Hello, dear brothers and sisters.
The summer has come to the end – for many people it was the time of vacations, rest and resorts. One can see much more people in the streets in Bila Tserkva now than it was in summer. The coming of the fall is associated with studies or more intensive activities for many people. For us it means the end of summer vacation for the Bear Valley staff and the continuation of the work with familiar students as well as new ones, who begin their studies in the first course.
1. Ministry in Gorlovka.
As I wrote in the previous report, on August 5 I went to occupied Gorlovka to support, strengthen and encourage Christians who live there. During two weeks I conducted two worship services, several Bible classes, many visits in the homes, in the hospital and individual Bible classes. I was encouraged by the fact that during my stay in Gorlovka, Oksana, the mother of our brother in Christ Bogdan Chigvintsev came to the worship services and all Bible classes. She showed much interest in study of the Word of God, and I did my best to give maximum attention to studying with her. I pray that her desire for God and thirst for His Word would not grow cold. Previously Oksana showed no interest to God and His church, but present sufferings and daily dangers because of the war caused her to reconsider her view of life.
During this trip the battles around the city were very severe. Almost every night was accompanied by artillery duels during which one could hardly fall asleep. I recorded the sounds of the shelling on August 17, the battle that day lasted for five hours. The recording was done in the apartment; in the open air the sounds of the cannonade are much louder and scary. Every such shelling causes destruction of the houses and other administrative buildings.
There are casualties also. These are the pictures of the results of the shelling of the city during my stay there.
Without a doubt, the most dangerous thing in the trip to Gorlovka is the crossing of the front line. On coming to the occupied territory I escaped the shelling simply because the bus on which I was travelling was delayed for several hours...
Recently the media informed us that the authorities of the DPR plan to turn off all the Ukrainian mobile operators on the territory under their control. This means that all the people who live there will be totally cut off from their relatives and loved ones and all other people who do not live on that territory. I thought that time had already come on August 17th when all the city was left without mobile connection. I had no possibility to communicate with my family and all my brothers and sisters on both sides of the front line. But it turned out that the connection was lost because of the shelling and some time later it was restored.
2. Ministry in the Kiev region.
Every other Sunday I come to Kiev to help in the Shevchenko district Church of Christ. There I preach and conduct Bible classes on the Book of Ecclesiastes. Also together with brothers we preach the gospel in the streets.
Right after returning from Gorlovka our family participated in the organization and conduction of the VBS in Bila Tserkva on August 22-25. We had Bible classes, prepared games and quizzes, helped smaller kids with crafts, Veronica participated in the puppet show. The children liked VBS very much, and they gladly invited their friends. And the number of kids who participated in the work of VBS the first day (17 kids) increased to 34 within several days. We thank God that we were able to form a strong and friendly team out of the local Christians and those who came from other cities of Ukraine. The result of this VBS was that not only children learned about the church and her work but also their parents with whom we tried to make contacts and maintain good relations. Our expectations were fulfilled, and the number of the kids who come to our Bible classes has increased greatly. Summarizing the results of the VBS we must point out that working with kids in Bila Tserkva may be the best way of evangelism.
In order to reach the people of the city with the gospel we try various methods. In July we placed the contact information about the church on the billboard in the central street in Bila Tserkva. At the last worship service I met a guest who came to the assembly because he read that information.
3. Bear Valley Bible Institute.
On September 5 a new school year begins in the institute. In the building where we have classes there were no repairs for many years. Besides, the roof was leaking in many places. In order for the students to begin their studies in a comfortable setting, the roof, all the rooms used for the education process, and the assembly hall were repaired. Much of this work we did ourselves.
Dennis offered me to teach Minor Prophets from September 15th. This will be a new course for me, and so I spend much time in preparation for it.
I thank God for all my brothers and sisters in Christ who prayed for my safe trip to Gorlovka, my work there and safe trip back to Bila Tserkva. I am very grateful to those who support my work for the Lord in Ukraine financially. May the Lord richly bless you, your families and your work in His vineyard!
In His service,
To see the pictures that accompanied this report, click HERE