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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.

I’ve been meeting with about 10 guys Tuesday nights and doing an evangelism/discipleship class with them. “Evangelism”, because I believe a number of them aren’t forgiven by God yet. And those who have expressed faith in Jesus… well, they have a young faith. It doesn’t hurt for them to hear the gospel several more times!

Last Tuesday night, we watched a “Ray Comfort” clip from YouTube and afterwards Zhenya told me that he needed to hear again how he could become a Christian because he wanted to follow Christ. That was nice news. We’ve known this young man for a couple of years now and have been seeing him three or four times a week the last several months. Praise God for His mercy to Zhenya!

The mini-conference on the subject of worship was an encouragement to all who attended. About 35 of us gathered for a couple of days and examined IMG_9011what God has told us about the tabernacle and how this place of worship relates to our worship today. Friday night, we took the men out to the rehab centre and fired up the sauna and cooked chicken on the open fire. Good stuff.

Several people have given towards the purchase of a house just down the road from the men’s centre and we made an offer to the sellers. We were pleasantly surprised on Friday to hear from them that they were willing to meet our offer of US$11,500. We’ll notarize a down-payment tomorrow if everything goes to plan. 

Marie, who is currently studying in Bible college, is excited about being involved in this ministry and will join the team at the end of this year. We’ve also put out feelers to find a former drug-addict with a heart to love who can join us. It’s an exciting new venture that I still feel some trepidation over but which we believe is something God would have us do.  Three men who love the Lord from the guys rehab centre will move into the house and prepare it for the ladies to move into, (maybe in Sept??). These three guys from Armageddon are now in what we call the third phase and are doing real well.

Vitaly, who left us about a month ago called this week to let us know that he is not drinking and is involved in a church in his home town and is doing well. I physically sighed as I wrote that. Our faith in the guys who leave us against our advice isn’t high. We’re very grateful that God has strengthened Vitaly though and kept him in fellowship.

I’ve also been encouraged in the last week by a couple of “lost sheep” showing signs that they would like to renew their commitment to God.  May He continue to have mercy on them as they are brought to a place of total repentance and reliance on Him.

Friday nights are always fun.  The kids who come out are keeping me young – perhaps “younger” would be a better word.  Only a couple of these kids have parents who are Christians, so when we share from the Bible, it’s nearly always new for them. It’s a special experience teaching them and seeing them intently listening and processing the truth that will make a world-changing difference in their lives. Some of them have talked with me this last week about baptism… so we may be looking at another cold but joyful dip one Sunday soon.

The blossoms are out and the temps are warming up. Pris, in particular, loves spring. We’ve already planted some flowers and Elle is growing 10 or so cups full of them to replant in the next couple of weeks. The beauty that flowers share shouts out the glory of God. I love it!

And I love Resurrection Sunday.  Christ is Risen… and that will be proclaimed until the end of the age!