Monday, November 19, 2012
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. (John 11:33 ESV)
Иисус, когда увидел ее плачущую и пришедших с нею Иудеев плачущих, Сам восскорбел духом и возмутился (От Иоанна 11:33 Russian)
Ісус був глибоко схвильований її горем, тим, як вона побивається і як плачуть юдеї, які прийшли разом з нею. (Йоан 11:33 Ukrainian ERV)
Dear God, our heavenly Father ~ we enter your gates with the deepest sense of devotion as we rejoice over the realization of another day under your merciful and watchful care. Give us more of a sense of sincere compassion like Christ our Lord, as we encounter the many injustices in this world where evil is running amok, and where so many people, speaking from their lofty pedestal of worldly wisdom, criticize our basic beliefs about life after death. Help us not to become jaded and unresponsive when we see hearts that are grieving over the departure of a loved one. Renew and strengthen our faith in the power of Christ over every enemy that challenges our joyful and positive expectations. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Nine souls braved the cold wave that is currently engulfing this part of Ukraine. Elena could not stop congratulating us about our extension until February! Our two space heaters were no match for the freezing temperatures outside and about the same inside. The owners of the building where we meet decided they could not afford to heat the building this winter. So, it is up to each tenant to heat your own space. That is practically the way it has always been. We could at least feel a little warmth in those batteries, but now they are simply cold steel. They did winterize the windows for us in a way better than we usually do ourselves. We will now go shopping for one of the heaters like we have in Magadan. So far, the owners do not speak about charging any extra rent for the use of electricity. We hope that will remain through the winter.
Speaking of Magadan, Russia – for almost a year, the church has been able to make the rent payments each month without help from Christians in America. Now, the owners of the building where we meet have once again hit the church with a 24% increase in rent. They are not at all certain what they will be able to do, but in our conversations with them, they tell about some possibility of moving to another space that will be more affordable. We join them in prayer as they do their best to work this out this challenge.
We have the opportunity now to begin this week here in Nikolaev and not back in Alabama - for that we continue to thank God. We are so very pleased at the responses from our various students and others that we work with each week. In some messages with Lesya at the University yesterday, we were able to solidify our schedule for this week. We also learned that Tatiana, our friend and head of that department is in the hospital with pneumonia. We hope to learn more details today. Thank you for your fervent and effective prayers regarding our service for the Lord in Ukraine.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:12-13)
Итак укрепите опустившиеся руки и ослабевшие колени и ходите прямо ногами вашими, дабы хромлющее не совратилось, а лучше исправилось. (К Евреям 12:12-13 Russian)
Тому то опущені руки й коліна знеможені випростуйте, і чиніть прості стежки ногам вашим, щоб кульгаве не збочило, але краще виправилось. (Евреи 12:12-13 Ukrainian)
Almighty God, our glorious heavenly Father ~ thank you for this new day that pulses with fresh opportunities and challenges along with appropriate blessings that enable us to carry on each day in spite of external circumstances than often pull us down. Give us strength so that our walk and talk will reflect the presence of our precious Savior who is absolutely the Way that leads to eternal life. Help us to use our fresh energy with greater wisdom so that we always communicate the message of your love with clarity and love. We pray in the blessed name of Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Yesterday, I announced on Facebook – to anyone who is concerned about such matters, that we stopped by a café to have a cup of coffee and tea with some Блины blini (thin pancakes) as a way of celebrating the fact that we had received our passports that have the stamp reflecting our extending our stay in Ukraine. When we ordered our round-trip tickets in July, I chose the farthest date out as possible. That was 13 February 2013. If you don’t think God has been with us through all this time consuming and expensive process, just consider the date they stamped for our extension – 13 February 2013 which is the same date as our tickets!
Galina picked up a new calling from all the time we have spent at the police passport department. When new people arrive at the office, there is no one to tell new members of the confused herd which door they should go stand and wait. She volunteers her kindhearted help to all who asks and even those who may step out of their turn in line. We received our passports and though we were not finished taking care of all details, suddenly it was time for the workers to take their lunch break. They close the place up and run everyone outside in the cold. Of course after standing for long periods most people are scrambling to find a toilet. Even though it is a public building, there are toilets for the workers, but those who come as clients have to hold that urge of nature until later in the day, or get someone to take hold your place in line while you walk fast for a few blocks to the little pay toilet in the square.
