Saturday, July 31, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 31 July 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

Apparently the city must have received some funding for public works projects. This hole in the street has been in this spot next to our apartment building since a year ago. There are not any visible major projects going on to improve the infrastructure - just various attempts to patch things up. My meeting in the afternoon with the prospect who called interested in studying English didn't turn out too favorably. She didn't have enough knowledge of English even to read the most simple words. But, she has a desire to know enough to get to America. Unfortunately that doesn't translate into a prospective student of the Bible. That's OK, we get to meet all kinds of people each day. Also, one woman who works as an administrative assistant at a security company that has an office in the same building came over to introduce herself and promised to visit the church sometime when she has time off. Both of these people received literature with information about the Lord Jesus Christ. Galina gave me her daily report on her work as an orderly, nurse, cook and housekeeper. What is even harder than taking care of Mama is the preparation for Sonya to leave tomorrow when Maya arrives. That brings on the tears for both of them. Thanks for your prayers.

The beautiful park that surrounds the palace of culture where the church meets is normally well cared for. This year no one has been cutting the grass. Yesterday, some workers must have finally received an invitation to do something about the grounds where many neighborhood families like to spend time all the year round.

On one of the shortcuts that I take in my walk to where the church meets, I regularly see many containers coming from the port in Odessa. Containers find their way all over the world. It is like looking at a geography book when you think about all the places those shipping containers have been. This one belonged to a company in the USA at one time.

Marigolds decorate an area near a large memorial in the center of the city here in Nikolaev, and one of the many beer gardens has taken over the sidewalk in front.

When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life." (Acts 11:18 ESV)

Выслушав это, они успокоились и прославили Бога, говоря: видно, и язычникам дал Бог покаяние в жизнь. (Деяния 11:18 Russian)

І, почувши таке, замовкли вони, і Бога хвалили, говорячи: Отож, і поганам Бог дав покаяння в життя! (Деяния 11:18 Ukrainian)

Most Glorious and Praiseworthy God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on this new day that arrives with fresh opportunities to utilize our many blessings for accomplishing good. Give us wisdom so that we also will completely understand that salvation through faith in Christ is available to every person in the world who hears, believes and obeys the gospel message. Help us to be more effective in announcing the Good News about true life to the billions of people in places like Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday 29 July 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

At our evening meeting yesterday, we only had Stepan and Lyuda to study about God's attributes. Stepan cannot see good with or without glasses. We have a giant print Russian Bible that helps a little. Lyuda patiently helps make sure that he finds the right page and verse. I am truly missing my partner Galina in so many ways. I have been praying for God's help with my memory of some Russian grammar that I studied too long ago. Russian words and phrases that I learned in my studies in Kenesaw, Khabarovsk and Magadan came out of my mouth. Lyuda and Stepan perhaps politely pretend they understand me. Now I can finally sympathize with the people that we so stupidly called "dummy" when I was a boy in North Carolina during the pre political correctness days. Now, I'm the "dummy" for not being able to speak more of the Ukrainian language of people where I am. However, Russian is used by nearly everyone here even though signs and documents are mostly in Ukrainian. So, I had best continue to brush up on my Russky tongue. There were even more people in the morning who stood in the hallway for a long time waiting on their turn with the soothsayer. Yesterday afternoon I prepared some New Testaments with my business card that has salvation's plan on the back. Perhaps some will at least have God's word to read while they wait to discuss their horoscope or whatever. Thank you for your many prayers and encouragement.

On my walk to the Constructors House of Culture where the church meets, which is a distance of 30 to 40 minutes by M2F power (Walter Hackshaw), lately I've been noticing the slightly older man pointing his finger at the two workers as they erect an addition to a shop. He walks with a cane and obviously has the plan well fixed in his mind. He was telling them to "be careful, be careful"! Two things about this incident struck me as monumental. First, the great spirit of optimism of Ukrainian people who have faced so many huge obstacles and yet continue to bounce back with optimistic hope. I'm not saying they don't grumble and complain along the way. That is what sometimes makes me think with my tongue in cheek, that Slavic people in general are some remnant of the lost tribes of Israel. Second, wouldn't if be wonderful if there appeared a great revival on the part of fathers and mothers, elders and preachers who would have God's word firmly planted in their minds and pass this along to the next generation with the same caution to "be careful, be careful" to do things according to God's instructions. Yes, it is some fodder for a sermon someday, somewhere - God willing.

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. (Acts 9:31 ESV)

Церкви же по всей Иудее, Галилее и Самарии были в покое, назидаясь и ходя в страхе Господнем; и, при утешении от Святаго Духа, умножались. (Деяния 9:31 Russian)

А Церква по всій Юдеї, і Галілеї, і Самарії мала мир, будуючись і ходячи в страсі Господньому, і сповнялася втіхою Духа Святого. (Деяния 9:31 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the fabulous gift of life on this new day that brings fresh opportunities and blessings from your providential care. Give us peace among the churches around the world that are devoted to following the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. Give us a keener sense of the comforting influence of your Holy Spirit in the spiritual and numerical growth of the church as we teach and obey the truth. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday 28 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

As I continued my walking tour that took me to new places to put up posters where people walk and stand waiting on transportation, I came upon another institution connected with the sea. This is a college where young men can go from high school and learn crafts connected with working on ships. As I understand it, they can enter after the 9th grade and receive a high school diploma and also be certified as a seaman or one of the below decks specialities. Galina wants all to know how much she appreciates the prayers as she provides round the clock care for her Mama Elena who came home from the hospital yesterday.

