Monday, December 26, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 26 December 2011 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

You shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God, for I am the LORD your God.  (Leviticus 25:17 ESV) 

Не обижайте один другого; бойся Бога твоего, ибо Я Господь, Бог ваш. (Левит 25:17 Russian)

І не обманите один одного, і будеш боятися Бога свого, бо Я Господь, Бог ваш! (Левит 25:17 Ukrainian)

O LORD our God – Dear Father in heaven ~ we thank you from the depths of our hearts on this new day for the fair and impartial treatment that we all receive from your eternal goodness and mercy. Give us wisdom and help us to be more like Christ in the way we deal with one another in all affairs of this life. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

We had several visitors yesterday for worship and that boosted our attendance to 16. Most stayed around for our time of tea чай and fellowship. Tetyana, who has now become a regular attendee, had some nice games to play that helped everyone become better acquainted. As usual, our sister Zhenya helped us clean up the place after others had left. The young men always help us move tables from the other room and then back. Olamide showed more signs of assuming responsibility by bringing some items to share during our time fellowship. It was a joy to see our young sister Olga since she has been so busy with studies after we came back from America, that we haven't seen her until yesterday. Omo came prepared to work on his individual Bible study with me, but we never had time and then he had to leave. We look for another time. Yuri rarely gets to attend our meetings, but he made some time even though his wife Sveta was home watching a newly birthed calf. This is the couple that lives in a small town nearby and operates a small dairy business. Thank you for the prayers as we launch into a new week. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 25 December 2011 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:14 NIV)

Y nosotros hemos visto y testificamos que el Padre ha enviado al Hijo para ser Salvador del mundo. (1 Juan 4:14 Spanish)

И мы видели и свидетельствуем, что Отец послал Сына Спасителем миру. (1-e Иоанна 4:14 Russian)

Ми самі бачили й зараз свідчимо, що Отець послав Свого Сина, щоб Він став Спасителем світу. (1 Йоаново 4:14 Ukrainian ERV)

Great and Glorious God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for this new Lord’s Day that is set aside each week for Christians to assemble in worship of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. Give us wisdom as we search the scriptures and put all our trust in your Son for salvation. Help us to honor Christ each day with joyful, sincere and obedient hearts. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen. 

We enjoyed another very special time yesterday with our boys at the Boys Home. Our Saturdays have become busy days also as we make various preparations for our visits. We have been shopping for things that the boys have asked for, and unfortunately the places we have looked so far are out of ping-pong balls and volleyballs. We learned about a place that has them but it was too late to do anything about it before we left for our visit. First thing we did in the morning was to carry bags of things we have recently purchased from our fourth floor apartment downstairs and call a taxi to help us get them to the church office. Some things we need there and most of the things are for the boys. Galina spent time organizing our gifts for each boy by putting things in a nice person gift bag for each boy. Even though New Year's is the day of gift-giving in most of the territory of the Former Soviet Union, the boys all knew from TV and Internet that Christmas - 25 December (Catholic Christmas as people here say), they were expecting us to celebrate with them. We were well prepared with some items for our 'tea' time and gifts for each boy. They were shy to open up their gifts and only did so when we were "looking the other way". It is something they are not used to and we do our best to make them feel loved. Some boys who have family have gone to be with one parent, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc until after the New Year. They boys who spend time with us during the holidays are orphans with nowhere to go and they cannot help but be sad. They had lots of joy with us for almost three hours. We normally spend about an hour with a little extra visiting time. We didn't expect them to have their memory verses, but they were ready to display their knowledge of the scriptures by reciting their verse and telling what they think it means. I helped them stay on track by explaining passages that seemed difficult to them. We have been asking Natasha if we could come another day during the week since they are not having their regular class schedule. She surprised us by agreeing to a suggestion we had made last year. She agreed to bring the boys to the church meeting place and afterward we will treat them with a Big Mac and ice cream at McDonalds. As we came home last night, we realized that we are now bonding with this group the same as we had with last year’s boys whom we miss seeing regularly. We knew two of our current boys from activities we had in the summer, but we first started working with them in September. We were in America for a couple of months and now we have been with them enough to become closer to each boy. We always have high hopes for each one even though we understand the extremely difficult time they have without normal love as in a family. We know that God loves orphans and widows and in order to be like God in some small way, we must never overlook such people anywhere in the world we go with the message of love and eternal life. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 24 December 2011 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:5 ESV) 

