Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 31 August 2010

The box also contained a nice card for the boys. It is one of those kind that plays a tune when you open it up. The card asks a question on the front: "Know how often you're in my thoughts and prayers?" Then you open the card and it plays the song "Day by Day" sung by the group Godspell. The boys will be very happy to receive these things that we will present to them on Saturday. Now that September is upon us, we will resume our schedule of going to them on Saturdays. Thank you for the kind thoughts and prayers.

Yesterday, we went by the post office that is only about one block from our apartment and had notices that we had two packages. We received a box of Truth for Today lesson books that are always welcome as we continue to educate the church here in the Word. Also, there was a box of boys socks and underway! I had mentioned this need once in one of the daily messages, and my brother Tim Binkley read it and immediately wanted to do something. He and his wife Sherry sent a box that contained enough new socks and underwear that each boy in our group of 30 boys will have something new for this new season.

Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11b)

будьте единомысленны, мирны, --и Бог любви и мира будет с вами. (2-е Коринфянам 13:11б Russian)

будьте однодумні, майте мир, і Бог любови та миру буде з вами! (2 Коринтяни 13:11б Ukrainian)

Sintáis una misma cosa, tengáis paz; y el Dios de paz y de caridad será con vosotros. (2 Corintios 13:11b Reina-Valera Antigua)

Our Dear Father in Heaven ~ As we approach your great throne, we feel like we are so far removed from your perfect nature. However, we are deeply thankful that your great loving-kindness draws us near. Give us a greater measure of your wisdom as we learn more about your perfect objective for mankind so that we will take the steps necessary to make peace with all people by sharing your powerful message of love and peace through faith in Jesus Christ. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday 30 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

On Sunday morning we had a most welcome thunder storm that included a drenching rain. We even considered postponing our services until the afternoon, but after speaking to a few people we decided to go ahead with our regular time. Everyone arrived on time good and soaked. It has been so dry lately and we are thankful that the rain will help the conditions for planting winter rye.

Nikolai brought a guest with him whom he had previously met while doing work in a penitentiary. Pavel had come in contact with Christians from the Obolon Church of Christ who helped him to overcome his addictive problems and understand more about Jesus Christ. We hope that we will have the opportunity to study more with him, but this may not be possible since he already attends another church. Nikolai had invited two other men to worship services, but they canceled at the last minute. It is wonderful that our members are concerned about the growth of the church and are constantly inviting their acquaintances to our meetings.

Our brother Stepan has become much more confident in the way he leads us in prayer.
We had a period of fellowship after the worship. Lyuda always buys some juice and some snack for this time to get better acquainted with one another. This turned into a Bible study as I helped Pavel gain a better understanding about the meaning of temptation and testing.

When Galina and I finally left our meeting place, it had started raining again. We got another soaking while waiting on a micro-bus that never did come. A streetcar happened to make their turn-around in front of the place where we were standing in the rain. We were the only passengers until the first stop and many others climbed aboard to escape the cleansing rain. Your fervent prayers for this evangelistic work are sincerely appreciated.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8 ESV)

Верою Авраам повиновался призванию идти в страну, которую имел получить в наследие, и пошел, не зная, куда идет. (К Евреям 11:8 Russian)

Вірою Авраам, покликаний на місце, яке мав прийняти в спадщину, послухався та й пішов, не відаючи, куди йде. (Евреи 11:8 Ukrainian)

Por la fe Abraham, cuando fue llamado para ir a un lugar que más tarde recibiría como herencia, obedeció y salió sin saber a dónde iba. (Hebreos 11:8 NVI Spanish)

O God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the abounding blessings that we receive from your grace and mercy on this new day. Give us wisdom as we study and learn more about our faith so that we will exemplify sincere fealty by our obedience to the doctrine of Christ our King. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Sunday 29 August from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

From her vantage point next to the window, Galina got this picture of one of the new "jeeps" made by the Russian company GAZ which is very well known in this part of the world for their quality trucks and other heavy equipment as well as many models of military vehicles. Now this vehicle is competing here for the SUV market. Thank you for your prayers as we launch a new week of service to our Lord Jesus Christ here in Mykolayiv, Ukraine.

Our bus drivers already greet us as their beloved clients! We have gotten used to them, the old bus and the towns we pass through along the route from Slavyansk to Donetsk and from Donetsk to Nikolaev. Ukraine is dry and once we thought we saw some lightning in the distance. When we arrived here to Nikolaev this morning about a quarter past eight, we noticed that the streets were a little damp. The taxi driver who helped us with our luggage also greeted us as dear friends and we didn't even have to tell him our address. We are so happy to be home in Nikolaev and have already enjoyed a real shower and other necessary conveniences not always available in village life. We don't have much time to prepare for worship, but God brought us safely through the night and we are thrilled to have another opportunity to meet with the church here. We have all heard about preachers putting the audience to sleep, but today may be a case of the preacher falling asleep after that all night bus ride. Hopefully there will be an opportunity this afternoon for a Sunday nap.