This building I had only seen from a distance while riding a route taxi. I mistakenly thought that the top of the spire was donned by a Soviet star which is typical of that era's architecture. However, when I approached the building to get a better view, I noticed that it is a portrayal of an old Ukrainian sea going vessel. Large sailing ships were built in Nikolaev for the fleet of the Russian czars. This is an institution devoted to educating engineers in the science of shipbuilding. I thought about a possible connection between Nikolaev and Magadan as brave Russian explorers discovered the two magnificent (albeit frozen part of the year) natural harbors.

This is just another one of the many olde buildings around Nikolaev.

This beautiful fountain is near the complex of government buildings. It looked very inviting yesterday as a place to cool off under the spray. I kept my distance to care for my camera and osters that I'm plastering everywhere.

This is one of the areas that I combed since there are usually many people visiting here for the great view of one of the cities rivers and the large shipyards. The ship building and repair business is mostly down to a trickle. There are some other locations like this around the city. Mykolayiv has the capacity to turn out large ships, but there is not much demand at the present time. I read reports in the news that Russia is considering expanding their fleet with some new vessels. Ukraine stands to gain by this expansion of the Black Sea fleet due to the much closer ties between the two nations that now exists between the leaders.

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20 NIV)

И тотчас стал проповедывать в синагогах об Иисусе, что Он есть Сын Божий. (Деяния 9:20 Russian)

І він зараз зачав у синагогах звіщати про Ісуса, що Він Божий Син, (Деяния 9:20 Ukrainian)

Our Dear God and Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the spectacular gift of life on this new day that arrives with even more pleasant surprises as we consider our future under your watchful care. Give us wisdom so that we will not only intellectually understand repentance, but that we will follow Paul’s example and begin to do the right things immediately. Bless leaders in the churches around the world to do everything possible to encourage the proclamation that Jesus of Nazareth is truly Christ, the Son of God. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 27 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

A musical group of South Americans dressed up like Apache Indians were putting on a concert on Sovietskaya Street while I was searching for places to put up our announcement. I went over and spoke to their manager who was selling CD. Two guys were from Ecuador and one was from Peru. We have seen the same guys or another group doing the same thing in Moscow near a metro station. They always draw a good crowd. Maybe I'll try that for a change and see if I can drum up some interest. Far better to stick to preaching the Word as the early Christians did and had huge success. God's way in always best. Galina has no access or time to use a computer, so we are very thankful for our mobile phones.

Yesterday morning, I spent time at the church meeting place observing the coming and goings at the office of the new neighbor. When I arrived in the morning, there were already 12 people waiting in line to get to speak to this spiritual advisor or whatever she calls herself. I kept the door open so that people could see our Russian Bibles and sign on the door advertising free English course. Hopefully, someone from this group may have some curiosity and want to learn more about God’s plan for eternal joy and happiness. Then, in the afternoon, the streets were calling, so I loaded up with glue and began to post our advertisements about English studies. This one poster was placed at a high traffic bus stop where people are congregating all day. I spent about two hours trying searching for the best spot around the center of town. Now, all I have to do is sit back and wait for the phone to ring. No way is that going to work. Today, I will be back out putting up more posters. It is a little clumsy without my dear sidekick to help put the glue on the poster when it is windy. Galina is fighting back the tears as the days of Sonya's visit are about to end. When I spoke to her this morning, she said Sonya missed Dedushka, that things were boring without him around. Her Mama is scheduled to arrive in Slavyansk in a few days to pick her up from Babushka Galina. I have all Sonya's stuff here since the trip to Slavyansk came up as an emergency situation and we just dashed out the door to help Galina's Mama Elena. Today I will pack it all up for her including all the free McDonald's toys she accumulated. She is improving and the doctors said yesterday that she will get to go home in a couple of days. That will be so much better for Galina since she is having to cook at home and transport jars, etc. back and forth. Galina wants everyone to know how much she appreciates the prayers during this difficult time.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:4)

Между тем рассеявшиеся ходили и благовествовали слово. (Деяния 8:4 Russian)

Ходили тоді розпорошенці, та Боже Слово благовістили. (Деяния 8:4 Ukrainian)

Our Dear Heavenly Father, Your Name is Holy ~ Thank you for the sparkling array of fresh evidence of your presence in the universe that you created. Ignite the fires of evangelistic fervor among Christians so that the borders of the Kingdom of Christ will spread everywhere we travel on the globe, moreover – when enemies try to silence the truth. Give us wisdom so that we will teach and preach with strong conviction that will persuade the unbelievers to accept Jesus Christ as Lord. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 26 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. (Acts 8:3 NIV)

А Савл терзал церковь, входя в домы и влача мужчин и женщин, отдавал в темницу. (Деяния 8:3 Russian)

А Савл нищив Церкву, вдирався в доми, витягав чоловіків і жінок та давав до в'язниці... (Деяния 8:3 Ukrainian)