И будет препоясанием чресл Его правда, и препоясанием бедр Его--истина. (Исаия 11:5 Russian)

І станеться поясом клубів Його справедливість, вірність же поясом стегон Його!
(Исая 11:5 Ukrainian)

Dear LORD God, our Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the brightness of your love on this new day that arrives with spectacular blessings that confirm your ageless and indisputable promises to each generation. Give us wisdom as we consider the superiority of your only Son, our blessed Messiah who is the only One qualified to rule the entire world in peace as people obediently submit to his supremacy by obeying the gospel message of salvation. We pray in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

This morning as we make various preparations for a great day with the boys, and for our wonderful worship service tomorrow, we awoke to a fresh dusting of snow. Even though it is very light, it is our first of this winter season - not counting a recent wet snow mixed with freezing rain. By the end of February, if all goes as usual, we will be tired of the white substance and daily watching for any sign of spring. Yesterday, we could only cancel all appointments and nurse each other out of this virus. Thanks to God who hears and answers our prayers, we believe and hope we are feeling stronger today. We are very blessed to be here at this exact time and will continue to do our best to tell some open heart about the Prince of Peace who brings salvation to all people who will obey the blessed gospel. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 23 December 2011 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased!  (Luke 2:14)

слава в вышних Богу, и на земле мир, в человеках благоволение! (От Луки 2:14 Russian)

«Слава Господу на Небесах, і хай мир панує на землі між людьми, які Богу милі». (Лука 2:14 Ukrainian ERV)

Glorious God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the vastness of your love on this new day that arrives with fresh hopes in spiritual realities that are far superior to any earthly wealth or fame. As we ponder over the great announcement about the birth of our Savior that was made to humble shepherds, give us wisdom and boldness to teach the truth that anyone in the world who accepts your Son - Jesus of Nazareth as Lord with complete faith, repents of their sins, is baptized according to Christ’s example and command, and lives faithfully until death is pleasing in your sight. Help us to remain faithful to this spectacular announcement of peace to all the brotherhood of believers. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Yesterday we both woke up with something closely resembling a bad cold. We decided to follow some old advice and take a day off to help our bodies deal with this foreign invasion. Once during the day, we had a case of cabin fever from not being used to staying around the apartment, so since it was a sunny but cold day, we decided to take a walk up to the top of the bluff at the area where the city and regional government administrative offices of located. I convinced Galina that we needed to do this to allow our bodies to soak up some vitamin D from the sunshine. She may not have been 100% convinced, but it was a refreshing walk that we always enjoy. We were also able to buy some fruits and vegetables from a little street market that we often visit. And to our pleasant surprise, we discovered a new restaurant called the Paprika. The place is a cafeteria style establishment with a good variety of soups, salads, pastas, meats etc. It is clean and has a restroom. This perked us up a bit and we were able to get a good night’s sleep. As we walked down Sovietskaya Street, we were pleased to see that our advertising agent Irina had placed the extra posters she had on hand on both sides of the street. This was a nice surprise gift to us and we’ve already had one phone call from these newly placed posters. We were also happy to see the fresh New Year’s tree (yolka) near St. Nikolai Park in the center of the city. We call these a Christmas tree in the western world. New Year is celebrated here and in Russia with gift giving and each family will try to have a New Year’s tree. Christmas is celebrated here in the world of Eastern Orthodoxy as a religious holiday marking the day of Jesus’ birth on January 7. Today we are going to try and get ourselves back to a normal schedule and decide on whether to go to visit the boys or not tomorrow. Some of the boys are nearly always sick with something, and may be the source of our little discomfort. What with all the problems trying to insert pictures in my daily message, today will be the start of a new solution suggested by none other than our dear friend and brother in Christ - Dick Ady. He suggested that including the pictures as attached files would be a good solution. I had tried it a couple of times recently but wasn't sure if it was acceptable to the majority of readers. In any case, I don't have the time or wherewithal to spend trying to figure out the whys and wherefores on why AOL will not send my inserted pictures. I hope you can view the pictures that are attached today and in the future. They are also available for viewing on my Facebook page and the Blog. Thanks for your patience and prayers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - 11 December 2011 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  (John 12:47 ESV)

