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May08 Ellie

Baptism

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It’s Monday morning and our home is quiet. 

The young American couple who have been staying with us for the last several months have moved out.  Yura and Oleg left early this morning for studies and work in Kiev.  My girls are reading quietly and doing school.  And Pris is doing little bits and pieces in the kitchen in preparation for a late, but special breakfast to celebrate IMG_9216Elle’s baptism yesterday. 

IMG_9209We did have a beautiful day yesterday.  Two of the guys who have gone through rehab also got baptized.  We went down to our river and witnessed the declarations of the two men and Elle.  Then we came up to our home and had a short service before celebrating with a picnic.  

May Day

IMG_9074It’s Monday! I’m generally home on Mondays and behind a screen planning, keeping in touch with people or preparing for the Bible studies of the week. Today I will also meet with one of men from the rehab centre for an hour or so… but that isn’t something normal for a Monday.

Today is May Day. This is likely the last year in which Ukraine will celebrate with a national holiday “May Day”. In our efforts to distance ourselves from Russia, we have decided that anything with communistic associations must also go. I know many people who feel as if it is really just for show that all these changes are taking place and that there are so many inconsistencies in logic that it isn’t funny.IMG_8903

On that subject, the government has changed the street name on which the reb centres are located. The old name: Radyanska St. The new name: Dzherelnya St. But the lads out there changed the sign on our fence to read “Christian St.”

The Ladies Rehab Center should be ours by Wednesday. We have had to wait on the sellers for a few different things over the past two weeks, but everything seems to be in order now and we expect to go to Kiev in two days time to sign the docs.

Christ is Risen

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A lot has happened over the last few weeks.

For those who are satisfied reading headlines:

*A few people have joined the ranks of those who desire to live for Jesus’ glory during the last couple of months.

*We ran a two-day mini-conference which was surprisingly easy at the end of the day (photo above).

*We have chosen to go ahead with opening a ladies rehab centre and hope to buy a house this coming week for a great price.

*A number of the men at rehab have graduated from the initial “phase” and are doing real well.

*There are a lot of kids coming to the youth groups we run who are regularly hearing the gospel.

*Spring has arrived!

IMG_9008People are becoming followers of Christ in Rzhyshchiv. It’s been real nice. A few students have made “declarations” of belief in Jesus the last couple of months. And a number of ladies from the town have been coming to church regularly and meeting with one of our older ladies for Bible study. I was talking with an 80-year old at church on Sunday and she surprised me with her sprightly mind as well as how much she appreciates the church family.

He has shown you what is good

He has shown you, O man, what is good; …to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

 

A new direction is afoot. 

One year ago, we started a men’s rehab centre in a small village near Rzhyshchiv.  We noted that there are thousands of Ukrainians wanting to be part of a rehab program and so in a sense, there is a big need for places like this.  A friend who himself, had gone through rehab about four years ago, had asked me a few times if I would consider starting such a ministry and after a lot of praying, thinking, asking others for thoughts and advice, we proceeded to take in men who wanted help. 

We’ve had several men “come to visit” for a day or a couple of weeks even… and decide that they aren’t willing to do what is necessary to be free from their addictions.  From those who stayed for longer, less than half have given up.  This is a statistic which I’m happy with.  I would like to see a 100% success rate, but anything over 50% will satisfy me.

God has blessed us with a few people who have regularly given to this ministry, and even though we have encountered numerous challenges making ends meet, we haven’t felt like we had no option but to close the ministry.

We made a decision early on that we wouldn’t open a second home, (or even seriously consider it), until at least a year had gone by.  I’ve had a few ideas float through, and felt the pull from time to time as people kept on calling us to see if we had a free place… but we resisted temptation. 

Early on, I considered the option of opening a ladies rehab centre as our second centre, but as I heard testimonies of how difficult it would be with ladies, I felt more and more negative about it.  It is actually a bit of a surprise to me that we are moving in this direction now.  How did it happen?  I don’t know.  It just happened!