Sunday, April 29, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 29 April 2012 Nikolaev, Ukraine

 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

все вы, во Христа крестившиеся, во Христа облеклись. (К Галатам 3:27 Russian)

Бо ви всі, що в Христа охристилися, у Христа зодягнулися! (Галатяни 3:27 Ukrainian)

Our Dear Holy Father in Heaven ~ we give you thanks for the dazzling brightness of your loving presence on this new Lord’s Day. Bless all those in Christ today who yearn to assemble with others who have the same faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to encourage everyone who receives Christ by sincere confession of their faith, repentance and baptism. We pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

 We had another wonderful and busy Saturday here in Nikolaev. In the morning, we were out in the town shopping for items we needed for our visit with the boys. Instead of the Snicker's bar, we gave each boy a Coke or Pepsi. It was a hot day and they really enjoyed that. 
At the Boys Home, we enjoyed a most uplifting experience as the boys were very well prepared with all their memory verses. Alyosha as usual quoted the most memory verses and we awarded him the special Nascar Hot Wheels car that our friend Chuck had sent from California. All the boys also received their coveted Hot Wheels cars.
Natasha requested that we help buy clothes for the boy’s graduation exercises. This will only be for the orphan boys who have no family member (besides D & G) to outfit them for the important day known here as "Last Bell". We are privileged to take part in this each year. We will have to leave Ukraine before their actual graduation, but we plan to get the shopping done before then. 
After we finished with the boys, we headed back toward town, and got in touch by cell phone with Rick Deighton. Rick is a business owner who lives in the state of Idaho. He has been coming to Nikolaev for 11 years to meet with a congregation of the Christian Church. He conducts seminars on Evidences. It was our first meeting and we had a difficult time finding the place where he is staying, but we finally found him and took him to McDonald's for a visit. 
After a long day we were completely worn to a frazzle and walked back home in a nice pleasant evening. God is good and we thank Him for this open door here in southern Ukraine. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 22 April 2012 Nikolaev, Ukraine

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)

ибо Я Господь, Бог твой; держу тебя за правую руку твою, говорю тебе: 'не бойся, Я помогаю тебе'. (Исаия 41:13 Russian)

Бо Я Господь, Бог твій, що держить тебе за правицю й говорить до тебе: Не бійся, Я тобі поможу! (Исая 41:13 Ukrainian)

Oh LORD, our God and dear Father in Heaven! Thank you for the spectacular blessings that rain down upon us on this new Lord’s Day. Be with all of Christ’s faithful followers who assemble in sweet communion today. Strengthen our hearts so that we will be able to truly stand courageously against the powers of darkness that seem to be prevailing in this world. Although, we know and firmly believe that Christ our Lord is victorious and we trust in Him as our strong Deliverer. Help us Lord, in our unbelief. We plead in the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 