Great and Mighty God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for granting us another precious day to live, breath and do what is pleasing to you. Give us more of your infinite wisdom so that our finite minds will be able to persuade some soul like Saul to become a Christian. Help us to have courage when we encounter even the strongest enemies of Christ, so that we will patiently and lovingly point them to the truth that can set them free to spend the rest of their lives building up the church for which Christ died. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Photo: Yesterday we had another wonderful day of worship. We didn't have any visitors, except for Karyna who helped me as an interpreter in Galina's absence. She was a great help to me and stayed around while I answered some questions. We met Karyna on our very first visit to the university and at that time she told how she had been to America for two summers working at a youth camp sponsored by the Salvation Army. She recently graduated from the university and is searching for a job using her English skills. She is also looking at other job possibilities. Some people were missing from our assembly, but the faithful few were there. Galina's Mama will not likely go home today as we previously thought. Her doctors want to be certain that she is healing properly from the wounds of the surgery. Last Sunday when we arrived for worship, we noticed that someone had vandalized our sign on the door of our meeting room. Whoever, wrote a message that the people meeting in room 32 are followers of a sect. Like Paul, I don't personally consider that an insult if they are talking about the Way of Christ as a sect. (Acts 24:14) Yesterday, we noticed that we have a new neighbor in a room next door that has been vacant and for rent. When I peeped into the open door, I noticed many candles and icons. There was a woman seated at a desk with a veil on her head in the orthodox style. From the sign on her door, and having a little experience with such people, she appears to have a profession as some type of spiritual healer and advisor. Looking at the situation positively, if she advertises a lot more people will read the message on our door. Thank you for the prayers as we continue to teach the truth in love.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday 25 July 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:42 ESV)

И всякий день в храме и по домам не переставали учить и благовествовать об Иисусе Христе. (Деяния 5:42 Russian)

І щоденно у храмі й домах безупинно навчали, і звіщали Євангелію Ісуса Христа. (Деяния 5:42 Ukrainian)

O LORD, our Lord, How Majestic is your Name in all the earth! Thank you, Dear Father in Heaven for this new Lord’s Day. Bless believers as we congregate in various locations around the world to celebrate our faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Savior and Lord. Give leaders of churches and Christians a revival of interest in the daily proclamation of the blessed gospel that brings salvation to those who hear, believe and obey. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday was a beautiful weather day in Mykolayiv with balmy breezes and the summer heat was just barely above 80. There is normally some event scheduled on Saturdays near the park on Sovietskaya Street. This event involved young BMX professionals showing off the tricks they can do with their bikes. It appears to me to be something like boys who got bored with skate boarding and moved on up. Anyway, lots of people were there and that provided an opportunity for me to hand out some invitations to our meetings. There were no promises, but my little cards contain the plan of salvation on the back and perhaps this will catch someone's attention. We have to be active as possible here while the sun in shining. Things can quickly change in this new climate in Ukraine of so much leaning toward mother Russia. Please pray for the church in Magadan since they have been given a new notice that they have only ten days to comply with an order from the Prosecutor regarding a name change for the church. I'm not certain what the "or else" will be if the church fails to comply with this order. But the warning was strongly worded. The order only has to do with the grammatical cases of Russian language, and will not make any difference to the church's identity or message. However, it is an interference by the law of the land in the internal affairs of a local church. Thank you for your fervent prayers.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 18 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Jesus said to her, “You don’t need to hold on to me! But go to my brothers and tell them this: ‘I am going back to my Father and your Father. I am going back to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17 ERV)

Иисус говорит ей: не прикасайся ко Мне, ибо Я еще не восшел к Отцу Моему; а иди к братьям Моим и скажи им: восхожу к Отцу Моему и Отцу вашему, и к Богу Моему и Богу вашему. (От Иоанна 20:17 Russian)

Говорить до неї Ісус: Не торкайся до Мене, бо Я ще не зійшов до Отця. Але йди до братів Моїх та їм розповіж: Я йду до Свого Отця й Отця вашого, і до Бога Мого й Бога вашого! (Йоан 20:17 Ukrainian)

Dear Lord God, our Heavenly Father, we praise your name as holy ~ Thank you granting us the privilege to enjoy being with other brethren on this new Lord’s Day. Give us wisdom so that our faith in our resurrected Lord will remain unshakable. Open our eyes to see the people in our communities who are searching for answers to eternal life. Lead us to one more soul today and help us to teach them with an attitude of sincere love. Comfort us as we wait for the day of Christ’s appearing. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we spoke with Victor Semikoz about the plans he and Oksana have to come to Nikolaev from Slavyansk to help us with our Summer Bible School. We agreed on the dates so that we can finalize our advertisements for this week. Their two boys are also coming, and Ilya and Nazar were such a big help in helping us bring children from the neighborhood. We are very excited about our second VBS for the young church here in Nikolaev. We are praying that some parents and grandparents will come and see what is being done as a few did last year. It is our hope that this outreach for the children will result in additional contacts for us to teach the gospel of Christ. The majority of children who came last year were from homes in which religion was not a significant factor. However, there seemed to be a desire on the part of the grandparents for the children to know God. We agreed with Margarita to have a session out at the Boy's Home. Pray for our Bible School that will be from 26 July to 30 July. Since we learned last week that we have some more orphans who need some basic items, we went shopping again at the big box retailer. We were able to purchase towels, soap, tooth paste, and we will have to search again today for tooth brushes. We already bought each boy some flip-flop type shoes for this summer and they also wear them around the home in the winter months. In our meeting with the director last week, I told him that he should just allow the church to meet at the Boys Home and collect some rent money that we are paying at the other place. He chuckled at that and maybe bristled at my boldness and we agreed that it is not possible or practical. I was just thinking, "With God all things are possible". While we were at the big store, we also bought most of our supplies for the Bible School. Sonya is very happy that she will get to be with us during the VBS. Thank you for the prayers and sincere encouragement.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 17 July 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

After a few hours of looking for some private area on an overly crowded beach area, we headed to catch the crowded streetcar to take us to the area around the central train station where there is also a bus station and we arrived back home in Nikolaev around 9.30 PM. Sonya exclaimed how much better Nikolaev is than Odessa. We are very thankful to have a day of relaxation before we get back into our intense labor of broadcasting the good news about God's perfect plan to save all human beings who are willing to search the scriptures and learn the truth that Jesus Christ offers the only way to eternal life to those who will believe and obey the gospel. Thank you for the prayers and back-up.

