Posts tagged #Ukraine

Summer outreach in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters, as well as the churches,

Currently our Bible Institute has summer evangelical practice for students. Many of them take part in the VBSs as teachers, volunteers and helpers.  It is a big blessing that many congregations of the Church of Christ can host their VBS utilizing local resources. 

There were 7 VBSs during last month: in Poltava, Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Vorokhta, Dnipro, Brovary, etc. In the middle of this month our congregation in Bela Tserkva is having the VBS as well. The preparation is under way in full force. It's always an exciting time for our congregation.

As for the next school year we have recruited 5 new students. They filled out the applications and submitted all necessary documents. And there was also a couple who refused to finalize the application process at the very last minute because the college they were currently attending extended the time of studies for another 6 months, and they were under the contract to complete those studies.

Two weeks ago my family went to a sea side for a vacation. My family really enjoyed the week off. They deserved to get some rest. On the way back we stopped at the city of Nikolaev to see a Christian family. The population of the city is 600,000 people and as of right now there is only a handful of Christians who congregate in private houses. We tried to encourage them and spend a few days together.

We had a group of American Christians in Bela Tserkva for 6 weeks. They were doing the LST program. The idea is to teach English using the Bible. Thanks to the effort we've got a lot of new contacts. In the beginning of August, they returned to the States and we are following up with the students. Of course, there are many opportunities to study English these days. In Kiyv, the capital of Ukraine, a lot of people understand English. But in little cities people are excited about the opportunity.

The Bible Institute classes will start in the first week of September. We have 7 second year students. I sure hope all of them are coming back. Unfortunately, in the previous years we had some sad instances where a student wouldn't return after the summer break. We need to continue praying for our students.

As always we are very appreciative of your involvement and support of the Bible Institute. We are going to start training new students and it means the Institute will need funds. If you are interested in supporting the program, please contact Bear Valley Bible Institute Ukrainian extension coordinator Terry Harmon.

Your brother and co-worker in the Lord's Vineyard, Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on August 12, 2019 .

Summer camp in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last month and in the beginning of this month we had a lot of important events. Some of them are especially priceless for me and my family. So, I'll start with the most important ones. In the beginning of July we attended a wonderful summer camp "Americraine" not far from the city of Dnipro. It's an annual event, and many Christians in Ukraine are looking forward to it every summer. It's hosted by our American brethren. The team engages quite a few Ukrainians as well (most of them are Bear Valley graduates) and some local congregations. This year attendance was 350 representatives from different parts of Ukraine. 8 people were baptized during the camp activities. And the most special ones were the baptism of my mother Valentina as well as my wife's sister Natasha. During the last 18 years I have been planting the Seed in my family circle. We talked a lot about the salvation of souls. A few attempts were made to set up a date for baptism but at the very last moments something would go wrong. But the Christian camp atmosphere as well as the wonderful lessons and God's presence made it all work out for the best. Praise the Lord for His church and the diligence of our American brethren in hosting the camp! And special thanks to Jeff Abrams and his team who comes and encourages Ukrainian Christians every year.

During the month of June, we kept looking for potential students. And currently we found 5 who want to join the program. Most of the interested people are young ones. There is also a married couple. It's a huge blessing for us to have an opportunity to influence young people willing to serve in the Lord's church.

In the middle of the last month we had a team of Christians from Southeast Church of Christ, Aurora, CO. They are my old friends and for many years support my ministry in Ukraine. We are very grateful for their children ministry. They stayed in our city only for a few days. They taught the children's class, evening class in the church and visited the orphanage for the children whose parents had been deprived their parental rights. Please accept our gratitude for the service, encouragement and support of our family and the church.

The other important news that rejoiced me tremendously is that our graduate Oleg Fofanov finalized all formalities to become a full-time preacher in Konstantinivka. Before that two preachers from the city of Kramatorsk Vladimir Paziy and Vitaly Rodichev would go and preach there by turns. It was not a very good arrangement because they had to occasionally miss the services in their own congregation. Now this will change. Oleg will take over completely. We request your prayers for Oleg and his ministry in Konstantinivka.

