Dear brothers, families and churches.
It’s been 2 months that we have lived in Ternopil, Western Ukraine. During this time, we managed to rent the office space for our school and the church, get acquainted with the local congregation and travel to Carpathians with them.
The tension between eastern and western Ukraine is quite obvious. Even though local people treat us well, there are still some signs of distrust and fear. The process of finding a place to rent was quite difficult. Some deals weren’t signed because the owners didn’t want to work with representatives of Donetsk and Lughansk areas. Many people perceive our presence as temporary and undesirable. But through God’s providence, we managed to find a place at the good part of the city. It consists of a big hall for the Sunday services (and it will also be used as a classroom), second classroom, an office for the secretary, a library, small kitchen and a WC. We spent almost a month restructuring, painting and cleaning it. Now the place is almost ready to be used. We already moved some furniture in, and we still have to buy some more. We brought some books from Gorlovka, and we ordered more Bibles and songbooks. We plan to start church services in the middle of August. The classes at the school will start in September. At the moment, we have 5 second-year students and 4 potential students for the first year class.
It’s a very difficult situation now in Gorlovka. The town is being shot at almost every day. Many thousands of people already left the town. Stores and banks don’t function there anymore. There’s no water or electricity there. The town is deserted; there are only elderly people there and those who don’t have money for the travel expenses. We don’t know what will happen to our building. There are still DNR representatives and their families there. We are praying that there will be fewer victims and that our building will be taken back. Even if the building is freed in the near future, I think coming back to Gorlovka immediately is not an option because there will be active raiding groups which sabotage peaceful life and restoration in other towns that were freed. The armed insurgents often put bombs on the highways, which lead to the town and lay an ambush for Ukrainian army. I’m afraid there will be too many victims of such “accidental” explosion in peaceful time.
The situation in Donetsk is still complicated. Almost all the churches of Christ (there are more than 15 of them there) meet in conspiracy. Some transferred their Sunday services from the church buildings to apartments and houses. Others stopped worshipping together. Many people will remember these horrible events for a long time. Please keep praying for our brothers and sisters who stayed on the occupied territory.
During the time that we were in Ternopil we managed to make good contacts with the local congregation. We went to the Carpathian Mountains together with them and stayed there for five days. It was a good time of fellowship. Maybe that was a part of God’s plan for us to be in this part of the country, spread the sound doctrine here, help local congregations and find students among Ukrainian-speaking population.
My family, BVBIU stuff and all those who moved to Ternopil send you their greetings. Thank you for your support of our ministry. We need your prayers and appreciate your input in spreading the sound doctrine in Ukraine.
Your brother and co-worker for the Lord’s cause,