Soviet V-E Day

Before you go to bed tonight, please say a prayer for Ukraine and Russia. Tomorrow is the Soviet V-E Day, when Putin likes to have big military parades year after year. In the past, he has used holidays to launch attacks or strikes — bombing cities on Christmas, Easter, or New Years. We are concerned that he could basically do anything tomorrow, the biggest Russian military holiday of the year. Please pray that his plans fail and that we could just have a normal May 9th, both in Ukraine and in the EU.

This whole war could stop if Putin would just stop. If the Russians put down their arms, we would have peace. If Ukrainians put down our arms, they will kill us all.

Theological Musings

Some musings about theology and working with other denominations I had at lunch today…

I used to lead children on canoeing trips down a small river in America. There were times when an island could separate two canoes, but they would still be in the same river. If the canoes are the church and the River is the Gospel, then we can have small theological islands that temporary separate us. However, we are still all believing in the same Christ, participating in the same salvation, and taking part in the same Living Water. We are still in the same river.

A problem can be when we make a big deal out of the islands, dragging our canoes onto them and getting stuck – we can even lose touch with the One True Gospel – by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (not in Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Arminius, Piper, McArthur, or whomever else).

This is one of the reasons why I’ve been so open (especially lately with Ukraine at war) to work with Pentecostals, Baptists, Charismatics, Lutherans, and others that proclaim the True Gospel. I don’t want to get stuck on, “Well, we don’t take communion like that,” or “Sorry, we don’t baptize like that,” resulting in the Gospel being LESS EFFECTIVE in this dire time. Those are islands, not the River.

The Gospel is what unifies us, pushing us along to a common destiny – with Christ in Heaven. Yes, it is important to know where you stand theologically – parts of the river may have rocks that, otherwise easily avoided by sticking to the Word as a compass, will smash a canoe and force its passengers to seek safety in another fellowship. Some of those whose churches have been smashed or sunk may choose to leave the River entirely, forsaking the Gospel. This is a tragedy that SHOULD be avoided. However, I’m responsible for my canoe – if I try too hard to dictate someone else’s course, I may miss my own rocks ahead of me.

It is also unwise to float down the river without a canoe, as is life without a church. You are MUCH more likely to get stuck on the bank, to drift into stagnant water, or to be crushed in the rapids if all you have is a life-vest. Find a strong church that is faithful to the Word as its guide and stay afloat.

Lastly, beware of other rivers that, though they claim to have the same Christ, lead not to His Havens, but to the great waterfalls of humanism, relativism, liberalism, religiosity, moralism (often connected with conservatism), or agnosticism – all of which lead to the end of those unfortunate enough to go there and fall to their deaths.

Anything y’all would add?

Ministry with Josiah Venture

(English below…)

Один з улюблених моментів у перекладі, особливо художньому — це пошук “смачних” слів. З 24 лютого у словах з’явився присмак гіркоти, а часто їх просто недостатньо, щоб сказати і описати те, що відчуваєш. Потрібні слова шукаю дуже довго. А сьогодні звичне слово відкрилося по-новому.

Є у ньому:

  • Буква Д — як у слові допомога, бо вона зараз необхідна: різна і багато.
  • Буква Я — як у слові сім’я, бо осібно це слово слабеньке.
  • Буква К — як у моєму імені, нагадуючи про мою відповідальність у сьогоденні.
  • Рідна У — як у слові Україна — яка була, є і буде.
  • І буква Ю — як у слові лЮбов, бо лише вона перемагає зло.

А разом вони — ДЯКУЮ!

Дякую Богу за незаслужену милість. Дякую людям за доброту, допомогу і відкриті серця. Дякую країнам за небайдужість до чужого горя. І ще одна подяка трохи із запізненням базі H2O і команді (Mark Meland and Olga Meland, Juliana Law , Christy Owen, Tymofiy Stupak and Tamara Stupak, Kim Burkett and Herb Burkett and many many others), яка майже два місяці турбувалися про переселенців. Ми сім’єю провели там не багато часу й наче приїздили допомагати, але завдяки спілкуванню, молитві і прославленню Бог показував наскільки ми зараз об’єднані одними переживаннями і болем. Служіння там завершилося вже, але спогади і вплив залишається.

ENGLISH:

One of my favorite parts of being a translator, especially of fiction, is the search for “tasty” words. Ever since the 24th of February, most words have had a sour note to them or just seem unable to express what you feel inside. It usually takes a long time to find the words that I need these days; however, today an everyday word took on new meaning.

  • Д – “Help” (Ukrainian “Допомога”) – help is needed right now, from all different kinds and places.
  • Я – “I” (Ukrainian “Я”) vs. “Family” (Ukrainian “сім’Я”) – the letter “I” by itself is much stronger when it’s in the word “fam-i-ly”.
  • К – “Katya” (Ukrainian “Катя”) reminds me of my personal responsibility today.
  • У – Beloved “Ukraine” (Ukrainian “Україна”) was there yesterday, is still there, still standing, and will be there tomorrow.
  • Ю – “Love” (Ukrinian “любов”) – only love can conquer evil.

Together they make “Thank you!” (Ukrainian “ДЯКУЮ!”)

I’m thankful to God for His undeserved grace. I’m thankful to others – for their goodness, help, and hearts that have been open to us. I’m thankful for the countries that have been empathetic towards the tragedy that others are facing. And I’m thankful for H2O and the team that was there; they served there for almost two months, caring for the needs of refugees. Our family didn’t spend much time there. We came to help the team; however, the fellowship, prayer, and worship there were used by God to show us how deeply we are united in our fears and pain. The ministry there has already wrapped up, but the memories we have and impact on our hearts remain.