In summer time our students are back to their home congregations with the practical assignments. They all sent me the reports for the previous month. Thus, Eljune Aliev is with the church in Kamenskoe and simultaneously helps the church in the village of Plaveschano. They are getting ready for the VBS. Also he was an active participant in the youth camp in the city of Zapporizhe where 10 people were baptized. Masha, Rosa and Lena work with children in their local congregations. Rosa worked with the children in Slovyansk last month, but she didn't leave her regular children's ministry in Skvira. It's a 14 hours trip from Slovyansk to Skvira by train or by bus. Vitaly works with the congregation in Dnipro. He taught some lessons, paid a visit to some disabled Christians. Ruslan is very active in the congregation of Bela Tserkva. He taught a few lessons and part in the street evangelism efforts. These are some news about our students' summer activities. And in my next report I'll write some more about their work.

Thank you all who continue supporting our Institute and the work of the congregations in Ukraine. We appreciate your involvement a lot.

Your brother and co-worker in the Lord's Vineyard,

Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on July 13, 2019 .

Graduation in Ukraine

Dear brethren and churches,

I'd like share with you the happy news from our Bible Institute. This year we had three graduates. On the one hand, it's a very joyous event but, on the other hand, two years ago there were 9 students who had started the studies and only three of them crossed the finish line. And two more students will graduate after they take a few more courses to meet all requirements of our Institute. Sadly, four students were asked to leave. Some of them didn't have good Christian morals and the others could not keep up with the load of academic work.

Our graduates got their Diplomas and now they can use their knowledge in practical ways. I'd like to write in detail about all graduates and their plans for future.

Sergey Khovrich is staying in Bela Tserkva for now. He has plans to evangelize in a tight security incarceration place. One of them is located within the city limits. He has some personal experience of prison life and quite possibly it's the best way for him to use his Biblical knowledge and practical skills.

Sergey Omelchenko moved his family to Bela Tserkva about a year ago and they are currently considering staying here. Originally they are from Konstantinivka. The family has three children. The older ones attend local schools and a little girl is in a kindergarten. Two weeks ago their oldest daughter was baptized for the forgiveness of sins and now Dasha is a part of our spiritual family. For a quiet family life Bela Tserkva is a reasonable choice. Not too far from Kiyv, the capital of Ukraine. There are job opportunities and the rentals are affordable. For now, Sergey was able to get employment at a saw mill. This job didn't require any work experience and Sergey went for it. His wife is employed as an administrator at a beauty parlor.

Oleg Fofanov returned to his home city of Konstantinivka upon receiving his diploma. Two years ago he was very serious about becoming their full-time preacher. I'm not sure if he had any change of plans but he has a really good potential to become an excellent preacher and leader for a local congregation. Oleg was a very diligent student and we will be praying for his right choices.

There is another great news, in my opinion. Our graduate of the last year Arthur Litvinenko who helped the work of Lviv Church of Christ decided to move to the city of Kremenchug where he plans to work with the local congregation.  He will be preaching and doing evangelical work. I think that this is definitely a step forward. With the Lord's help our graduates are preaching in many cities of Ukraine.

As of our potential students we have two who committed to study and three more who are still thinking about it. Every new school year it's a challenge and hope in God's help to find the right candidates. My last recruitment trip was to Zaporizzha. The local congregation has a lot of young men who are in the boarding school. Local preachers have worked with these young people for years and it has been fruitful.

And last but not the least, I'd like to express our sincere appreciation for everyone who supports the ministry of our Bible Institute. Firstly, to our sponsors who generously give this time, efforts and funds to continue training of the preachers in Ukraine. Secondly, our deep appreciation goes out to our Instructors and their families, both in Ukraine and the United States. This year we had Jim Sherman and Keith Kasarjian who attended the graduation ceremony. Even though very busy in the States they found time for us. We are very thankful to Terry Harmon, our extension coordinator, for his patience and hard work. And thanks to people who assist with our communicative needs - to our translators Konstanin Kisilenko and Natasha Parakhin. There many more name of the faithful people who work with us. Dear loved ones, your reward is great! Thank you for your help.

Your brother and co-worker,

Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on June 10, 2019 .

