Hello dear brothers, families and churches.
Finally the warm weather settled here in Ukraine, and summer is knocking on our door. Our country is getting ready for the EURO-2012 soccer championship, which will take place in June. There will be many tourists and foreigners, so the prices of food and other goods are slowly rising. We hope that this event won't make a huge impact on Ukraine's economy, and after the soccer championship prices will stabilize.
The Institute is doing well. Second-year students are looking forward to May 26, which will be their graduation day, and they will receive their diplomas after completing the program. This year we have five students graduating. Two of them have already started preaching at their hometowns, and we hope that all of them will keep spreading the Gospel and be faithful and devoted to God’s people.
In April, we had several events with the students: played volleyball together, had barbecue, cleaned the territory and the building of the Institute (e.g. washed windows). Some may consider these events as minor, unimportant and not worthy to be mentioned, but I think that they help in bringing people together and creating bonds. Often during such events, many brothers and sisters open up and share their thoughts and views and start trusting one another. I love my job and believe that this positive example that we set at the Institute will be remembered by students and will be reflected in their ministry for God's church.
In previous letters I wrote that we have an opportunity to teach leaders of the Baptist churches that split from the Baptist union and now became independent. In the middle of April, I traveled to their congregation, which is located about 80 km from Gorlovka, and I had an opportunity to preach and have personal conversation with the leader of that congregation. I don't know what the outcome will be, but now they listen, think about and accept some points of Biblical teaching. Teachers of the Bible Institute made a decision to take turns and visit them every month and teach them the sound Biblical doctrine. If any of you have an experience of converting people from denominations to the sound doctrine, please write to me. I always try be careful and understand the dangers of communication with denominations, but if people are listening and ready to accept the sound teaching, I think, we should preach the truth.
I keep looking for the prospective students. We have less people willing to enter the program this year than in the past. Please pray for us to meet with faithful Christians who are ready to commit themselves to service for God. Together with students, I have visited the Church of Christ congregation in Mezhevaya. There was a wonderful Sunday service, and Dennis Petrov made a presentation of the Institute. The biggest downside is that churches of Christ in Ukraine are small in size, and they consist of women mostly. This creates another difficulty in finding students for the next school year.
Denton Landon arrived to teach at the Institute, and we thank God for his safe arrival. We are also looking forward to seeing other teachers who will come to teach in May and June. We pray that their travels to Ukraine are safe.
We have planned to organize a youth conference in May, and its topic will be: "Dating: Do We Need Boundaries?" and, if any of you were closer, I would invite you to come, too. Also there will be graduation and Master's program will resume in May.
I want to thank you for your support and trust, and that you are interested in God's work here in Ukraine. Students send you their greetings and the best wishes. We pray for you and for God's churches in the US and all over the world.
If you have any questions, wishes or comments, I would be glad to hear and respond to them.
Your brother and coworker,
To read Dennis' report and see the pictures, click here.