И если кто услышит Мои слова и не поверит, Я не сужу его, ибо Я пришел не судить мир, но спасти мир. (От Иоанна 12:47 Russian)

Якщо ж хто почує Мої слова, та не коритиметься їм, то Я йому не суддя, бо не судити світ Я прийшов, а врятувати його. (Йоан 12:47 Ukrainian ERV-UK)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ We are deeply grateful for the gift of life that resides in our mortal bodies on this new Lord’s Day. Give us spiritual insight as we study the precious teachings of Christ our Lord so that we will be motivated to always do our best to faithfully obey His word that brings eternal life. We pray in the blessed name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday was another long day and overflowing with reasons to have the joy of God deep down in our hearts. In the morning we went to the Post Office and retrieved another box that we had shipped to ourselves before we left the USA. We are still watching for some other boxes. This one had some things we wanted to take to the boys. Our hats always go off to Natasha - the boy’s teacher. She has them very well prepared for our class each Saturday. In the summer months, we have time to spend playing some outdoor sports with the boys. This is serious time during the school year. The lessons we teach on becoming people of good character have become part of their curriculum - thanks to Natasha and of course Vladimir the Director who invites and encourages us. We had 100% participation from the boys as they recited their memory verses. One boy pleaded upon our arrival for us to let them do their memory verses first because they might forget if they had to wait. Not only did the recite their verses, many of the boys made serious comments about what the verse means to them. Our lesson for these first few weeks is about respect - for self, one another, for adults, for authorities, for God's word. We thought they would explode in anticipation of getting those little Hot Wheels cars. On one of our last stops at Walmart late one night before we left, our eye caught sight of a package of 10 cars. We knew that the Fees had also given some little cars, so we had enough for each boy. The boys knew that we had given these cars to the previous 9th grade group, and were about to give up on us. As is normal, they wanted to see us off and someone even called a taxi for us. We were waiting a long time and the boys were supposed to go back inside for a snack, so we started walking up the long road and after we were about 1/2 way to the bridge, the taxi arrived. We were so thankful! We asked him to take us to the big box store Metro. We received a wish list from the Boys Home that included all kinds of things they have no funds for - and they say they can always count on us. We don't always get them everything on their list since we have to carry it up 4 flights of stairs when we get home. They will come pick it up on Monday. There were still a few items we couldn't find - ping pong balls, paddles, paper towel holder, etc. We'll try to find time and strength to go shopping at market later this afternoon. We have been praying for some visitors at our worship today. Thank you for your faithful prayers and partnership in this work of the Lord.

Monday, December 5, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - 05 December 2011 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1 ESV) 

И произойдет отрасль от корня Иессеева, и ветвь произрастет от корня его; (Исаия 11:1 Russian)

І вийде Пагінчик із пня Єссеєвого, і Галузка дасть плід із коріння його. (Исая 11:1 Ukrainian)

Almighty God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the spectacular gift of life on this new day that signals fresh beginnings as we do our best to walk in step with our loving Master. Grant us wisdom and spiritual insight so that we will more fully comprehend the mission and teaching of your Son – the Son of David and our King Immanuel. Help us to be more aggressive in our efforts to spread the wholesome influence of Christ around the world. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Sunday turned out to be another blessing filled Lord's Day with the local church here in Nikolaev. We had hoped for a few more, but we were happy that we had 12 people come out for our meetings. We began with a Children's Bible Study that these days only has Nastya as our student. She has tried to bring some friends, but they don't have the rare commitment of this young girl. Late Saturday after much activity, we ended the day on a shopping trip to purchase some gifts for our boys and for some disadvantaged kids who are part of the Ukrainian Folk Dance group that meets in our building. We were at a large store known as METRO that is a member's only type discount store like Costco or Sam's etc. They allow foreign citizens to shop by showing your Passport. When we finished, we realized that we had more than would fit in a normal taxi and we would need some hands to help us carry the stuff up the steps and to the 2nd floor of our meeting place. I called David - the American who is here looking to begin a career in teaching. He was not available at that time. We contacted our Nigerian students Olamide, aka Joseph, and Omolayajo, aka Elijah. In spite of the fact that they live a long way from where the church meets and it was a cool and drizzly night, they both found time on Saturday night to come help us. I joked with them that this was a way to get to see them and encourage them to be in worship service. They were both in worship yesterday and their presence is always a positive influence due to their helpful attitude. Following worship, we enjoyed a wonderful period of fellowship and getting better acquainted with one another. After that we had a study with our WEI student Natasha that went very well. Then, our advertising agent Irina dropped by to help us complete our plans for our upcoming advertising campaign. We are always looking to meet that one more soul who will hear, believe and obey the gospel of Christ. After we finally came home we had a message from one of our WEI students that we first met at the University. Igor wants to resume his studies with us today. Tonight after we finish all our chores and studies, we plan to catch the overnight bus to the Donetsk Region of Ukraine where Galina's mama lives about a 2 hour ride from the city of Donetsk in the town of Slavyansk. We plan to be back on Friday. Thanks for remembering us in your prayers and your words of encouragement and your deeds.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - 04 December 2011 from Nikolaev, Ukraine

