We’ve been back in Kiev for nearly a month getting things ready for this semester. Classes began a couple of weeks ago but my first class does not begin until September 12th. I’ll be teaching Christology to third year students. I’m working on notes for this class right now. Be praying for me as I teach next week. I spent much of the first few weeks getting our computers running again. We had to replace our computer here in Ukraine and, the same week, the computer in Arkansas failed too! Thanks to the help of Johnnie Baker in Cabot, our computers are now operating again (even better than before). Katya has also been especially busy with admitting new students and with getting everything organized in the Registrar’s Office for this semester. Thanks for praying for us as we have transitioned back into the ministry here after a wonderful summer in the US.
At our church (Open Hearts), we are preparing to begin ESL classes. This is an important outreach for our church. Many young people want to learn English and so they will come to ESL classes at our church. Last year, we had nearly 40 students. Through the ESL classes, we build relationships and invite the students to a Bible Study. There are usually only a few who will come to the Bible Study. But many of the students who are now at our church came to faith through this outreach (and through the summer ESL camp). Please pray for us as we prepare to build relationships with these students.
Also at our church, Katya and I were asked to be in charge of Christian Education and Discipleship. This will be a big responsibility for us. It includes coordinating Sunday School, small groups, retreats and discipleship. Also, we are planning to have daily Bible Study sheets to prepare people for the message each Sunday (“Green Sheets” for those of you at the Bible Church of Cabot). We are beginning the book of Genesis next week. Be praying as we start to preach through this foundational book of the Bible.
I’m continuing to work on Russian. I’ve been trying to do 3-4 hours each day but I also have to spend time working on classes too. It is difficult to juggle my time schedule between teaching, church ministry and language studies, especially when I need to be giving full-time to study Russian. But I’m seeing improvement, especially in my listening and comprehension.
Most important thing to be praying for right now is my visa renewal. This is something I have to do every year. This year, my visa expires on December 1st. That means I have to leave the country and go to a Ukrainian Embassy outside Ukraine to renew the visa before December 1st. Right now, we are trying to get documents together to renew it in Krakow, Poland. This is the closest and least expensive place to go. We are going to go in October because I will be teaching every week in November. We are hoping that we can get the renewal date changed to something like August 1st so I can renew when I am in the states for the summer. Be praying that I can get all my documents processed before we leave. I need letters of invitation for the Baptist Union and from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. It’s not hard but it can take some time (and money!). Also, pray for Katya’s visa process. One complication we constantly run into is that she needs a visa to go to any of the EU countries (I don’t). I need a visa to go to any of the former USSR republics (she doesn’t). So nearly every time we have to travel somewhere (except the US), one of us needs to get a visa. It’s complicated and a little expensive too. Pray that everything goes smoothly.
Please continue to pray about our support levels. This week I am beginning to send out letters to other friends about becoming part of our support team. Right now, we have 19 people who faithfully support us here. We would like to think in terms of people added to our support team rather than focusing on the money needed. Be praying that we can add at least 11 more people in the coming months.
On our website, there are two links with short YouTube videos that show something about the impact this ministry is having. Check them out when you get a chance! Church Planting Video clip … KTS Students graduating at Talbot Theological Seminary.
Thank you again for your support and your prayers. I’ve always understood how important support was to missionaries – but now, living in another country, my appreciation has greatly increased!!! Thank you for making it possible for us to minister here in Ukraine.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life. Psalm 36:7-9