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IMG_0679I’ve been “relegated” to my office.  There is a ladies gathering in our lounge-room where I am normally set up and there are several little children in the ministry centre room with Angel and Elle and one of Elle’s friends.  I seldom get “relegated”, but am enjoying it at the moment.

I’ve been listening to a video on YouTube by Dr. James White on John 3:16 as the kids have played.  I’ve given this verse a fair bit of attention over the last month… this isn’t the first time I’ve heard Dr. James White address it.  My conclusion is that like me, most of us have heard it, quoted it, and have a good basic understanding of the truth contained in it.  But still, many have an imperfect understanding of it.  What do you reckon?  Are you in that boat? 

Here’s the test:  1.  To what does the word “world” refer to?  2.  What kind of love is God loving with?  3.  The word “whoever” implies that anyone has the opportunity to believe, or does it?  4.  What sort of belief is required for it to affect my eternity?  5.  Are you sure of your answers?


clip_image002Well… the “fork experiment” was conducted… and declared a flop. One of two conclusions has to be made. Either our people are very considerate or they don’t value stainless steel forks! Considering the fact that the desert table was empty by the time I went to get some cake, I’m going to assume it was the latter.  I do love my brothers and sisters and try to give them a good example to follow… but how do I get some cake?  :)

We had another picnic yesterday, (I do love church picnics). We try to have a picnic or church-lunch once a month, but I would be quite willing to have one every week.  Artyom, a unique young man with an alcoholic father and a love for God “passed through the waters” on Sunday - hence the celebratory picnic. His Grandmother started attending our church a couple of years ago at about the same time he started going to youth group and kids club and hanging out with Shane and Jemi. In answer to a question about changes in his life that was posed to him after he shared his testimony, he said that a big change had been that he had lost most of his friends when his priorities and standards had changed. What has he gained?  Untold riches!  May God grow his young faith and bless him.

Cheap Plastic Forks

clip_image002I’m going to do an experiment at our next church picnic… and then use it as an illustration. We will set the usual pile of plates out, but have 10 good stainless steel forks and 60 cheap plastic ones in the forks pile. I am pretty certain that the “C.P.F.’s” will be the only ones left within 20 people visiting the buffet-style table. Most of us, despite God’s instruction to the contrary, “look out for our own interests at the expense of the good of others”. But then you have the 20% who are different. (And it is simply a delight when you realize someone is entering the 20%!) One of our young men here is one such. About a year ago, we picked him up in Kiev… a blubbering mess of a drunk who was desperate to come to rehab. I was so totally not in the mood for silliness or being put out by the stench and foolish words of a drunk… and had just enough grace in me to accept him into our car… but it was close. My attitude on the way home was anything but loving… but I admitted to myself and the guy in the car next to me that God would probably teach me another lesson and this drunk would become one of my most precious brothers in Rzhyshchiv. Well… guess what. :) I shake my head at the irony of it… and the powerful grace of God on display. Roma serves and loves and cares and would probably be in the top 1% of the 20%. He won’t take a stainless steel fork to eat his meal with.

To Kill a Sheep

On Sunday, we decided to kill our 17 year old sheep and marinade it, (a fruitless attempt at softening the meat). May Day in Ukraine is big – lots of picnics and lots of drinking. We decided to do a picnic on Wednesday night instead of our usual Bible study… and somehow enjoyed the flavoured pieces of rubber we sucked on.  17 years… I actually felt surprised that I swallowed a few pieces.  I’m glad no one called the police for attempted murder… it was tough meat!


Talking about police, I was pulled over after the wedding we went to in a city about four hours drive away last week-end. The police were waiting for drivers to leave the picturesque venue in the country in order to pull them over and then check for DUI. Three of them got out and one very polite policeman asked for my docs. and took me for a little walk around the back of his car, (I still don’t know what the deal was there), but he did a breath test on me, (stuck his nose out and told me to breathe on it!!!), and then sent us on our way with a polite warning to get the light fixed over my number-plate and a suggestion to slow down over speed-bumps. :) Who needs technology!

We enjoyed the wedding. We’ve known Nazar since he was 14 and came to one of our summer camps. Ivanka, I first met at a Bible study we did in her apartment in Kiev when she was a cute little 5 year-old. They both love God and will glorify Him together.