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 ESV)

Тогда Мария сказала: се, Раба Господня; да будет Мне по слову твоему. И отошел от Нее Ангел. (От Луки 1:38 Russian)

Марія сказала: «Я слуга Господня, хай буде мені те, що ти сказав». І Ангел полишив її. (Лука 1:38 Ukrainian ERV-UK)

O Lord God, our Dear Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the awareness of your omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent place in our lives on this new Lord’s Day. Bless the followers of Christ around the world as we assemble in the delightful unity of our faith that we have learned from the Holy Scriptures. Give us wisdom and strength so that we will be obedient as your servant Mary. Help us to encourage one another to have that same loving, obedient and sacrificial attitude as Mary who believed and accepted your word. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

What a wonderful and blessing filled day we had with the boys at the Boys Home yesterday! All the boys (with one exception from a boy who is "doing time" there for some criminal behavior) were able to stand up and recite their memory verses we assigned last Saturday. We are so encouraged at the influence of the Word of God on the thinking of these young men. The boy who is "behind bars" stood up and read a scripture and told about its meaning. Nearly all boys had good comments about the lesson on respect. Before we left home, Galina put a pair of socks in with each pair of shoes and made sure the shoe size matched up with each boy’s name. After we gave the boys their shoes, at first they would only sheepishly lift the top of the box and peep inside. They had never received anything like this. Later, when they didn’t think we were looking, they all congregated around in a circle and compared each shoe by rubbing the material on top and bottom while whispering how cool they were. All the boys followed us outside when we left as is their custom. They love to see us off and give hugs. We used to be the only ones to give hugs - now they want to hug us also. We are getting better acquainted with this year's 9th grade class. We are extremely thankful to our partners for making it possible for us to continue this work and for your faithful prayers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - 03 December 2011 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Ибо Царствие Божие не пища и питие, но праведность и мир и радость во Святом Духе. (К Римлянам 14:17 Russian)

Бо в Царстві Божому найважливіші не їжа і не напої, а праведність, мир і радість, які Дух Святий дарує нам. (Римляни 14:17 Ukrainian ERV-UK)