On the Arcadian walkway we actually saw palm trees. Of course they are in large pots so they can be put back indoors in the cold winters.

Finally, Sonya who lives in the northern part of European Russia, got to spend a day in the sand and gentle surf of the Black Sea. She mostly enjoyed gathering many shells.

On the ride to and from Odessa yesterday, it was a joy to see the seemingly endless sea of sunflowers. It was a pleasant reminder of the fields around Crookston, Minnesota. Maybe not so pleasant for David the younger, who worked one summer for Cargill when he was a teenager. We also saw many fields that had been recently harvested of winter wheat. Later we saw over 200 trucks pulling tandem trailers of rain waiting in the long line to unload at the granary.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

А все, что писано было прежде, написано нам в наставление, чтобы мы терпением и утешением из Писаний сохраняли надежду. (К Римлянам 15:4 Russian)

А все, що давніше написане, написане нам на науку, щоб терпінням і потіхою з Писання ми мали надію. (Римляни 15:4 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the many ways in which we are able to make fresh discoveries each day that prove your absolute existence and participation in our lives. Give us wisdom as we daily read the scriptures. Give us patience as we learn more details concerning our faith that provides us real hope to see us through the struggles of each day. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 16 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Lyuda, who came to Christ not long after we arrived here, invited her friend Valya to attend our meetings. This led to some Bible studies, and now Lyuda continues to help Valya understand God's word more perfectly. Yesterday we were able to accomplish a little more shopping for the Boys Home. We plan to make our next visit on Monday. In the Fall we learned that we will have 22 boys to help with their needs. The boys who are at the home this summer are fatherless and motherless either because parents died or have been denied parental rights. We try to give them special attention. Some of the other boys who are with us during the school year are in a similar situation, however, they have some relative who agrees to house them in the summer. God has placed this special challenge on us to not only help with their physical needs, but more importantly show them the way to eternal life and how to be the best citizens here in this world. Today we decided to take a little trip to Odessa and allow Sonya a chance to wet her toes in the Black Sea. It is about a two and half hour micro bus ride each way. We leave early and come back late.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)

Ибо, как тело без духа мертво, так и вера без дел мертва. (Иакова 2:26 Russian)

Бо як тіло без духа мертве, так і віра без діл мертва! (Яков 2:26 Ukrainian)

Our Dear Father in Heaven, Most Holy is Your Name ~ Thank you for the fabulous gift of life on this new day that arrives with new challenges worthy of our sincere obedience. Give us wisdom and we search the scriptures and learn more about what it means to be a follower of Christ. Give believers around the world the courage to be bolder in sincerely telling others about the one road to Heaven. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 15 July 2010

About half-way through our evening Bible study, the lightning and thunder began in a major display of God's great power. The summer rains that we have been having about the same time each evening began and we just stayed around for about another 30 minutes of visiting until the storm was over. Our newest sister Valya came with questions about how to deal with her mother with whom she lives, and an older brother who comes by to join the mother in giving her advice to not participate in the Lord's Supper and that she should not have been baptized. She needed some encouragement and we spent time in the word to reassure about her new faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. Thank you for the prayers and kind words.

Wednesday morning, we headed back out to the large market area known as Kolos, to do some more shopping for summer shoes for the boys at the Boys Home. We still need to buy more soap, towels and the like from the big box store. Hopefully, we'll find time for that before Monday when we go back out to the peninsula.,32.038708&num=1&ie=UTF8&ll=46.974865,32.039566&spn=0.036661,0.11776&z=13&
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

Все сии умерли в вере, не получив обетований, а только издали видели оные, и радовались, и говорили о себе, что они странники и пришельцы на земле. (К Евреям 11:13 Russian)

Усі вони повмирали за вірою, не одержавши обітниць, але здалека бачили їх, і повітали, і вірували в них, та визнавали, що вони на землі чужаниці й приходьки. (Евреи 11:13 Ukrainian)

Sovereign Lord, Creator of everything in the heavens and earth ~ Hear our prayer today as we greet this new day that brings fresh hope of the absolute certainty of your promises for a permanent dwelling place that is better than anything we have ever seen or imagined. Revive within people of faith the same inner sense of being sojourners, waiting for you to take us to that land that exists far, far away from even the most distant probes men make into outer space. Give us more spiritual wisdom similar to that of the ancient people of Abraham’s day so that we will live righteously with faith in Christ as our guide. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 14 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

We rarely have an opportunity to meet a new boy here at the Boys Home. This summer we are becoming friends with a boy who struggles to communicate with others. He is a loner who is struggling with some difficult circumstances of this life. After a few times with him, we notice his sad eyes are beginning to brighten up and he was more willing to read from the scriptures this week. Our greatest opportunity with the boys at the home is to tell them the story of our Father's love. Thank you for your prayers of faith and encouragement for the spread of the gospel around the world.

