Although all our mission outings and teaching trips have been canceled (both national and international), the focus of our outreach has intensified in other areas through the Internet. For instance, we were planning to run the final training course and presentations to complete the Bible and Logic crowdsourcing project this month. During the last six months, on various social media platforms, we kept posting the descriptions of individual informal logical fallacies people fall into in their preaching and evangelism, as well as the fallacies the atheists make to resist the message. The readers were supplying us with real-life examples of these fallacies. The result of our study was finalized as a book, a training course and PowerPoint presentations. However, since the events had been canceled, we posted the results as an online reference book (https://scienceandapologetics.com/logical-fallacies.html). Now we are going to produce the audio version of the book and the videos for each fallacy type. May the Lord be glorified!
Similarly, we are managing several ongoing projects on various social media platforms popular in our part of the world. Every week we put on line some video courses, e.g. The Biblical Strategy of Evangelism, The Biblical Model of Church Leadership, Practical Christian Ethics, Bible and Politics, Bible and Science, The Basics of Cross-cultural Ministry, etc. The video versions allow for flexible time of viewing, and we answer viewers’ questions through Zoom, Skype, Messenger and other apps later. Please keep this work in your prayers!
The overall apocalyptic mood in Kyiv worsened even more this month as a result of the terrible smog that covered the city for several weeks, because of the wild bush fire raging in the abandoned exclusion zone around infamous Chernobyl nuclear station. Sometimes air pollution exceeded the norm 10 times! (The photo attached shows what it was like on the day of Orthodox Easter!) That increased people’s longing for hope and comfort and made them particularly open to the message! We keep saying that these days are special not because we do not know what tomorrow will bring, but because now we know we do not know that! Before, we had a complacent illusion of knowing what was coming. Nevertheless, the Lord is always in control, and we should put all our trust in Him alone.
This is the main message of the weekly devotions I do on Sundays, introducing the national believers to the concept of family worship, which is quite foreign to many in our part of the world. There are several other new online projects I am involved in, for instance, the weekly lessons on Romans for the local church leaders (see the picture attached). Please pray for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance in this initiative.
Personal stories and testimonies are fairly alien to our post-communist culture. Generations of fear and totalitarianism made our people rather reticent and reserved. Also, people here get embarrassed when somebody else tells something about them. Yet, here is the story I can share now without hesitation. Actually, I can’t help but share it! This is a glorious illustration of how the Lord has been using our ministry’s strategy to identify, encourage and equip key leaders who can train and equip others according to 2 Timothy 2:2 approach.
The story started in the early 1990s, soon after the Soviet Union had collapsed. People were facing the shortage of food, clothing and other essentials. During the night, the city streets were filled with gang shoot-outs. We had just recently started a family ministry. A hundred-square-feet room served as our bedroom, warehouse, office and print shop. Some days we had no time to cook, because of the people coming and leaving. At nights, we kept half-sleeping and half-listening to the buzz of a dot matrix printer under our bed. When the sound stopped, it meant I needed to wake up and fix a paper jam. The tracts and brochures we produced had to be mailed from a public post office.
There was no Internet or cell phones. Actually, having a landline phone at home was considered a luxury. Usually, people had to go to a phone booth at a street intersection in case of any emergency.
At that point I received the first letter from Dr. Vladislav Olkhovsky, Professor of the National Institute for Nuclear Research and one of the leading national physicists. He was wondering if it was true that we were sending out some materials that claimed to reconcile science with faith in God? We sent him everything we had. The immediate response was: “Thank you very much, but this is nonsense. Please do not send me anything like this anymore”. Nevertheless, the next letter came a year later: “Could you send me some more please?” We certainly did and very soon Dr. Olkhovsky committed his life to Jesus. It took time for a person of his position to reconsider the foundational concepts of his worldview!
That laid the foundation for our 25-year-long friendship and ministry partnership. As he impacted leading national scientists, Dr. Olkhovsky started one of the most influential chapters of our Eurasian Apologetics Society. From that time on, leading students, professors and researchers to Jesus became the main passion of his life. Vladislav took part in all the apologetic conferences, summits and retreats we ran (see the pictures attached), to encourage, train and equip national leaders for effective evangelism in the culture that had been misapplying science to worship atheism for decades.
The most tangible of Dr. Olkhovsky’s contributions was into our biannual Man and Christian Worldview academic symposiums – the short-term missions to the tribes of the post-soviet intellectuals. Leading professors of the former Soviet Union universities attended the event, and our task was to find the Christian opponents of the same academic and scientific level for them. The goal was not so much to debate, but to build professional and personal connections to be used as bridges for the Gospel message. It is hard to overestimate the significance of involvement of such national Christians as Olkhovsky and his fellows, considering their level! Dozens of professors, scientists and even some top functionaries of research institutes had a chance to be freed from the dogmas of the Soviet atheistic propaganda and reconsider their understanding of the Bible message! As a ripple effect, those who accepted Jesus influenced many of their colleagues and students. That included even those who did not change their attitude to the church, because it freed their schools and laboratories from the hostility to the message making others more open to it.
Vladislav used any opportunity to speak of Jesus till the end of his days. He was a prolific author, and we are actively distributing his materials. In his late career, his professional interests spanned the problems of time in quantum physics, the irreversibility of time, the fundamental problems of quantum physics of the living organisms, the temporal analysis of nuclear fusion and the nuclear chronometry in the universe. In a peaceful sleep, Vladislav Sergeyevich Olkhovsky went to spend eternity with our Father, the Lord and Creator of time and quantum physics on the 23rd of April, 2020. We praise Jesus for the joy to be Vladislav’s friends and co-workers even on this side of the Kingdom and in the future eternity together!