This is one of the more modern buses that serve many cities in Ukraine and other European destinations. These come complete with air-conditioning and modern seats. Our bus is the old red mare in the background waiting on its turn to pull up to the platform in Donetsk yesterday evening.

And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; and he was mighty in his words and works. (Acts 7:22)

И научен был Моисей всей мудрости Египетской, и был силен в словах и делах. (Деяния 7:22 Russian)

І Мойсей був навчений всієї премудрости єгипетської, і був міцний у словах та в ділах своїх. (Деяния 7:22 Ukrainian)

Así Moisés fue instruido en toda la sabiduría de los egipcios, y era poderoso en palabra y en obra. (Hechos 7:22 NVI)

Our Beloved Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life on this new Lord’s Day as we prepare to assemble with others of common faith. Give us more leaders like the man Moses who was busy learning your will, teaching others and doing his best to live up to his teaching. Help us to teach our children the great wisdom that we receive from your Holy Spirit inspired Word. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 28 August 2010 Mykolayiv, Ukraine

Finally, we were finished doing what we could do with the people at the passport office and had stopped at the bus station to purchase our tickets for today. Then on the way back to the village, we stopped off one more time at the Bravo supermarket and bought some supplies for Elena. We sometimes are able to catch that bus in the picture and get a ride all the way into town. Our timing isn't always correct to catch it so we often hoof it for about 25 minutes. If we have several shopping bags after a trip to the market, there are usually some taxi drivers trading fishing stories and other tales hope for a fare. They will take us back to mama Elena's for a little less than $2. If we don't have heavy bags, we walk like many other people. This area of Slavyansk is near the railroad station which is directly behind us as we took the picture. At the end of the day today, we hope to be in Donetsk getting on the bus for Nikolaev so that we can be back with our dear ones at the Nikolaev Church of Christ. Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement. We are most thankful for this Internet connection that has speed of a fast dial-up connection. Otherwise we would have no time or opportunity today to send this message.

We thought that we would just have to go one more time to the passport office and solve everything in a short time and then catch the bus to Donetsk and later in the afternoon catch the night bus to Nikolaev. Well, it didn't exactly work out that way. Once again there were so many people that lines were forming outside. Zhenya came early and reserved us a place in line, but even with that we were still there for another 6 hours. All work stopped at 12.00 and the workers went to lunch or to take care of personal business. At one people tried to remember their place in line and some arguments ensued as some people's memories were working to put them at the head of the line. Galina assumed the role of keeping up with which position everyone had in the lines. Howsomever, (excuse the use of one of my humorous Granddaddy's words) the person who is in charge of registering foreigners was able to get through to the person who knows about dealing with Americans, and was told that we are in their records and they have no problems with us and she can extend our stay in Ukraine for 6 months. Furthermore, the person in Donetsk said that if we need to stay longer we can come to the office in Donetsk and they will extend our stay for a year! Yes! Amen and amen! God is good and is surely looking after us even though all this does not come without trying your patience. We had to change our plans to leave today with arrival in Nikolaev Sunday morning in time to clean up a little from the long bus rides and make it to the meeting house in time to preach a favorite sermon that I preached on my first Sunday in Khabarovsk in April 1993. The other side of the shoe is that we will have to return on Wednesday to actually receive our documents extending our stay. As I said, nothing is easy, but Heaven will surely be worth it all!

This is Shishkova Street that is situated in a settlement of privately built houses. As I've been able to determine, most were built in the 1950's and many of those residents like Galina's parents worked in one of the large factories that were close by. As is common in Ukrainian districts such as this, each property owner has a fence that appears to be a little over 5 feet off the ground. The fence along the front is usually made of strong secure looking material whereas the fences along the side and back of the properties are generally not so strong looking. Each property owner has enough land to have a garden that will help feed a family if they work at it on a regular basis. From the sounds of the early morning, you can tell that many other people raise poultry. Some single people even raise enough in their gardens to have something to sell at the market. The fruit trees that are situated in front of the fences as in this photo, are out there for anyone to enjoy even though they are planted and cared for by the property owners. At least that's the way it is on Shishkova. Most of the owners are now on pension except for some of the younger generation who buy up the houses and modernize them according to European standards and resale them or raise their kids in this neighborhood. Some even buy the property and tear the old place down and build much larger two story homes with all the modern conveniences. That has not been happening very much in the last couple of years due to the worldwide slow down in the economy. Ukraine's economy is still precarious but offers great opportunities to those willing to risk everything and work hard.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)
Ной же обрел благодать пред очами Господа. (Бытие 6:8 Russian)
Але Ной знайшов милість у Господніх очах. (Битие 6:8 Ukrainian)
Pero Noé contaba con el favor del SEÑOR. (Génesis 6:8 NVI)

Dear LORD, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the fresh blessings on this new day that cause us to pause and marvel at your plans and purposes for all men. Give us wisdom so that, even when it seems like there is little hope, we will live as your obedient and pleasing children and like Noah, not reject your offer of life through your amazing grace that is now available to all people in the world who will accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by obeying the gospel. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 22 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Galina needed a haircut and while she was busy with that I was catching up on some reading and noticed the icon that is common for people in the Eastern Orthodox world to have in a prominent corner of their homes and offices. Thank you for the prayers for this work here as we prepare for another Lord's Day here in Nikolaev.

