Great News from Ukraine!

Dear brethren, families and churches,

I'd like to share some tremendous news in my monthly report. They are the beginning of the new school year, brother Valentine's baptism, church leaders' meeting in Chernivtsy, the end of remodeling project in the church building and the blessed VBS for children of Bila Tserkva.

This year Ukraine celebrated 25 years of Independence. During this time period the country had to survive many political problems, some economic turmoil and currently it continues the fight for the territorial unity. I am sure that the most important event during this time period was the coming of hundreds of missionaries who planted the seeds of the God's Word and spread the Gospel. It resulted in births of many local congregations who continue laboring for God's glory. The church in Ukraine is still quite young but has a lot of potential for growth and strengthening. Please keep praying for Ukraine and the church of Christ that needs protection.

On August 6th I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a great conference of the church of Christ leaders in Chernivtsy. Originally, our Bible Institute was to host it but the idea gained popularity very fast and congregations of Churches of Christ from all parts of Ukraine decided to join. This time the topic for discussion was "The Role of a Woman in the Church". There were 30 participants representing 9 congregations of the Church of Christ. We had a great opportunity to discuss and debate. The goal of such conferences is to study the word of God together and become stronger in the knowledge. The next meeting of this kind is scheduled to he held in Kharkiv on November 5 with "Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage" as the topic.

We often try to utilize different approaches in spreading the truth. We usually use street evangelism and recently tried to utilize the commercial outdoors ads. We have ordered big boards with a call to think about the meaning of life and, by the way, one man came to check out the worship service last time. But according to our personal experience one of the most effective way to evangelize is to devote a lot of importance to the children's ministry and upbringing of the young people.

On August 22-25 we conducted a wonderful VBS in the church. The topic was "The World of Adventures". Every day children were introduced to different events from the life and ministry of Christ. Most of the children who came to VBS have non-Christian parents. But through this effort we established some good contacts with the parents. We are very grateful to my wife Vera and everybody else who helped her to conduct the VBS. We had a great time. Every day we had about 30 kids. It was a huge success for the church and its Sunday school. On the Saturday after the VBS many children came to the children's Bible class.

Before the beginning of the new school year we found a way to renovate the church building. Some of the work we were able to do with our own talents and only for the more complicated jobs we had to hire professional people. It resulted in saving a lot of money. Many local brethren were able to actively participate and we are thankful to all who helped to serve the church in this area. After that we purchased a few additional desks. Thus, the facility is ready for the school year.

By the end of August most of the students made it to Bela Tserkva, and on September 5 we've started a new school year. This time we have 13 new students from the different parts of Ukraine. It's a big progress. Totally we are educating 17 students this year in both courses. Truly God blesses us in the new location. And it can also be attributed to the joined efforts of many brethren as well. We are very determined to train these people to serve in the Lord's church. Even though some of them may decide against becoming full-time preachers they still could be very strong assets in their home congregations. On the first day of orientation we've introduced them to the Institute's rules and policies. Brother Denton made a report about the tremendous fundraising efforts of our American brethren towards the support of our Institute. We feel very blessed by the opportunity to educate men and women, getting them prepared for the service in the church.

One more great news that I'd like to share with you; on September, 2nd one more precious soul was added to the church. Brother Valentine was baptized in the Ros' River that is nearby to our church/Institute building. He had been attending a Baptist Church and didn't have the right understanding of salvation and forgiveness of sins. After numerous Bible studies with me he decided to obey the Gospel and was baptized by Biblical baptism. This event was a great encouragement for the whole church and me personally.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are very thankful for your support and your prayers. We truly appreciate your love and care for us. My family and our students send their Christian love.

Your brother and co-worker in the vineyard of the Lord,

Dennis Sopelnik.

If you would like to see the pictures accompanying this report, please click HERE

Posted on September 12, 2016 .