And it came to pass after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:1)

И было, после сих происшествий Бог искушал Авраама и сказал ему: Авраам! Он сказал: вот я. (Бытие 22:1 Russian)

І сталось після цих випадків, що Бог випробовував Авраама. І сказав Він до нього: Аврааме! А той відказав: Ось я! (Битие 22:1 Ukrainian)

All Wise and Merciful God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ We do not possess the vocabulary to properly express or even think about how much we sincerely appreciate all the benefits we receive from you on this new day. Thank you for abiding with us through the storms of life. Help us to use the wisdom you give us as we walk in step with Jesus, not to be overwhelmed by the choices we have each day. Give us strong faith like Abraham so that we will pass even the most extreme tests of our faith and stand approved in your presence on the last day. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 13 July 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

Some of the boys that we had bought things for were missing yesterday. They wanted to go and be with some distant relatives, aunts, uncles, etc. who agreed for them to stay "on the outside" for a few days. Some of these boys will be too old to stay here after this summer, and they will be moved to a vocational school where they will live in a dormitory. Two will study welding and another will study building and construction trades. We will try to keep in touch with them after they leave in September. We had a meeting with the director yesterday and he presented a request to help them fix some problems with the old boiler in the building so that they will have adequate heat this coming fall and winter. He said all his requests to various government agencies go on deaf ears. We told him that we will see what we can do. We have to do some things to help him since he is the one who agreed for us to come to this special school and home for orphan boys after our dear departed brother Nikolai Tkhor introduced us several months ago. Vladimir, the director is very happy with what we are doing for the boys, and told us that the boys already think about us as "family" when he asks them about our visits. There are so many doors of opportunity to share God's message of hope and love. We keep praying and hoping that at least one of these boys will become a Christian and perhaps even a preacher of the gospel. Thank you for your prayers and sincere encouragement.

After studying about David and King Saul, and a lively discussion, we distributed all the materials that we brought with us. Galina and carefully prepared a package for each boy. This was very nice for them since they are not used to having anything that is their own. Something as simple as a bar of soap and a towel are appreciated. Each boy received a pair of sandals/flip-flops, a bath towel, a bar of soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, and of course a chocolate bar. We also gave the group a jar of peanut butter to share when they have a snack time.

Some of the boys that we had bought things for were missing yesterday. They wanted to go and be with some distant relatives, aunts, uncles, etc. who agreed for them to stay "on the outside" for a few days. Some of these boys will be too old to stay here after this summer, and they will be moved to a vocational school where they will live in a dormitory. Two will study welding and another will study building and construction trades. We will try to keep in touch with them after they leave in September. We had a meeting with the director yesterday and he presented a request to help them fix some problems with the old boiler in the building so that they will have adequate heat this coming fall and winter. He said all his requests to various government agencies go on deaf ears. We told him that we will see what we can do. We have to do some things to help him since he is the one who agreed for us to come to this special school and home for orphan boys after our dear departed brother Nikolai Tkhor introduced us several months ago. Vladimir, the director is very happy with what we are doing for the boys, and told us that the boys already think about us as "family" when he asks them about our visits. There are so many doors of opportunity to share God's message of hope and love. We keep praying and hoping that at least one of these boys will become a Christian and perhaps even a preacher of the gospel. Thank you for your prayers and sincere encouragement.

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2 NIV)

проповедуй слово, настой во время и не во время, обличай, запрещай, увещевай со всяким долготерпением и назиданием.( 2-е Тимофею 4:2 Russian)

Проповідуй Слово, допоминайся вчасно-невчасно, докоряй, забороняй, переконуй з терпеливістю та з наукою. (2 Тимотей 4:2 Ukrainian)

Dear God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for this new day that greets us with the sunshine of your love in every circumstance. Give everyone who is working to preach the Word, wisdom and courage along with strong faith so that those who hear will recognize truth from error. Give us patience as we persuade people to obey Christ. Help all Christians to rally behind the proclamation of the message of eternal life before the end comes. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 12 July 2010

He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25 NIV)

Тогда Он сказал им: о, несмысленные и медлительные сердцем, чтобы веровать всему, что предсказывали пророки! (От Луки 24:25 Russian)

Тоді Він сказав їм: О, безумні й запеклого серця, щоб повірити всьому, про що сповіщали Пророки! (Лука 24:25 Ukrainian)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ We bring praises and thanksgiving from our hearts and lips on this new day that abounds with blessings from your loving hand. Give us stronger faith as we obey from our hearts the doctrine of Christ. Help us to overcome moments of doubt so that we will be more effective in directing lost souls to the Way of salvation. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Photo: We only had a few in worship yesterday, but that did not deter the joy of being together to worship God. As I was leading some songs, I noticed a person standing in the hall near our door listening to our worship. Hopefully, whoever this was will join us on their next visit to our upstairs meeting room. We made some more preparations for our visit today with the boys. This week we will be concentrating on our advertising for our upcoming Summer Children's Bible School. We will be posting flyers at prominent places and handing them out on the street when we see families with kids. We will concentrate on the area where the church was meeting last year on Frunze Street since that is where most of the children lived who came to our classes last year. Several of the children continued to attend our meetings after that Bible school. However, their parents did not encourage them, so they slowly drifted into other activities. We had parental permission for the children to attend, but that is not the same as encouragement. We always hope and pray that we will be able to meet some parents who will be interested in learning more about Jesus for themselves. Thank you for the prayers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 11 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

We will present these items to the boys on Monday when we go for our next study session. Then, we will learn about needs of some other children at the home who are not in our classes. Thank you for the prayers and encouraging support.

Yesterday we continued our shopping for the items needed at the Boys Home. We found some good towels made in India at a good price from METRO, the large discount warehouse store. We also bought individual bars of soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes along with some chocolate bars.