Galina was standing in line while this single employee tried to serve several customers. She said the woman on the right was shipping 3 heavy encyclopedia type books to the USA. They were books in Russian language dealing with horoscopes.

This big fire truck stopped briefly so that the driver could walk over to the Post Office and use an ATM. I just thought that some of you might like to see how the name Mykolayiv is written in the Ukrainian script.

This is a view of the city of Nikolaev administration building. The statue is one of Lenin who is apparently still held in high esteem by many people in all the former Soviet Republics. Yesterday Galina needed to ship a package of stuff that Sonya left here. While she was at the Post Office, I walked across the street to get a few photos. 24 August 1991 is the date that the modern country of UKRAINE declared its independence from the former Soviet Union following the coup that occurred on the 19th of August that year. There will be different activities marking the celebration of Independence Day here in Ukraine.

This orthodox chapel is located in the large complex near the bluff that overlooks the river region where the old city of Nikolaev was first founded. Nowadays, the city government building and the regional government buildings are situated across from one another and separated by a large park.

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (Revelation 22:16 NIV)

Я, Иисус, послал Ангела Моего засвидетельствовать вам сие в церквах. Я есмь корень и потомок Давида, звезда светлая и утренняя. (Откровение 22:16 Russian)

Я, Ісус, послав Свого Ангола, щоб засвідчити вам це у Церквах. Я корінь і рід Давидів, зоря ясна і досвітня! (Откровение 22:16 Ukrainian)

»Yo, Jesús, he enviado a mi ángel para darles a ustedes testimonio de estas cosas que conciernen a las iglesias. Yo soy la raíz y la descendencia de David, la brillante estrella de la mañana.»

O God, our dear Father in Heaven ~ Hear our prayer on this new Lord’s Day that signals a great renewal for all sincere and faithful followers of Jesus Christ our bright Morning Star. Bless all the churches today that honor Christ by their obedient service. Give us wisdom so that we will never look back in history or longingly to the future for any other Savior when we already have the One that demonstrated His love for us by His agonizing death on the cross for our sins. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 21 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

This little park area used to be a street and we watched it being transformed last year. Our apartment is just ahead on the right. The problem with going shopping is you have all the bags to carry home and up the stairs. It's worth it when we get to sample the fresh goodies. God is good! We enjoyed a day of working on our advertising for English classes and we plan to do more of that today. Many people are still in their vacation mood, but more are starting to go about the business of preparing their children for back to school. The universities and colleges also start back up at the first of September. Thank you for the prayers for our success in spreading the gospel.

We bought some very tasty apples from this young man.

Galina was laughing at me for letting all those women shoppers push me out of the way.
The bread truck pulled up to make his delivery to a shop that stays very busy. People were wanting to buy the fresh bread right off the truck.
There are many grape vineyards in the Mykolayiv and Odessa regions. For that matter they are all over Ukraine. Apples and peaches are in abundance at this time of year.

Friday afternoon we decided to go shopping for some fresh fruits and vegetables at the busy central market which is not too far from where we live.

And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. (Colossians 3:14)

Более же всего [облекитесь] в любовь, которая есть совокупность совершенства. (К Колоссянам 3:14 Russian)

А над усім тим зодягніться в любов, що вона союз досконалости! (Колосяни 3:14 Ukrainian)

Por encima de todo, vístanse de amor, que es el vínculo perfecto. (Colosenses 3:14 NVI)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new day that arrives with fresh evidence that awakens our consciousness to be able to perceive what is truly important. As we consider how to enhance our lives with the graces that set Christians apart from all other people, help us not to neglect the indispensable virtue of love. Give us wisdom so that we will sincerely be more like Christ in the way we demonstrate love in our words and deeds. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 20 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Before we had our regular Thursday Bible study, we had a period of song practice where we try and learn at least one new song. Our brother Stepan lives in his own private house as a widower. He has a grandson who lives with him along with his wife. Stepan enjoys looking after his garden. He keeps growing in his faith and love of the Lord. Lyuda lives in an apartment building similar to the one where we live. She and Stepan live near each other and often ride the same bus and tram to get to where we meet. She is a very diligent student of the Bible and is always asking pertinent questions. She shares the answers with her friends and neighbors. Thank you for your prayers.

Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)

Всех почитайте, братство любите, Бога бойтесь, царя чтите. (1-e Петра 2:17 Russian)

Шануйте всіх, братство любіть, Бога бійтеся, царя поважайте. (1 Петрово 2:17 Ukrainian)

Den a todos el debido respeto: amen a los hermanos, teman a Dios, respeten al rey. (1 Pedro 2:17 NVI)

Lord God Almighty, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the sparkling gift of life on this new day. Give us wisdom so that we will live consistent with the highest values that we learn from Christ our Lord. Even if we are persecuted, help us to show the highest respect for all people and especially the rulers of the nations. In particular, renew within us the highest love for the church that Christ purchased with His own blood. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 19 August 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

In the evening, we had our Wednesday night Bible study with our faithful Stepan and Lyuda. As we were leaving, the director of the building where we meet greeted us and asked us if we wanted to use a large sign that is in front of the building. This was a nice gesture and she went on to tell that the charlatans (my choice of words) who have been conducting various healing gimmicks in the building will soon be moving on to another location. God continues to bless our work of teaching the gospel here in Nikolaev, Ukraine. Thanks for the prayers and words of encouragement.

On our walk away from the campus, we were blessed with an overcast sky and slightly cooler temperatures. We maneuvered past some cattle that were grazing down by the river.
As we were leaving the main entrance two of our boys who had been painting in another area heard we were there and came running to speak with us. We also gave them their hot wheels cars for which they were very thankful.
This is a room where the boys keep their clothes and personal items, as little as it is. She was showing us some second hand clothes that had been donated by some organization in the USA and arrived in a container that eventually made it to our Boys Home. Sadly, most of what was in this large shipment was dirty and torn. It makes you wonder why people think orphans need someone's discarded clothes. On the other hand, we can suppose that the donor is thinking that something is better than nothing. Two of our boys will have to leave in September to go live in a college dormitory. We asked if they had proper clothes. She hung her head and showed us what little they had. She explained that the boys were concerned they would not have anything to wear in this new environment. We agreed to purchase them each a 2 piece sports outfit and investigate what else we can find to help them with this transition.

We asked Margarita to give us another tour of the boys living quarters. The only other time we had been in this building was on our first visit to the home last year. The boys are sleeping on mats in the gym while some remodeling is being done to their living quarters. These are some of the nicer beds in the building. "Our boys do not have such nice beds and Margarita didn't even want me to take a picture of their beds. I'll get that later when they finish remodeling that room.
The director was not there yesterday, and asked Margarita to show us a small tractor with a mower attachment that someone lets them use for a small rental fee. They need an industrial type mower to handle the grass on their 4 hectares (almost 10 acres) of land that comprises their campus. This is something they will need next spring and they have asked us to help them with this purchase. We agreed to gather some information.
They are still working on various remodeling projects all over their campus. It is good that they have a balance of work and play. They always want a group picture which we are compiling for an album we will give them.

Some of the boys were on a lunch break and others were playing their favorite ping-pong when we began to distribute the Hot Wheels toys that we had received from friends in Montgomery, Alabama. They all came running to receive the little cars that they value and collect. All these boys who are here now are true orphans without parents or other relatives who can provide them with a home. Next month some of the other boys will be back who do have some family member that allows them to be with them in the summer.

When we arrived at the Boys Home yesterday, the first thing Margarita and the boys wanted us to see was the work they had done in "our" classroom. The boys did a good job of installing the wall covering that we recently purchased, with help from some of our partners. Of course the new walls make the old blackboard look more obsolete than it really is.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19 NIV)

Итак будем искать того, что служит к миру и ко взаимному назиданию. (К Римлянам 14:19 Russian)

Отож, пильнуймо про мир, та про те, що на збудування один одного! (Римляни 14:19 Ukrainian)

Por lo tanto, esforcémonos por promover todo lo que conduzca a la paz y a la mutua edificación. (Romanos 14:19 Spanish NVI)

Glorious and Mighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the brightness of your presence on this new day that brings new blessings from your providence. Give us greater wisdom regarding the freedoms that we enjoy in Christ our Lord. Help us to behave peacefully and in a non-aggressive manner with our brethren who may have scruples about some requirements from the Law of Moses that we know are not binding on us today. Help us to learn to be more effective in teaching the truth while making peace, so that the Body of Christ may be built up in the most holy faith and mutual love. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 18 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

This is how Margarita's classroom looked last week as the boys were preparing the room for remodeling. She gives us a good deal of shelf space for our Bibles, song books and other literature that grows with our visits. Yesterday we had to cancel our meeting again at the Boys Home due to their remodeling, but Margarita assured us that they will accept us today. At 11.00 this morning we are scheduled to conduct a class and take the correct sizes of flip-flops that we were able to exchange yesterday at the market. We also purchased one more pair for another boy that we met on our last visit. Last week I used some scriptures to help the boys learn about temptation and its source. We also always give them an English lesson which they enjoy very much. At least two of the boys in our group from last year will have to leave the school soon due to becoming 18. This will be a very difficult transition for them since this has been home. They will be moved to dormitories that are provided them as students at college or technical school. One of the boys dreams to receive his education and return to the school as a teacher. Thank you for your prayers as we work to share God's love and grace here in Ukraine.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

O LORD our God, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth! Thank you for granting us the precious gift of life on this new day that brings new hope. Give us wisdom as we study the scriptures and learn more about Jesus and everything that is involved in being His disciple. Help our faith to grow stronger so that others will see Jesus living in us. In Christ name we pray, Amen.

