Greetings in Jesus’ Name! We have a long-awaited answer to prayer: Anya has finished writing her doctoral dissertation and is now able to start translating the gospel of Mark. She will not have any teaching responsibilities in July or August and should be able to spend a considerable amount of time translating. I supplied her with the necessary reference tools, as well as my statement on the principles of translation, so we can ensure uniformity of quality and style. I, of course, will be overseeing her work and will have the final say in any translation choices. By the grace God, I was able to finish my revision of the gospel of John and get back to work on the second draft of Romans. John is in the hands of my consultants right now and when I hear back from them, I will work on getting the final draft ready for printing. Ephesians has not yet been discussed with all of my helpers but this month I was able to meet with one of them and get a feedback from him. Please keep all of the translation team in your prayers as we translate God’s word into Ukrainian.
Last time I mentioned encountering some computer problems, related to software. Well, my problems have not stopped but only increased. Right on my birthday (what a ‘present’!) my computer crashed. Apparently, an entire batch of these laptops had faulty graphic processors and many owners experienced this problem. The good news is that Apple is going to replace the entire mother board for free. The bad news is that I have to wait a month for the part to arrive from abroad. I am so glad that we have yet another laptop which a church in Washington gave Wendy (thank you again so much!) and I was able set up all the necessary software and continue my translation work. Speaking of my birthday, I thank the Lord for allowing me to live 37 years, serving Him and working to provide Ukrainians with the Book of books.
We continue to have numerous ministry opportunities. In late April, a brother from our church approached me asking to speak to the young families and address a problem that many of them had: wives complaining about their husbands working too much and not spending time with their families. As a setting for this occasion we chose a picnic on May 1st, since it was a holiday. The guys decided to do all the cooking so our wives could rest. We had a great time together fellowshipping, eating great shish kebabs, playing games, etc. I had a wonderful opportunity to speak on the God-given responsibility of men to lead their homes in following God’s will revealed in the word of God. It was something that some of the men had not expected to hear: some of them thought I would rebuke the wives for not appreciating their husbands working so hard. Everybody was encouraged as they returned home that day.
We thank all of you who prayed for evangelism in Gostra Mohila. After arranging for the use of a public building for the services, I began preparing for the evangelistic meeting. Coming up with a text for invitations and posters, looking for and buying follow-up literature, picking songs, writing music for our men’s choir, and singing practice kept me busy until the meeting. A week before the meeting, we drove to the village to pass out invitations to people’s homes and hang posters in public places. Along with the invitations, we put the gospel of John in every home. This way, even if people chose not to come they would still have the word of God to read. We were able to put out over 600 gospels. As the theme of the meeting, I chose “Returning to the Father’s House”, focusing on the parable of the Prodigal Son. Most of the songs our men’s choir sang, the youth’s recitation, the testimony of a deacon from our church (a true prodigal son), and, of course, the sermon were all based on that parable. We were pleased to see about 20 unsaved people show up. All of them heard a crystal clear presentation of the Gospel. At the close of the meeting, everyone received a book God’s Salvation by O. J. Smith) and a film (“God’s Story”). Also, a weekly Bible study was announced. One person, a village drunk, made a profession of faith and he has not missed one single Bible Study, coming every time more and more sober. We praise God for the opportunity of ‘glorfying His Name among the heathen’.
One of the deacons in our church had mentioned once how unevangelized the town of Yahotin is. A town of 21 thousand people, located about 60 miles from Kyiv, it has only one Baptist church of about 30 members, and it is not a soul-winning church. So we decided to ‘blitz’ it by putting gospels of John in people’s homes. One Saturday in May, we loaded our car with Ukrainian gospels and drove to Yahotin. The plan was to put the gospels in mail boxes of apartment buildings located on the first floor. Some of the buildings did not have mail boxes, so the boys and myself got our exercise, climbing the stairs of the multi-level apartment buildings to put the gospels by the doors, while Andriyko and Wendy kept us supplied with literature that they carried in the stroller. Sashko and Yurko were real troopers, keeping up with the fast pace and working hard. In just a couple of hours, we were able to put out about 700 Gospels of John with the address of a Bible correspondence course on them. (Missionary Joshua Steele in L’viv has an excellent Chronological Bible Course that he uses for both evangelistic and discipleship purposes.) Now that the seed has been sown, let’s pray for fruit in this unreached part of Ukraine.
Mama’s Corner (by Wendy). In June we had the worst health situation our family has ever experienced. It all started with Sashko getting some sort of gastrointestinal infection. One by one, the rest of the family got sick. All three boys ended up in the hospital for over a week (thankfully, I was able to stay with them around the clock). Sashko and Yurko were on IVs and antibiotics, Yura weathered it out at home and I came down with it last after everyone was on the mend. All this time Yura was making daily trips to the hospital to bring us food, medicine and whatever else we needed. Despite all the tests the doctors ordered, no definite diagnosis was ever pronounced. It was a scary time, but God was faithful and we thank all of you who prayed for us during these past few weeks.
It was such a pity that Yurko had to celebrate his 6th birthday in the hospital, feeling awful and hooked up to an IV, but at least we were able to have a small birthday party for him right there. He is growing up quickly, has finished his kindergarten work and is surprising us with his ability to pick out songs on the piano by ear! He puts in long days, trying to keep up with his big brother and teaching his little brother everything he knows. Sashko and Yurko’s orthopedic issues are still with us, but for now supportive shoes and exercise are all that we can really do to help. The hot summer is already here and our boys enjoy swimming in a small inflatable pool that we have in our yard.
Praises and prayer requests:
1. Anya has finished writing her doctoral dissertation and started translating the book of Mark.
2. Pray for Anya and me to have wisdom and protection from the devil’s attacks, as we translate Romans and Mark.
3. Please, keep praying for my health (I am still experiencing some health issues).
4. Pray for the general health and protection of our family.
5. Continue to pray for the health of our friend William who has cancer.
6. Please pray for our support situation. Over the past several months we have lost almost a third of our monthly support.
Your fellow-servants for Jesus’ sake,
Yura, Wendy, Sashko, Yurko and Andriy