Our second week in America…

Here are a couple of photos from our second week in America! We went to a family reunion on Padre Island in Texas and then flew to Florida to be with David’s dad and stepmom. One of our friends from Ukraine also met us here. Here name is Zhenya – she lives in Califonia now. We didn’t take as many pictures as we should have at the family reunion; however, we often see that as a sign that we’re having so much fun that we forgot we had cellphones! It was amazing to see all of David’s family there, including cousins, uncles, aunts, and more.

Photos from our first week in America

Hover your mouse over a picture to see the caption…

Remembering Oksana Yaschuk

Katya and I are finally in the States after three years of not visiting family and friends here. We went to Texas first, and a couple of days after we got to Dallas, we heard that our “sister” (she’s actually a very close family friend and Katya’s sister’s roommate) was diagnosed with double-pneumonia. She has already had trouble breathing for several months and has been sick with autoimmune hepatitis for several years.

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The next day, as we were making our way down to San Antonio, she died. Oksana really was a part of our family – she was there for Katya’s mom and sister when Katya’s dad died the last time we visited America. She was an amazing servant in the church, a good friend, and a very generous person.

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Please pray for our family and friends back in Ukraine and for us as we can’t really mourn with them.

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Як правильно молитися, щоб Бог відповів? (Sermon in Ukrainian)

We’re starting a new sermon series on prayer! I’m really excited for it. Ruslan (our pastor) let me kick on the sermon series by talking about Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. I don’t know how many of our readers speak Ukrainian, but if you understand it, here’s a video of the sermon:

Know your limits… To go further!

Praise the Lord. Another sermon down. One more to go. Here’s what “The Life of David” looks like right now:

  1. Overview
  2. 1 Samuel 16 – God has His Own timing
  3. 1 Samuel 17 – Who is your Goliath?
  4. 1 Samuel 18-20 – Love, Jealousy and Obedience
  5. 1 Samuel 21-24 – Temptation and God’s promises
  6. 1 Samuel 25-27 & 29-30 – You offended me!
  7. 1 Samuel 28, 31 & 2 Samuel 1 – The death of Saul
  8. 2 Samuel 2-5 – Civil War
  9. 2 Samuel 5-9 – After you God’s friend?

The last sermon, #10, will be on David and Bathsheba. I’ve learned so much about preaching, planning, and God’s faithfulness through this series. I had the privilege to preach sermons 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9.

Those scripture passages are HUGE! I don’t know if I would do it this way again. It might be best to break this story up even more to about 12-15 sermons.

That’s what I mean by “know your limits to go further.” I’ve gotten some great feedback / constructive criticism during this series from one of our teachers at the seminary and from my wife, Katya. They and others have encouraged me in this process, exhorting me to bring more focus to the messages.

For instance, I could probably teach three different sermons from 2 Samuel 5-9, the passage I thought from today. A lot of pastors actually try to do that, trying to squeeze every exegetical lesson from the verses they are expounding on.

I don’t know about you guys, but, when I do that, I end up having a wide, hour-long puddle of a sermon, instead of a narrow, deep well that the congregation can draw water from. It’s hard to drink from a puddle in the same way that it can be hard to receive deep, impacting truth from a sermon that is about everything and nothing at the same time.

All that to say, I’ll learning my lesson. Today the sermon was about 60% of the length from last week, much more focused, and (imho) just as deep / impactful.

Please pray for this week… I might talk to my pastor and ask him to take this one. WAY too much going on right now.

Пам’ятаємо Іру Захарову

(English at the end)

Це – передмова недільного богослужіння 17.02.2019, день після того, як Іра пішла до свого Спасителя. Надіюсь, що це якось дасть трошки надії або спокою всім, кому боляче від того, що Іри вже не серед нас.
 

Ось вірш, який я прочитав на початку тієї проповіді:

Як розуміти – такі слова?
Голова щось не може збагнути!
Що він сказав? Ні – це не вона…
Такого – не може бути!

Як, ну як – така молода!
Як пережити злу новину?
Як довіряти, коли година прийшла?
Не хочеться навіть так думати.

Як можна радіти, коли їх вже нема?
Коли вже тут ти їх не побачиш?
Нашу Надію не знає земля
Ісусе… мій Господи – це Ти
Тільки ти.

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Please be praying for the churches and families here that lost an amazing friend, sister, and minister – Ira Zakharova. She recently moved to the Front to serve in children’s ministry there. While she was back home, she died from what sounds similar to a heart attack. (I’m not a doctor… They said that a blood clot stopped her heart.) This is a very hard time for all of us.

The audio above and poem are some words that were said at our church in memory of her and finding encouragement from Christ’s words in John 11 about the Resurrection.

We miss you, Ira.

Thank you

Thank you.

Missionary life has its ups and downs. The past few weeks have had both. Health problems in the family, hard news from relatives, missing “home” (what does that mean, now that I’ve lived here for 8 years?), and being apart as a couple… It means a lot in these times to have reminders that people “back home” in America remember who we are and why we’re here.

Above is a Christmas card that I just got from the staff of my sending church in Indiana. I know about 1/2 to 2/3 of the people that signed the card, but even the signatures that I don’t recognize mean something to me.

It came at the right moment.

Pray for your missionaries.

Remember them.

Thank you.

If you would like to send cards (or books!) to missionaries here, please contact Diana Faulk at Horizon Indianapolis. She’ll hook you up:

+1 (317) 823-2349 – Church office

Horizon Missions

7702 Indian Lake Road

Indianapolis, IN 46236