Ukraine Update #9
There’s nothing sweeter than being home. Family, friends, your own bed, and cheeseburgers...
But, being away from home allowed me to ponder upon our eternal home: God’s Kingdom. It also pointed me toward the implications of missions, particularly this trip, and the goal that one day we will all bow down and worship the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. Our time in Ukraine reminded me that the message of the gospel has indeed been entrusted to faithful men (2 Tim 2:2). By God’s grace, the men at the conference know the gospel and certainly live it out. And by God’s grace, God used Gateway to advance their preaching and teaching of the gospel. I believe they saw the text of Scripture in a deeper setting through the lens of Expository preaching. Worldviews were broken, and methods were sharpened under the authority of the Word by the continued work of the Holy Spirit.
One of the main tasks of a pastor is to preach. However, the goal is not only for them to preach and teach, but to teach faithfully, preach the Word soundly, and to fulfill their ministry. The principles of Simeon Trust allow them to do just that... If I could describe the pastors and church leaders in one word after the conference, it would be eager. There was a sense of eagerness in them to get back to their pulpits, small groups, and families so that they can faithfully exposit the Bible to their people. What a joy it is to see pastors humbly submit to the Word and eager to preach to others. The hope is that their congregations will see and savor the glorious Truth under these pastors and the result will be the sharing of the gospel to others.
When we returned to Kiev, we stayed with Pastor Rod’s longtime friend, Jerry, and his wife Kellie. Jerry teaches at Kiev Theological Seminary and Kellie helps with the organization that supports them, SEND International. A humble couple, with Christ-like personalities. They told us countless stories where they would share the gospel in every day situations, in addition to the work that God called them to do. It was such an encouragement to see how God has used this couple in countless gospel encounters.
I know Rod talked about Tanya in his last blog post, so I wanted to briefly mention it here as well. Tanya was called to do missionary work in Ukraine and has been working there the past seven years or so. Only the gospel can drive a single young woman to reach people in a different cultural context. Her story is remarkable.
Take heart young or elder missionary. God will call you regardless of age, race, or gender.
So, where does this leave us as we continually think through missions? Well, God uses a small church in Castro Valley, CA to educate pastors in helping them faithfully exposit the Word in other countries. God calls missionaries to teach at a seminary and flesh out the gospel through every day life. God calls a young woman to minister in another country in spite of the vast cultural context. Maybe God will call you away from home, whether temporary or permanent, so that He can draw others to His heavenly home. There’s nothing sweeter than looking toward our eternal home with faithful friends – brothers and sisters, young and old, black and white, worshiping God forever and ever…