Saturday, January 26, 2013

WORD OF THE DAY - Saturday 26 January 2013 from Mykolaiv, Ukraine

We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:69)

и мы уверовали и познали, что Ты Христос, Сын Бога живаго. (От Иоанна 6:69 Russian)

Ми повірили в Тебе, ми знаємо, що Ти — Божий Святий». (Йоан 6:69 Ukrainian)

Most holy, righteous, merciful and gracious God, our dear heavenly Father ~ we give our most sincere thanks on this new day for our very lives and most of all for your mercies that never end. Grant us deeper wisdom as we seek to be more effective in telling others about Christ Jesus our Lord in a more convincing manner so that people will learn how to believe and obey the Savior, our sustaining Bread of Life, in order to obtain forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We fervently pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

 Yesterday morning the snow began to fall and continued all through last night. It was a very welcome and beautiful sight except for the times when we were walking and the winds were blowing and the snow was drifting. It reminded me of back when I preached on my daily radio program from Crookston, Minnesota a few decades ago, a DJ who signed me on, would also give the weather and he loved to say the snow was "blowing and drifting in the valley". 
After we made it safely to our bus stop, we flagged down a marshrutka and had our usual interesting ride to the church meeting place. We had just taken off our coats, and in walked a surprise visitor. Our good friend Igor Mykhalchyshyn, a very bright goal oriented young man who completed our WEI Advanced course stopped by just to pay us a visit. We always enjoy learning about the next hurdles he intends to cross. We call him the President of Ukraine and have no doubt that if he continues to work at the same pace, he can achieve that or other important goals in his life.
Because of the heavy snows and strong winds, several of our students called to cancel. When it came time for our students Julia and Nastya to arrive, and it was almost twenty minutes past their time, and they didn't call, we were concerned about them, but suddenly they walked in the door huffing and puffing, shaking the snow off. These wonderful young women whom we met at the University are stellar examples of good students. Most importantly, they are learning so many valuable lessons from the Bible - the most important book in the world. As we continue through the World English Institute course, they improve their English - which is already sharp, as we discuss their deep questions and thoughts. 
Since Nastya and Julia arrived late, we were only halfway into their lesson when one of our other very bright students arrived. Andrei has completed the seven lessons in Book One - which doesn't mean anything the Internet teachers, but it is the first important milestone for our students who look us in the eye as we study about English and the Lord our God. As usual, these bright stars like to fully discuss the deeper meaning of Biblical texts that form the basis of our WEI studies. 
We had other things to accomplish at the "office" before we could head for home in the evening. We are so very thankful to God that our meeting place is warm this year since the head over the property agreed to put the thick plastic sheeting over the windows. It was already dark, but still snowing lightly when we walked over to the bus stop.
This morning, we just learned that we will not be able to visit the Boys Home due to the weather. We called Natasha who lives out on the same peninsula near the Boys Home, and her husband could not even get out to work. The snow drifts are very high around some parts of the city. We agreed that Svetlana, the secretary to the Director, will stop by our office tomorrow afternoon and pick up the duffle bag we purchased for Dima who will be moving to another facility next week.
 Thank you for continuing to remember us in prayer.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WORD OF THE DAY - Thursday 17 January 2013

David B. & Natasha M.
but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8)
а язык укротить никто из людей не может: это--неудержимое зло; он исполнен смертоносного яда. (Иакова 3:8 Russian)

та не може ніхто із людей язика вгамувати, він зло безупинне, він повний отрути смертельної! (Яков 3:8 Ukrainian)

Most kind and dear loving Father in heaven ~ please accept our sincere praise from our hearts and lips on this new day. Grant us at least a small part of the wisdom of Christ so that we will remember that your Spirit is living within us, and pause before uttering a harsh, unkind, vague or misleading word that will surely bring much harm. Help us to be known for sound speech that always leaves people we speak with the impression that we are doing our best to follow Christ as Lord. We humbly pray in Jesus name, Amen.
Wednesday of this week was another busy and enjoyable day in the Lord's service here in Nikolaev. We had another productive Bible study with the young man who is seeking more knowledge of God's word. After he and his wife left, our WEI Advance student Natalia M. came for her study in the book New Life. She continues to grow in her understanding of God's plan for all people through Jesus Christ the Son. In the early evening, we had eight in attendance for our Wednesday Bible study. We also said our temporary goodbyes to David Ciolkosz, our brother who is returning to Tennessee today from Kiev. As we had a few minutes during the day, we studied with our new brother Sergei. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
Galina B. translates as David C. leads prayer

Galina, Natalia M., Natasha M., Sergei P., David C., Nastya M., Tatyana B. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

