2014: A Time Of Change, Test, And Hope In Ukraine...

Hello dear brothers, families and churches,

I want to share with you some news of the events that happened in Ukraine, the Bible Institute and Ternopil Church of Christ.

The year 2014 became a time of change, test, and hope. We still personally feel the pain and sorrow of what is going on in our country. Unfortunately, the military actions continue to take place in the eastern part of our country. Gorlovka is still on the occupied territory, and we can't return there. The building of the Institute and the church has been made into the headquarters of the terrorists, and it is wishful thinking that this conflict will end any time soon. We continue praying for peace. Many families are left with no place and no means to live, and there are thousands of them. A month ago, we sent help to those were in dire need of it (food, replacing broken widows etc.). I know many American brethren continue helping those who went through all this suffering, and it is very important and needed. We thank those who participate in this ministry.    

Institute Church of Christ
As far as I know, we are the only congregation that was formed in Western Ukraine because of the military actions in the East. Of course, all new beginnings require additional work, and we try to remind and invite people of our neighborhood to come to Sunday services. Our brother in Christ and BVBIU graduate, Bogdan Chigvintsev, tries to go out, staying with a Christian literature stand in front of our building at least once a week. Yes, many people know about us already. We have made contacts with people working at near-by shops, pharmacies, and post-office. In the next few days, we will hang a big banner that will inform people about the church that meets at this place. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 3:6-7, we continue working diligently, but it is the Lord Who gives the growth. 

Our church gathered a good team that consists of students, individual Christians, and several families. We try to spend as much time as possible studying God’s word and having fellowship. We have mid-week Bible classes both at the Institute and at homes. Recently, we celebrated fall birthdays and baptisms, and it was a wonderful time of fellowship. The average attendance of the Sunday service is about 20-22 people. 

Bible Institute
In November, there was an addition to our program: our brother in Christ, Klim Krisanov, joined the first-year course. His father is our second-year student. Their family is from Dnipropetrovsk, and that is the city where BVBIU graduate, Alexander Rodichev, preaches now. Currently we have 9 students total in our program. There were only Ukrainian teachers having classes in this month. First-year students had such courses: Godhead and Angels (Vitaliy Rodichev) and Exodus-Deutoronomy (Eugen Tebel). Second-year students had an opportunity to study 1-2 Thessalonians (Dennis Sopelnik) and Acts (Vladimir Paziy).

On November 29, the Institute held its annual youth conference in the fall. This year we had fewer visitors due to our location. The topic of the conference was “God’s Will in Our Life.” However, those who attended our event received additional knowledge and experienced lots of positive emotions. 

The Institute will have classes until December 19, then the students will have some time for research work and winter break.  

We continue publishing our monthly journal, “Sound Life.” Now we are sending it electronically to all available e-mail addresses all over Ukraine and Russia. The journal contains articles from our American brothers, but we have grown our local authors as well. BVBIU secretary, Oksana, and staff translator, Julia, continue translating books and needed teaching materials for the school. As a result of our building being seized, we lost part of our library and teaching materials, and now we try to add what we are lacking. 

The church, along with BVBIU students and staff, send you their greetings and gratitude for your prayers and financial support. We appreciate your help and care. 

Your brother and coworker,

Dennis Sopelnik

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

Posted on December 7, 2014 .