TAKE COURAGE! IT IS I.
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” (Matthew 14:27)
May 1 to August 31, 2017
When the disciples cried out as Jesus walked on the water, Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” When Jesus said “Take courage,” he was imparting divine courage into their hearts. When Jesus is with us we can even walk on water, like Peter. It is safer to be on the water with Jesus than to be in the boat without him. Walking on the water seems to have no firm ground. We could sink and drown. But when we focus our eyes on Jesus, who is the great I am, Almighty God, Creator of the universe and Lord of Lords we can overcome any circumstances, life threatening or not. This summer taught us this in so many ways, in so many different countries.
Usually Summer time is down time for Student ministry as students go home for vacation and leave our campuses. But this summer God gave us many opportunities to be very active. First the month of May started with our Bible seminar on Inductive Bible study led by Pastor Ron Ward and Dr. Mark Yang. Seven of our students came, six from KMA (Kyiv Mohyla Academy University) and several of them even memorized the Bible passages. Sofia was appointed as the new student president for the Christian Student club, Lumen in KMA university. The former president Darina, asked Pastor Ron Ward to pray over her. Both Darina and Sofia have been coming to our Sunday Worship Service and are participating as translators and preparing media presentation. Sofia also serves as a music servant. Darina is studying the Bible one to one and wants to teach two other students the Bible. Sofia will begin Bible study soon.
In June we had a KMA student outreach called Anchor. To help students put their anchor in Christ. We worked with other Christian organizations to make this event successful. Together with them we rented a boat and had praise and worship, testimony, skit and encouraging word of God. Our children, Sarah, Christy and Johnny came to support this event and our daughters helped with music. We had 160 attendance and many were KMA students. In a time of students apathy toward spiritual things, this outreach exposed them to Jesus.
Since all our children came to Ukraine to visit us we decided to visit other European chapters beginning with Lisbon, Portugal UBF. Misn. Matthew Singh has a growing ministry. They have many sincere young people who want to serve God. Paul and Sarah later left as a missionary family to Africa. Though Misn. Matthew works full-time, he serves the ministry with Sunday messages and Bible studies. Nuno helps with Message preparations.
Then we went to Nantes, France and visited Bruno Aussant’s ministry. He took us to Normandy where he grew up and showed us the American Cemetery there. He told us he was deeply moved by the sacrifice of the Americans to come to France to help liberate them from the Nazis. Many lost their lives for the freedom of the French people which were not their people or country. As our family saw the many crosses it deeply moved us. We also saw Omaha beach where the soldiers landed. It was an impenetrable fortress yet they came willingly to give their lives for the sake of freedom.
Nantes UBF meets in a small rented room that barely fits 20 people. But the Sunday that we came, there were over 30 people. Six from our family and Daniel Matuch from Chicago also came and brought two of his friends from Nantes. Misn. John gave the Sunday message translated by Bruno. Their ministry is growing. We were deeply moved by the coworkers who took turns to host and serve us. They have a spirit of sacrifice. Bruno took vacation from work to be with us. Together we are praying for a bigger center for them. On our way back to Kyiv we went to Paris and met with Daniel Matuch and Gabriel a former Paris UBF coworker. We prayed together for God’s blessing in their and our ministries. The beautiful churches and chapels in Paris shows the past spiritual desires of her people. May a revival spark again in this country beginning in Nantes.
When we came back we had our Bible retreat in the Carpathian mountains. Ruth Dentsenko from Moscow and her three boys came and joined us. Maria Joy gave the message on James 1:19-27 about Pure and Faultless religion. The key verse was 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word….Do what it says.” She encouraged us to put to practice what we believe. This retreat not only challenged us spiritually but physically as well. We climbed two mountains. On the way down, Roma proposed to Yulia. That night we heard Anna's testimony and we had a prayer for Roma and Yulia’s house church. They are both KMA students and faithful leaders in our ministry. Yulia just graduated with a master on Social Work last June. Roman is finishing his masters on computer programing. They decided to establish a house church on October 14 of this year. This is our first house church in Podil which is an answer to our prayers.
On August we sent four sisters to Encounter 2017 in Germany with the theme of True Worship. Natalia and Yana went as assistant Group Bible teachers. They also led one morning devotion. Before the conference both of them as well as Anna were part of the prayer group and prayed a lot for the conference. For Darya and Anna this conference was their first international one.
Darya is an 18 years old student of Management of production and organization in the Junior College of Borysa Grinchenko. She began Bible study a year ago and is a very faithful Bible student. She also attends our SWS weekly and even brought other students to our Services. She is very driven, ambitious and sincere. She is active and outgoing. I see leadership qualities in her. Young people her age are not serious about life. They just want to have fun. But Darya works, studies and takes care of her younger cousin. She does not have a father but Darya helps her single mom. She also takes responsibility for our church as a translator, media presentation tech and steward of our Bible house. When given a task for our church, she does it to the best of her ability with a sense of personal accountability. She also told her boss that she cannot work on Sundays because she attends church. After Encounter Conference she was greatly encouraged and now she wants to study the Bible more deeply. She was impressed by the Inductive Bible study of Revelation led by Esther Nett.
Anna is a 22 years old second year Master Student of Ecology at KMA. She has been living in sister's common life for over a year and studying the Bible for two years. Anna is one of our faithful leaders in our ministry. Encounter was a great encouragement to her. She realized that the Samaritan woman was her and Jesus met her personally and sent her to this Christian conference not by chance. Christ also wants to use her testimony to save others, such as her family and friends. After the conference she decided to give her life to Jesus. She also wants to teach the Bible to one student. Please pray for them to grow as faithful disciples of Jesus.
We also thank God for Peter Nett and Helen Kim from Germany who visited us at the end of August and in the beginning of September. I will talk about them more in our next report.
This summer God helped us walk on water despite the on going war in the East of Ukraine and students going home for the summer. He grew Darina, Sofia, Darya and Anna as faithful disciples of Jesus. We thank him that our family could have a reunion and our children served as music servants in Lisbon, Nantes and Podil UBF. For many years we prayed for a house church and this year God heard our prayers and Roma and Yulia will establish one this October. Despite our shortcomings and limitations, Jesus led us to walk on uncertain grounds. The waves of unbelief rages all around us and the strong winds of doubt blow against us but we heard Jesus call out, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” Because of Jesus we believe God can change Ukraine from an occupied country to a nation that raises up courageous gospel workers to go and reap the field of students that are ripe for harvest. Amen. Thank you for your prayers for us.
End the War in Ukraine.
Fall student ministry through one to one and working with Lumen Student club.
Roma and Yulia’s wedding on Oct 14.
Fall conference with Kyiv UBF on Nov 10-12.
Raise Bible teachers and Shepherds.
Matthew Sunday messages.