March 2012 Update From Jim & Katya

Some Much Time, So Little to Do… Stop, Reverse that! (March 2012)

 

This line comes from one of my favorite movies: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, with Gene Wilder).  It accurately describes how I often feel.  Both short on time and often getting everything backwards.

 

Time in Ukraine is different from time in the US.  And I’m not referring to the time zone difference.  I’m thinking about how time is viewed here.  For me, I have always tried to be very efficient, and, if I’m not early, I’m late.  But in Ukraine, time is much more fluid because there are so many intangibles.  And everything takes much, much longer than in the US.

 

So as I’m trying to get prepared for my next class, I’m looking at everything I still have to do and wondering, “Where does my time go?”  Much of it is consumed in with transportation issues.  If we had a car (I don’t want one – other headaches with upkeep and crazy drivers), we could get most places in about 15-20 minutes.  But with the transportation system, it takes us at least an hour—if everything runs on time.  Since we travel to other side of Kiev 4-5 times a week, this takes at least 2-3 hours away from my time.  But, зто жизнь (it’s life here).

 

Second, personal relationships and birthdays, and holiday celebrations are very important here.  There is a social obligation not just to congratulate people but usually to sit down and “drink tea.”  Drinking tea always includes eating—a lot, for a long time.  It seems like we have something almost every week.  That means 2-3 hours of transportation plus a couple of hours to “have tea” and congratulate someone. Зто жизнь.

 

But few things bother me more than the fluid way time is seen here in Ukraine.  Waiting in line here is normal and so you have to factor that in for almost anything also.  And when something is scheduled at a certain time, it will rarely start then—adding more time than I originally planned.  I could write much, much more about how time seems to fade away here but I don’t really have the time to do so! 🙂

 

Preparations

Right now, I am working on Powerpoints for Eschatology and Pneumatology.  I have to get these finished before April so the translator has time to get everything translated.  But I’m enjoying working on lectures about heaven, hell and the death of believers.  It is encouraging to be reminded that this world is not our home—we are only passing through.  (But this is hard to remember when I seem to be wasting time waiting in line!)  Fortunately, in heaven, we will have all of eternity and won’t be rushed by time and schedules.  Be praying for me as I work to get these lectures finished this month.

 

Praises

I am always amazed to hear the stories of the students that attend our seminary.  One new student is a retired Pentecostal chaplain.  He is only in the diploma program but he is taking classes that the degree students have to take—not because he has too but because he wants to learn.  He chose to come to our seminary (Baptist) because we see the importance of education and reading.  He hopes that he can help people in his ministry to understand the importance of theology, church history and proper hermeneutics.  How exciting to see his enthusiasm!

 

Prayer Needs

Thank you for praying for new support team members!  We added a number this fall and this has helped our finances.  We still need to add a few more so please keep praying.  We are so blessed that the few who do support us are so generous and so faithful!

 

Be praying for us as we start up a new approach to ESL.  One very talented lady in our church is beginning an “English Coffee Club.”  We will be trying to reach out to university students near our church with a conversational format that involves a coffeehouse format.  We begin on Wednesday, March 14th.  Be praying for us!

 

Katya and I are also organizing our “Key to the Heart” seminar/retreat (about men/women relationships).  It takes place April 20-22.  We are organizing topics and speakers this week.  Be praying for the speakers, the seminar and for the young people who will be attending.

 

Also, continue to pray for my time for Russian studies.  I am definitely making progress but not like I want.  Sometimes it is very frustrating.  Sometimes, I can understand a lot and even carry on simple conversations.  At other times, I feel like my brain doesn’t understand a word!

 

Thanks for your prayers for us and for your support!  May the Lord bless you for your partnership with us in this ministry! 

 

Thinking of Heaven’s Rest … Here is a quote from Richard Baxter about our rest in heaven:

We shall rest also from all the trouble and pain of duty.  The conscientious magistrate now cries out, “Oh, the burden that lies upon me!”  The conscientious parents, who know the preciousness of their children’s souls and the constant pains required to their godly education, cry out, “Oh, the burden!”  The conscientious minister when he reads his charge and views his pattern; when he has tried awhile what it is to study, and pray and preach; to go from house to house, and from neighbor to neighbor, and to beseech them night and day with tears, and, after all, be hated and persecuted for so doing—no wonder if he cries out, “Oh, the burden!”

And seldom does a minister live to see the ripeness of his people.  But one sows and plants, another waters, and a third reaps and receives the increase.  To inform the old ignorant sinner, to convince the stubborn and worldly wise, to persuade a willful, resolved wretch, to prick a stony heart to the quick, to make a rock to weep and tremble, to set forth Christ according to our necessity and His excellency, to comfort the soul whom God dejects, to clear up dark and difficult truths, to oppose with convincing arguments all gainsayers, to credit the gospel with exemplary conversations, when multitudes do but watch for our halting.  Oh, who is sufficient for these things?  So that every conscientious Christian cries out, “Oh, the burden!  Oh, my weakness that makes it so burdensome!”  But our eternal rest will ease us of the burden.

 

I guess that is the answer to my time-struggles here and now.  Still … so much to do now… so much to look forward to later!

 

And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” Revelation 14:13

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