Most Holy and Awesome God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ Thank you for the dawning of this new day that bursts forth with new blessings that delight our souls and help us successfully live another day on this earth. Give us wisdom so that we will never think that the true nature of the great spiritual Kingdom of Christ is about physical or material well-being. Help us as we seek true inner peace and joy as we follow the example and teaching of our Lord in matters of righteousness. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Yesterday was another day of intensive activity here in God's rich harvest field of Ukraine. In the morning we returned the P.O. box keys to the guy who made them and he apologized while he quickly made the necessary adjustments. This is not the franchised computerized key making operation like people are used to in America and some other places. These people do it the old fashioned way. This was the first time we had a problem and he made us happy and restored his reputation at the same time. When we returned to the Post Office to test our keys, we noticed a small piece of paper telling us that we have a shipment of 3 parcels. It turned out to be two large boxes containing 15 pair of shoes! We also received another box of books and other goodies that we shipped ahead to ourselves before we left Montgomery. We waited in a long line at the Post Office for almost an hour to receive our shipment. In Ukraine people come to the Post Office to pay utility bills, receive pensions, send and receive money, etc. My brother Mike Binkley purchased these shoes a few weeks ago when he first learned about the need at the Boys Home. He shipped them just before we left Alabama to return to our work here in Nikolaev. They arrived exactly on time for us to have a wonderful day with the boys on our visit with them today. These shoes will be for the boys in the 9th grade group that we work with each week. We have promised the administration that we will also provide shoes for all 75 boys. We are aware of funds that have been collected by members of Dalraida Church of Christ, and my cousin Joseph Binkley with his wife and other donors sent money to Dalraida to help with this project. We will soon go shopping in local markets for good quality shoes for all the other boys and we will have a class with them and personally present the shoes from our partners. We already have their names and sizes. All of our visits are rewarding for us as we watch the boys grow in their inner spirit. We left the Post Office and carried the boxes up to our 4th floor apartment. We were made even more thankful that the Post Office is only one block from our apartment building. After being giddy for a while as we noticed the good quality that Mike purchased, we remembered that we needed to go pay our cell phone bills and our Internet Service Provider fees. After that, we walked from the center of town up to where the church meets and enjoyed the 25 minute walk in the fresh air. Galina reminds me that we always walk with weights - the various things we are always carrying, and that makes the distance 10 miles to her method of calculation. That way we don't need to spend money on some fancy gym or buy cool little hand held weights. I'm just mentioning some of the advantages of mission work. Once back at "our" building, we were able to meet with some people we wanted to meet with, but one person was not able to keep their appointment for Bible study. However, we were blessed to meet Alexander who called earlier in the day to make an appointment. He is a student at the local shipbuilding university. This is the place where some of our brightest WEI students hail from. He said a friend told him that he could learn English by studying with us and also learn about God. He is studying computer programming and already knows a great deal of English. We plan to meet with Sasha again on Monday. He was very impressed with the quality of the World English Institute lessons. Thank you for your prayers and involvement in our efforts to spread the good news of salvation through obedient faith in Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 2, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY - 02 December 2011 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:16 ESV)

И будет непоколебим дом твой и царство твое на веки пред лицем Моим, и престол твой устоит во веки. (2-я Царств 7:16 Russian)

І буде певним твій дім та царство твоє аж навіки перед тобою. Престол твій буде міцно стояти аж навіки! (2 Царе 7:16 Ukrainian)

Dear God, our Merciful Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the incomparable blessings that we experience on this new day because of our trust in your unfailing love. Give us wisdom so that we will more fully appreciate the role of Christ as King of Kings over the worldwide spiritual Kingdom – the Church that he purchased with his own blood. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

In the morning yesterday, we were running around the town trying to get a key made and finally made it up to the central bazaar and found a guy we had used before. We needed an extra key to the Post Office, but when we came back to the P.O. the key didn't work. So, today we have to repeat that performance. We were given much joy as we returned to our work at the University with a group of 4th year students. Lesya Dobrovolskaya is the English professor who coordinates our activities along with Tatiana Myronenko, who is head of the English Department at Mykolayiv Sukhomlynsky National University. We had a great time with these bright young people by answering some of their questions about our recent trip to America. One young woman had visited the Columbus, Ohio area. They were very attentive to the lesson I presented from the Scripture about the benefits to society of following God and the perfect teachings of his Son Jesus Christ. It was a drizzly day for our walk over there and back to the church meeting place which is only a ten minute walk. We returned just in time for our Thursday Bible study with the church. David Ciolkosz, who hails from the United States, is visiting Nikolaev and was able to meet with us at our 3.00 PM meeting. After we dismissed, Tatiana who is the leader of the cultural department in the House of Culture where we meet, came to go over her request for help for many of the children in her group who are severely disadvantaged due to living in broken home situations. This is the Ukrainian folk dancing group that has represented Ukraine in international festivals in Bulgaria and Belarus. Last year we presented each child with one of the Children's Bibles and soon we plan to begin studying these lessons with the children who have parental consent. After we finally arrived home from our long day, Galina started back on her Dorcas ministry. She volunteered to wash clothes for a homeless man that we are working with to help him turn him life to God. A certain missionary, who was homeless in Magadan in 1994, was the recipient of her kindness. Vitaly is living in a little makeshift trailer which someone made available to him that doesn't have running water or other conveniences. Thank you for the prayers.