Graduation in Ukraine

It was my honor and pleasure to attend the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley school in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine. This school is special in many ways, one of them being that it was the first Bear Valley international school. Beginning in 1997, it is the longest running school.

Director Denis Sopelnik does an outstanding job and he is assisted by Coordinator Terry Harmon. The school in Ukraine has a pool of outstanding and experienced teachers and the church nationwide is constantly being blessed by their efforts. Supplementing their work are teachers from the U.S., such as Jim Sherman, Denton Landon, Mike Underwood, and L.T. Gurganus.

While this years class was smaller than usual, next year’s promises to be a little larger than usual and currently recruiting is ahead of pace from last year. May God bless the strongest school of preaching in all of Europe!

Keith Kasarjian

Posted on May 27, 2019 .

An amazing transformation in Ukraine

Dear brethren,
Last month was really busy and productive.
The Bible Institute had L. T. Garganus teaching the course on Jeremiah and brother Dmitry Galuik who came to teach Luke. The first year students had Ezekiel (I was the Instructor) and currently they are studying Daniel with Albert Bagdasaryan. The second year students had 1 and 2 Corinthians and Personal Evangelism (Dennis Sopelnik) and Revelation (Andrew Zhuravlev). As you see, the schedule is very tight. All Instructors send some homework as well, so students don't have much free time. I feel that busy schedule helps our students learn how to deal with stress as well as sluggishness. I've noticed that the second year students manage their time much better and have enough time to study, workout, etc.

In a few weeks we'll have summer break and our students will start evangelical practice. Usually they return to their home congregations and help with activities there. They also receive assignments from the Institute, such as to teach some lessons and deliver sermons, help local preacher to visit brothers and sisters, help with building maintenance and run errands. We want them to get skills for successful work with people. They can't get them by sitting in the classroom most of the time. The good servant of God needs to know how to interact and communicate with real people.

I'd like to share with you a life story of one of our graduate. On May 25th he will get a certificate on successful completion of all the study courses assigned by the Bible Institute Administration. His name is Sergey Khovrich, he is 50+. Half of his life he was incarcerated because he was a criminal. He was a figure of respect and authority in criminal circles. But the Gospel touched his heart while he was still in prison. First those were denominational teachers who brought them the New Testaments and taught false doctrines. By studying the Bible, Sergey noticed that a lot of doctrines differed from the ones from the Word of God. It was a few years before he met evangelists from the Church of Christ. From that moment on his life's changed. He found the Pearl he was searching. Being released from the prison he was faithful in attending church services. It was not typical for a prison convert because most of them loose their faith and return to the old life style upon their release. Later Sergey had found out about our Institute from the leadership of their congregation and they contacted me. He was interviewed, got his medical papers and came Bila Tserkva to study. I had my doubts knowing his history. But God does unbelievable. Sergey proved to be a decent student who took his studies seriously. He was a good example for other students. Now he wants to work with difficult people with the problems similar to the ones he used to have. When contemplating this I realize that our work is not in vain. Doing God's will step by step, we see changes in people's lives. 

We are thankful to all brethren who sacrificially donate to our ministry and trust us to use these funds for sharing the Gospel.

We pray for brother Keith Kasarjian's, his son and Jim Sherman's safe travels and as well as their ministry.
Our spiritual family sends their greetings and gratitude.
Your brother and co-worker,

Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on May 14, 2019 .

Inspiring dedication in Ukraine

Ukraine 1.jpg

Dear brethren, churches and everyone who is interested in the news from Ukrainian,

Currently our country is electing the President who will be in the office next five years. It's very important for our people. A lot will depend on the person in power. Only two candidates are left for the second round. They are our current President and a professional comedian. Please pray for us, for the future of the Lord's church.

Last month our students had a week of practical evangelism. Most of our students went back to their home congregations and helped their local ministry. I was very impressed by the work of two of our students Lena and Rosa in Slovaynsk. They had Bible lessons for kids in the local boarding school and taught ladies class in the church. Our young men were productive as well. Eljune, our first year student, is very active with teenagers. By the way, he visits his local congregation in the city of Kamenskoe every weekend not wanting to miss the services there. The distance to cover from Bella Tserkva to Kamenskoe is 380 miles one way.  He doesn't own a vehicle so he catches night trains to be back in time for classes. I appreciate his desire to help the congregation where he grew up and was converted.

