Planes, Trains, and…. Buckwheat Muffins
Okay, no trains… but plenty of buckwheat muffins. Pastor Rod and I knew we were in this for the long haul as soon as we were presented with a bag full of buckwheat muffins from Yuliya. Nevertheless, after an overnight plane ride with limited sleep, we needed the pick-me-up and buckwheat never tasted so scrumptious at the time. Buckwheat aside, we finally arrived at the campsite close to midnight local time. Alex Khandus, a student from Kyiv who attended last year’s workshop in Rivne, picked us up at the airport and took us straight to the Kyiv campsite. After getting settled, we all had a long 4-hour sleep-nap. Breakfast was served early morning and the pre-conference for the leaders started shortly thereafter. Regardless of the normal overnight travel conditions, we were blessed to be here ready to teach these eager men.
From the beginning, I could see how this was going to challenge the Kyiv pastors (We’ll be in Rivne next week). Studying the Bible through the philosophy of Expository preaching usually turns the Preacher’s world upside down. Presuppositions are being confronted and the way they used to see a passage, like Philippians 4:13, have surprised some attendees after viewing the verse in its appropriate context. Yet, the students are engaged and always ready with follow-up questions. I find these men wanting to get it right and that’s one of the main goals of Simeon Trust, to handle the Word faithfully and accurately. After one of the sessions, I had a healthy conversation with a young man about making progress in his study and teaching which I thought was very earnest on his part. This is our hope, Gateway family, that these pastors make progress in preaching the Word of God in order to equip the saints and advance the kingdom.
Day one is almost over and we’re all ready for a good night’s rest. Rod has labored through a couple sessions and a model exposition on Mark 5, as well as Yuliya hanging in there with us the entire time. Both are wholeheartedly committed to serving the conference attendees in various ways and I’m thankful for their labor in representing Gateway, more importantly, our Lord. We haven’t fully adjusted to the time change yet, so I ask for your prayers that we adjust soon, sleep well, and be ready for a packed day tomorrow. Still, I’m confident that God will sustain us… one buckwheat muffin at a time.
We love and miss you all!
All Grace, JD