Podil UBF Report for January 2015
Key Verse: Acts 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.
January began with Maria and I visiting our children in Chicago. We also attended the Well conference in Michigan. It was a very refreshing conference full of prayers and God’s word about His fatherly love for us. This conference was organized and led by young growing leaders. Pride filled our hearts as we saw our daughters serve praise, finance and prayer throughout the conference. Our son also came to be with us.
During this visit we had an opportunity to see my parents in Florida and our dear co-worker Alyona who had been faithfully translating our messages into Ukrainian for four years. I also had the privilege to give a New Year’s message with our coworkers from West loop and IIT UBF on Isaiah 7 in a combined worship service.
When we came back to Ukraine we continued with our study of Acts. It has been an appropriate book of the Bible to study. In it St. Paul tells us of his suffering to care for the flock of God. We can understand this today as we serve the people of Ukraine who are in the midst of war. The political situation has worsened since the New Year as the fighting intensified and more people are being killed in Eastern Ukraine. But in the midst of this, God loves the Ukrainian people. The month of January in Ukrainian is Sichen which means “biting frost.” Usually it is the coldest time of winter. However, this past January has been very mild. It made it easier for the civilians and soldiers to survive. Also, in the middle of January, Msn. Maria with Yulia and Yasya (both KMA students) were involved in a car accident while delivering food to soldiers in the hospital. Thank God no one was hurt and God sent people to help Maria because she had no documents and no technical passport to be driving. Yulia and Yasya were not discouraged by the situation and continue to visit the soldiers to give them support.
As we study God’s words we are reminded of how Jesus suffered for us and bought us with his blood. He cares about us. This became very real after the message on this passage on the last Sunday of January when we did communion, eating the bread (representing his body) and drank grape juice (representing his blood). We learn in this passage that God loves his people because he bought them with his blood. God never stops caring for his flock. He wants us to also continue in his work of love, though the situation is not ideal or even counterproductive for gospel work. To continue to reach out to students we decided to begin a Genesis English Club Bible study on Tuesdays. When Yulia posted it on the website of her university where our English club was posted earlier it was removed. So Yulia decided to post it around the campus with a poster. Andrew and Semen came to our Bible study, and afterwards Andrew said that his motive for coming at first was to improve his English but now he wants to come because of Bible study.
On the last Friday of January we had a movie night and nine participants came. Natalia invited two of her coworkers from work and we had four who came from our English club. It was a very good fellowship. All of them want to do it again. We plan to do it on the last Friday of each month. On Sunday after our worship service, we decided to have fellowship instead of just going home. Our members could either go to basketball with me or stay and play board games with Maria and the sisters. Through this extended fellowship, Yana and Semen have been coming.
On Wednesdays, we meet together and pray for Ukraine. One of the people we are praying for is Constantin who works with Lena. He volunteered to join the army even though he is a father of three, which exempt him from army duty. He said that he cannot allow his children to grow in an occupied country and he wants to do his best to defend his family. This war –though painful and costly—is bringing out the strength of the Ukrainian people. Such people need our prayers. God loves Ukraine because her people were bought with the blood of our Lord Jesus. Ukraine is the underdog in this war. Casualties are rising every day. But last year God helped us during Maydan, when civilians with no guns overthrew a corrupt president. It was a miracle then and we believe that there will be more miracles to come as God ends this war. May God help our church to shepherd His flock in Ukraine. Thank you for all your prayers for us. Attached is a video of our church, 2014 year in review.