Vitaly and Ruslan helped their local congregations as well. Vitaly taught classes and helped with the Sunday services in the city of Dnipro.  Taras is still working with children in Skvira. He tries to get our students involved in children's ministry. He has good leadership qualities and I hope he will become a great servant of God.

There are some encouraging news from our student Sergey Omelchenko. The treatment course for his TB is over and now he is allowed to take his meds at home. His kind of TB is not contagious so he is back to the classroom since April, 1.

I'm actively searching for potential students for the next school year. As of now, we have 2 candidates. Last month and in the beginning of this month I visited the congregation in Lviv and two congregations in Kamenskoe. And I have a list of other congregations I am to visit by the end of summer.

This school year we encountered a few situations when our Ukrainian Instructors couldn't come and teach their courses due to their health issues and the notice was very short. Of course, I had to make adjustments in the schedule and a lot of times teach the additional courses myself. It made me think that we need a permanent member of the teaching faculty in Bela Tserkva. As of now, it's only my hope and dream. However, we are working on it. Our local Minister Konstantin Kisilenko joined the Masters' Program so I hope he will be able to teach soon.  He's been helping us a lot over the years interpreting courses of all of our American Instructors. Please join me in prayer for this need.

We are grateful to everyone who actively helps the Ministry of our Bible Institute. Your help is deeply appreciated. It's great to know people who have our back and ready to step in at any moment.

Your brother and co-worker in the Lord's vineyard,

Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on April 23, 2019 .

More printed material in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In this report I'd like to share with you the news from Bear Valley Bible Institute.

Last month we printed the second portion of "The Commentary on the Book of Daniel and Intertestamental Period". We printed them 1,000 copies at a time. After receiving them from the printers we ship them to the Church of Christ congregations upon their request. The only expense that the local congregations have to cover is the shipping cost. I received a lot of thank you messages from Ukrainian brethren who got the book. They appreciate this ministry and rejoice that their congregations' library received such a welcomed addition of good quality book. We thank God and our brethren who support this ministry with their sacrificial donations.

Last month our first year students had 1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles (taught by Vitaly Rodichev), Minor Prophets (Andrew Zhuravlev) and started the book of Isaiah (Denton Landon) while the second year students had Prison Epistles (Michael Underwood) and Hebrews (Dennis Sopelnik).

It's much warmer outside and our students carry on with the street evangelism. They usually take some Christian publications and a foldable table. We place it in places close to public transportation key locations and distribute tracts and invitations. Sometime people stop to ask questions and ask to gift them the Bible. We usually initiate a conversation about the salvation of their soul and invite them to come to Sunday services.

I request your prayers on behalf of our brother Sergey Omelchenko who is still hospitalized and most likely will have to continue receiving treatments for a few months. TB treatment procedures in Ukraine usually last over 4 months.

Our graduation this school year is scheduled for May 25 for both Bachelor and Master's programs. So it's double joy. We expect American and Ukrainian Instructors as well as Keith Kasarjian, the Bear Valley Bible Institute Director of International Studies. We will be glad to see everyone who has a chance to visit us and attend the 2019 graduation.

March 31 is the President election day in Ukraine. We ask you to join us in our prayers for reasonable choice of the new leader of the country. It's crucially important that the new government won't persecute Christianity and we will be able to freely share the Gospel.

Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support for the Institute.

God bless!

Your brother in Christ,   Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on March 12, 2019 .

A special seminar in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters,

I'd like to share with you news about the events at our Bible Institute that took place in January and February.

The first few days of the year I spent with my family. We enjoy spending some time distanced from the rest of people, having recreational family activities such as playing with our girls, visiting parks, going for a walk, etc.

The new school semester started on January 8th. Our students returned from their winter break and prepared to resume their studies. Thus, the first year students had the Wisdom Literature (Instructor - Dennis Sopelnik), Judges and Ruth (Chris Moran), 1 and 2 Samuel (Viktor Semikoz) and Minor Prophets (Andrew Zhuravlev). The second year students had World's Religion (Albert Bagdasaryan), Homiletics II (Stanislav Kuropyatnikov), Galatians (Walter Raubyrn), 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (Michael Underwood). As you have noticed we had quite a few Instructions from the States.

