Dear Friends and Family in Christ Jesus,
Greetings from the Popchenko Family! The work of Bible translation steadily continues and, by God’s grace, I was able to finish the first draft of First Corinthians and 4 chapters of Second Corinthians. The latter turned out to be the most difficult book of the New Testament that I have translated so far. Perhaps the reason for this is because it is the most personal and expressive letter of Paul and in order to understand it, we need to reconstruct the events that led to its writing. Despite the difficulties, I was greatly blessed by this rich epistle as never before. Second Corinthians teaches profound theological truths that are not found elsewhere in the New Testament: the new covenant (3:6–18), our earthly and heavenly dwellings (5:1–10), and the ministry of reconciliation (5:11–21). But its main focus is on practical matters. Paul is writing this epistle to defend himself against the assault of false apostles who, in order to teach their error, tried to undermine his authority. They had to first destroy the Corinthians’ trust in Paul so they attacked his character, his integrity, his credibility and his apostleship. In his defense, Paul took a biographical approach and referred to the facts of his life as disproof of their claims. He opens himself up and we see what the inside of a devoted man of God looks like.
One particular instance is especially worth dwelling on. In defense of his integrity, Paul appeals to the testimony of his own conscience as a sufficient proof, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.” (2 Cor. 1:12). In other words, the proof of his integrity was the fact that his conscience confirmed it. How could Paul rely on his conscience so much? What if it failed him? He could do that because throughout his ministry he had maintained a clear conscience. Before the Council he said, “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Act. 23:1). Before Felix he said, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (Act. 24:16). To the Hebrews he wrote, “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” (Heb. 13:18). Shortly before his execution, he wrote from prison, “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience” (2 Tim. 1:3). What a tremendous testimony! The reason many people suffer shipwreck of their faith is because they reject a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:19). Today, when many people’s consciences are dulled by a variety of things, we would be wise to follow in the steps of Paul by maintaining a pure conscience.
Recently, the Lord opened an exciting opportunity to me. On November 5-6, I am planning to visit Ostroh Academy National University where I will speak about this Bible translation project. This place is unique in that it has many evangelical Christian students and professors which is unusual for a post-communist, secular university. I was invited there by Svitlana, a Christian professor of religious studies who is a member of our translation team, to speak before her students. There are expected to be over 100 students present. Another Christian, a professor of German and a member of a local Baptist church, heard about my coming and invited me to speak before the university’s Christian Student Association which he founded. I believe this visit will give me an opportunity to make the work more known and perhaps to recruit more people for this project. Please pray for me as I travel and present my work.
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Mama’s Corner (by Wendy)
Sashko and Yurko got a unique opportunity to play ‘teacher’ in October. The son of one of our translation assistants came to spend his fall school break with us, in the hopes of improving his English. In just a week, fifteen year old Sasha learned 400 words and sentences for each. This talented young man is also an excellent violinist and pianist so we had him spend time helping the boys with their instruments. Practice time with Sasha flew by and was so much more interesting than usual!
To our amazement, we received a phone call from the police saying that my laptop had been found! The thief had been identified on a surveillance camera and apprehended a few weeks later. Although we had prayed for its recovery, we doubted that we would ever get my computer back and Yura had even ordered another one the day before the police called us. If we had already bought the computer and used it even slightly, it would have been impossible to return. God is so merciful to His children of little faith.
For those who have not yet heard about Yura’s baby nephew, I will briefly review the situation: At birth, little Danny had congenital heart problems and on October 23rd, at age 5 ½ weeks, he was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. The next day they operated on his aorta, removing a narrowed portion. The operation was a success but the baby remained in ICU for six days. He is still in the hospital but he is getting stronger every day. In a few months (or whenever he is strong enough), Danny will need to have another surgery to repair the holes in his heart. This operation could not be done at the same time as the first one because he was just too weak. Danny’s parents send their heartfelt thanks to all who have prayed for their son. They still have a long road ahead of them and deeply appreciate your prayer support. For more details and updates on Danny’s condition, please check our website at www.bibleua.com.
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