Recruiting Students In Ukraine...

Dear brothers, families and churches.

Here came the end of the school year. Usually May is the last month of classes in Ukraine. Our country is getting ready for the EURO-2012 soccer championship, which will start on June 8. It has been raining in Ukraine, but we hope that this summer will be warm. 

There is an unchanging principle acting in the nature - you will reap what you sow. 2 year ago, we had 8 students entering the program at the Bible Institute who wanted to study Bible and serve in God's church. But not everyone was able to make it to the very end. Some of them dropped out because of low grades, others for not living up to the Christian standards. Yet there are others who persevered until the end. 

During this school year, Bear Valley Bible Institute in Ukraine trained and helped to graduate 5 students. These were an interesting and inspiring 2 years of their lives at the Institute. Some graduates continued studying at the Master's program; others returned to their hometowns where they will continue serving God. 

In May, the Institute held a one-day youth conference about dating and boundaries. Young people from different towns attended it. There were 45 people in attendance. The speakers for the conference were Jim Sherman and Steve Housley. There was some entertainment in the form of games and plays. In Ukraine as in any other country, young people are difficult to impress, but our task is to teach them to love God's Word and respect His authority.  

Howell and Mary Ferguson came in May, and they are always of a great help to me and to the Institute. In this short period of time we have already visited several churches in Donetsk and a church in Illovaysk. 

Gary and Sarah Fallis also arrived in May. Gary now is teaching at the Master's program. Sarah is teaching Bible classes for the ladies. The Master's program is an important part of the work both of the Institute and of the church. By training students at the Master's program, the Institute will be more independent in future, and there will be more teachers in Ukraine, and that will allow us all to save time and money.

Right now we are actively searching for students for the next school year. I hope and pray that we will have many of them and that their main goal would be serving God. People often ask me about what happens after graduation, whether they will have an opportunity to serve the Lord. I like that question, but it brings up a lot of issues. The Bible tells us that there is a lot of work to be done, but there are few workers. I can't promise every student that they will be employed.  But I'm sure that those who want to serve and are honest with God and people will always find a place to serve God. Right now I know of three congregations that want to have a good and honest minister who is willing to make personal sacrifices, leaving his comfortable home and moving to them. But it's actually the people who are asking these questions, who are not ready to make some sacrifices for the sake of serving the Lord. 

In June we plan on having a three-day Bible camp for young preachers. The approximate age of the teenagers that we expect to come varies from 13 to 17 years. The first two days will be dedicated to training future young leaders of the church. On the third day they will have to prepare a sermon and present it. It's the first time that we are holding such a camp, so I'm asking you to pray for us and for this work.   

We thank you for your prayers and financial support of our Institute and our work. You are making a huge investment into God's church in Ukraine. Maybe someday you will reap what you sow. Sometimes we are jokingly saying that brethren from the US support Christianity in Ukraine and that later we will help them. But who knows... 

Your brother and co-worker for God's cause,

Dennis Sopelnik

To see the report with pictures, click here.

Posted on June 10, 2012 .