We feel the power of your prayers all the time! On the days like these, God’s mercy and care are especially evident!
Against all the odds, we actually held the session of the “Reliable Foundations” open apologetics club “Does God Exists?” (see the pictures attached). The Power Station allowed the computers, projectors, lights, and cameras to run uninterruptedly independent from the power supply. Couple dozen people managed to attend the meeting despite the travelling troubles. Those who had electricity and internet access during the session time, were able to join us online. Others will be able to watch the recorded video on demand. We now plan the next session (“Does God Exists?” part 2), God willing, for February. Please pray with us for it.
We praise the Lord for the communication means we have even now, while our team is scattered across the country (including occupied territories) and even abroad. Regular executive team meetings (see the screenshot attached) provide great mutual encouragement as well as help to maintain the vision and explore the Lord’s guidance. All of us – those who are on the screenshot and those who are not – need prayers for safety, health, courage, guidance and protection. Please pray with us.
After some time of adjustment to the new realities required, we continue to provide master-level teaching for various seminaries in a format that combines online Q&A group sessions with watching the video version of the lectures by students individually when time and electricity allow them. The students highly appreciate that option since they have electricity available for a few hours a day only, and when it gets on, watching the videos is not the main priority for the household. Cooking, doing laundry, charging the gadgets and power banks, etc., definitely go first! We are so glad to have the online video versions of all our courses! We were thinking we are making them for students in restricted areas. But God was preparing us for a time like that. May His name be praised!
The Lord provides various opportunities to develop our 2 Timothy 2:2 approach. Thus, we are going on with online Bible studies. Initially, we intended to do it for our team during the COVID lockdown but carried on after the massive war started. Now ministers of some churches joined our lessons. Some of them are from the occupied territories; some have left the ministry and were recruited into the army. But even there, they seek out opportunities to join us from time to time. One of them, Ruslan, is the main pastor of the Church we attend in Kyiv. He is a gifted young man I have been mentoring since I came here. Now he defends the country at the frontline. And, since my health condition is back to normal, I decided to increase my preaching at the church while he was away. Please pray for both of us.
We are so glad to have small book storage at our Center. Refilling it once in a while, we are always fitted to do a book table at any event, as well as to ship the books within the country to whoever needs them. Special time together spent in fellowship and prayers is a great blessing of the food storage used as a bomb shelter (see the pictures attached). We remember you in our prayers constantly!
Please continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, for the protection of our fellow workers wherever they are, and for the Lord’s guidance to us in this time of uncertainty. Please continue to pray for our teammates who defend our land. They are at the hottest spot in the Northeast of the country. May the Lord protect them!
Acts 17:17 says, while in Athens, Paul disputed in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. Like a modern bazaar in Central Asia, the ancient agora was not as much a place for trade as a location where people came to socialize and discuss various ideas. The apostle was delivering the Good News – the most important news one should hear – at the very venue where people kept coming for the news. We have a strong beliefthatthe Internet, as opposed to a supermarket, is the 21st-century equivalent of the 1st-century agora.
CCSA Site Visitors January – June
was always an important part of our work, but never before was it as important as it is now at the time of quarantine, when most of other ways to reach people are unavailable, and many people are locked in self-isolation with the Internet as the only access to the outer world. We have dual focus at all our four campuses now: meeting the immediate opportunities to spread the message of the Kingdom and develop the content for future projects.
The latest 6-month statistics of the online ministry proves how relevant that approach is under the circumstances for fulfilling our purpose to communicate the Truth to sceptics, strengthen the saints in their confidence in the Truth and equip God’s people to proclaim God’s Word effectively. Our main website – a resources hub – has been visited from 67 world countries (see the map attached), excluding those from the restricted areas who have done it anonymously through a VPN. May the Lord be praised!
Since people of our culture prefer personal interaction to a group involvement (again, not much has changed from the agora times), we have been using my personal Facebook page with 6,650 followers as another ministry tool. We encourage our volunteers worldwide to follow the same model. At the same time, we have set up the Eurasian Apologetics Society group where they can share their resources and ideas. It includes about 700 members; approximately 2,000 posts were published there during the half a year! Additionally, roughly 200 publications were posted on each of the dedicated pages we manage on the social media most popular in our part of the world, i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and VK. Also, the online library received 1,400 book requests. Praised be the Lord!