When finished teaching their courses brothers Chris and Walter took part in the winter lectureship in the Carpathian Mountains. It was the second annual lectureship that's organized and hosted by American and Ukrainian brethren. The main goal of the event is to unite and encourage the congregations in the Western Ukraine. Few days in the mountains, wonderful lessons and Christian fellowship produce good results, and, as one of the attendees commented to me, this year the hugs were genuine and welcomed, more family like. At the same time there was another lectureship in the Eastern Ukraine. Thus Christians from both sides of Ukraine didn't miss any joy of visiting their lectureship.

The Bible Institute is working well. We currently have 10 students. And one more student (Tamara) occasionally takes the courses she has missed. This year we anticipate 5 students finishing the program. They'll graduate and receive their diplomas.

Our student and brother Sergey Omelchenko is back to the hospital, he was diagnosed with TB and he needed urgent treatments. I request your prayers for his recovery and boldness to preach while he's in the hospital.

And, finally, last Saturday Michael Underwood had a one-day seminar on leadership. He taught a lot about the eldership and how local congregations can prepare for such an important step. There were 20-25 people attending the event. We all had a great time and were able to raise and discuss questions that were important to us. As you know, only very few congregations in Ukraine have eldership, the majority of us go by the decisions of the men's meetings. So, we need to prepare and finalize this matter. We are very thankful to Michael and his wife Janine for their ministry in Ukraine. They come three years in a row and efficiently respond to our spiritual needs.

My family, our students and Instructors send their greetings to you and sincere appreciation of you support and prayers. We love you and we are looking forward to your possible visit, so you can come and see the fruit of our joined efforts, as His Kingdom is growing.

Your brother and co-worker in the Lord's vineyard,

Dennis Sopelnik

Posted on February 18, 2019 .

Prayers requested from Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters,

I'd like to share with you some latest news from Ukraine. It's winter time here and the temperature outside drops below zero. Nobody minds it really and in a couple of days the schools and Universities will resume classes after the winter break. Our Bible Institute classes started on January 8th. So students had got two weeks for winter break. Most of them left Bela Tserkva to go back to their home towns.

I request some special prayers for our second year student Sergiy Omelchenko. He had high fever for more than three weeks and the doctors could not determine what was causing it. Eventually he was hospitalized in Kiyv and they ran more detailed tests. As the result they found some specific virus in his lungs. I'm not a doctor and I can't explain it better but as far as I understood it the virus resembles a form of hidden tuberculosis. It's very sad indeed because his family can't afford any extensive treatment. Of course, we try to help them out but it's very expensive and will take a few months.

In December we had Ukrainian members of our staff teaching the courses. So, the first year students had the book of Genesis (by Viktor Semikoz), Exodus - Deuteronomy (Dennis Sopelnik), Godhead, Angels and Satan (Vitaly Rodichev), Gospels by Matthew and Mark (Albert Bagdasaryan) and the second year students had 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (Dennis Sopelnik), Book of Acts (Vladimir Paziy) and Denominational Doctrines (Andrew Zhuravlev).

We are planning on having a one-day seminar in February where we want to discuss the subject of appointing elders in Ukrainian congregations of the Church of Christ. As of now, there are a few congregations with potential candidates. Our brother Mike Underwood agreed to share his experience and insight on this matter. I hope when everything falls in place we will have sound and mature men to lead the congregations and encourage us to follow the Lord.

Before the beginning of the winter break we traditionally had a lot of fellowship with our students and spend our time in encouragement, prayers and discussions. In my opinion the strong ties between our students and Instructors are very important. Friendship that started in the Institute will last for years to come. We have graduates who stayed so close that they went together to establish new congregations of the Church of Christ.

The Commentary on the Book of Daniel was sent to the publishing house and we are very excited to get the books soon. Undoubtedly it helps many preachers thoroughly ponder the Word of God. We are thankful to everyone who participated in the project.

