institute student appeared for his appointment. He had completed his assignments, and we enjoyed a positive time of discussion about God's word even as we searched for nouns. When I asked him what had he learned from Gods' word that is useful, he thoughtfully answered that he was very glad to learn a new way of thinking about how the world came into existence and a way of thinking about life that he had not done during his twenties, thirties or forties. Sergei also reported to us on what he had learned regarding our questions relative to getting some medical supplies and equipment through customs to the Nikolaev Regional Children's Hospital. He has a long background in the shipping industry. He had spoken with some people responsible for this type activity and learned what we should do next. We have Bible studies appointed for each day of this week and right up to the time we leave. Thank you for the prayers as we continue to pray about, look for and teach 'one more soul'. We continue to pray for more workers in this harvest field that is yielding fruit for the Kingdom of Christ our dear Lord.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 03 January 2010

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spoke and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:8-9)

Да боится Господа вся земля; да трепещут пред Ним все живущие во вселенной, ибо Он сказал, --и сделалось; Он повелел, --и явилось. (Псалтирь 32-8,9 Russian)

Dear LORD, our Heavenly Father, let your Name be hallowed throughout the earth ~ Thank you for the bright hopes that believers enjoy on this new Lord’s Day. Renew within our hearts a sense of reverence for all that Christ said and did to bring about our salvation. Give us wisdom so that we will obey your word and faithfully teach it to others who do not yet know your goodness toward all people. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

We are hopeful that all the New Year's celebration will soon be over and folks will get back to normal schedules. Nevertheless, we will continue our daily Bible studies with those who are interested in learning about our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We heard from Magadan recently and they will have down time until the 11th of January due to the long New Year's holiday and Eastern Orthodox Christmas that falls on 7 January. They also plan to have Bible studies each day this week since so many people will have time off from work during this period. Thanks for your prayers to God for this work.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 02 January 2010

If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:8-9)

Если вы исполняете закон царский, по Писанию: возлюби ближнего твоего, как себя самого, --хорошо делаете. Но если поступаете с лицеприятием, то грех делаете, и перед законом оказываетесь преступниками. (Иакова 2:8-9 Russian)

Most Holy God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new day that is running over with blessings that help us live with love, joy, peace and hope. Give us wisdom so that we will not be biased toward some people who may look, speak, dress or behave differently from us whenever we do deeds of kindness. Thank you for the completely fair and impartial gift of Jesus Christ to this sin filled world. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

New Year's Day was cold and misty, but nothing prevented thousands of people from coming out to stroll down the avenue with their families and friends. We finally found a nice little cafe that didn't allow smoking inside. They didn't have a sign posted anywhere, but we noticed outside that many guys were talking and smoking by the entrance door to Gusto's. I don't have anything against folks who burn paper and tobacco products, it’s just that we don't enjoy their residue when we are eating. Society here and in Russia still generally favors the smokers. We do see signs that this is changing to make it possible for families to take their children out to eat. There are many political posters all over the city, since the people of Ukraine will choose their next President on January 17. We are constantly in prayer that this will be a peaceful process for all Ukrainian citizens. Democracy is still very young in countries of the former Soviet Union that were only recently under the dictatorship of the atheistic Communist Party. I have attached a short clip of some babushka's singing an old folk song about a girl wailing to her mama that she had fallen in love with a Gypsy. This was just one example of what was going on in the streets and parks of the city on New Years. Some were coming to the large decorated yolka to greet Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden) and have the children's photo taken like is done with Santa. Most of the New Year's Day we spent at home with me working on Russian studies and crafting sermons to be translated, and Galina working on our bookkeeping. We are always on the go so much that we just try to keep up with receipts and little pieces of paper and jot notes down in my Day Timer calendars (thanks to Bink and Deb's annual gift). Then whenever we have any slow time, we try to play catch up with our computer software program called Quicken. Galina laughs at the generous use of the word "we" in describing how this process works. Today we have much to do in preparation for our business trip to America on January 18. It is going to be incredibly difficult to leave this flourishing work even for a brief time. However, we must take care of our visas for long-term work in Ukraine and take care of personal business in the US. We are very thankful to God that this work of evangelism is going in a positive direction and we have the strong support of our elders at the Dalraida Church of Christ, our sponsoring church for this gospel mission work. We have a small regret about these past six months, and that is we didn't get to visit our dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Magadan. We remain in constant contact with them by e-mail and other means of modern communication. They rejoice with us about each new conversion to Christ here in Nikolaev. One brother in Magadan is even seriously considering moving to Nikolaev and helping the church when he retires in a couple of years. Your prayers and encouragement are very important for us as we make our plans and carry out the daily tasks.

Friday, January 1, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - 01 January 2010

However, when you prepare a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14:13-14)

Hо, когда делаешь пир, зови нищих, увечных, хромых, слепых, и блажен будешь, что они не могут воздать тебе, ибо воздастся тебе в воскресение праведных. (От Луки 14:13-14 Russian)

Most Holy and Compassionate God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on the first day of another year as we count days and years. Open our eyes to see the many opportunities for showing hospitality that we often pass by and ignore each day. Give us wisdom and boldness to take action that will give physical and moral help to the helpless, even as we receive constant help from your kindness. Forgive us for our apathy toward those who are truly in need. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

The last day of 2009 was cold and damp here in Nikolaev. We needed to take care of some errands and enjoyed looking at the sights. You might have noticed a picture of this statue before. It is situated in a park in the center of the city and memorializes a priest for whom the city is said to be named. His name was Mikolyu. He was "sainted" by the Orthodox Church and is remembered in Ukrainian language as St. Mikolyu; or that can be called St. Nicholas. This is not the same St. Nick of Santa fame. The poster on the street carries a poignant message: "25,000 children are awaiting adoption in Ukraine." The basketball poster reminds us that we miss our good friend Tyrelle Blair from Monticello, Florida and Boston College, who attended our services when the Nikolaev pro team was in town back in May. He is not playing in this particular European league this year. We miss his positive spirit and encouragement. People here in Nikolaev as all over Russia and Ukraine take their New Year's celebrating seriously. We've seen lots of fireworks on July 4th celebrations before, but these were over the top. From our 4th floor apartment we could see and hear the salutes to 2010 that went on for what seemed like an hour. Perhaps it was a little less than that, but not much. We are happy that we did not get out on the streets during that time of revelry as the alcohol was flowing freely. Instead we re-watched an old Soviet era movie that is shown every New Year - "C Logkim Parom". The story line is about a guy and some of his buddies who begin the holiday in Moscow with the ancient tradition of visiting the Banya (public sauna). They have a few too many toasts to the New Year, then one young man, a doctor who never drinks, becomes slightly inebriated and is put on an airplane to Leningrad. (St. Petersburg) When he arrives he gets a taxi to take him to the same street address that he lives on in Moscow. It turns out that there happens to be an identical high rise apartment building at this Leningrad address. He takes the elevator up to his floor and inserts his key and enters the apartment and falls asleep. Later an attractive school teacher who occupies the flat appears and finds him. Lots of funny and crazy scenes, but in the end they marry and live happily ever after. The producer boldly used the movie to highlight how difficult it was in the Soviet days when people had to wait on a long list to receive an apartment. Even those with high educations and good professions often waited and never had their turn at the "good life" promised by the Communists. Both of these young professionals could only receive a 345 square foot place to live with their mothers. It is New Year's Day and the movie is on another channel. I suppose it is sort of nostalgic for those who grew up during the days of the USSR here in Ukraine, Russia and other places.