и уже не я живу, но живет во мне Христос. А что ныне живу во плоти, то живу верою в Сына Божия, возлюбившего меня и предавшего Себя за меня. (К Галатам 2:20 Russian)

І живу вже не я, а Христос проживає в мені. А що я живу в тілі тепер, живу вірою в Божого Сина, що мене полюбив, і видав за мене Самого Себе. (Галатяни 2:20 Ukrainian)

He sido crucificado con Cristo, y ya no vivo yo sino que Cristo vive en mí. Lo que ahora vivo en el cuerpo, lo vivo por la fe en el Hijo de Dios, quien me amó y dio su vida por mí. (Gálatas 2:20 NVI)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Tuesday 17 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Yesterday we were up at the main post office near the offices of the city and regional governments. We were mailing a package to Sonya with some of her things that she left behind from her summer stay with us. While Galina was speaking to a clerk, I noticed a beautiful seal that depicts Nikolaev. This may or may not be the official seal of the city. It is seen frequently around the city, but I also see other renditions. At the Post Office, I was once again aware that during Soviet years in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and all the other republics, there must have been a czar who was in charge of defining which jobs were for men and which for women. Post Office jobs in the Soviet Union belonged to women. That is still the case in Russia and Ukraine. I thought back to my time as a boy and all the men that we used to see sorting mail at the Post Offices where my family lived in North Carolina and Alabama. I remember that several men had pretty decent paying postal jobs and they also preached the gospel. In the USSR, a man could drive a truck that brought mail, and have an executive job "upstairs", but no men were seen by the public when you visit a post office. That is the same in Russia and Ukraine, at least in my limited experiences in a few Russian and Ukrainian cities. This immediately caught my attention in 1993 when I applied for my first P.O. Box in Khabarovsk. (P.O. Box 1020) I didn't see a single man working at this central post office and I thought it was odd. But, then as the years go by, I suppose it would now seem odd to see a man here working at the post office. We should be very thankful for the opportunities that our daughters and granddaughters have these days. However, in God fearing countries, there should always be jobs available for men so that they can have a family with a wife who may choose to spend her time with the children and managing the household. This is not to decry the mothers who also work alongside their husbands in the family business, or those who go into careers in the marketplace or other areas. However, the scriptures make it plain that couples should have God first and raise children with knowledge of Jesus Christ and the whole Bible. In the Soviet system, couples more or less turned their children over to the government to look after them and educate them from the earliest ages. That is why there are still so many of these institutions that take in orphans. Some parents still think it is the problem of the state to look after the babies they bring into the world. We must continue to work to spread the gospel of love that honors parents and their children as gifts from God. Thank you for the prayers for our work. Today we are scheduled to visit the Boys Home. It didn't work out yesterday since they are in the middle of all this remodeling. We are not completely certain if they will want us this morning at 11.00, but we are hoping to see them. Last night, Olamide - one of the maritime students from Nigeria who is a member of the congregation, informed me by Facebook message service that he will be in town this week. We have been missing him this summer and hope that he is ready to resume his Bible studies.

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you. (1 Timothy 4:16)

O LORD God Almighty, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for hearing our prayers on this new day as we bask in the prolific blessings from your amazing grace and mercy. Give your wisdom to each person who preaches the gospel so that we will not go along with a popular cry of the man not the plan. Help everyone to understand that without your great plan to save man, no Man would have suffered and died to save us from our sins. Awaken within the leaders of all congregations a desire to know the difference between false doctrine and the true gospel of Jesus Christ. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Вникай в себя и в учение; занимайся сим постоянно: ибо, так поступая, и себя спасешь и слушающих тебя. (1-е Тимофею 4:16 Russian)

Уважай на самого себе та на науку, тримайся цього. Бо чинячи так, ти спасеш і самого себе, і тих, хто тебе слухає! (1 Тимотей 4:16 Ukrainian)

Ten cuidado de tu conducta y de tu enseñanza. Persevera en todo ello, porque así te salvarás a ti mismo y a los que te escuchen. (1 Timoteo 4:16 Spanish NVI)

Monday, August 16, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 16 August 21 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

The Nikolaev Church of Christ met for worship yesterday and we were blessed to have our faithful few in attendance. Everyone was very happy that Galina was back with us, not only to help translate my message, but they missed her kindness and warm hugs.

At the end of our worship, our brother Stepan led us in a closing prayer. We continue to be amazed at the way his faith and understanding of God's word continue to grow. Luda blessed us again by providing some cool juice for us to drink together during our period of fellowship after the worship. We use this time not only to become better acquainted, but to answer questions about the Bible that may come up and to strategize on how to reach more lost souls with the saving message of the gospel of Christ. We received the most joyful news yesterday from Marietta, Georgia that 12 year old grandson William White confessed his faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized into Christ. Now, I understand why he recently wrote me, "Grandfather, when are you coming home?" Thank you for your prayers as we labor in this vineyard of the Lord here in Ukraine.