 Yesterday, we had another fulfilling Saturday in God's service here in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. In the morning, we were invited to go with our new friend Nikolai up to the studio of the local TV station. As we were walking up Lenin Avenue, we met him pulling himself along the street because the sidewalks are so worn out and irregular that he can seldom use those in his wheelchair. He wanted to introduce us to his friends from the various intelligence clubs around the region. They have regular televised meets that are broadcast around the country of Ukraine. Our Nikolaev teams have won international competition in these events where a host or hostess asks questions from a wide variety of themes and each team competes to give the correct answer in a timed event. We went there at 10.00 thinking that it started then, but that was when participants began to show up on Nikolai wanted to introduce us to many people. We met one very friendly professor from the shipbuilding university. When we asked if he know our WEI student Natasha, he answered with a smile. "Of course, do you know that she is also a musician, singer and composer along with many other talents?" We said, "That’s our Natasha". She is the person who sang for us at Dick Ady's birthday 80th birthday celebration. Regrettably, since she is so busy and so are we, we've not had an opportunity to meet with her. Vitaly said he will give her our regards and perhaps she will get in touch. Two our new friends from the club for those with disabilities, were part of the braniacs who compete in these events. We were not able to hang around for the actual televised competition since our main priority on Saturday's is the visit to the Boys Home. We had just enough time to go to the local central market and buy some apples and a few other things to take with us. On the way there, we stopped and picked up our friend and WEI student Nastya who has recently graduated from 'our' university with her degree in English on the 5 year program. You would have thought that we brought a rock star with us. The boys were so happy to see her even though they were mostly too shy to say anything. Nastya introduced herself and explained how she came to Nikolaev from a small town. Our friend Natasha who is the deputy director at this home for orphan and wayward boys offered Nastya a job as an English teacher right on the spot. 
We presented T-shirts to each boy that was a gift from George and Kay Pudzis of Montgomery, Alabama. They also received a Hot Wheels car and rubber balls from Martha Henry also from Montgomery, along with our usual gift of Snickers and fruit. 
Our lesson was about courage and several of the boys had excellent comments to go along with the lesson from the Bible story of Esther. Since they had all be sick with the flu, we didn't require them to quote memory verses from our previous visit. However, we assigned them new verses for this coming Saturday and we know from previous experience, that most of them will complete this assignment with gusto. Thank you for the prayers. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 16 April 2012 Nikolaev, Ukraine

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14 NIV)

Ибо весь закон в одном слове заключается: люби ближнего твоего, как самого себя. (К Галатам 5:14 Russian)

Бо весь Закон зводиться до одного, а саме: «Любіть ближнього свого, як любите себе самого». (Галатяни 5:14 Ukrainian ERV)

Most Holy God, our Dear Heavenly Father ~ we give you thanks for another spectacular day to live as objects of your love and very special provisions. Since Christ has already taught us plainly about “who is my neighbor”, give us wisdom and moral courage to show sincere love to those who are victims of all kinds of injustices being poured out by the greed of many people. Help us to obey our Savior by following in his steps as best we can. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 

 It was Easter Sunday yesterday here in the land of Eastern Orthodoxy. In Nikolaev, we have the powerful cultural influence of the Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox. Since it was a rainy Sunday morning, we didn't expect too many to come. Many people go to the various Orthodox temples for their all night vigil on Saturday night. We continued our simple and yet glorious worship on another Resurrection day. We only had 8 souls for worship and all stayed for our time of fellowship. We gave each person a little gift of an "Easter Cake" like the one our friend Inna gave us except ours came from a local bakery. It made for a tasty desert with coffee or tea. After the time of fellowship, we had good studies with Omo, Nastia and our new student Elena. Elijah (Omo) completed all the lessons I assigned him about the nature of the New Testament church and I checked his answers and we had good discussion. He led very sincere and clearly worded prayer during the worship. Nastia is very involved with her exams at the university and we only had time to check some of her grammar work. Galina taught Elena while I was helping Elijah and Nastia. We are very grateful to God for the many opportunities that come our way every day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 15 April 2012 Mykolaiv, Ukraine

teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 ESV)

уча их соблюдать всё, что Я повелел вам; и се, Я с вами во все дни до скончания века. Аминь. (От Матфея 28:20 Russian)

і навчіть їх виконувати все те, що Я вам заповідав. І будьте впевнені — Я завжди буду з вами, аж до кінця світу». (Матей 28:20 Ukrainian ERV)

