Praying For Military Actions In Ukraine To Cease In 2016...

Dear brothers and families,

Usually in December people summarize the passing year and make plans for the year to come. All people in Ukraine hope that in the next year the military actions in the east of the country will finally cease. The military actions look like a swing for kids: it gets silent, and then suddenly they come shooting from both sides. No one can guarantee that the trip to DNR will be safe for sure. 

With God’s help in the middle of December, a preacher from Bila Tserkva and I visited the towns close to the frontline to help those who are need with humanitarian aid. We finally got an opportunity to transport wheelchairs into Donetsk area to people who are need of help. It helps building contacts with local congregations and gives an opportunity to minister to the people who were left on their own. We had an arrangement with local preachers who will help distributing the wheelchairs and will have Bible studies with those people. Also it helps the Institute to have closer relationships with the ministers of the local congregations. During this trip we brought a wheelchair to Gorlovka for our sister in Christ Raisa Fadeevna. We went to Artyomovsk and Kramatorsk. In Artyomovsk together with a local preacher who is also a BVBIU graduate, Alexander Seliverstov, we visited a family that had attended the church before. They have a problem; their child has cerebral palsy and can’t move. We already sent them the wheelchair. The last Sunday their family came to church. 

Ministry at the Institute
In December the students had the following courses: the first-year class studied Pentateuch and Matthew, and the second-year class had Denominational Teachings and 1-2 Corinthians. Each time I teach 1-2 Corinthians I see what problems the early church had. Together with the students we try to find lots of lessons for us in order to avoid such problems in our period. There are six students in the program and one person auditing classes. There are two students in the first-year class and four in the second-year class. In December another student joined our program, Sergey Kurinskiy. He is 54 years old. He is from Zugress. He was baptized 8 years ago. His life before coming to Christ was very unlucky. However, recently he has been very active in God’s field. Teaching at the Institute gets back to normal gradually. Many of the teachers come to teach classes in person, thus, showing their respect to the Institute and the students. At the end of the school year, we had a fellowship meal to end the semester, which has become a tradition. Students and some teachers get together. We prayed for the peace in the country and thanked God for all the blessings and the churches that support our ministry. 

We keep actively looking for the new students. In this month Alexey Mitskutis made two trips to Poltava and Dniprodzerzhinsk. We want to show that we try to be stable, and the school is looking for new students. We made good contacts with preachers and the church members in these towns. Unfortunately, it’s still early to say who will be able to start a new school year with us. However, we try to be active to the most of our abilities in this area even now. 

Also in December I organized a meeting of the preachers from Central Ukraine. There were representatives of 8 churches of Christ at that meeting. We discussed the topic: “Unity Based on God's Word.” We plan to have such meetings regularly. I think it's a good opportunity to support churches in the spirit of soundness and truth. 

Ministry in the Church
Every Wednesday the students and I go out on the streets of the town to evangelize. As I mentioned before, the major objective for this ministry is to spread the true doctrine about Jesus and to teach students practical activity. During the last time of our joint effort we used a tent made especially for the evangelizing activities. I was surprised to see how people were eager to come to the tent and get the information they needed about the church, Bibles, and Christian literature. There were more than 100 people who visited our tent, based on our count. It might be because salespeople often use similar tents, and others got interested may explain why there were so many people there. The very same day a young man came to an evening Bible class, but unfortunately, nobody came on Sunday. Yet despite the result we’ll continue fulfilling God’s commandment. 

In the Bible school for kids that my wife teaches there is distinct growth. Now we have about 6 to 10 kids coming to Bible classes regularly. As we can see, the kids are more open to the word of God. On the last Sunday, we organized a celebration for kids after the church service. And that was a wonderful time for the whole church.

We greet you with the coming new year. God bless you and your families and the churches where you serve Him. Thank you for your prayers and support of our ministry.

Your brother and coworker,
Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on January 3, 2016 .