Dear Praying Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you all well in the Lord Jesus and rejoicing in His service!
Ordination Service: Over the years the Lord has allowed me the honor of laying hands on about five or six men in Ukraine. All but one still serve in full-time ministry today. We held an ordination service at our church in August ordaining Brother Sasha Taraniuk and sending him to Kiev where he is now the pastor of Bible Believers Baptist Church. He began using the Sunday School lessons I wrote years ago for church planters on soul winning. He told me that their people already led four people to Christ!
Church Building Update: A friend of mine asked me if I had heard of people building using old shipping containers. I scoffed. But, after looking into the technique, I have decided that this is the answer to the three main problems we had to solve before breaking ground. The first involved the foundation; the second, the roof; and the third, cost. We’ve done a lot of research and checked with local authorities and we have come to conclude that building with used shipping containers is a great solution. We need six containers all total for the new building project (see the drawing). Instead of pouring a very expensive foundation and risk collapsing our current building we will put this building on concrete reinforced pilings, thus saving a lot on the foundation. We are still working on calculating the final cost but so far we have calculated that each container will cost $4000 each to purchase, transport, and set in place. We still have to calculate the costs for the roof, insulation, finishing the outside, drywall, wiring, and plumbing. That said, our first stage is $24,000 for six used containers set in place which would give us the shell. The men in our church will do most of the work themselves. Our current building is just a renovated house. Our meeting hall can seat 70 people uncomfortably. We’ve handled up to 85 but it is not safe. This church needs a bigger facility to serve, not only the town, but the region. In the near future we are going to put together a video so that people will be able to see the need. Please pray for the Lord to provide the wisdom, funds, and strength to see this work to completion.
Baptismal Service: Missionary Chuck Leonard contacted me about a year ago about a woman who recently received Jesus Christ and moved to our area. Her name is Lena and she is doing really well attending our services and growing in the Lord. We decided to hold a baptismal service and Brother Leonard came with some of his men. It was a wild service! We were speaking in tongues, but not like you may think! These were understandable languages! We had Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Moldovan, and (glory to God!) English!
New Names in Glory: In our last letter we mentioned Galya who recently received Christ and asked prayer for her daughter Sveta. We are very glad to write that Sveta finally received Christ after attending church for around four months! They are very poor and have to start life over after leaving a horrible situation with an abusive alcoholic. They were practically homeless and currently live in a mud-brick house that has three rooms, no running water, and an outside toilet, and little running water. It is sad to see those five little girls living in such conditions and we are concerned about the coming winter. Our church has rallied and has provided clothing, food, and work for them. One lady in the church put out an APB to Ukrainian friends who immigrated to the USA. Their network, along with one local church, has begun raising funds towards the purchase of some sort of housing for their family. It is a blessing to watch the Lord answer their prayers and strengthen their faith.
Funerals:Our ministry had a trying week with two funerals. We were in the middle of the preaching service when one woman began having heart attack-like symptoms after she found out that her estranged alcoholic husband had died. He received Christ years ago and had victory over alcohol for over ten years then he relapsed. Ever since he has left a wake of destruction in his family. He racked up debt causing both his wife and daughter seek work as migrants in Poland to keep from losing their home. I preached at his funeral where there were about 40-50 people present and preached hard against sin, alcohol, and told them of the only way to Heaven – Jesus Christ. People were visibly shocked at plain preaching. They are used to the local priest droning on in an unknown tongue; they are not accustomed to a Baptist preacher not pulling any punches. We’ve heard reports that people are talking about what they heard that day. Please pray for an awakening here in this town!
The other funeral was of an elderly man, the father of one of my converts. I’ve spent many hours reasoning with him and his wife from the Scriptures of their need of salvation. Several months ago we rejoiced to hear that his son led him to Christ. The word of God, especially I Thessalonians chapter four, was a great comfort to us all that day. Several members of the family stood and listened carefully, who were before very antagonistic to me when I arrived with a Bible and hymnals. We pray the Lord deals with them about their need of Jesus Christ.
Bible Institute: We began our Bible Institute classes again and have just one semester to go till we have our graduation service. The courses we will be studying are: Matthew; the Pastoral Epistles; Advanced Theology; and Church Planting. In addition our guys are going on visitation and doing personal work. There is a lot of work to be done with the writing, translating, and printing of materials and we ask for prayer for strength and wisdom as we go forward.
We want to thank you all for your friendship, prayers, support, and all that you do for the Lord that gives us the privilege and opportunity to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you as you serve Him! Until our next prayer letter or our meeting in the air!
That Ukraine May Know Him,