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Shane
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Alcoholics, here we come

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Pavel and Marina have arrived. I’d like to introduce them to you because I’m hoping that a few people from outside Ukraine will support them in their ministry.

They are in their early 30’s. Pavel became a Christian eight year ago after a number of years of what he describes as self-indulgent living. His education was in politics and he used it for a few years in the agrarian sector in Ukraine. He worked in Europe and at one stage was selling luxury cars he had bought there. He is an intelligent and confident leader who has a passion for restoring the broken lives of men and training them for ministry in the church. He also loves God’s Word and it’s been encouraging to talk with him about the doctrines of scripture and note his belief in the ability of God’s Living Word to change lives. I’ve been impressed with his willingness to sacrifice much and move ahead with what he believes God has prepared him to do.

Rehab centre

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This is Pavel (left) and Denis.  Pavel is a former “businessman”.  He has a fascinating story.  His mother became a Christian a number of years ago, and then, after several years of being involved in the dark world of politics and money, he also became a Christian.  He was a part of a group of men who discipled him well and got him into ministry to addicts.  He ended up serving in a rehab centre and he has been doing that for the last three years. 

We got to know him about three years ago when he came down to visit his mother for a few months.  We enjoyed each others’ company and kept in touch even after he left to go to the rehab centre to work.

Several months ago, he married a nice girl and they are expecting a baby in four or five months.  We’ve been talking about opening a rehab centre in or near Rzhyshchiv and we both feel like the time has come to make the move down here and set something up.  It’s a bit scary, but we’ll be trusting God for strength and wisdom and everything necessary for these broken men to be helped and discipled. 

Denis, (36 years old), is a builder who became a Christian a little over a year ago.  He wants to work part time and minister part time with the guys who we take on in the centre.  Being an alcoholic himself and having benefitted from the ministry of the church to alcoholics, he’s keen to give back.  I liked his enthusiasm.

A Funeral

A Funeral – the ultimate reminder to us that the devil won a battle. 

There is a big difference between theology and philosophy.  You don’t want philosophy at a funeral.  You do want theology.  People benefit greatly from hearing truth about God’s Word and His wonderful character at a funeral – the ultimate reminder that the devil won a battle.

Q.  Who is God?

Answer:  Loving, kind, wise, patient, comforter, all-knowing, all-powerful, creator, sustainer, our Father… the one who lovingly allowed the Fall to occur, resulting in funerals – the ultimate reminder to us that the devil won a battle.

Q.  What does God’s Word reveal for us that is pertinent at funerals?

Answer:

1.  God is loving, kind… etc.

2.  The man who trusts in the Lord will never be put to shame.  The man who seeks the Lord finds Him.

3.  God knows what He is doing and doesn’t see the death of His children as a tragedy.

4.  Our security isn’t in the life we live here or even in the love we share with others.

5.  In the light of eternity, the length of our lives here, (be it 10 years or 80 years), is as a drop in the ocean.

6.  In eternity, God won’t be judging the Christian based on how many years he racked up, but on what he did with those years – who he was.

7.  We are not as those who have no hope.  We have the most wonderful hope available to man – that of being at peace in God’s presence with “pleasure forevermore”.

Testing

IMG_6415[1]“We’re back” - said in good old Arnold Schwarznegger style.  It’s been a good first two weeks of settling into things again.  The weather has been nice and mild, but much to the girls delight, we did get a day of big flakes which covered the ground. 

The trip here went very well.  Fly Emirates.  30kg of baggage per person is a lot more than the 23 the other airlines have given us in the past.  And they also didn’t fuss about us taking on extra carry on bags, for which we were very grateful.  We arrived in Kiev with only one bag missing.  It was amusing trying to remember what Pris had packed in it.  (The only thing she could recall was a pair of my jeans shorts being in there.)  Thankfully, I’d taken a photo of all our bags before leaving Australia and was able to give them a copy and our missing bag was quickly found.  (I think I’ll always take photos before big trips now!)  All in all, our experience with Emirates Airlines was top notch.