And those who know your name will put their trust in you, for you, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)

и будут уповать на Тебя знающие имя Твое, потому что Ты не оставляешь ищущих Тебя, Господи. (Псалтирь 9:11Russian)

і на Тебе надіятись будуть усі, що ім'я Твоє знають, бо не кинув Ти, Господи, тих, хто шукає Тебе! (Псалми 9:11Ukrainian)

Dear LORD, our Heavenly Father in whom we trust ~ Thank you for blessing us with your presence on this new Lord’s Day. Renew the faith and zeal of all believers so that the world will see our faith in Christ as we honor him in our worship services today. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 10 July 2010

Yesterday afternoon, we were out hunting some items for home, and passed a typical small shop. Welders seem to stay pretty busy here if they know how to do this wrought iron work that is very popular in southern Ukraine. We would up going back to the large outdoor market around 7.00 pm to shop for the best deals on fruits and vegetables. We got a nice size watermelon for around a dollar. Many of the vendors move their wares out of the market onto the street alongside the streetcar line and hawk their items hoping to not have to carry so much home. Just as we were about finished shopping, the bottom fell out of the sky and we were soon under a torrential rain. We still hadn't found the best deal on tomatoes and cucumbers, and got soaked doing that and walking home. We were able to ride a streetcar about 3 blocks, and then stood for a few minutes under a bus/tram shelter until that got too crowded and we just headed on home in the pouring down rain. Sonya never had such an adventure and squealed all the rest of way home. It was a hot day so the rain cooled us off and it was much better than walking home in a blizzard after shopping. Thank you for your prayers and other encouragement.

We began the day Friday morning by roaming the acres and acres of shops that carry various and sundry items that people consume. Most of this stuff is made in China, Turkey and a few other highly industrialized places. After looking at many options, we wound up getting the best summer shoes for the boys at the Boys Home from Irina, the same vendor who helped us before. This time she had enough variety of sizes. Even after she gave us a discount from the prices marked on her display, when I handed her the money, she gave us a little cash back so that she and her husband have part in this help for the orphan boys. When Galina was reminding her of who we are buying for and that they have no parents or relatives to care about their needs, she replied, "they're lucky to have such grandparents." We are very thankful for those of you who read our reports and send money to the Dalraida Church of Christ and in this way you become partners with us in doing the work of evangelism that God expects us to do here in Ukraine. If I sometimes forget to send you a personal 'thank you', please forgive our oversight. Our time is a little different here. We rely upon walking or public transportation to accomplish our movements around this very spread out city. In this way, we always have opportunities to meet many people and hand them an invitation to attend our meetings of the church or to study English using the Bible along with WEI courses.
When visitors enter the House of Culture where the church meets, there is a direction board that lists all the people who have offices there. The church is listed there along with two other religious groups, several dance classes, music classes, billiards room, ping-pong area, a few artists studios, a security company's office and a few other things.

This is an example of many of the old pre-Soviet buildings that were built in the late 1800's or early 1900's. They are very strong structures and many have been updated with modern interiors.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21 NIV)

но собирайте себе сокровища на небе, где ни моль, ни ржа не истребляют и где воры не подкапывают и не крадут, ибо где сокровище ваше, там будет и сердце ваше. (От Матфея 6:20-21 Russian)

Складайте ж собі скарби на небі, де ні міль, ні іржа їх не нищить, і де злодії до них не підкопуються та не крадуть. Бо де скарб твій, там буде й серце твоє! (Матей 6:20-21 Ukrainian)

Our Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for allowing us to enter your gates with hearts indebted to you for all that we have. Increase our knowledge and wisdom as we study the doctrine of Christ and intensify our resolve to become more like Jesus every day. Free us from the strangleholds of this world’s treasures and receive our offerings and good deeds as true treasures in your eternally safe storage where our hearts are secure knowing that we are preparing to be with other souls who are forgiven by your mercy. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 09 July 2010

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3 NIV)

Ибо я первоначально преподал вам, что и [сам] принял, [то] [есть], что Христос умер за грехи наши, по Писанию. (1-е Коринфянам 15:3 Russian)

Бо я передав вам найперш, що й прийняв, що Христос був умер ради наших гріхів за Писанням. (1 Коринтяни 15:3 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the brilliant gift of life that occupies our earth bound bodies. Give us wisdom as we increase our knowledge of the gospel message that offers salvation to all humanity. Help us to make certain that all our doctrine stands upon the indisputable truth regarding the colossal sacrifice that our Lord and Christ paid for our sins so that, with obedient faith, we can stand before you justified even though we are powerless to take away our own sins. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Photo: Viktor and Oksana Semikoz agreed to come and help us conduct our 2010 Nikolaev Bible Camp! This is a photo from our camp last summer when the church was just getting started. We had 23 children on our highest day. Viktor preaches at the church in Svyatogorsk and Krasny Liman, Ukraine. Both these towns are close to Slavyansk. Oksana has her education as a music teacher, but she is a great teacher of the Bible for children and she does a fantastic job with all the games, songs and crafts. Both Viktor and Oksana are from a background as professional musicians/singers. They plan to be here with us from 26 July to 31 July. We hope to gather some of the same children as we had last year, as well as new kids that they bring along with some children who live near the meeting place. We are surrounded by many very large apartment building complexes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 07 July 2010

On the way back home to clean up, we took a "short-cut" through the central market and bought a fresh supply of corn, green beans, onion, tomatoes, watermelon, peaches, apricots, cherries, kreshovnik (gooseberries), shilkovitsa (mulberry) and raspberries. We had enough for dinner and supper. Thank you for remembering this work of evangelism in your prayers.
We moved away from the beach area shortly after Valya's baptism, and gathered under the shade of some trees a few yards away. We prayed and sang "Oh Happy Day" - in Russian of course. The woman who was the most curious sidled up near where we were and pretended to be doing some exercises, but we couldn't help but notice her ear was close enough to hear everything as we rejoiced with Valya in her new life in Christ Jesus. Valya knows some of these women, and perhaps she will talk to them more.