In this report I'd like to thank all brethren who generously sacrifice their funds to support the ministry of the Bible Institute in our country. Ukraine is pretty much the only country in Europe where the true meaning of Christianity became wide spread. And we owe it to a lot of you.

My family sends their greetings. Your brother,  Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on January 15, 2019 .

Exciting news from Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters,

In this report I'd like to share with you the latest news from some local congregations of the Church of Christ and our Bible Institute.

In November our first year students had Genesis (taught by Viktor Semikoz), Godhead, Satan and Angels (Vitality Rodichev) and Deuteronomy (Dennis Sopelnik). And the second year students studied 1 and 2 Thessalonians (Dennis Sopelnik), Book of Acts (Vladimir Paziy) and Denominational Doctrines (Andrew Zhuravlev). This year Exodus-Deuteronomy was to be taught by our Instructor and Chernivtsy Church of Christ Minister Dmitry Galuik.

 Our second year students are doing great helping with the church activities. One of them, Taras Danilenko goes to Skvira Church of Christ every Saturday to help the congregation. He teaches children Bible class. Our student Masha Rodicheva help them with crafts part of the lesson. It's a huge encouragement for the brethren of Skvira. The other student Eldjune Aliev started youth group meetings in the local congregation. He attracts young people through his professional basketball career. They study the Bible, have fellowship and encourage each other.

I'm actively searching for the new recruits for the next school year. From time to time I contact different preachers and church members to check on the congregation, sometimes I visit them and meet potential recruits. Occasionally I will get recommendations, the other times I have to keep my eyes open for new contacts. It's a lot like fishing. You have the best bait but still don't know for sure if you get the catch. I ask you to pray that our Institute will find people who like to save souls.

The other good news to share is that next month we will publish next book (commentary on the book of Daniel) with the help of brother Jim Mettenbrink. This is the second book to be published in Bela Tserkva. This project is interesting in the sense that we ship the books to the individuals who requested it as well as to the congregations that require them as assistance in their Bible study. We still have about 60% of the first book left but the churches occasionally request additional copies. We also pray for finding ways to ship the books to the congregations in Russia. The problem is their customs ban on spiritual literature.

Our Bible Institute was first registered in Ukraine in 2007, more than 10 years ago. Every year I have to report our activities to the government. Most of the time, it's a brief report to prove that we are not a commercial establishment and we do profit financially from our activities. So I was genuinely surprised to find out that our Diploma gives our graduates credits that will allow them to continue their studies in other Institutes that support their major. Thus, four of our graduates study Christian Education in the University of Kiev. They have a unique opportunity to influence secular education. God is abundant in His blessings and merciful!

Thank you for your prayers and your support of our students. Generosity of so many of you is a great example for us.

In Christian love and with the deep appreciation,

Your brother Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on December 18, 2018 .

Evangelism in Ukraine

Dear brethren,

I'd like to share with you the news about our Bible Institute and some local congregations of the Church of Christ.

First of all, I need to clarify some details about the book publishing project. Jim Mettenbrink asked me to do so. He is not the author of the book that was published in Bela Tserkva. The Commentary on Isaiah was written by Homer Hailey and Robert Harkrider.

In October our first-year students had Christian Apologetics (Instructor Albert Bagdasaryan) and Hermeneutics (Dennis Sopelnik). The second-year students had Intertestamental Period (Dennis Sopelnik) and Minor Prophets (Andrew Zhuravlev).

Currently our students have a week of evangelism practice. They return to their local congregations and help the ministry of the Church. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to get real life knowledge of interacting with people in the church ministry. Ruslan Gaevsky and Oleg Fofanov went back to their home town of Konstantinovka where they work with the local congregation. They teach classes and do street evangelism. Our students Rosa, Lena and Masha went to Kramatorsk and Slovyansk to work with children. Eldjune Aliev who is a first year student managed to visit more than one congregation in Poltava and Kamenskoe. He does a good job encouraging the church members and many brethren are very thankful for his help. We made a few efforts of street evangelism in Bela Tserkva as well. People were curious, they would come and look at the Biblical literature, ask questions about the Church and promise to come but fail to keep the promise.