We are carrying on distance teaching – from the online Bible studies and leadership training to the Master Level courses (see the pictures attached) – and respond to the immediate challenges that God’s children face. After completing the online message series “Peace In the Midst of the Storm,” we discovered that many married couples experience Cabin Fever problems due to the unusual amount of time they are spending together in isolation. To meet the need, we have developed 12 talk series titled “The Art of marital intimacy. Biblical Reflections on the Intimacy in Marriage,” teaching couples to trust and serve each other. At the moment, we are working on a follow-up brochure on Christ-like sacrificial relationships between spouses.
Cross-Cultural Evangelism Online Seminar
Though a major conference on cross-cultural evangelism we had planned to attend was postponed, some motivational seminars and discussions were provided in the online format (see the pictures attached). Please join our prayers for the Lord’s international heralds to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise people, redeeming the time, because the days are evil,” making the most of every opportunity, i.e. using the pandemic limitations for intensive training and spiritual growth on the one hand, and utilizing the options specific to their ministry during this time, on the other hand.
Some say our today is very different from our yesterday because we do not know what is going to happen next. But they are wrong. Our today is different because now we do know that we do not know that (though earlier we had illusions we knew that.) But doesn’t the Scripture say: “Whoever thinks he knows something really doesn’t know as he ought to know. But the person who loves God is known by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:2,3)? May the Lord lead us in preparing His workers not to fall back into the “old mode” or to discover a “new old mode,” but to operate in the “new mode” continuously. That implies bringing out the new treasures from their storeroom (i.e. the skills and strategies developed during the time of pandemic), as well as the old ones (i.e. those they practiced previously), and always being prepared to develop new and effective ways of delivering the eternal and unchanging Good News to the constantly changing world.
Developing resources for training and equipping believers in the restricted areas (where using regular means for Christian education is sidelined or even dangerous) has always been one of our priorities. We kept making videos of lectures and seminars, producing downloadable visual aids, writing and translating books to make them available via different channels and formats, exploring and testing various approaches to building up disciples, etc. And now that most places in the world have turned into restricted areas because of the quarantine, our resources are in great demand as never before!
Churches, missions and seminaries are turning to us as they look for ways to continue teaching and training under the new conditions, and we are always happy to help! We supply media resources to them, provide assignments, and help with feedback and assessment. Before the quarantine, we would provide one or two teaching missions a month. Now, given the current demand, we can manage multiple courses for several institutions at the same time! May the Lord be praised!
Still, the emphasis on Christian education is not only on information, but even more on transformation. My desk has turned into a “control centre” for group and individual discussions, Q&A sessions, fellowship and prayers online. Several radio stations and Internet ministries have invited us to produce live broadcasts or online discussions on critical issues of the Bible and the foundations of Christian faith (see pictures attached). Please pray for God’s wisdom for us to do this in the most effective way to promote the Kingdom.
As usual, I feel a little uncomfortable because only my face shows up in all these programmes. I am sure you realize that this is the fruit of the work of our great team
and of many volunteers who collect information, develop content, maintain web and social media platforms, translate books and articles, produce media, etc. Moreover, we help various partner ministries in every way we can. For instance, we help the Zoom course (which uses an online platform to teach the principles of multiplying disciples and churches) to launch the Russian version of the training (see https://zume.training/ru/). May the Lord be praised!
As a family team, we continue to promote online a model for family worship (see picture attached). This approach is quite foreign to our culture, but many have told us it has really helped them during their months of isolation. To God be the glory!
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!
A short but very eventful month of February started with a new project – The Foundations series seminar at the ReFormat youth movement. What great joy it is to have fellowship with young people so devoted to Jesus and sharing His message with their peers (see pictures attached)! The fellowship was focused on the relationship between science and faith and lasted long after the program had finished. The next meeting has been postponed due to quarantine. But please keep in your prayers these children of God who love their Father with all their hearts, minds and souls, and please pray for the program to continue in the future.