At 10:00 yesterday morning, we met Valentina at the river. There were already several people that had arrived early to get the best spot for their day on the small beach area. It was appropriate to have an audience (mostly 70 something bikini clad babushka's) and baptized her into Christ. One woman was paying particular attention to everything. Some have pondered with us on why we could not have used the "swimming hole" at the Boys Home. Nice idea, and don't think we haven't thought about it, but each time we get a little bold in our requests, the director gets nervous and reminds me that we are on shaky ground since the Home and all property belongs to the State. He let me know recently that we must be careful since the Orthodox may demand to have the same privileges as we have. Nevertheless, he is very happy with what we are doing for the boys and encourages us in every way possible. His is a difficult job and we understand. The Boys Home is located in a remote area and the area we chose is closer to the place where the church meets and also near Valentina's residence.

She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for the burial. (Mark 14:8)

Она сделала, что могла: предварила помазать тело Мое к погребению. (От Марка 14:8 Russian)

Що могла, те зробила вона: заздалегідь намастила Моє тіло на похорон... (Марко 14:8 Ukrainian)

Dear Lord God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for gifts beyond our highest expectation on this new day. Give us more of your perfect and infinite wisdom as we study the truth and learn more about our blessed Savior. Give us an increased sense of urgency to use whatever we have at our disposal to help spread the message about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and how all people can be saved if they will only have faith in Him and obey the gospel. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 06 July 2010

As we were walking back up the long hill from the bay, I noticed a beautiful old fountain. This one dates from the 1870's. I recall seeing similar fountains in Khabarovsk in the early 90's. This spot was a place where the last Czar visited in his royal yacht. Thank you for the fervent prayers about our work of spreading the saving message of God's plan of salvation.

Valentina and Sonya immediately became friends. We figured out that if Sonya tries to pull you in her direction, she likes you.

After the Bible study with Valya, we walked down to the river which is part of the large bay system that empties into the Black Sea. The area she suggested for her baptism today is near one of the local "yacht clubs". At that time of afternoon, many people were using the beach area as a playground, and that is why we plan to have her baptism at 10.00 today when it is not so hot and when there will not be some many people around. That doesn't bother me, but I can understand her concern.

Sonya had the camera and took a photo of our Bible study with Valya.
In the afternoon, we had our Bible study in preparation for Valentina's baptism today. She is a wonderful person and we used this time to also become better acquainted. When we were about completed with our appointment a little after 5.30, a couple of men appeared to talk with me. They were on a mission to meet various "evangelical" leaders in the city and invite them to join a hyper church organization that exists to help various followers of Jesus get to know one another. I asked them about their goals and purposes and had the opportunity to tell them about our work of restoring the church that Christ established in the first century of this era. I explained to them that I could not belong to anything that took even one minute away from our limited amount of time to preach about God's true grace. Nevertheless, as with all people we will try to maintain cordial relations.

After our time with the boys, we made the long walk in the heat back up to the main street where we can catch a bus. On the way we were longing for some water, and there on the sidewalk a woman had set up a little business with sundries. She went inside her house and came back with some cold water from her cooler. It turned out that she also used to live in the northern Magadan region. It was one of the far north remote settlements that Galina used to be flown to by helicopter to help locals have access to library books. This was when she was working at the Magadan Regional Library. She and her husband are of German descent, and there is a large ethnic German community here in the Nikolaev region that trace their roots back to the time of Catherine the Great. You can imagine the harsh time they had during WW 2 when the Germans became the hated enemy number one. Many Americans can recall the atrocities that were done toward many Japanese Americans during WW 2. We hope to make more stops at Elvira's little shop. Yes, I couldn't help but to hear the Oak Ridge boys wailing Elvira in my head as we continued our walk.

They always want us to make a group photo and someday we need to get them a copy. That's the problem sometimes with digitized photos. You forget to make folks a copy.

We learned that the boys are in need of many small necessities that are not provided. All the boys who are here during the summer months are true orphans. During the school year some of the boys who are normally with us have parents who have been deprived of parental rights, and can be with another relative during the summer. Here the boys are writing down their sizes for us to purchase some flip-flops for them to used this summer. Margarita also told us about their need for personal things like soap, towels, detergent (they wash their clothes by hand when they go to shower), deodorant, tooth brush and tooth paste, etc. We will go shopping as soon as we have one minute of time. They agreed for us to come one more day a week during the summer. So, we plan to go back out this Friday if we have no other commitments. Of course the boys said "you can come every day!" We remain deeply thankful for all people who responded to our plea for help a few months ago when we needed to purchase shoes for all the boys.
Yesterday morning when we arrived at the Boys Home, we were a little early and the boys were at the 'swimming hole'. They quickly ended that when they saw us and came running to hug us even though they were all wet. We hadn't seen them in over a month.

Margarita is a sort of guardian for the boys, and she is always present during their various activities. She is more of a mother figure since she looks out for their interest and is concerned for their welfare. It is a job, but a great calling for which she is suited. The director Vladimir dropped by for a moment to say hello. We all remembered that the last time we were there our dear friend and brother Nikolai Tkhor was with us. Vladimir mentioned that we are the only people who help them out when they have a need. He asked three different organizations for some help to buy paint and some small items needed to make some repairs over the summer. We restarted our Bible studies and they all participated with as much gusto possible when you have to give up swimming to come inside.

