Ukraine Update #5
12 February 2016 7:30am (I wrote this last night, but our internet was down so I wasn’t able to post)
It’s 6:30pm here on Friday, our last full evening of instruction. It’s been a joy to see the pastors grow and interact in their small groups. Pastor Rod has done a great job in laying the foundational principles of Simeon Trust, and the men are always fully engaged during our instruction time. Our hope is that they continue to wrestle with the text while putting the various principles into practice, especially after the conference concludes. In talking with some of the men, I sensed that they were all eager to exposit the Scriptures in their pulpits and various teaching contexts. The pastors are viewing the Word from a different light, and we’re all encouraged in seeing their eagerness. My love and respect has grown for these pastors the past couple days, and I think I speak for the whole team in saying that it will be a sad yet hopeful time when we depart.
Yesterday, we visited a family who cares for orphans. There, we ate lunch and shared our personal stories with each other. Ivan and Claudia’s story forced me to think about God’s adoption of us, as sons and daughters, fleshed out through the gospel. Ivan shared his heart in caring for orphans, and how he’s been doing this for a long time. In fact, before Ivan married his wife he was worried that she wouldn’t want to be with him because he was caring for five orphans at the time. However, I sensed a profound love and respect between the both of them as they were serving us unselfishly. The kids, who were teenagers, also shared their stories in how they were abandoned by their parents due to various circumstances like drugs and alcohol, but Ivan adopted them in spite of the darkness in their backgrounds. That’s the beauty of the gospel: In spite of our transgressions, God adopted us as sons and daughters so that we can enjoy Him forever. That’s the beauty found with this family, they bring in kids in light of their brokenness and have joy in doing so… Please pray for this family, as we think through some practical needs we can provide for them.
We are continually thankful for our host family, Peter and Albina. They’re doing their best in helping us not feel too homesick. Although we do miss home, Peter and Albina are making it easy for us to minister here in Rivne. Tomorrow we have our final meeting, then on Sunday we go back to Kiev. I’m sure the rest of the team will update you with their own perspectives on the past couple days, and we’ll update you accordingly... Thank you for your prayers Gateway family, we look forward to seeing all of you soon!