TransWorlRadioThe Reliable Foundations apologetics online club has been working for the sixth year in a row! We had no idea it would last that long! The February meeting still had some physical attendance (see picture attached), but the next one(s) will be for online followers only. The Trans World Radio interview on the difference between the political agenda of the climate change and the actual biblical approach to the stewardship of God’s creation did not require real attendees, either (see the picture attached).Praised the Lord for the technologies that allow us to spread the message despite the challenges!
Another great blessing of the month was the Bible and Civil Society seminar for they outh leaders at the city of Vinnitsa(see picture attached). I wish you could hear the stories of these young people: how the Lord found them, what He rescued them from and how amazingly He has been working in their lives! The more I deal with the post-exodus generation (those who were not born under communism slavery), the more optimistic I am about the future of the nations despite the broken record: “”Weren’t there any graves in Egypt? Did you have to bring us out here in the desert to die? Look what you have done by bringing us out of Egypt! Didn’t we tell you before we left that this would happen? We told you to leave us alone and let us go on being slaves of the Egyptians. It would be better to be slaves there than to die here in the desert.” (Exodus 14,11-12).This is the generation that will lead people out of the wilderness of despair and will build their life on the solid rock of God’s word! May the Lord be praised!
Our next mission was to the cities of Khmelnitsky and Dolinovka with the big program on the Biblical foundations of marriage and family. It included seminars at the churches in the area and a training course for the family ministries leaders of entire region and their spouses (see the pictures attached). It is impossible to overestimate the role of godly marriage in building strong families and churches as well as raising the next generations in accordance with God’s Word! It is exciting to see the grassroots movement for this strategically important case! Please join our prayers for it!
Our next stop wasLviv, where we offeredan intensive training for a small group of young missionaries going to Nepal, South and Central Africa, and Eastern Europe (see pictures attached). For many years, the Lord has been using Ukraine as a hub of Evangelism for the other regions of the Russian Empire. At the time when the Soviet Union collapsed, 90% of the pastors in Russia were from Ukraine! And now we see how this influence is spreading even further! Please pray with us for this new generation of servants of the Lord to be properly prepared to enter the mission field!
We received a very special item of news from our coordinator Igor, who is based inthe Amur region of Russia’s Far East! They have successfully run the Camp called “Search for Truth” designed for young Christian paleontologists. About a hundred kids aged 9–15 years from seven Sunday schools of that huge region had joined it. Igor writes: “The children had an unforgettable experience, and we hope that some of them will embark on the path of scientific research, harmoniously combining the science and the work of God the Creator”. May the Lord be praised!Our next stop had to be the big conference in Bila Tserkva (Central Ukraine) to conduct several seminars on international missions. However, it was rescheduled due to the pandemic. For similar reasons, our upcoming tripto the country of Moldova was cancelled. Our course on Practical Christian Ethics was meant to be an event to celebrate the commencement of the Master program at the seminary there.
Well, the trip has been cancelled, but the course itself has not to be cancelled at all! We produce media versions of our courses to equip the workers of the Lord in the restricted regions. Admittedly, the pandemic has made every region restricted in some way, so we are well prepared for the situation, thanks to technology! We supplied the students with the books to read by mail, with the online videos of the lectures, and with assignments. Obviously, this will not replace the actual interaction we would have during classes. Nevertheless, the students will not contact even one another and this is good for the quarantine situation. This is another example of how our ministry of media production and book publishing works for the Kingdom when other methods fail! May the Lord be praised!
We have quite a déjà vu now. In 2014, we managed to leave Crimea on the last plane, our team managed to send us our vehicles with the last train, and we, the Golovins, gathered all together in Kyiv. Now we managed to bring Dasha, our youngest daughter, to Kyiv with the last train from Lviv and we are all here together again. The country has been quarantined. All borders are closed, all public events are banned, all schools are shut down, all public transportation is cancelled. It looks like the Lord is humbling us again by reminding us that He is in control, not us. Now we have the time for fellowship, learning, praying, dreaming and developing the plans and the content for future projects. The ministry through the Internet and public networks is becoming our primary focus during this period. Please pray for Lord’s guidance for us in it!