She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (John 11:27)

Она говорит Ему: так, Господи! я верую, что Ты Христос, Сын Божий, грядущий в мир. (От Иоанна 11:27 Russian)

Вона каже Йому: Так, Господи! Я вірую, що Ти Христос, Син Божий, що має прийти на цей світ. (Йоан 11:27 Ukrainian)

Blessed and Only God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day that radiates with increasing evidence that we are constantly under your providential care. Give us wisdom as we work with a renewed sense of urgency to persuade all people in the world that there is only One Lord – Jesus Christ. Give us courage as we seize every opportunity to prove that you have only One Savior for all nations, races, languages and various other people groups in the world. Help us to publish this greatest of all news to the entire world before time ends. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 03 July 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

Итак, будьте милосерды, как и Отец ваш милосерд. (От Луки 6:36 Russian)

Будьте ж милосердні, як і Отець ваш милосердний! (Лука 6:36 Ukrainian)

O LORD, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for blessing us with the precious gift of life on another day of new beginnings. Give us more of your perfect wisdom as we follow Jesus’ command to have mercy on others. Help us to reflect upon the sins we’ve committed and been forgive for as we resolve to forgive others of even lesser imperfections. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Photo: During a Bible study this week we discussed the Old Testament and the New Testament with the purpose of learning which one Christians are under today. Since one of our members has a background among 7th Day Adventists, some questions keep coming back up. At the conclusion of this first lesson, she exclaimed, "why don't they teach what the Bible says?" Of course, God's word is always clear and understandable when we are searching for the truth. Yesterday we shopped at the large Metro market for some items to give to the boys at the Boy's Home this coming Monday. Margarita asked us to come on a day besides Saturday since they do not have workers there on Saturdays during the summer vacation period. We are pleased that we have our usual opportunities to serve Christ here in Ukraine as we ask, seek and knock for one more soul who is interested in eternal life. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, July 2, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 02 July 2010

We had our first individual Bible study with Valentina who visited our worship services on Sunday after being invited by our sister Lyuda. Valya had several questions that we were able to answer from the scriptures to her satisfaction. We plan to have more studies with her and hopefully lead her to salvation through obedient faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for the prayers for this evangelistic mission as we work to overcome our sense of loss and turn to teaching the lost the same message that filled Nikolai with such sparkling zest and hope.

Nikolai's dear granddaughter says goodbye as other family and friend look on at the graveside. Olga and her husband skillfully organized everything and made certain people were as comfortable as possible. The cemetery in on a hillside that overlooks the site of the Boy's Home where we go and teach God's perfect will once each week thanks to Nikolai using his influence. One man who was a longtime professional associate in the field of education, told how Nikolai had always been interested in pursuing justice for others even during his years in the Soviet communist party. He told how he overcame hunger and starvation following WW2 and achieved the highest possible education. He spoke highly of his interest in securing the property and establishing the home and school for boys who are rejected and find their way on the streets until someone shows some love. Then this man told that he continued to search for good and found God near the end of his life. Nikolai had a good reputation for doing good before he gave his life to Christ Jesus as Lord. I told the group that he reminded me of a man named Roman soldier named Cornelius who was a good man, but he became a Christian when he heard and believed the gospel. Taicia, behind Olga to the left in the blue denim jacket told us at lunch how she met Nikolai when she and some other sisters from Donetsk were in Kiev at a vacation resort. She said he asked her to dance, and she and Natalya and the others invited him to Bible study and to go with them to worship that Sunday. After his conversion to Christ, he loved to tell how much the sincere teaching of those ladies and that invitation meant to him as he was so amazed at what he saw and heard at the Obolon Church of Christ. He described it as what he had been searching for all his life. These women didn't stop there, they did some investigating and learned about the Nikolaev Church of Christ and gave him our phone number. When we met for our first Bible study, he began to talk about his faith in Jesus Christ and his desire to be baptized. I fervently pray for more women like the ones who are already doing so much in the mission field and like those in the Bible who were sacrificially helping our Lord and the apostles spread the gospel.
Following my comments, there was time for people who would not go to the graveside service to come and say their goodbyes. During this time, Olga once again surprised us by requesting that we sing some songs. She typed her granddaddy's sermons that he prepared to preach using large fonts so he could easily see them, and she listened to him learning to sing the hymns of his new faith as they spent time together at their home. Our brother Nikolai Gagarkin joined Stepan, Lyuda, Galina, Taicia and myself in singing some of the songs of faith that our departed brother loved.

Following the memorial service for our departed brother Nikolai Invanovich Tkhor, a procession of mourners respectfully carried his body through the courtyard area of the apartment complex where he lived with his granddaughter Olga, her husband and their family. Many people were present to stand and hear me proclaim the gospel that our bold brother Nikolai would have strongly desired me to preach. All people who knew him knew about his new life in Christ. The church will truly miss him but his influence for good will live on as we continue to pray for more people who will respond to the invitation of Christ.

Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you even as you desire. And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:28)

Тогда Иисус сказал ей в ответ: о, женщина! велика вера твоя; да будет тебе по желанию твоему. И исцелилась дочь ее в тот час. (От Матфея 15:28 Russian)

Тоді відповів і сказав їй Ісус: О жінко, твоя віра велика, нехай буде тобі, як ти хочеш! І тієї години дочка її видужала. (Матей 15:28 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for this new day that greets us with fresh reasons to have sincere and trusting faith as we go about our daily tasks. Give us stronger faith as we struggle to expand the borders of your glorious church over which Christ is reigning. Lead us to good and honest souls who will wholeheartedly believe your message of true grace and obey the Lord for eternal salvation. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.