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Alcoholics, here we come


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.

His wife, Marina, is a young Christian. Three years ago, a workmate shared the gospel with her and it gave her an insatiable appetite to learn more about God and the Bible. She studied psychology in university but she has just now finished a 2-year Bible College course. Moving to a village was a big step for her. (The general Ukrainian understanding is that those who are intelligent move to the cities.) She also felt that leaving the church family that had led her to the Lord in Kiev was a big sacrifice. Yet as she shared on Monday with us, I was impressed with her sweet spirit and willingness to support her husband and serve the Lord no matter where He wanted. She is a former beautician and office manager… and is soon to be a mother.

For the last three years, Pavel has been living and serving in the rehab centre that he founded with a church not far from Kiev.  I believe it would be a very worthwhile investment for a few people to start supporting him in his ministry… contact me at if you would like to do this. If a few people give $20 a week, that would go a long way to covering their living expenses. I know that they have basically no income since moving down to Rzhyshchiv a couple of weeks ago.

Pavel comes down on the side of those who believe ministries need to be under the authority of the local church. As such, he has asked us if we would be willing to take on this ministry. We have approximately $1100 to put towards the effort right now, but as we look at the future, we are a bit uncertain of how God will supply what is necessary. In fact, I feel decidedly uncomfortable not having more than we do.  But start we will.

The men at the center will grow produce and keep animals (chickens, turkeys, and a few pigs and sheep). And over the next two years, the plan is for the centre itself to become somewhat self-supporting through

  1. The leaders taking groups of men to work on renovation projects in Kiev apartments

  2. Chopping and selling firewood

  3. Possibly producing table legs, (something a former “addict” set up for Pavel in the rehab centre he served in before).


The list of things we feel like we “need” to start is small. There will be just two men joining the two volunteers there for the first couple of weeks, (even though we already have a list of 13 people who have been directed to us or asked us to take them).

  1. Simple bunk beds and mattresses - $40 each second hand X 5 - $200

  2. Chairs - $5 X 10 – second hand $50

  3. Table - $40 Second hand

  4. A stove for cooking - $50

  5. Food for a month for four men - $200 (Pavel doesn’t believe in giving recovering alcoholics a plush pad in which to get fat, so we’ll keep things very simple.)

  6. 3 lambs - $150

  7. 4 piglets - $70

  8. Chickens and feed - $40

  9. Electrical wiring and fittings - $40

10. Tools - $50

11. Blankets and sheets - $50

TOTAL - $940

There are a lot of holes in this basic budget which we will fill, but I chose to make these lists to give you an idea of what’s needed just in case you feel like joining the effort.  I don’t like using the word “need” when talking about physical things… but I recognize that if people from the family of God don’t get on board with this, we’ll have to shut it down.  Pavel’s belief that it won’t be a problem boosts my faith.

Sometime over the next six months, we’d like to add these things to the list:

1. A van - $2000

2. Material for a fence (apparently a very important part of the program) - $250

3. A stove for heating - $250

4. A fridge - $40

5. A bathroom - $240

6. Hot water heater - $200

7. A washing machine - $70

8. A pump for the well - $140

9. A sewage pit - $100

10. A ram - $90

TOTAL - $3380

I look at that total and feel like it’s enormous. At the end of the day though, if this is of God, then He’ll supply what is necessary. (And maybe we could save money by just pretending we have a fence!)

As I was finishing this off, we got a call from a man named Victor. He’s a 33 years old builder and just been kicked out of his home by his wife because of his drinking. He is on the streets in Kiev and right now desperate to come down. We’ll pick him up tomorrow morning.

It’s starting.