This week we host the Masters Program at the church building. This is the last in-class session for our future graduates. As far as I understand the big picture we have three graduates from Masters program in the upcoming year Uriy Romanov, Bogdan Chigvintsev and Dmitry Kuropiatnikov. I will try to involve them in the program upon their graduation, encourage them to help us out in the capacity of Instructors. During the 3 years of study they proved to be diligent students with good grades and they all have desire to use their talents in the Kingdom.

I'd like to request your prayers for Sveta who has been a regular visitor in the church for the last six months. We will schedule more specific Bible study on her personal salvation. Her daughter Katia and she come to all church activities and try to live Christian life. We introduced them to the Word of God gradually and now we need to encourage her to make the most important decision so she will have eternal life with God.

In November and December we usually have Ukrainian Instructors. These are the colder months of the year and it's reasonable to use local preachers and teachers. Beginning November 12 we start the second quarter that will end on December 21.

May God continue to bless you. Greetings to all churches, individual brothers and sisters who help us in our Ministry.

Your brother and co-worker,

Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on November 24, 2018 .

Graduation upcoming in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters, churches and families,

I'd like to share with you the news about our Institute April's events.

This year we graduate 7 of our students. The graduation is May 26th and it's a very joyous day. Two years ago 11 students had joined the program but unfortunately 4 of them didn't cross the finish line. Some of them were expelled as a result of some disciplinary actions but some decided to quit due to the rigorous study requirements. We are sorry that it happens but I'm not sure I know how to avoid such occurrences. We have a set of requirements for our potential students. First, they have to get a reference letter from their home congregation men's business meeting or eldership. Secondly, a student has to be an active member of the Church for at least three years prior to joining our program. Then they have to have a formal meeting with our recruiting staff members and produce the medical card. We are very determined to choose the right people stopping those who are not interested in preaching the truth. However, only after the first few months of the program we get the real picture.

This year so far we have a few recruits hoping to find more potential students during the summer time. So, I'd like to request prayers for new students of the Ukrainian extension.

The other big news is that I have an opportunity to study with people who are confused by denominational teachings. We found a group of people who gather on Sundays and worship with no leadership. They asked us to come and preach for them on Sunday afternoons. So I had a chance to meet them and have a Bible study. I taught about the true Church and we had started the discussion of the plan of salvation. We pray that these seeds grow and produce good fruit and their hearts will be open to receiving the truth.

In April our first year students had Ezekiel (taught by D. Sopelnik), Book of Daniel (taught by A. Bagdasaryan) and the Gospel of Luke (taught by Viktor Semikoz) while the second year students had 1 and 2 Corinthians (D. Sopelnik), Personal Evangelism (A. Rodichev) and the Book of Revelation (taught by A. Zhuravlev).

Now we are getting ready for the summer evangelism practice. Usually the students return to their home congregations where they have to practically apply their knowledge. We discuss the details of the activities with the local preachers and they come up with a plan of what needs to be done by our students. This time of the year is interesting in the way that each of them can try and see how they feel in the position of a preacher. Each of then have a list of activities for every month usually including visiting the sick and those who are not faithful in attendance, pulpit preaching, active participation in Sunday services, etc.

And also our students are still very active in street evangelism. They purchased a microphone and a speaker. Some people stop and listen, usually very interested in the Scripture reading, but unfortunately that's the extent of their interest. During the whole last year only one person visited the church being attracted by the street evangelism. It reminds me of God's words addressed to Ezekiel 33:32, "And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one who hath a pleasant voice... for they hear thy words, but they do them not".

Thank you all who keep us in your prayers and supports the ministry of Bear Valley Bible Institute. We are very thankful for your generosity and care.

Your brother in Christ,

Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on May 15, 2018 .

Student evangelism in Ukraine

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the beginning of March, we had to unexpectedly deal with a housing problem. The landlords of the apartment we had been renting for the students for a few years sold it. We had to look for a new place. In Ukraine there are no strict laws about giving enough notice and sometimes they just give you no time. Thank God we were able to find a new place within a week and the problem was resolved. Sadly, if you are a renter in Ukraine you can be asked to vacate the premises by the end of the next day even though you had a legit rental agreement. The great news is the Jesus guarantees us a place in Heaven and He never neglects His promises.

