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.

62 Hours at the Ukrainian Border

Someone asked me what it was like to live in a car for 62 hours… Here’s what I (Katya Snead) wrote:

“You know, when I think about that experience now, I do it with a smile. We saw so much love and care from people – folks from the villages around the border brought out sandwiches and tea for us, helping in different ways. We met some believing women from a city in northern Ukraine that were very discouraged, and David was able to encourage them and pray with them. He also helped them find contacts for where to go in the EU, as they were just driving out of the country without a place to stay. We cried and prayed together when we saw how families were saying goodbye to their husbands and fathers.* We saw the kindness of the Poles, who came up to us at the parking lot of our hotel, asking us if we needed anything. I’m glad I experienced this – it was worth it.

We got our one-year visas today in the EU. It was a very interesting process, as we don’t plan to stay that long** and don’t want to be official refugees. However, we are required to register and are automatically given visas. The refugees at the center that helped us get registered are mostly women with kids that live here only temporarily. You can feel the fear, the lostness in the atmosphere there, but the workers there are amazing – they explain everything and calm everyone very well.

We even got to help an older woman call her daughter in Ukraine, give her information on where to drive to, and refill her phone balance so that she could call without using our phones. I sat there asking God, ‘Why am I here? I don’t need all of this help – I want to help others!

There were other, less pleasant events in our coming here. One time, when we went to the store, an older man tried to cut between our family members in line at the cashier. He cussed and yelled at us, even throwing our groceries on the ground.”

*Ukraine has banned the exit of any man between the ages of 18-60, so that they can be drafted into the military.

**David wasn’t given a 1-year visa, as he is an American and can only stay for 90 days maximum.

The journey here has not been easy, but we see God’s hand in it. Please keep praying for our family as we try to minister to Ukraine and Ukrainians while “in exile.”

Here are some pictures from our journey:

Russia has attacked, we are safe…

At about 5:00am Ukraine time today (Feb 24, 2022), Russia started shelling all of the strategic targets throughout Ukraine – military bases, airports, etc. As far as I can tell, there is direct fighting on the borders – Ukraine has reported that it shot down several Russian planes and has killed some of their soldiers. The Russians are obviously denying that… and there’s no way to tell what’s really going on without being there.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the global situation, you can check out these news sources. They’re the best we can offer, as we ourselves are not going to try to give a play-by-play. We are busy staying safe.

BBC YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/BBCNews
BBC live updates – https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cx1m7zg0gzdt/ukraine
KyivPost – https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics

Please don’t try to call us or write to us – we will update y’all if anything big happens to us. We are very thankful that God led us to prepare for this long beforehand. Our car is gassed up, we have food, we have water, we have a way to leave, etc. We haven’t left yet because of the initial chaos – most of Lviv was choked with CRAZY traffic from the time of the attack to about noon today. People were panicking, which is a terrible atmosphere to drive in. Things have calmed down much more now, though after a trip to the store and talking with our neighbors, we can say that things are tense.

  • Please pray for our local church.
  • Please pray for us – we need wisdom and God’s direct guidance.
  • Please pray for Ukraine… and for Russia.

We love you all. I hope to write again in a few days.