We always have so much to rejoice about each day. We can now pay more attention to our daily tasks that go along with leading souls to Christ; as well as spiritually and numerically building up the local church; teaching English using the Bible and the well-written World English Institute lessons. In addition, we work each week as English language consultants at the University. We also conduct classes each week for young boys who are orphans in one way or the other, how to become adults of good character using the Bible. We also do our best to find time to help the little orphans who are in the house of Babies whenever the director makes a request. We could not do any single one of these things without the ever present help of God our Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit and – all the very dear partners who support and encourage us in many ways. We intend to do our best to make the next period of almost 3 months as meaningful as possible as God gives us even more strength and wisdom to do his will.
Monday, November 12, 2012
For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Ибо все мы одним Духом крестились в одно тело, Иудеи или Еллины, рабы или свободные, и все напоены одним Духом. (1-е Коринфянам 12:13 Russian)
Бо ми всі одним Духом охрищені в тіло одне, чи то юдеї, чи геллени, чи раби, чи то вільні, і всі ми напоєні Духом одним. (1 Коринтяни 12:13 Ukrainian)
O LORD, our dear God and heavenly Father ~ thank you for the brightness of your everlasting grace and mercy that greets us on this new day. Give us a minute speck of your vast wisdom so that we will properly understand the magnificence of the great congregation of believers around the world who by faith in Jesus Christ as your Son, have been immersed in water and the Spirit, signifying the unity of the singular Body of Christ. Grant us courage during these last days before Christ appears so that we will do our best to convince lost souls to repent and turn to the Savior, who alone died as a substitute offering for the sins of all people. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Thirteen souls were present for worship service here in Nikolaev yesterday. This was warming to our hearts as our bodies are now starting to adjust to the cold. We also had another excellent Bible study with the boys yesterday prior to worship. After the worship service, the boys Vitalik, Dima and Zhenya quoted the verses they had memorized the past week. They love to come to our meetings and get along well with older people. Later in the afternoon, we took someone shopping for food since they had to use money to buy a coat and were hungry. We enjoyed our walk home going a little different route than usual. Now, we face another week of trying to squeeze in some teaching activities while preparing to return to the Donetsk region in order to receive the proper stamp in our Passports that proves we have the 90 day extension. Thank you for the prayers.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Сердце чистое сотвори во мне, Боже, и дух правый обнови внутри меня. (Псалтирь 50-12 Russian)
Серце чисте створи мені, Боже, і тривалого духа в моєму нутрі віднови. (Псалми 51-12 Ukrainian)
Most Holy God, our dear Father in Heaven ~ we give you thanks for the fresh hopes we anticipate realizing on this new Lord’s Day. Give all faithful Christians a right spirit of love for our glorious Savior who reigns in majestic splendor at your right hand. Help us to cause the pure light of truth to shine from your Church which gathers in various communities around the world. We fervently pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
As we certainly anticipated, our experience with the boys at the Boys Home yesterday lifted our spirits and boosted our hopes. Two of the boys were out sick, one didn't come back from time with relatives (AWOL), and one was with his Mama for the weekend. The boys who have family look forward to this time even with troubled families.
All boys were very well prepared with their memory verses that were from Exodus chapter 20. It is their time to learn more details about what God considers sin. Each boy made some small comment as usual about his verse and we had a discussion. They will study more and we plan for deeper discussion in the days and weeks ahead - God willing. We were very pleased to observe the progress of Vadim. Natasha has appointed him as the class monitor. He even had the responsibility of assigning the memory verses yesterday. He quoted 3 verses instead of his usual one yesterday.
We had the joyful privilege of presenting the boys with warm sweatshirts (hoodies) that were sent from Christians which meet on Tuesday evenings as one of the small groups of the East Cobb Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia. The boys immediately scrambled to put on their timely gifts and went out to see us off. We also have some of the little toy cars on hand and each boys eyes lit up to receive this favorite gift.
Many thanks to several partners who help us allow these boys to realize that they are not alone in this world. They have the opportunity to learn truth and to experience the joy of God’s love while learning the blessing of giving.