Amidst The Turmoil Of War, Students Study In Ukraine...

Hello dear brothers and sisters,

The War in Donbas and in the Minds of People 
As you know, the military actions in Eastern Ukraine are getting more intensive each day. Military opposition goes all along the frontline, and it seems that this war is not going to end anytime soon. The Russian army takes down their insignia and by thousands enter through the border, which is not under Ukrainian control anymore. They stand to protect the illegal republics. Many towns in Lugansk and Donetsk are destroyed. People leave these dead places looking for an opportunity to move to peaceful areas. The Ukrainian government can’t provide housing and cover living expenses for all refugees. Generally speaking, Ukraine is going through a very difficult period in their lives. It’s a month now that Gorlovka has been under daily shelling. Many people forgot the sight of the daylight. Being afraid for their lives, people don’t leave the cellars. We ask you to pray for our country, for the long awaited peace, for the governments of Ukraine and Russia, and for the preachers who continue serving the Lord on the occupied territories. 

Bear Valley Bible Institute in Ukraine
On January 12, the classes resumed after the winter break. The first-year students had such courses: 1-2 Samuel (taught by Eugene Tebel) and Joshua, Judges and Ruth (taught by Alexander Rodnayev). The second-year students had Homiletics II (taught by Alexander Rodichev), World Religions (taught by Albert Bagdasaryan) and Romans (taught by Andrew Zhuravlyov). We continue having classes with Dan Owen on Wednesdays; many students are looking forward to those classes. We have ordered textbooks for the school from Eastern European Mission, and they have sent us all the needed materials. We have also received some books from the  Shevchenkivska Church of Christ in Kiev. We are gradually expanding our library. 

At the end of January, a new student (Yuriy) joined our program. He is from Boyarka, Kiev region. He has already started attending our classes. His wife Katya and his 1-year-old son Matvey (Matthew) will join him in the middle of February. Yuriy seems to be a nice, good Christian, husband and father. He is very interested in studying God’s word and wishes to serve the Lord together with his family in the future. Now we are busy looking for an apartment for his family to rent. It’s not easy to find a good one, since there are very few options in real estate market in winter. However, we’ve got some options to consider. 

Now Denton Landon and I teach the classes. We are grateful to Denton Landon for his ministry in Ukraine and willingness to help BVBIU. We are also expecting the arrival of Ralph Williams and his wife. God bless them on their way here. 

The Institute Church of Christ 
We continue having youth group meetings on Tuesdays, Bible classes on Thursdays and services on Sundays. Also we have added to our schedule home group Bible classes on Mondays. Many people started liking this idea of meeting at homes and studying the Bible together. These classes also aim for inviting the unbelievers. We try to plan ahead all our ministries and all who are responsible for them, and Bogdan Chigvintsev helps me with that. Occasionally people come in and inquire about the church and Bible classes for kids. 

Some are curious. They are used to perceiving the church as a building with steeples and crosses. And when you try to explain the true meaning of the word, it creates a culture shock for them. 

We plan to have another event for the kids on Saturday. Usually we watch an animated movie with a Christian idea in it, and then we have Bible class and games. We understand that we can make contacts with parents through their kids. We have some experience with such events and have made some contacts. 

We are urging you, again, to pray for Ukraine, for peace in our country, and for the people stricken with this grief. 

Thank you for supporting the Bible institute and my family. All BVBIU students and staff send you their greetings and thank you for your care for us. 

Your brother and co-worker,
Dennis Sopelnik

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

Posted on February 8, 2015 .