Dear Friends and Family in Christ Jesus,
Greetings in Jesus’ Name from the Popchenko Family! Spring is right around the corner, a welcome relief after our long, hard winter. This year it was especially severe with very bitter temperatures and lots of snow, making driving very difficult, since snow is rarely plowed in this country. It’s nice to be able to drive on asphalt instead of rutted ice, a few inches thick.
Translation work is steadily moving forward. By the grace of God, the first draft of 18 chapters of Acts is ready. At the same time, we are working on introducing minor corrections to the gospel of Mark based on the feedback we received from our survey. I have gathered all the critical comments from participants and, after I finish commenting on them, I will send them to my assistants for evaluation and their suggested changes. Also, we began to work on the final draft of the Gospel of Luke. One of my assistants has already checked it for consistency with Mark, as we try to make sure that parallel accounts are translated uniformly, provided they are identical in Greek. The same person is now checking the translation against the Greek text. Once this is done, I will send Luke to other assistants for their input on the Ukrainian used. On top of that, we are preparing the children’s edition of my translation of Luke, with illustrations by a Ukrainian artist. Our desire is to give children a ‘real Bible’ with illustrations, not just a storybook. The artist was already chosen and is working on the artwork. Please continue to pray for our team as we labor to provide our people with a trustworthy translation of the Bible in good Ukrainian.
Publishing the Bible or the New Testament is often considered to be the ultimate goal of Bible translation. While this is true in a sense, the actual ultimate goal is getting the Bible into the hands of the people because “the word of God is quick, and powerful” and contains the Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”. Bible translators, being preoccupied with the process of translating, may lose sight of this goal. Recently, I was reminded of this as I heard one of the most amazing testimonies of the power of the word of God to save sinners. An Iranian refugee who started a Farsi-speaking church in our city shared his life story at our church. Between the ages of 3 and 11, he lost most of his close relatives: mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles. As a result of his grief, he developed incredible depression and stuttered badly. His father took him to every doctor he could and they treated him with all different kinds of medicine, but to no avail. As a youth, he realized that his Muslim faith could not give him the answer and he began to look into other religions. For a year and a half he checked books out of a local library on Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. They could not help him. Then he remembered Christianity and the book called the Bible. Now, in Iran you can be put in prison simply for possessing a Bible and he knew that. So, he quietly asked the librarian, who happened to be a Christian and had been watching him all this time, if they had a Bible. The librarian pulled a Bible out from under his shirt and handed it to him. Late at night, the young man locked himself in his bedroom, turned on the dim desk light and began to read Romans. As soon as he opened the Book, he almost physically felt the light coming out of it. When he got though Romans 10, he understood two things: that he was a sinner and that God could forgive him. He prayed for God’s forgiveness and went to bed. The next morning he noticed two things: he had no depression whatsoever and did not stutter anymore. The change was so drastic and visible that everybody could not help but ask what had happened to him. Finally, he had to admit that he had become a Christian. His father was so furious that he was determined to do something about it. Not waiting to be charged with apostasy and executed, he fled for his life to Ukraine. The salvation of souls is what Bible translation is all about!
It’s been quite a while since we updated you on my health situation. Over the past year, I have experienced generally good health: no ear or sinus infections, virtually no colds or flu. We attribute it mostly to our move to this present, mold-free house and to my prolonged treatment with an immunologist. The last test in November showed that my immune system is now healthy. The treatment for my reflux that started back in November has not been as smooth and effective as we anticipated. One medication even caused ongoing heartburn which had not troubled me previously. The universally strongest, most advanced heartburn medicine could not completely take care of it. My doctor said that there was nothing else he could do for me and I stopped taking all medications. I also did a food intolerance test and apparently I am intolerant to some foods. Eliminating them helped me to some extent. Please continue to pray for full recovery.
We are excited to announce the updating of our web site! Now it is so much easier and less time consuming for us to post our updates, plus we have a whole lot more options on top of a new look. You can post your comments about our news right on the same page. Be sure to check it out soon and subscribe for our updates. Our sincere thanks go to Joshua Steele, a good friend and missionary to Ukraine, who voluntarily built this site for us. To learn more about him and his ministry, please visit www.ofreport.com and www.euroteamoutreach.org
Mama’s Corner (by Wendy)
It has been a season of birthdays in our home lately. In January, Sashko turned 10 years old. He has been maturing in every way, but most importantly, he is growing spiritually. Just the other day he told me how much he likes Romans 8:38-39, because those verses say that nothing can separate him from the love of God. During our Bible reading, he displays great discernment and it is reflected in his attitudes toward us, his brothers and his responsibilities. Yura and I are enjoying the sweet, sweet fruit of a child that is ‘walking in truth’. There is nothing to compare with it.
February 28th we celebrated Matviy’s first birthday. Of all of our babies, this one has been the most cheerful and easy going. During our school time in the mornings, he plays happily with Big Brother Andriy in the living room, allowing me to work with the older boys. Matviy is also never late for meals: as soon as Yura sits down at the table, a cute little boy is right there by his knee, looking up expectantly. We are so thankful for his sweet and sunny disposition. May the Lord draw Matviy to the cross at a young age and use this child to glorify Himself.
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