Dear brothers and sisters,
In my monthly report for September I'd like to share the last news of the Bible Institute Bear Valley - Ukraine as well as our plans and our victories in the Lord's vineyard.
The school year started on September 5th. This year we have 16 students in the program. The students from all parts of Ukraine came to study in Bela Tserkva. One of them whose name is Alexander was able to leave the occupied territories and join us to study in the program. We have big plans for this group of students. Some churches have sent their own representatives to study so that upon graduation they can return to their home congregations and serve as ministers. Being a part of church life in Ukraine, I am able to closely observe the progress in the ministry of our local congregations. Our churches used to wait for the arrival of the missionaries who would advise them with strategies and they wouldn't make any plans of their own. But now I am able to see the work of the congregations who run men's meetings and make plans for the congregational growth. They realize by now that they'll need additional ministers, preachers, Sunday school and ladies' class teachers. When they send off their Christians to be our students, they pray for the person and hope to receive a prepared servant in the end.
In September the first year students had the following courses: How did we get the Bible? (taught by Dennis Sopelnik), Homiletics I (by Stanislav Kuropyatnikov), The Plan of Salvation (Jim Sherman). The second year students had Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Denton Landon), Minor Prophets II (Andrew Zhuravlev), The Period between the Testaments (Dennis Sopelnik). We are very thankful to God and all the brethren who help us in our work. Thus, Jim Sherman tries and comes to Ukraine twice a year to teach in our Institute. He's started this ministry from the first year of our program when the Instituted was first opened. Next year we will reach 20th year of our cooperation. His work in Ukraine is an encouraging example for us.
In the middle of September two of our students Yuri Romanov and Alexey Mitskutis took part in an evangelical campaign in Kharkov. Almost the whole week they've been giving out booklets, visiting schools, hospitals and other public places. As the result of this effort some new visitors attended a seminar on "Non-denominational Christianity". Currently a similar evangelical effort is taking place in the city of Chernivtsi and Alexey went there with his family.
I am very happy to share with you that one of our graduates Sergei Pavlenkov is doing internship with Poltava Church of Christ at present. This congregation had a difficult past and a few months ago they lost their last preacher. They decided to contact us and ask for help. We recommended our 2016 graduate Sergei and his wife Lyudmila. They moved there and placed membership with that congregation where Sergei is hoping to preach the Word of God. His ministry is in need of financial aid and if you have any suggestions or ideas please contact me.
Also at the time being the establishment of a new congregation in the city of Kremenchug is under discussion. Our graduate and my right hand Alexey Mitskutis would like to take an active part in this work. His family is ready to move to that city and start the work there. Right now they are making all the necessary preparations and are working on creating a team for this ministry. So as you can see the Lord still gives us grace despite of all the difficulties. With His blessings we are trying to move forward and spread the Gospel all over Ukraine.
Everything is well with Bela Tserkva Church of Christ. Our students are the wonderful addition to the local congregation and it looks like we will have to buy another set of chairs to be able to accommodate everybody. A few Sundays ago after the services we all had an outdoor picnic with our spiritual family.
The Sunday school is growing as well. Every Sunday we have 10+ children. And we hope the numbers will increase. It's such a joy to see that children come specifically to study the Bible (not English and not to be entertained).
All students and instructors send you their greetings and thanks for your help and support. We still need your prayers for our country that is still at war.
Dennis Sopelnik, the Director of the Bible Institute.
To see the pictures that accompany this report, please click HERE