WORD OF THE DAY - Monday 14 January, 2013

 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)
Так положил Иисус начало чудесам в Кане Галилейской и явил славу Свою; и уверовали в Него ученики Его. (От Иоанна 2:11 Russian)

Такий початок чудам зробив Ісус у Кані Галілейській, і виявив славу Свою. І ввірували в Нього учні Його. (Йоан 2:11 Ukrainian)

Great and glorious God, our dear heavenly Father ~ we approach your dazzling presence on this new day, that is certain to arrive with even more signs that we are loved beyond comparison with any earthly love known to any of your creatures. Thank you for sending the very best of heaven or earth, to rescue us from the dreary darkness of sin. Give us wisdom to more fully appreciate the enormous power that our glorious Christ demonstrated while on this earth, so that we will be filled with awe and wonder as we follow our precious Savior as Lord. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

We had twelve who came for worship yesterday on a really cold day here in southern Ukraine. It is now minus 15 C this morning and cold in our apartment. Not just to say just ours, but all such apartments in general. We have definitely been colder in Magadan and our hearts always go out to our dear family there. However, this is our coldest day in Nikolaev so far this winter. 
We had complications getting Stepan a ride to worship. Finally, we had to hire a taxi and go get him. When we arrived to our church meeting place, we had several people waiting for us. Of course, Natasha is always there first. Yesterday, David Ciolkosz and Nastya were both present for worship. They stayed around for our time of tea, snacks and becoming better acquainted. Later, we took them to a little place that specializes in Southwestern US dishes. We ordered chili and they got chili and a burrito. Mostly we enjoyed spending time with them. Later, they caught a bus to the City Center where they were going to hang out for a while.  We braved the cold night air as we walked several blocks home to our apartment. Even though you think you are going to freeze right in your tracks, it is always better to winterize yourself by getting out in the elements. 
We are very thankful for your prayers and other encouragement of this work and other mission works to tell the world about Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

WORD OF THE DAY - Sunday 13 January 2013

Galina at Boys Home

 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. (Matthew 21:28-29 ESV)

А как вам кажется? У одного человека было два сына; и он, подойдя к первому, сказал: сын! пойди сегодня работай в винограднике моем. Но он сказал в ответ: не хочу; а после, раскаявшись, пошел. (Матфея 21:28-29 Russian)

Great and powerful God, our dear Father in heaven ~ we give praise and thanks to you for the brightness of your love on this new Lord’s Day. Bless the body of Christ as we assemble in honor of our crucified, buried and resurrected Messiah. As we make hast to repent, forgive us for those moments in our lives when we were just too stubborn to obey our Lord’s commands. Help us to use the wisdom of Christ by making certain our actions prove that we are good and faithful servants. We pray in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

All week, we look forward to our visit with the boys at the Boys Home on Saturday. Yesterday was another rewarding experience for us since it was our last opportunity to be with all boys that have had no relative to stay with during this long holiday season here in Ukraine. In most Slavic countries like Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, today is hopefully the last of these holidays. Tomorrow marks the Old New Year according to the Julian calendar. January 14 is also called Orthodox New Year since the Orthodox Church counts time by the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar that has been adopted by the governments of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus etc. Like most holidays, the celebration of Old New Year is already underway. So, once again - Happy New Year!
One of the photos I show today gives a before view of the area that will be transformed into a privacy room (glass enclosed) for the boys. Natasha and one of the other workers are donating some furniture where the boys can at least sit comfortably and even stretch out on a couch if they choose. It will be a little homier for them. We are very thankful for those who donated to make this possible. 
We used our time yesterday to let each boy read scripture. I used this time to explain some basic concepts from God's word. We rehearsed the little saying: "Right is always right, and wrong is always wrong. It is never right to do wrong, and it is never wrong to do right." Three of our regular 9th grade boys know this by heart, but needed a little encouragement. Several of the boys quoted the Russian or Ukrainian translation. 
We had great discussions whenever I asked the boys questions about envy and the various sins it can lead a person to commit. Their list was longer than mine! Theft is an issue that has haunted these boys in the past and still causes them some trouble. The boys always like to see us off and they cling to us until we just have to drag ourselves out the door. We noticed some brave skaters on the other side of the river who were very skillful in the way the speed skated and made figures. It was entertaining to watch as we stood in the cold waiting for our ride to take us to our next destination. 
Following our time at the Boys Home, we called a taxi to take us to the home of a young couple where we had a Bible study that lasted almost two hours. After that, we walked home for several blocks and breathed the wonderful fresh cold air. We also took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a few things we need for today at a small market. Thank you for your prayers. 

Entrance area at Boys Home that will be divided to make a privacy room.

Sidewalk cafe w/samovar - Nikolaev, Ukraine