Oh my dear Ukraine! (Katya’s first post!)

ImageIt is so hard to be here in America when all these things are happening in Ukraine and I have no idea what Ukraine will be when we will come back.

All that to say, I see more and more that this is not all about politics any more; it is a spiritual battle against those “who call evil good and good evil,” (Isaiah 5:20,21). It is a battle for justice and truth. I love that churches have an important role and influence in this protest, so that even the government saw it and began to threaten them. A lot of priest, pastors, spiritual leaders and just believers are at the “Maydan” to share the Gospel, to preach, to pray, to encourage, to help…. and people are coming to God! Is’t it awesome!?!?! But my heart hurts, because still those people get hurt.

Let us hold fast and pray for Ukraine. These days are very important for our country.

Let us pray for:

  • That the Ukrainian people would turn to God and Jesus Christ
  • People on the square – their safety and stability
  • Security forces – so that they protected instead of hurt people
  • Changes in the hearts of the government
  • The economic weight of the protests on the nation

Thank you and God bless!

Speaking at Horizon Indy

Wow – I love my church! Horizon Indy is such a cool place to come home to. I love how welcoming the people are, the teaching is good, and the worship is sincere. Katya and I spoke at all three services today, and it was such a blessing. We just shared about the past 2 years of ministry and briefly about what is coming up next. It was so much fun. Below are some pictures.

I know it might sound weird, but I always get the most nervous speaking at my own church – especially during 3rd service! I really don’t know why… Maybe it’s because I’m getting hungry for lunch, maybe because it’s the most people there… I don’t know. I LOVE my church, though. I was almost brought to tears on Wednesday when we were there for church just because I missed this place so much. It was so good to hear Bill teach and just see all of our friends here.

Thank you to all of you guys that have made our stay in America SO welcoming so far. We love you guys!

David and Katya sharing at 1st service
David and Katya sharing at 1st service
Talking to people at our info table
Talking to people at our info table
David and Katya sharing at 3rd service
David and Katya sharing at 3rd service
Mike Slack introducing us at 1st service
Mike Slack introducing us at 1st service

Preaching today!

davidandruslanRuslan, a good old friend of ours, asked David at the last minute yesterday to preach at his church. He is the pastor from Katya’s old church. Please be praying for both of us. David was up really late working on the sermon, and Katya is going to translate for him. Please pray for the Word to go out, lives to be touched, and hearts to be changed!

A different kind of revolution…

20131209-163944.jpgImagine being on a trip and staying over at a friends house… You wake up late, roll out of bed with your wife, walk into the kitchen to find your friends already waiting for you with a plate full of eggs and a mug full of strong, black breakfast tea. After rousing conversation about recent events and finishing the contents of the aforementioned plate and mug, you get changed and walk outside to the sight of snow falling softly on the ground, people making there way to work, and the normal hustle and bustle of a large city…

That really sounds like a typical morning on a visit to a city in the middle of a revolution, doesn’t it?

No! What the heck is going on here?

20131209-164122.jpgJust in case you missed the news, Ukraine is in the middle of a literal political revolution, but it’s a different kind of revolution. Now, as a foreigner, I try to stay completely out of any and all politics here. I don’t think it’s my place as an American missionary to comment, protest, etc.; however, I think it’s the responsibility of every Christian to pray for the country where they live and the politicians that lead it.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and
all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful
and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is
good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.
– 1 Timothy 2:1-3

I’m currently based in a city in Western Ukraine called L’viv (the “i” is pronounced “ee” like “bee”). It’s a wonderful city full of life and culture, and it’s far away from the capitol city, Kyiv (pronounced in English as “Ki-yeev” with the first vowel like the “i” in “kid”). There have been protests, riot police, and all kinds of crazy things happening here since the trouble started, and that’s all we see on the news all the way over in far-away L’viv. I was a little scared to come to Kyiv actually. (Katya and I were there to get her visa to America, so we had to make the trip either way.) My father-in-law even gave me a small can of pepper spray “just in case”.

All that to say, just like any other revolution, I expected stuff like:

  • Pickpockets and a rise in crime
  • Problems with transport and infrastructure like buses or the subway working poorly or not working
  • General unrest and tension in the people there
  • Businesses not working

Wouldn’t you expect the same? In America, when we hear the word “revolution”, we think AK-47’s and Che Guevara or something. This is totally different.

One of the things that really surprised me and changed my perspective about this revolution was our friends, Andriy and Katya. They were Katya’s small group leaders in L’viv, so we have known them as close friends for a long time. They were so peaceful and so sure in their positions. They were able, in love, to even explain, without fighting, their positions to others of opposite views. This is all in the middle of a real revolution.

20131209-164103.jpgAnother thing I have been impressed with is a prayer tent that has been set up downtown on the square where the riot police beat a bunch of protesters about a week ago. The ministry there has been amazing – people coming and going, prayer around-the-clock, people even spending the night in the winter on the square downtown to pray for others and for Ukraine.

(Here I took a day or so break from writing this article…)

Unfortunately, as I’ve been in the middle of finishing this article, a lot of the situation has changed. The riot police have come out again in Kyiv and they are just standing in ranks next to the people downtown. We all have our eyes glued to the TV to see what they are going to do. Please, please, please be praying for all that is happening in Kyiv right now. It looks like they might be trying to make a siege of the main square, or they could be preparing to storm the square.

20131209-164148.jpgI also really want to encourage church leaders to step up and pray, call your churches to pray, and take this opportunity from God to preach the Gospel to the people around you! When people go through hard times like these, they realize that their hope has to be in something other than themselves and their government. People are hungry for the Truth and hungry for Jesus. Let’s answer the call.