Early this year we continued with our ongoing projects and launched several new ones. We are providing training courses and seminars as the Joint School of Christian Apologetics, conducting sessions of the Reliable Foundations Online Apologetics Club and spreading the Message daily through social media platforms and other means. Occasionally, some one-time events evolve into ongoing projects, like answering questions received from the audience of Trans World Radio (see the picture attached). We organize regular meetings for the re-Format Youth Ministry to encourage and equip them to bring greater glory to the Kingdom. Please continue to pray for all these missions.
The crowd-sourcing project on informal logical fallacies that are most common in our part of the world started in August and it was planned to last for a couple of months only. Then we extended it till Christmas. And you know what? It is still going on! People keep sending new cases they have had to deal with. In February we plan to complete the research and develop the final products for public use – books, online reference resources and a smartphoneapp. Please keep this exciting project in your prayers!
We have also provided a three-day training seminar “Bible and Logic” at the Ezra Academy discussing issues with various ministry leaders (see the pictures attached). It was an extremely valuable experience. We plan to have the textbook completed by April and provide a week-long open intensive course on Logic at the Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary later. We intend to film a video version and make it available online for everyone, including the distant and restricted regions. Please pray for these activities as well.
Our strategic focus is identifying, encouraging and equipping young leaders for effective ministry in line with the approachfoundin2 Timothy 2:2. It is always a great blessing from the Lord to meet young people who have dedicated themselves to ministry and to learn how encouraging and helpful to them our resources have been. Yet, the meeting we had this month was very special. Mikhail is a young man from Donetsk, a city in the war zone.
Any evangelical activity is heavily restricted in his region controlled by the pro-Russia militants. Nevertheless, Mikhail is involved in active ministry online. When we had found out that Mikhail was coming to Kiev, we arranged a meeting with him and had a very fruitful discussion concerning the strategy of his ministry and the opportunities for our cooperation for the sake of the Kingdom. We were glad to provide Mikhail with the resources for his ministry (see the pictures attached). Later he wrote on his Facebook page (http://bit.ly/3bhSg6l): “CCSA’s work has played an important role in shaping me as a Christian, as well as in strengthening my faith. I am deeply grateful to God for this opportunity.” May the Lord be praised! While Mikhail continues his ministry, we are going to make him a part of our content-development team. Please pray for him: for his safety and for the zeal he has for the Lord! Pray for many more young people like him to be called to this strategically important ministry, for the harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few.
Please also pray for our production team which continues the work in the restricted area under the radar. In addition to the regular videos and audios for the social media they make, we produced an excellent clip “Do You Know Him?” with the spoken word in Russian script inspired by Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge’s message “My King”: https://youtu.be/lvbXNgKKJeE Please enjoy it and may the Lord be praised!
Recent weeks were a great time of praises and elation in the Lord. After half a year of online communication only, everyone was missing personal fellowship and interaction! And now, despite the regular air raid alerts and other inconveniences related to the war, we can see our friends and coworkers face to face.
We had an extremely joyful retreat with our content development team in the city of Rivne. They continue to do a great job despite all the troubles. All the resources are uploaded online immediately. Our audience across the globe use them for missions, adult and children Bible studies, reading and sharing. It is actually a miracle, but against all the odds, we have got two new books off the press! The target date was in March. All the logistics, plans and opportunities changed drastically after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nevertheless, slowly but surely, the work continued and came to the completion. May the Lord be praised!
The date planned for the Reliable Foundations online apologetics club was February 26th. On that date, however, the invaders’ troops were just 10 miles away from Kyiv and sabotage units in the city already. Now we have started the main project of the year! May the Lord be praised! The situation changed a lot compared to the pre-war times. The questions people ask shifted considerably. Therefore we have changed the topic of the first meeting. It was “The good Creator of the evil world.” We discussed the burning question: why the Lord allows the issues we face to happen, and how can we see His love and care even during the worst times?
The meeting was in a hybrid format. Some were involved in class (twice more than we expected to come to the location outside the city!), and some followed online. We have later uploaded the YouTube version for those who are not able to join in time. The event went above all our expectations! May the Lord be praised! The next meeting, “Does God exist?” is scheduled for November 5th, DV. Please keep it in your prayers!
