Hello dear brothers,
I want to share with you some information about the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian branch of the Bear Valley Bible Institute was founded in 1997 in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. At the very beginning of its existence the Institute rented part of the classrooms in a public education facility, Kramatorsk Institute of Economics and Humanities. The first director of the school was Buck Hall. He was a faithful and hardworking brother who ministered a lot to spread the gospel. The first years all the classes were taught by American brethren who came to stay for several weeks and took turns teaching classes. The first graduation was very exciting; it was a new experience showing the opportunity to train preachers in their native land. The majority of the graduates became preachers in their home towns and started teaching at the Institute. This good example prompted the leaders of the Institute to continue this program of training the preachers and leaders for church ministries. The graduates continued preaching in Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Droozhkovka, Krasnyy Lyman, Nikolayevka, Illovaysk etc.
Then Terry Harmon became the director. He had been a missionary to Russia for several years before that, and he knew Russian quite well. The previous experience helped him to continue and develop the mission of the Institute. Ukrainian teachers became more and more engaged; there was evangelization practice added to the program. It's the time when students are sent to local congregations to help with evangelizing campaigns. In 2008 the Institute moved to Gorlovka, Donetsk region. The building in this town was suited perfectly for having classes for the Institute and church services.
In 2010 a Ukrainian, Dennis Sopelnik became the director of the Institute. He and the team of teachers continue to spread the sound doctrine and train preachers for the church until now. At the time the Institute was in Gorlovka, there were about 14-16 students studying there each year. Some local congregations were in need of Institute's graduates, and it would give the recommendations. However, in 2014 there was a military conflict in the eastern part of the country, and the Institute's building was taken by pro-Russian terrorists. They still have the building. The Institute was forced to leave Donetsk region, and it is located in Bila Tserkva, Kyiv region. Classes at the Institute weren't stopped even for a day. We continued teaching students. This year we have graduates who will continue serving as ministers and assistants in local congregations.
During the time of the Institute's function, there were more than 200 men and women prepared to spread the gospel. Some men continue preaching the gospel in local congregations, and there is a rise in quantity of local teachers. Now the Institute and the church at the Institute needs their own building to train ministers. We are not sure that the building in Gorlovka will ever be returned back to us in the near future. We looked at the price range and began a future location search. It seems that the best place to buy a building will be Dnepropetrovsk. It has a good transport connection. The city is situated near many churches of Christ. The approximate value of the building would be $80,000. I believe that the Lord can do much, and if you are willing to help and participate in this work for God, we will be grateful. Please contact Denton Landon who is a coordinator of Ukrainian school if you have any questions.
Dennis Sopelnik, irector BVBIU
2710 Lance Dr
Winston Salem, NC 27103
336-659-6816 (home) 336-414-9032 (cell)