Podil, Kyiv Ukraine Report - January – April, 2017
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
When Jesus was crucified there were two criminals on his right and one on his left. One of them knew he deserve being there. He said, “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he did the unthinkable. He asked for God’s mercy. Him who did nothing to deserve any mercy from God asked for it. He said to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom." How dare him. But he gets a surprising answer: Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Today Christ, is just as ready to hear our prayers. We need not have any self delusion that we deserve God’s mercy. We don’t. Instead Jesus took it upon himself on the cross to pay for all our sins. Jesus expects no pity and tears, he waits for repentance, gratitude and faith. This Jesus is God's chosen one who did not save himself in order to save us. This was one of the message delivered at our Spring Conference 2017. Our Theme was God’s grace. The epitome of it was Jesus’ promising paradise to a condemn criminal.
A lot had happened since our last report four months ago. Its like we are a totally different church. Our church began to co-work with the Christian Student group at the University we are serving, called Lumen. It is made up of Christians from different churches here in Kyiv. Because our Bible House is a 5 mins walk from the University, we offered our facilities for their meetings to take place. They had movie nights, birthday parties, Bible studies, coffee and tea time in our Bible House. Soon they found out that we have Worship Service and individual Bible studies in English. Several of the students began to come like Roma, and Lyosha. They began to study Bible with John. Roma brought Pasha and Valentine. We had volleyball and basketball games after Sunday Worship and one time we even had American flag football in the snow in February. Afterwards we had dinner and watched a movie together at Rob’s house.
At the end of February I had to leave to go to the US to help our children. I had to cancel and stop our English club. I thought less people will come now to our ministry. In the past whenever I left, key members of our church would also leave the ministry. But this time our sisters told me, “don’t worry just go, God will help us.” I was gone for 6 weeks. During this time the sisters took over my Bible studies. They also continued with feeding the homeless. John had 5-6 one to ones and did not get sick. During the spring break when students went home, Roma stayed and helped with the ministry. He told the sisters he couldn’t leave the church when I was gone. New people came to our church and it was vibrant and growing when I came back.
Then we began to prepare for our Spring Conference. John chose the speakers. Roma gave the opening message on God’s grace to St. Paul. He also shared how at birth the doctor told his parents he would be deaf and dumb and they even suggested to abort him while he was still in his mother’s womb. But his parents came to God and God heard their prayers and Roma was born as a normal child. Jonathan from Kyiv UBF gave the Saturday message on Luke 23, the robber on the cross with Jesus. After his message many had tears in their eyes. Then we had communion with candles and afterwards we had a campfire. On Sunday Rob gave his message on Luke 15 the prodigal son. It was heart moving. Afterwards Nataliia gave her testimony and was baptized. At this conference we had a very gracious and good time of fellowship and spending time together. Jay a former student from KMA who helped us so much at our conference for translation and ice breaker decided to join our ministry. After last SWS she came up to me and asked, “What can my ministry be here in your church?” I told her we need Bible teachers and would she be willing to be trained as one. She said ok. I also told her that she needs to go back to the university and finish her degree. She also said ok. Katya was also moved at the conference and said a lot of her questions about God and Jesus was answered during this conference. I pray for her to faithfully study the Bible and meet Jesus’ personally. The week after conference, Yana decided to be baptized before she went back to the war torn East to visit her family. Recently she wrote back that she had Bible study with her grandmother. We pray for her family to accept Jesus. Next week we will join the Bible seminar by Ron Ward and Mark Yang. Of our 10 members 6 are University students. We told them it is a Bible seminar and they responded that they want to study the Bible seriously.
1. End the war in the Ukraine.
2. Raise up 12 Bible teachers.
3. Three families to be established
4. God bless the Bible Seminar with Dr. Mark Yang and Ron Ward.
5. Matthew Sunday Messages by John Peace