A breath of fresh air was also “The Book of Joyful Hope” seminar at the New Life church (one of the biggest in Kyiv) about the book of Revelation, as well as the first in a while actual Master level class of the Joint School of Apologetics. The course “Practical Christian Ethics” was also planned in the same hybrid format. Though only four students were in class, a lot of the audience joined the streaming across Europe – from Ukraine to Portugal.May the Lord be praised! Please pray with us for those faithful students of Him who continue to learn despite the troubles. May they be good teachers in accordance with our 2 Timothy 2:2 major strategy!
We are in the final stages of the most urgent part of our facilities’ outdoor renovation – the water resistance and the supporting pillars fixing and reinforcement (another winter would be quite challenging for them otherwise). In the hope of the facilities’ safety, we decided to go ahead with the rest of the renovation to finish it by the winter. Please pray for it.
We are thankful for the care of the humanitarian needs at the country. Due to the targeted help we were able to provide to a nursing home that could not evacuate during times of danger, our partner church at the area is able to do regular worship services there. May the Lord be praised!
God is good! Despite all the challenges we face because of the winter roads, quarantine restrictions, economic pressures, political troubles, and even military threats, He never stops providing opportunities for the Kingdom’s work! Most of the training, teaching, and preaching was held online through group communication tools (Zoom, Google Meet, Skype) and various social media platforms. Since our ministry’s main focus is not fishing but the nets-makers training, we do not often see our work’s final fruits. However, in these times of limitations, people on multiple occasions told us how much they were inspired, encouraged, and equipped through our projects and resources for spreading the Christ message with the most effective methods and strategies. May the Lord be praised!
The very blessed event of the month was a mission trip to the city of Khmelnytskyi in the southwest of the country. Among various visits, preaching and fellowship, it included two special projects. The first one was the Theology of Marriage course at the Marriage School. The couples came from all over the country to be trained to lead marriage seminars and groups in their cities. It was a joyful time of exploring together God’s plan for marriage and how we can know Him better through a proper understanding of the relationships He designed (see the pictures attached). Now they are back homes to share with others, according to 2 Timothy 2:2, what they learned for the healthy Christian families development as strong evidence to the fallen world of God’s amazing grace revealed through the homes of the faithful. May the Lord guide them in this ministry!
The second project was a seminar for the city’s youth on Science and the Bible relationships. We very much enjoyed the depth of the questions the audience came up with! It is exciting to see the generation raised at the church after communism collapsed. I believe these boys and girls are going to impact the country in the name of Jesus in many ways. Our purpose is to share with them the resources and experience we got in the best way we can! Please join our prayers for the rich fruits of this trip!
This year we have launched two new monthly projects we need prayers for. The first one is the Reasonable Answers to Uncomfortable Questions online program.
Our partners from Upstream youth ministry collect the challenging issues young believers wonder about a biblical view of, then we openly discuss them at their studio (see the pictures attached). The January program got more than 170k views and 3800 comments. We have recorded the February one already and are collecting the uncomfortable questions for the March one. Please pray with us for the vast impact of the project for the Kingdom’s greater glory!
Another project is the relaunch of Reliable Foundations online apologetics club in a new format from our new facilities. The first meeting is scheduled for February 26th and will review the evidence for God’s existence. The format will depend on many factors, including quarantine restrictions and the ways of military conflict development. Please pray with us also for the mild winter ending and early spring, so we could start the Apologetic Center facilities outdoor renovation soon, as well as for the resources to do it. Pray for peace in our part of the world.
No doubt it was a year of wonders! Hard to believe how many answers to the prayers we got in such a short time! After seven years of silence, we were able to sell our property in Crimea (house, office, training center) within a couple of months! The funds were safely passed to the mainland. We got an excellent building for Eurasian Apologetics Center headquarters, practically completed its indoor renovation, and moved in successfully right before the first snowfall (see the pictures attached). May the Lord be praised!
The outdoor renovation is postponed till the spring. Please join our prayers about the resources for it as well as for the early warmth.
