Gateway's Blog

Ukraine Update #4

Due to the work schedule of most of the men our conference is taking place in the evenings from 5-9 p.m. Yesterday, as the conference continued, we had our first “small group” time where each of the men wrestled together with the text of 2 Timothy. It was so extremely encouraging to watch six groups of men huddled around small tables, diving into 2 Timothy tentatively, eagerly and joyfully. One of the main pastors, Taras (see below), told me that the men in his small group worked hard during the afternoon and were so eager to do things well that they called him so that he could review their work so as to be ready for the small groups. That is the kind of eagerness we are experiencing, and it is a joy to watch.




I want to introduce you to three men: Alex, Manny and Taras.

1. Alex... IMG_9628

Alex is our interpreter. Having a good translator for the conference is key to its effectiveness, and God has brought us Alex who is a faithful brother who is excellent in his interpretive skills. Some interpretors simply interpret, but Alex interprets what we are saying with the same emotions, hand movements, passion and tone that we are expressing. It is really quite remarkable. Alex is probably working the hardest and he is doing a great job. Interestingly, Alex was an excellent soccer player (goalkeeper) headed toward a professional career, but one day he and his friend were struck by a speeding vehicle while crossing the street. Sadly, his friend died, but Alex was thrown over the car and survived. It was through a nurse who daily took care of him that Alex heard the Gospel. Because of his injuries he could no longer play soccer at that same level, but now spends his personal time as a coach of a High School age soccer team where every day he gives a devotional from God’s Word. Most of the players are not believers, but some have come to the Lord through his ministry.

2. Manny...


Manny is one of our conference speakers. You know him as JD Bautista. Here, however, he is affectionately known as “Manny Paquiou” since the boxer is the only famous Filipino that they know of. Manny is doing a great job and is connecting well with the pastors. They all enjoy his lessons, his humor and his drawing abilities. Most of all the brothers appreciate Manny’s affection for God and His Word that comes out especially through his prayers. Keep praying for Manny as he works hard at his teaching. God is shaping this young man for great things and I am truly thankful for his partnership in ministry.

3. Taras...

IMG_9619 (1)

[Sergei & Taras]

Taras is one of the many pastors we have met, but he is a bundle of both fun and a seriousness about the Word. He has been privileged to study at the Seminary in Kiev, under the ministry of Jerry Benge, one of my friends. He is daily encouraging us and thanking us for the impact that this conference is having on him and the men that he has brought with him. He reports to us that the brothers are hungry for what we are doing and that they are eager to learn more. (For those of you who are familiar with Redwood Christian Schools, Taras reminds me or Mr. Russell)

There are far more stories and great people to highlight.  Please continue to pray for us as we serve our brothers in Christ.

Grace to you, dear Gateway family!  We love you, miss you, and are strengthened by your prayers...