Nikolai led the congregation during the celebration of the Lord's Supper. He is only able to be with us on some Sunday's due to his job that takes him to far regions of Ukraine. He always provides valuable encouragement to everyone when he is in town.

It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:12 NIV)

научающая нас, чтобы мы, отвергнув нечестие и мирские похоти, целомудренно, праведно и благочестиво жили в нынешнем веке. ( К Титу 2:12 Russian)

і навчає нас, щоб ми, відцуравшись безбожности та світських пожадливостей, жили помірковано та праведно, і побожно в теперішнім віці. (Тит 2:12 Ukrainian)

Most High God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the rich outpouring of your grace and love upon us on this new day as we do our best to walk in the path that Jesus revealed to us. Give us wisdom and strength so that we will be able to confront the abundance of evil that is constantly attempting to lure believers away from your grace and mercy. Help us to be prepared for that regal and glorious epiphany of our King who successfully said NO to Satan’s temptations. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 15 August 2010 From Mykolayiv, Ukraine

In just one small area of Nikolaev, there is a seemingly endless view of high-rise apartment buildings where many families and single people live. Some people live in their own private houses, but the largest segment of the population continues to live in these type structures. Many incomplete construction projects of these buildings flounder for lack of funding due to the prevailing economic crisis. From the vantage point of the building where the church meets, we have a view of where several thousand people live, work, study and play. We hope to be able to influence more of these residents to also add worship to their routine activities. Thank you for your ardent prayers and sincere words of encouragement as we work to increase the exposure of the gospel here in Nikolaev.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36 NIV)

Терпение нужно вам, чтобы, исполнив волю Божию, получить обещанное. (К Евреям 10:36 Russian)

Бо вам терпеливість потрібна, щоб Божу волю вчинити й прийняти обітницю. (Евреи 10:36 Ukrainian)

Almighty God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life on this new Lord’s Day that arrives with fresh opportunities for believers around the world to assemble with sincere hearts as we honor our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Give us wisdom and patience as we encounter various trials of our faith so that we will muster our resistance to the Devil and endure until the appearance of Christ. Help us to be humble and obedient servants as we wait to receive the great and precious promises. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 09 August 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

In answer to prayers, I got some help yesterday and the congregation some relief in the worship service! Our dear brother Nikolai Gagarkin, who last year met with us in Kiev and brought us in his car to this city, walked in the door about the time for our worship to begin. I was prepared to read the sermon that Galina, from several hundred miles away, had helped me translate into Russian. Nikolai agreed to read it with native Russian speaking and then he added some appropriate comments of his own. He also led the church during the Lord's Supper. We only had four and no more, but we had an uplifting worship service and in a meeting afterward, we discussed ways for everyone to get involved in building up the church by inviting more people to our assemblies where the gospel is always preached. It is a pity that his work with the country's penal system requires him to be gone much of the time. When I arrived in the morning, someone had once again felt an urge to write something on our sign on the door. The last time they wrote, "This is a sect"; this time they wrote "Mormons". Since I didn't have an opportunity to print up a new sign at the time, I simply struck through the word Mormon and wrote "Christians". Hopefully, this person will keep coming back and perhaps someday have the courage to come in and have a talk. I suspect it is someone who works in the building. I am praying for him or her and hope to have a Bible study with this person. Later today, I plan to take the overnight bus ride to Slavyansk and help Galina in her arduous work of caring for her mama. It is my plan to be back in Nikolaev next Sunday. As I have time, I am working on a web page for the church here so that more people can learn about the church and where we meet. Thank you for the prayers.

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. (Acts 20:36)

Сказав это, он преклонил колени свои и со всеми ими помолился. (Деяния 20:36 Russian)

Проказавши ж оце, він навколішки впав, та й із ними всіма помолився. (Деяния 20:36 Ukrainian)

Our Most Wise and Merciful God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ We humbly kneel in your majestic presence as we think about all the wonderful blessings that greet us on this new day. Give us wisdom so that we will be constantly in prayer at all times and places. According to your eternal will, help us to cover the earth with more houses of prayer where sincere believers may come and find solace in worship. Father, help us to make time for prayer each day in our homes and the workplace and when necessary in secret. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 08 August 2010

Just to the right of this very nice cafeteria in the Kolos district of Nikolaev, is where I was shopping in the sprawling market yesterday for the flip-flops that I will need to take with me when on my visit to the Boys Home tomorrow. When I asked the owner Larissa, for a receipt, which is not something they generally do, she finally found a little pad, and wrote the receipt for 3 pair of Viet Nam. That reminded me of what we used to call those flip-flops in the Navy long ago – when we didn’t call them shower shoes. Who would have thought that those things you have to hang onto by your toes, would sweep the world of fashion? Galina gave me permission to get something to eat when I called her and sounded real pitiful standing outside of this place which serves a variety of food buffet style. Sonya called last night and was back in Moscow with her mama just as it seemed most people were trying to leave the city due to the dense smog cause by all the wildfires and the hottest summer on record for that region. Her other grandmother will pick her up this morning and carry her out of the smog up to Pskov where she will prepare for school. The Kolos market area is one of the busy market areas that I frequently pass out flyers with information about the church and our English classes. We keep hoping and praying for that one more soul who will hear, believe and obey the gospel so they can have eternal life. Thank you for the prayers and encouragement.

