The Day That Will Be Difficult To Forget...

Hello dear brothers, families and churches. 

May was full of events both good and not so good. As you already know, the civil war started in Ukraine, especially in its eastern part. The building of our Institute is situated in the Donetsk region where fights and clashes take place openly and violently. Every day hundreds of soldiers and peaceful citizens die in those clashes. We didn’t believe that it would be that serious until the very last moment. Every one of us hoped that it would soon be over and that the politicians would find a peaceful solution of this conflict. 

I will remember this May by two important events. First of all, we had a wonderful Saturday, May 24. We held a graduation ceremony. We had 7 graduates this year. And the second event we can’t forget is that our building was seized by armed men on May 25 during the Sunday worship service. These two days were completely different. The graduation was held in positive atmosphere, even though many of our teachers and guests couldn’t come, but we still tried to make it a real celebration for our graduates. But Sunday became a day when we faced real threat, and we had to leave the building of the church and the Institute in less than three hours. Right now there are pro-Russian terrorists on its premises. They have already started ruining the building. They used Christian literature to barricade the windows, and they have put mortar-guns in the attic. They took many of the Institute’s belongings for their own usage. Most importantly there were no victims. Right now the church and the Institute don’t have a building to worship and train preachers. 

Ukraine is still in the need of your prayers. The Institute will continue its work. Many Christians and churches encouraged me not to give up and to continue moving forward. Right now my family and I moved to Ternopol, which is situated at the center of Western Ukraine. I don’t know how long we’ll stay here. We have three more months before the next school year starts. It’s evident that we can’t return to Gorlovka in this year. I keep looking for a building and the church that will open their doors and will be willing to cooperate with the Institute. We continue talking with church leaders in Ternopol about our future stay here. We haven’t had a definite and detailed conversation yet. If the Lord’s willing that we should go to a different place, my family is ready for that. 

The first-year students (5 people) made it safely to their homes. We keep in touch with them. They want to continue studying the next school year. Julia Kudelina (translator) also made it safely to her hometown in Russia. 

We are asking you to pray for the situation in Ukraine, for the future of the church here and for the Bible Institute. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who stayed in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas, and we urge you to pray for them as well. Thank you for your brotherly help and good advices that you gave to me. 

Your brother and co-worker,

Dennis Sopelnik

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

Posted on June 8, 2014 .