Our Dear Father in Heaven~ we exalt your name on this new Lord’s Day as we examine and apply the teachings of Christ to our daily lives. Give us wisdom and boldness so that the entire Church will begin to march as one great force for good against the prevailing evil in this world. Above all, help us as we teach the gospel message and demonstrate its importance in our own lives. Thank you Jesus - for always being with us, so that we have no fear to go into situations and places knowing that your great power is always present. We pray in the blessed name of Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yesterday as we were making preparations to visit with the boys at the Boys Home, we learned that Natasha the boys’ teacher is now sick with the same virus that they have been fighting. We asked if we could visit some of the boys in the hospital. She told us that Nikolai (Kolya) has had pneumonia after the flu, but is not now in isolation. Two other boys from the home are there with him until Tuesday. They are not in the 9th grade group, but we had them in our classes back in the summer. We asked what we could bring them and Natasha said that Kolya wanted to eat! The other boys also complained that they were hungry. Hospital food is bland hospital food anywhere in the world it seems. We received permission to bring each boy a Big Mac Menu (combo). They were so excited when we showed up with the McDonald's bags. They wanted to run back to their ward and eat while it was hot. We also included one of the Hot Wheels cars for each boy, a Hershey's chocolate bar, a hard rubber ball for exercising your hands. We also gave each one some of that instant soup that you can boil water and have a little snack. We gave Kolya a Russian language New Testament. He is facing graduation from the 9th grade which is cheerful news on one hand, but for orphans it means some more harsh uncertainties. Most of the boys go to a vocational school where they learn welding, car repairs, construction trades, etc. While in vocational school, they live in a dormitory, then when they finish that training, they are out on their own back in a hostile world. Jesus remembers them and all His people banded together can help shepherd a few of them as we have the opportunity.  The floor where they were being cared for at the Regional Children's Hospital is the same floor where we purchased a flat screen TV for a break room for kids in the hospital. That was a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, these boys were in isolation and could not go into that room with the other kids. Hopefully, they will lift that restriction before they are released on Tuesday. After we finished walking up to the hospital with our goodies, we decided since it was a pretty day to just catch a bus we'd never been on and ride to the end. It took us out past the train station. We got off and walked across the tracts to a settlement on the other side of the tracks where 21,000 people live. Each day it seems we uncover some new mission opportunity for those who will hopefully come after us. When we had walked a few streets and decided to come back to the bus stop, we got stopped by a train with 84 - 70 ton grain cars. Galina always counts the train cars. I'm usually too busy talking and gawking to do that. Later in the evening, Inna and her daughter Nastia sent us a message that they would like to meet us for just a few minutes. Of course we agreed and met them in front of the large market near our house. They were joyfully carrying an Easter cake that they had baked. Today is Easter Sunday in Ukraine, Russia and some other Eastern Orthodox countries. Easter cakes are part of the local tradition. They also gave us some decorated boiled eggs and chocolates. Inna is one of our very good WEI students and Nastia is a student at the Shipbuilding University. God is always so good to us in our work wherever we go. We meet so many wonderful people. Our camera seems to be on its last leg and the picture I took of Inna and Nastia didn't come out at all. We have probably just taken too many photos. As we were leaving McDonald's yesterday with our sacks of Big Mac's, we noticed a billboard with a picture of Dan McClintock the professional basketball player who plays with Nikolaev's team that is part of the Super Euro League. We know Dan and his wife Alicia because they come to church services with us. Alicia has already gone back to the States with the boys, and Dan will leave in a few days. "Christ is risen!" "He is risen indeed!" That is how many people greet and respond to one another today. It was also done as a traditional thing during the 72 years of the dictatorship of the atheistic communist party. Thank you for the faithful and fervent prayers.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 14 April 2012 Nikolaev, Ukraine

A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies. (Proverbs 14:5)

Верный свидетель не лжет, а свидетель ложный наговорит много лжи. (Притчи 14:5 Russian)

Свідок правдивий не лже, а свідок брехливий говорить неправду. (Притчи 14:5 Ukrainian)

Dear God, our Gracious Father in Heaven ~ Thank you for the radiance of your abounding love on this new day that is running over with blessings and opportunities to serve our Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and reigns at your side. Give us wisdom so that we will be able to effectively answer the lies that continue to circulate the earth about the body of Christ being stolen by his blessed disciples. We pray with faith in the precious name of Jesus, Amen. 