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:26-27 NIV)

Посему свидетельствую вам в нынешний день, что чист я от крови всех, ибо я не упускал возвещать вам всю волю Божию. (Деяния 20:26-27 Russian)

Тому дня сьогоднішнього вам свідкую, що я чистий від крови всіх, бо я не вхилявсь об'являти вам усю волю Божу! (Деяния 20:26-27 Ukrainian)

Most Holy and Righteous God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the gift of life as we greet another Lord’s Day. Bless all believers around the world as we honor Christ by breaking the bread together in our worship services. Give all ministers of the gospel wisdom and a renewed commitment to the ideal that the true and complete message of salvation must be fully preached even if it does not please the ears of the hearers. Give leaders of the churches the wisdom to faithfully defend and encourage those who labor night and day for the gospel as did our brother Paul. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 07 August 2010 from Mykolayiv, Ukraine

Many things had to be taken care of yesterday in spite of the near 100 degree temperatures in the afternoon. It is time to pay our rent for the two rooms that we use at the House of Culture. One room serves as the room for our assemblies and the other for bibles, books and literature storage. I was finally able to have a meeting with the director and hand her the money. There has been a change in the administration of the building and her work place has been moved to another building. Galina is helping me on the phone by calling Elena and making clarifications on the bill and letting her know that I will be coming to her at a certain time. My Russian language skills are being revived each day while Galina is helping her mama through this period of recovery. I can't say much for my Ukrainian skills, since I have never seriously began that study. However, even though documents and public signs are mostly in Ukrainian, people in Nikolaev primarily speak Russian with a Ukrainian dialect. Galina was also in contact with Margarita who is the teacher/mom for our boys at the Boys Home. Their classroom is in serious need of some upgrades, and she sheepishly asked if we could help them purchase some paint and wallpaper, then the boys would do the work to gain valuable experience. Of course they will have a person on-hand to show them what to do and how to do it. We agreed to this, and worked things out for me to be with the boys on Monday morning. She said they have been missing us so very much since Galina is gone. God willing, I will go and be with them and teach a little English and use my stumbling Russian to communicate a Bible lesson. During the summertime it is very difficult to get a commitment from a person to help me as an interpreter. So, tomorrow I plan to do the same as last Sunday and read my prepared lesson that Galina had translated. I will blow the dust off an old sermon that I used in Magadan before. Thank you for the prayers.

Therefore the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. (Acts 19:20)

С такою силою возрастало и возмогало слово Господне. (Деяния 19:20 Russian)

Так могуче росло та зміцнялося Божеє Слово! (Деяния 19:20 Ukrainian)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the sparkling array of blessings and opportunities that greet us on this new day. Give us wisdom so that we will focus on things that are eternally important. Restore within the hearts of all believers the sincere trust in the positively mind-altering and life-changing power of the message of salvation that is contained in your Word. Help us to lovingly teach the truth with clarity and let our lives be living testimonies to the superiority of truth over error. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 06 August 2010

Hot and dry here in Nikolaev - much the same as in many parts of Europe we hear. On my walk to the church meeting place yesterday, I noticed water trucks trying to save some of the beautiful bushes in the public park. Please continue to pray that God will lead me to one more soul who will be interested in learning about eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. So far, the various posters that I've been posting around the city have only produced one phone call that led to an appointment. That one turned out to be someone who had no knowledge whatsoever of English, and no interest in studying the Bible. In order to use the WEI course material, a person should know how to read some English. I have confidence that God will open another door of opportunity here in this part of Ukraine in the near future.

Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. (Acts 18:8)

Крисп же, начальник синагоги, уверовал в Господа со всем домом своим, и многие из Коринфян, слушая, уверовали и крестились. (Деяния 18:8 Russian
А Крисп, старший синагоги, увірував в Господа з усім домом своїм; і багато з коринтян, почувши, увірували й охристились. (Деяния 18:8 Ukrainian)

Dear God, our Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the precious gift of life that radiates with your providential care on this new day. Give us confidence in the work of your Holy Spirit in bringing sinners to salvation as they hear the Spirit inspired message and come to faith. Give us wisdom to use every opportunity to teach one more soul the truth about Jesus, your One and Only Son and our Savior. Encourage teachers and preachers of the Gospel not to wriggle out of baptizing penitent believers into Christ since He commanded baptism and gave us His own example. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 05 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

