Conflict Continues With The Work In Eastern Ukraine...

Hello dear brothers and sisters.

We had quite the cold weather in January. Unfortunately, military actions continue to take place in the eastern part of the country. It is due to the fact that Russian invaders do not want to leave their positions. Persecutions of religious leaders continue in Donetsk. One of the heads of the governmental department of religion, Igor Kozlovskiy was arrested recently. There was a time when he was working with the churches of Christ and wrote articles about the history of the church in modern Ukraine. As you can see, the DNR society is strongly prejudiced against true Christianity. The so-called “Russian World” uses its tricky propaganda to promote Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy. These events make us think that any missionary work on the occupied territories is dangerous and threatens the life. I’m asking you to pray with us for the future of God’s church in Eastern Ukraine.

We have a tradition to spend the beginning of the January with our families, because we have national holidays for almost a whole week and all offices stop working. It was a wonderful time spent not only with physical family but also with a spiritual one. In January we tried to invite as many Christians and their families to us as possible. It was indeed an amazing time. I’m glad that despite all the troubles we can find time for joy and fellowship.

The classes at the institute started on January 11. Everything goes according to the schedule. First-year students had courses on Joshua, Judges, Ruth and 1-2 Samuel. Second-year students had Homiletics, World Religions and Romans. The teachers from Ukraine taught these classes. We are looking forward to Denton Landon’s visit in the middle of February. Also Johnny Mack Young and his son-in-law Walter Rayburn had to come to Ukraine in March. Unfortunately, Johnny Mack Young, our faithful teacher and one of the best Christian examples passed away. We believe he is in a better place now. I will teach his classes this semester. We will be looking for a worthy substitute for this course in the future. As far as I know Walter hasn’t changed his plans, and we are looking forward to his and Garth Hilton’s visit in March. It is a great blessing for us, when we can train ministers for God’s work together. 

Potential students contact me from time to time. Right now there are three men and one lady willing to start studying in September. With the help of our BVBIU co-worker Alex we try to be in touch with those people who got interested in the future studies. I’m asking you to pray for student recruitment for the Bible institute. 

We have launched an evangelizing program at the local congregation. We give announcements at online services about free Bibles and materials for children. People who are interested send us their contacts to receive literature. Then we contact them and send a short Bible course “How to get the forgiveness of one’s sins and become a Christian”. We have just started the process, and we’ll see how this method would work in future.

We are still publishing our Christian periodical “Sound Life”. All workers of the institute participate in this work. Some teachers write articles, Oksana Heohdzhayeva edits the periodical and translates articles for it and sends it to me. Then we print it and send to all churches of Christ. Some local congregations try to order as many copies as possible. 

I still preach from time to time and teach Bible classes at Bila Tserkva church of Christ. We have very good relationships with this congregation. The Lord has opened their hearts to us, and they have received well the presence of the school at their building. We are also trying to show a good attitude. I hope and pray that in due time the institute will have a building of its own, as it was the case in Gorlovka.

We thank all those who support the work of the institute, its staff and students. Thank you for your generosity and willingness to spread the gospel. We are making it possible due to your help and prayers.

Your bother and co-worker,
Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on February 7, 2016 .