In the end of the month our students had a week of practical evangelism in Kyiv, Konstantinovka, Bela Tserkva and Slovyansk. During the week our students distributed the tracts and had some personal approach conversations with public. In Bela Tserkva one lady with a child started coming to the church services. This was the second time they came, and she said she enjoyed the atmosphere in the Lord’s Church.

Also, the home study group brings good fruit. The students get together in the apartment that is rented by the Institute and have a Bible study. They invite neighbors to join. Starting from September of the last year they’ve had a regular Friday night study. The instructors helped them occasionally. But now more then ever some new visitors join them for the Bible Study.

In March our first-year students had the Book of Job (taught by Dmitry Galyuk) and the Wisdom Literature (Dennis Sopelnik), while the second year students had Religions of the World (Albert Bagdasaryan) and Contemporary Religious Thought (Dennis Sopelnik).

I had a wonderful opportunity to join Shevchenko District Church of Christ in Kiyv on the last Sunday of the month. Our graduate Yuriy Romanov is their preacher. He is working really hard and contributing a lot to the growth of the congregation. Yuriy graduated one year ago and since then he’s been teaching the sound doctrine to the brethren in Kiyv. Yuriy has a beautiful family with his wife Katya and their son Matthew. They do a lot for the Lord. This congregation numbers 25 people now. Since the history of this congregation is very complicated and they’d been through a few splits, in my opinion, all things considered, they are doing well now and work really hard on the growth of this congregation.

Our home congregation plans to host the Ladies Day in April. Our sisters do it regularly once a year. Usually we have a good attendance from different parts of Ukraine. We request your prayers for the event.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to all churches and individual supporters of the Bear Valley Bible Institute ministry. I’m very positive that so far we’ve accomplished so much due to your faithful sacrificial efforts and support.

God bless you, Your brother Dennis Sopelnik.

Posted on April 24, 2018 .

Big news in Ukraine!

In Bila Tserkva, Ukraine to school continues to do very well. This month's report contains some especially good news that now a Ukrainian congregation has begun supporting the school! This is an important step and these brethren are to be commended. You will enjoy reading the rest of the update HERE. 

Posted on March 20, 2018 .

Classes resume in Ukraine

It is very cold in Ukraine and the students all wear coats and hats IN the classroom, but that doesn't dampen their spirits. Things continue to go very well in Ukraine and you will enjoy this update from Director, Denis Sopelnik. Click HERE.

Posted on February 12, 2018 .

Good news from Ukraine

I recently told you about the 20th Anniversary celebration in Ukraine and now Director Denis Sopelnik has sent a report with pictures from that day, along with other happenings in Ukraine. See it all HERE

Posted on November 27, 2017 .

20th Anniversary celebration in Ukraine

In October of 1997, the Bear Valley Bible Institute began what has now become its International Extension program. Little could we have ever known how mightily God would use that school, and the extension program overall, to His glory.

BBVI President, Denny Petrillo and I were there, along with Coordinator Terry Harmon and Director Denis Soplenik to celebrate this momentous occasion. For two days we had a lectureship that focused on the future of the church and the school in Ukraine. On the final day we reminisced about the past 20 years and thanked God for all the ways He has blessed the school during that time.

The school is doing well and is not resting on its laurels. There are currently 14 students enrolled and already several prospects for the next intake. Through its graduates, this school has had tremendous influence on the entire country of Ukraine and even a few other nations, too. Thank you for your continued prayers and support in Ukraine.


Keith Kasarjian

Posted on October 31, 2017 .

20th Anniversary in Ukraine

The first Bear Valley extension began in Kramatorsk, Ukraine in 1997 and it is celebrating it's 20th anniversary! God has richly blessed this nation through the school. The Ukraine extension also was blessed this past week by have BVBI President Denny Petrillo come and teach a course. Read more about the happenings in Ukraine HERE

Posted on October 12, 2017 .

A new outreach in Ukraine

The school in Ukraine continues to do well in the classroom (they've recently had two guest teachers) and to make a difference in their community. They've started a new outreach that you can read about HERE. 

Posted on March 6, 2017 .