September/October 2011 Prayer Letter

Dear Friends and Family in Christ Jesus,

Greetings in Jesus’ Name from Ukraine! After finishing the final draft and spending many hours of painstaking work on the layout, the gospel of Mark is ready for printing. In an effort to ensure high quality results, we consulted with two other designers throughout the process and conducted another survey. I believe we achieved our goal in making a layout that is unique to this translation which at the same time is both very readable and pleasant to the eyes as far as fonts, their size, etc. One of the reasons for this is the fact that many Ukrainians, especially those in the villages, who really should wear glasses, do not have them. There are a few purposes of this publication: first of all, we want to raise awareness of this new translation; second, we are looking for feedback from a wider audience; and third, we would like to find more men who are qualified to assist with the project. We are planning on printing 1500 copies and distributing them among Ukrainian-speaking Christians, asking them to fill out a questionnaire. A good friend of mine with whom I studied at a Bible institute back in the early 1990s is supplying us with the mailing addresses of pastors, preachers, and students. Our publisher will be taking care of mailing out the gospels, as well as receiving and processing the questionnaires. This is a tremendous blessing as it will allow me to focus on my main calling to translate the Bible. Speaking of translation, in between working on the layout of Mark, I continued translating the gospel of Luke and by God’s grace the first draft of 20 chapters of Luke is ready.

As I near finishing the translation of this wonderful gospel, I would like to point out one more unique feature of it. It is universally recognized that salvation is the central theme of the third gospel. Moreover, Luke is the only gospel that focuses on one particular aspect of salvation – the doctrine of justification. Neither Mark nor John ever uses the words “justify” or “justified” and Matthew uses them only twice. Luke uses them nine times, in addition to giving clear pictures of God’s justification without mentioning the term. The most evident teaching of justification by faith versus justification by works is contained in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee relied on his works to obtain God’s favor and forgiveness as he enumerated his religious achievements in prayer. The publican relied on God’s unmerited mercy, and it was him, the Bible says, who “went down to his house justified rather than the other” (Luke 18:14). Justification is also beautifully pictured in the parable of the prodigal son, where this wretched sinner comes home with no merits or worth and his father puts the best robe, shoes, and a ring on him. This is what justification is: taking an unworthy sinner who belongs in the pigpen and clothing him with the robe of righteousness.

Mama’s Corner (by Wendy)

Reciting at the Ukrainian “Harvest Day”


A dream has come true for Sashko and Yurko… they have a playhouse of their very own! Yura got the boards a while back but it wasn’t until this summer that this dream started to materialize. Yura helped the boys to prepare the materials and build one wall and then a missionary-contractor friend stayed with us for a few days to help them finish it. Countless hours had gone into sanding the rough boards, sawing, measuring, and planning, but without Daddy Yura and Mr. Yura Gula they never would have been able to put it all together. These men are both heroes to our sons. I loved the fact that Sashko and Yurko saw that passing out tracts, translating the Bible, memorizing scripture, and talking about deep, theological subjects didn’t keep these two servants of the Lord from having time to help a couple of little boys. (…“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Mt 25:40b)

Daddy helping the boys prepare the boards
Roofers at work
Yura Gula with his construction crew
Multipurpose playhouse: a workshop, a coffee shop, you name it


Andriy and Matviy are growing up fast and keeping us smiling with their antics. Andriy has been learning memory verses and phrases along with his big brothers, however he still gets mixed up sometimes. He knows “Jesus loves me”, “God is love”, and 1 John 4:19, repeating it after us one word at a time. A few days ago, it began to look as though he knew the verse by heart, so we let him try it on his own. Well, the word “first” really confused him, so he said, “We love Him because He first John 4:19”. The next day he confused it even worse by adding a phrase to it: “Jesus loves me because He first John 4:19”. It sure is hard to keep a straight face at times like that. Matviy loves his Johnny-jump-up that we hung in the doorway. It is impossible to watch him bouncing and squealing without laughing.



Prayer requests:
1. Pray for the soon printing and distribution of the gospel of Mark.
2. Pray for a good response and more laborers to rise up as a result of this publication.
3. Please keep praying for Yura’s health issues, especially for the reflux and his back pain.

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support that help to make this ministry possible.

Your Fellow-servants for Jesus’ sake,
Yura, Wendy, Sashko, Yurko, Andriy, and Matviy Popchenko

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