Spent this afternoon with a neat couple. Misha (below) is a man who has experienced the life changing power of God’s forgiveness. He’s a new creation. He served two 10yr sentences behind bars in the rough, barbaric confines of the Ukrainian prison system. In there, God’s Word found him, then a series of events that brought him to a place of repentance. 5yrs ago he was released, God blessed him with a wonderful wife, and a new start. They attend church in Kharg with our friends 20 minutes away.
He made a promise to God and himself that when he got out, he would go back and reach the men left inside prison. God has opened doors for him to get inside secure facilities and share his testimony, share supplies like bread and spiritual resources like the bible. I was very encouraged to sit and hear how God has changed this man, and his sincere desire to reach the forgotten in society.
We are praying how to best serve this man. He wants to go monthly, the prison is 150km away, and he doesn’t have a car so he takes public transportation. They barely get by as a couple, making less than 2000hrv per month ($250/mo), but they still manage to save up and go, taking whatever they can every couple of months. If God puts Misha on your heart, like he has mine, would you consider a donation to help him take his testimony of God’s grace into these prisons? Basically $30 covers the transportation for a day visit, and anything beyond that allows the purchase of food, blankets, and other basic necessities that many of the prisoners do not receive.
I, along with a few guys from RZ will be going with him to see first hand the conditions of both the facility he visits, and the hearts that are supposedly hungry for God. 3-4 new believers have been baptized recently, and when Misha shows up, many show up to hear him, he’s sort of a celebrity there having spent so much time, and then turning around and coming back! We are going to support in prayer, and asking God for wisdom with how to bless financially to enable this wonderful ministry of God’s grace. This Sunday we’ve asked him to come and share his testimony to the church, so more of the body here can catch a heart for this type of ministry. Over 1500 inmates are at this particular prison.
We are still praying and planning as best we can for a spring and summer construction trip. No dates have been set yet, but we’ve been talking to Crossroads and Times Square Church. We’re leaving the timing and the ‘needs’ for renovating in God’s hands. Svetlana continues to work almost daily on remaining tax, employee regulations, she even has to attend a course on electricity as every business registered like this must have an approved electrical person, don’t get me started on the red tape!!
The Gollans return next week, everyone is excited to see them again. It’s been 3 months, and the church is still here, praise God! 🙂 Tonight we meet as a newly forming leadership team, a mix of some foreigners and ukrainians who are actively leading in some form of ministry. It’s been a long time coming, believe me, but I’ve felt God wanting to develop a unity first among the many foreigners, before we could ‘add on’ the crucial pieces of ukrainian leadership.. needing to be in unity first among missionaries so that we are all pulling in the same direction once we form more long term leadership. Anyway, I praise God for the unity that is here recently, everyone seems to be desiring the same thing, God to be glorified in the community, in the church… and there’s been increased prayer over the last few weeks, these are healthy signs I believe. I wish we could just press fast forward on so many ‘developing’ things, would that be nice? I don’t think we would learn as much though, and appreciate the end result of patiently working together and trusting God in the little things.
We have several conferences coming up you can pray for that we’re going to. Pray for the 26th, a group is going to a kids event in Kiev, and another group to a discipleship conference. We are taking a couple car loads of folks 3hrs away to our friends in Chernigiv on March 5-6, to a conference on “Loving God’, I’m hoping to take a few college students that are still on the fence, and that this weekend God could work on them even more.
We have a cafe night the last Sunday of this month, pray for that as well please.
All for now, thanks for checking in!
PS – kids are doing well, everyone is healthy, Deb is as beautiful as ever (and busy too!)
Bruce & Deb