Since we had to postpone our WEI students who wanted to study with us on Thursday to Friday, we had an extremely busy and rewarding day. By teaching two at the same time, we were able to get a lot more done. Most of our students prefer to study with Galina and myself since they want to understand more clearly the Russian or Ukrainian definitions of certain words. As one who is still a student of Russian after ten years, that is beyond my pay grade. We want to make certain that our students understand the message of the Bible while they improve their English knowledge and skills. Nadya was our first student in the morning and she brought her precious daughter who is almost 3 with her. She has wanted to visit us for several weeks, but it is difficult for Mama to bring her on the route taxi (small bus) with the stroller, et cetera. Galina had a wonderful time with her while Nadya reviewed her lessons with me. We gave Liza a precious doll that was recently sent by a loving person in Ohio. She immediately named the doll Devushka Mishka – Girl Mouse. We originally met Nadya in 2009 on a visit to the university. She has remained a good friend for all that time and has helped as a translator when Galina went to be with her father when he was dying. Nadya’s husband is a Bible teacher at one of the large charismatic evangelical churches here in Nikolaev. Next, we studied with Alexander who finally completed all 21 lessons of the World English Institute Intermediate Course. He now wants t continue studying with us in the Advanced Course. Then we enjoyed another great time with our new friend and WEI student Inna who learned English very well and has lived in Norway while conducting some maritime related business there. Then Anya appeared for her study at the same time as Andrei. We let Galina help Andrei since he requires more help with word meanings and I helped Anya who is in the WEI advanced course. We have been having excellent discussions lately in each meeting and yesterday was no exception. Ira was not able to keep her 3.00 appointment, so we were able to spend a little extra time with those two. Then our last student of the day was our exceptional Olena who is working hard to prepare for her trip to St. Louis soon. She will be part of the Work Travel program and will be working with the Drury Inns. She did this last summer and was able to save some money after paying all her expenses. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY - Friday 13 April 2012 Nikolaev, Ukraine

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; (2 Timothy 2:11-12 NIV)

Верно слово: если мы с Ним умерли, то с Ним и оживем; если терпим, то с Ним и царствовать будем; если отречемся, и Он отречется от нас; (2-е Тимофею 2:11-12 Russian)

Вірне слово: коли разом із Ним ми померли, то й житимемо разом із Ним! А коли терпимо, то будемо разом також царювати. А коли відцураємось, то й Він відцурається нас! (2 Тимотей
2:11-12 Ukrainian)

Kind and Merciful Father in Heaven ~ thank you for giving us life along with necessary provisions and everything needed for our enjoyment. Give us wisdom to encourage one another to actively persevere in the one true faith of Christ Jesus that leads to eternal life. Help us as we encourage those outside of Christ to believe, repent, confess and die with Christ in baptism and rise up from the watery grave a new creature with hope of reigning with the Lord. We pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

Yesterday we realized our opportunity to go hunting the city for those ceramic cups and dishes that we promised the House of Babies this week was rapidly running out. So, we had to postpone several studies with eager WEI students and go shopping. We ended up where we started back at the large central market. We found a dealer there who had some of just what we needed tucked back in a warehouse storage area. He let us help him dig them out and blow the dust off the wrappers. These were made at a factory in Ukraine and are made so that the home of orphan babies can boil them in order to sanitize them. They don't have a dishwasher, so they wash dishes by hand and boil them. We called a taxi to help us deliver the 70 cups and 30 plates. We still need to buy 30 more cups and 70 plates. That will hopefully be a project for one day next week. By the time we arrived at the Babies Home, Olga - the director was almost ready to go home. But, she knew we were tying to get there by the end of the day and waited. She was very pleased with the quality. She said "Perfect, that is exactly what we need!" She showed us how they had already purchased some paint and started painting the outdoor playground equipment. In their gardens, we noticed some tulips about to bloom and a few buttercups already shining their spring blooms. We let the taxi go and took our long and pleasant walk back toward the center of the city.