Amidst The Difficulties In Ukraine, The Church Is Growing And Classes Began...

Dear brothers, families and churches.

The situation in Ukraine is still difficult. Military actions are still taking place in Donetsk and Lugansk areas. Many people (both civilians and soldiers) die there daily on both sides due to the military actions. We are praying for peace and stability, and maybe God will give us new lessons on how important it is to appreciate peace, how important it is to build a moral Christian society, how important it is to value the time that we have. Studying the history of Jewish nation, we see that history of this world repeats itself. A society that departs from God can be punished by an even more wicked nation, which is in turn being punished by God. We will rely upon God’s wisdom and hope that the Ukrainian nation is ready to learn these lessons. 

Church of Christ in Ternopil
The church of Christ in Ternopil is making its first steps now. We have a wonderful place and a good team of missionaries. We continue getting acquainted with the city and our neighbors.  For several days we have been evangelizing on the streets. We brought out a table with Christian literature and invited people passing by to attend Bible studies.  Some people were interested and talked to us; others were very cautious. Because of the historical background (this territory was under Poland and was influenced by Catholicism), many citizens of Ternopil seriously consider traditional churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Uniats), and I think it is a problem all around the world. There are about 20-22 people attending our Sunday services regularly. Mostly these are students, teachers at the Institute and several from Ternopil. During this short period of time we were blessed by visits of our American brothers Howell Ferguson, Denton Landon, Johnny Mack Young, Walter Rayburn, Jim Sherman, and Dennis Curd. They were able to really encourage both the Institute and the church. These brothers have a huge missionary experience in Ukraine. Despite the military actions in the east of the country, they are still with us. We pray for their work and ministry here. 

Also in September, we started a Bible School for children: “Sunflower.” We had a grand opening of the school and there were many children who attended it. We have prepared a puppet theatre play, skits, games, quizzes songs, and crafts. Presently, we don’t have many children in regular classes. I think they have to get used to us. We are just getting to know the neighborhood and telling them about us. 

Bible institute
Classes started on September 1. As I have mentioned in my previous report, we have 8 students in both courses. We are looking forward to have two more students in the first-year class in November. Due to the fact that we had to move the school, now we are experiencing difficulties with the lack of teachers. We have really moved far from the military actions, and it’s quiet and peaceful here, but many teachers stayed in the Donetsk area. We thought how we can still cooperate with them and decided to use Skype to teach. First of all, it will give an opportunity for teachers not to take unnecessary risks while traveling. Second, they will stay with their families. Also we decided to try new teachers and give them an opportunity to be useful for the Institute. All candidates for teachers are discussed with the coordinator of the Institute before hand. 

Bogdan Chigvintsev and Eugene Tebel continue helping the Institute and the church in their work. Bogdan has dedicated himself to the work with young people and leading small home groups in Bible studies. Eugene teaches Bible classes at church during the week and helps with translating. We are trying to recreate the atmosphere of joy we had in Gorlovka, and I hope we are successful. 

At the moment, we are the only theological Church of Christ school in Ukraine that continued its work. We continue having the same goal of training ministers who will be ready to spread the Gospel among the people. May God bless us and continue helping us in this. 

We are grateful to everyone who supports the Institute and the church in Ternopil. All students and teachers send you their greetings and their gratitude for your faithfulness in this ministry. 

Your brother and coworker in His work,

Dennis Sopelnik

To see Dennis' report with pictures, please click here.

Posted on October 12, 2014 .