Well… This is our last weekend in America for a while. We do hope to come back in about two years just to visit. Thanks a lot to all that have made our stay in the U.S.A. so awesome! We really enjoyed visiting all of you all over the States.
We had a great prayer meeting today at Horizon Christian Fellowship (see picture left). Thanks to all that came. We really appreciate all of you that are praying for us and helping us in so many ways.
Please keep praying for us as we prepare to take off on Tuesday. We actually won’t be home until Saturday night, because we couldn’t find train tickets from Kyiv to L’viv until then.
Some stuff you can pray about for us:
- Safe travels
- Luggage problems (we are still negotiating with the airline as to how many bags we can take – they are supposed to give us an extra bag)
- Vision for web-ministry (David is working on a strategy to help the social media team in L’viv really take off)
- Wisdom with our studies and work (Katya is considering two jobs, and David is studying in seminary)
- The general situation in Ukraine (separatists, Russian instigation, armies at the border, and an economic currency crash are all there waiting for us)
- Pastors and Christians in Eastern Ukraine (they are the closest to the border and the most affected by the Russian invasion)
- Revival in Ukraine
I’m taking a seminary class on Homiletics (which is just a fancy way of saying “How to give a sermon”). In my textbook, one of the paragraphs really struck a chord with me, and my thoughts were much longer than a Facebook post should ever be:
A preacher who wants to infuse his sermons with freshness
and vigor must also see to it that his discussion contains
variety. He will not draw all his quotations from
Shakespeare or all his illustrations from his own children.
He will take pains to gather his material from every
available source, new and old, and use them wherever they
may be effectively applied. While he must aim for variety,
at the same time a preacher must make sure that the
material he uses holds human interest. Anecdotes and
factual material that relate to the circumstances men and
women find themselves in or that appeal to human emotions
and sympathies are certain to arouse attention. But the
preacher does not have to tell sob stories just to make
people weep. Instead, whatever material he brings into
the discussion should connect with people’s hearts.
– James Braga
I think this is one of the advantages for me as a missionary to having a Ukrainian wife, speaking Ukrainian, and really living among the people. I get to experience the culture in Ukraine and allow myself to become Ukrainian.
On the other hand, I’ve taught and heard sermons delivered that used examples from films that many Ukrainians have never watched or English songs they may or may not fully understand, and the preacher has to take 3-4 minutes of time to explain his own illustration… which takes away the purpose of an illustration. I also don’t think this is a pitfall that only applies to missionaries – we as American teachers can also lose our hearers to illustrations that make no sense to them. Describing the beauty of a ballet and its intricacies may be completely a lost cause at a biker church (or it may not!), or describing the passion of a metal concert will only get you cross looks at some Baptist churches.
Like Paul said, we need to “be all things to all people” as pastors, as teachers, and as Christians in general.
Katya and I were glued to the news Tuesday night as we literally watched Kyiv burn. Thank God it wasn’t the buildings there on fire. It was the barricades on Independence Square.
I don’t know how well you can make out what’s going on in the picture, but those walls of fire are what were defending the lives of several hundred people from being killed by police.
The police are trying to take the square again, and the protestors there, in order to fend them off, set their barricades on fire. That night, they survived over 12 hours of constant attack by the police through the night. They were able to take a breath Wednesday in the daylight to rebuild their barricades.
Another thing that’s been hard is watching Katya through all of this. Seeing her heart break as the nation, the place she knows and loves and was born in, is torn apart is something that no husband is prepared for. Please pray for us, but pray for Ukraine… They need it so much. If you would like to read more, please click on the links below… and PRAY! Please even pray for the news. I was watching Fox News this morning, and they were TOTALLY biased in their presentation against the protestors.
God, please save Ukraine.
If you would like to follow the situation on the news, please use the following links:
Merry Christmas, everyone! Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support! We are flying home to David’s dad today. We’ll be with him for about a week, then go visit David’s mom, and then move on to visiting other friends and the many churches that support our work here in Ukraine. Please be praying for this trip for us – it’s very important!
Tomorrow, my friends are coming over to help me and Katya move all of our stuff from one side of L’viv to the other. This whole process of packing up and moving over to Katya’s parents’ apartment has been a big reminder of when I just moved into this apartment.
It’s an odd feeling. Katya is away at a conference, I’m packing up, the apartment is getting and feeling emptier and emptier, and I’m having those butterflies, that queasiness that comes with moving to a new place.
There’s something, though, that I’m praying the Lord will help me keep in mind:
Leaving one thing is always coming to something else.
All of this is in preparation for our trip to America this winter. I cannot wait to step through the doors of my old church with my wife on my arm and show all of my friends the gem I found in Ukraine. I cannot wait to go over to my dad’s house and my mom’s house with my wife and spend Christmas / New Years with them. I cannot wait to travel from church to church to church to church telling of the good work that God has done through Katya and me here in L’viv, Ukraine.
We cannot wait to see all of you.
That’s the vision. That’s the excitement. That’s what makes the pain of moving worth it.
P.S. – If you would like to see my blog posts from when I just moved in, click here. If you would like to see pictures, click here.