First of all, I would like to tell you how much I appreciated your prayers – all of them were answered this month! Despite many various things I had to do before leaving for two months (I had never left home for so long period since times of my research expeditions to the Arctic) to Asbury Seminary, God powerfully works in various areas of our ministry.
The greatest personal challenge for me was an unexpectedly huge reading assignment I had to do in addition to all current work (teaching, preaching, management, etc.). On the one hand, I did not expect any assignments at all before the orientation at the seminary, on the other hand, most of the books came late because of the postage delay and I had to cover more than 1.000 pages of reading of mostly technical stuff additionally to everything that was planned beforehand. I was shocked at first, but the Lord provided serenity, time, and energy to complete everything.
The greatest news of the month – we have started shooting the outdoor scenes for ‘The Lesson’ (‘Tough Choices’) video for/about teenagers and their specific challenges including gender roles and relationships, friendship, drugs, sex, abortions, values, faith (see the still picture attached). In one phrase, the video will be a story personal journey of a girl named Masha (on the right at the picture) from deepest conviction ‘Love is God’ to ‘God is love’. The video is our part of a greater Good News Production Intl. project with the basically same plot culturally adopted and locally produced in Kenya, the US, Mexico, Ukraine, Thailand, and Singapore. By our initial plan, it had to be completed by now, but various hindrances and adversaries did not allow us even to start it for a while. I believe this is a sign that a great door for effective work has opened here (1Cor.16:9) and Satan is very unhappy with it. Nevertheless, we got started due to the prayers of many people. Please keep praying for the project – we would like to complete it by the end of the year.
At the same time we are doing cutting, montage, and editing of the ‘Walking thru the Past’ video on paleontology, so this project, God willing is going to be completed this year as well.
However, God gives us a new vision as well – to start a TV show for children. It is more a dream rather than a project yet, but a very workable one. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance in the way of families outreach thru the children. Since the ability to be extremely busy and to dream at the same time usually does not work together, we fill this new vision as an answer to the prayers as well.
Another area where we experience big progress after a long period of struggle with obstacles is book translating. There are three projects that have to be completed and be ready for the press soon – Humble Defense by Scott & Moore (September), Case for Creator by Lee Strobel (October), and Refuting Evolution 2 by Jonathan Sarfati (December). The first time such big projects (the first two of them) are going to be in transition from translation to publishing project while I am away, and it will be a great practice/testing for our team. Please pray for them, as well as for the funds for the book printing to be available.
In general, training the leaders for both our ministry and for the church to be able to serve boldly and with confidence was a big part of what I was involved in during the month. It was done by the way of face-to-face fellowship, lessons, preaching, etc. I plan to preach one more time at the church before I leave as well as to lead a one-day retreat ‘God’s vision for the church leadership’ based on Acts 20:17-35.
Also, we almost completed the re-design of our website and it will have a new modern look in a week or two.
Another personal challenge I faced was to not neglect my family because of the business rush. I had to set apart and carefully protect the time I have devoted to my wife and children. Also, we made a trip to Kyiv to see Zhenya off to the school, as well as spend three days with the tent on the seashore.
On the way there and back I was able to explore some places looking for a potential venue for Eurasian Apologetics Summit we plan for next fall (see http://www.scienceandapologetics.org/engl/anons.html).
The greatest answer to the prayers has been received from our coordinator in Uzbekistan Andrey Gorkovenko. He writes:
“Yesterday I attended the huge meeting of Uzbek pastors from many denominations. I praise God for such a wonderful “cloud of His witnesses”. Many of them were excited about our work in translating some apologetic books. I found some new connections that I believe will help to improve our work and the team that will be involved in translating and publishing process. I’m going to have some new meetings soon so we could talk about details on how to do our work more effectively. Please pray for the good team and success in my ministry here.”
Isn’t it a great answer to the prayers – such a development in the midst of fear and persecutions? We have received some words of encouragement also from other former communist countries, and glad to share with you a couple of them:
“I am really glad to receive the materials from your Center regularly. It is a great commitment to share the Word of God through science. It is such a pleasure for the intellectuals and scientists who are willing to share Good News with their colleagues. Praised be the Lord for your ministry! May He richly bless it! I have two extended degrees myself: one pedagogical, one – theological, and I work as a school teacher. Therefore, the materials you send are very useful and helpful. Thank you very much! Your brother Alexei Burtsev.” Astrakhan, Russia
“I am writing to you with great joy because your work brings the fruit of truth – the pure fruit on the way of getting closer to knowing the Lord. I am going to become a teacher of chemistry and biology. From the very beginning, when I just started learning the theory of evolution, I was protesting against it without having any sound arguments. I am willing to learn more, for every lie to be disgraced, and for people to no longer have any obstacle in accepting the gift of our Lord – salvation! I appreciate your materials about evolution and looking for more. I believe that your literature will bless and straighten more and more people!” Dribin, Byelorussia
So, with words of praise as well as great joy and peace in my heart, I am packing to leave for my studies at Asbury Seminary, where I going to be September 11 – October 22. Please keep in your prayers my travel and the studies, my family, our team, and all the projects mentioned above.
You are in our prayers as well.
Yours by the love and grace of Christ Jesus