More wonderful surprises! When I was walking up the street on my way to Bible study, I decided to step into the Post Office and check our mail. There was one of those little gray notices in the box. That always gets us a little excited. Instead of carrying it all the way to the church meeting place, I turned around and brought it back to our apartment. Inside the box were 52 of those Hot Wheels cars that the boys at the Boys Home love so much. When I recently said something about this, Dean Sanders who is one of the elders at the Dalraida Church of Christ in Alabama, wanted more information. Apparently he must have just cleaned out the shelf at their local Walmart! The cost to ship the box was over $40 and we know how much these toys cost here, so it is one of those special gifts of love for these boys. When I called Galina to share the joy, she said "don't take them to the boys without me!" Several of the boys have not received an actual "Hot Wheels" toy, but some lookalikes that we pick up here. I’ll try to be patient and wait for Galina to get back before I present these to the boys. It’ll be hard. Well, just as I had opened the door to our apartment with that box of toys in one hand and my briefcase in the other, Vladimir opened his door and asked if I was coming or going. I explained that I was just dropping off the box and then would be on my way to our meeting with the church. He offered to give me a ride! He has a fairly new car with air-conditioning, and I suppose he noticed how drenched I am when I return from my walks around town. This was a very nice gesture, and we constantly pray that this nice couple will someday break down and agree to learn more about Jesus. So far when I make a suggestion, they look at me strangely and politely decline. Thank you for the prayers of faith regarding our work here in Nikolaev, Ukraine.
Our next door neighbors, Vladimir and Lyudmila just returned from a vacation to Cyprus with their daughter Julia who studies at a university in Kiev. They enjoyed it very much and were surprised at how much British influence still exists there even after the colonial period is long gone. Last night after I returned from our Wednesday night Bible study and prayer time, I got a call from Lyuda telling me to open the door. She was standing there with this beautiful bowl full of freshly cooked stuffed sweet peppers. The smell was awesome and I didn't waste any time diving into some real food for a change. Later I learned that Galina knew about this plan for Lyuda to help feed me while she is gone. They are wonderful neighbors and Sonya captured their hearts while she was here. They invited her many times to come and play at their apartment. What can I say; God definitely blessed us with good landlords who happen to be our next door neighbors.
Yesterday afternoon, I reposted one of our advertisements for the English classes using the Bible on one of the busy intersections adjacent to the park where many people spend time during the day. Young parents with their kids find this place especially inviting with its little playground. It is right next door to the building where we have our office/meeting place.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30 ESV)

Итак, оставляя времена неведения, Бог ныне повелевает людям всем повсюду покаяться. (Деяния 17:30 Russian)

Не зважаючи ж Бог на часи невідомости, ось тепер усім людям наказує, щоб скрізь каялися. (Деяния 17:30 Ukrainian)

Eternal and Powerful God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the numerous blessings that greet us on this new day. Give us wisdom as we contemplate our duties toward our blessed Savior. Help all teachers and preachers to faithfully proclaim in a non-compromising manner, everything that is required for all people in order to be saved – including genuine repentance from sin. Give all believers courage regarding sin so that we will daily turn our eyes toward your joyful holiness and away from the darkness that drowns so many in hopeless sorrows. In the name of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY - Wednesday 04 August 2010 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

I had walked several blocks yesterday on a street that I don't normally travel on just to find some fresh places to put up our advertisements for our English classes using the Bible along with the World English Institute lessons. The lady who is running this little shop selling items of convenience including some fresh fruits is typical of many people in Ukraine looking to cash in on this time when a few more people seem to have a little disposable income. Yesterday we were given our notice to pay the rent on the church meeting place. Thankfully the new "owners" or managers did not raise the rent. Some are complaining about the heat around the world, but personally speaking - it is much more pleasant to walk with some drips of moisture on your back, and it doesn't freeze. Today as I made my daily visit to McDonald's since Galina is not here, I met another American. He has been here for a year and was just returning to Nikolaev from a visit abroad. He works with the Peace Corps. We will get better acquainted later. My new friend Chuck left early this morning for Odessa to begin the trek back to his home in California. My Internet Service Provider likes to play games with everyone around the first of the month. No connection was available from around 05.30 until 09.00. This method works to get folks to run to their office with the cash. Nothing like having a monopoly I suppose. In retrospect, we have the corner on the market with the truth. The faithful, sincere and energetic teaching of the truth contained in the word about salvation through obedient faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God will bring results like nothing else in the world. Galina told me this morning that she fell down the steps carrying a load of clothes she had washed in the tub out to the clothes line. The steps are the slippery steel type like sailors run up and down aboard ships. She said her dignity is mostly bruised. Her mama Elena has one wound that they thought was healing good, but this morning it is not looking so good. The nurse comes around 11.00. Thanks for the prayers.
So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily. (Acts 16:5)

И церкви утверждались верою и ежедневно увеличивались числом. (Деяния 16:5 Russian)

А Церкви зміцнювалися в вірі, і щоденно зростали кількістю. (Деяния 16:5(Ukrainian)

Most Kind and Merciful God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the superb blessings from your grace that crown this new day. Give us wisdom as we study your word so that we will grow in our faith and love. Help the elders, preachers and teachers in churches around the world to teach lessons that will build up the faith of all believers so that there will not be a widespread apostasy among Christians. Open our eyes of understanding so that we will be reminded that daily teaching of the truth brings daily growth. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.