However, this is not the end of the story, as the year was extremely fruitful in many other ways. The Eurasian Apologetics Society movement grew like never before. About 80 new members sign up every month, and the total number is close to 2000 now. 65 new persons subscribe to our YouTube channel monthly. We printed 10 new books, including one by the national author, as well as arranged about 20+ training courses and seminars despite the quarantine restrictions. Users from 128 countries visited our website(see the map attached). Oh, yes! May the Lord be praised!
Despite the ado around the renovation completion and moving the stuff and paraphernalia to the new place, the two last months of the year were all about intensive teaching and training. Most of it was done in the hybrid format that allowed us to combine meeting the quarantine restrictions and the dynamics of actual in-class fellowship. Some low-risk students were present in class, while the rest followed online.
Most of the training took place as a retreat at the Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary campus (see the pictures attached). We had interesting seminars on the New Testament historical veracity, the biblical view of evil and suffering in the world, historical ideas shaping modern thinking, and harmonization of the Gospels resurrection accounts. As usual, the most interactive part of the retreat was a round table fellowship, where everyone was free to ask or share on the most burning issues of the ministry and church life. All the events were video recorded, and a media version of the seminars will be issued eventually. Please keep this product in your prayers.
Among other events were the church ministries, the Theology of Marriage seminar at the School of Family retreat at Voronkiv, Biblical Anthropology master course at the Ezra Academy (see the picture attached). I was thrilled to learn that Ezra Academy is starting a library ministry with a small collection of the best books for shaping one’s worldview. And you know what? About half of the collection is our publications! (See the picture attached of Dmitry, the Academy dean with the books collection). Isn’t this a great sign of recognition as well as an encouragement? May the Lord be praised!
I feel uncomfortable that most of the pictures in our newsletters have my face, like if I do all this work myself. Actually, I am honored to be a clapper in that bell. But the bell, not the clapper, spreads the message. All these fruits are the outcome of the great team of coworkers and volunteers who do all the jobs of content development, media production, translations, editing, planning, management, logistics, finances, etc. As well as this is the result of your faithful care, prayers, and support. We are so thankful to be together with you as a part of this glorious work of the Lord! While this year of wonders is coming to an end, more wonders are waiting ahead! And all of them are just a shadow of the good things that are coming!
We were pretty prepared for the new wave of pandemic restrictions by developing a hybrid approach for Joint School of Christian Apologetics courses. Through the year of quarantine, we learned all the strengths and weaknesses of in-class and online teaching and combined two models for the best result. On the one hand, it allows keeping on the dynamics of actual in-class fellowship. On the other hand, people from any part of the world can join.
Thus, during the Master’s Apologetics and Evangelism Strategy course, we had ten persons in class (see the pictures attached) and 30 students online, even from such remote places like Udmurtia at the Urals and Khabarovsk at Far East Russia. Otherwise, they would not be able to join the program at all because of the distance and the war between the countries!
Here is some feedback we received from the online students:
“I got ignited for evangelism in a very new way because of the course! Some kind of renewed daring has come!!! How precious is the ministry that God has entrusted to you!! I can’t wait to start the work!” – Irina Draya, Kherson.
“Thank you for the course. Attending it was a great blessing. Sorting everything out will take some time now, and I want to continue learning from you!! I live in Moscow. We have no teaching like this in our churches. Christians hardly ever preach about it. My heart breaks for the younger generation – there is no one here to teach them evangelism and apologetics. Train me, and I will train them! No matter how naive it may sound, I believe our Lord will change the hearts of people in Russia through the Good News of Christ” – Daniel Gavrilov, Moscow
We continue to experience a season of enormous grace that came after the seven thin years. At the prayer time of the course, I shared with the students how the Lord blesses our ministry. One of them, Yury has approached me during the break with a very specific question: does your new Center have a proper classroom? The question was very up to a point. The facilities we got have space for everything we ever dreamed of having except that one thing – a place for public lectures and seminars easily accessible by public transportation. After all, this shortage was not a big deal since several schools in Ukraine are glad to offer us their classrooms for use, though they are pretty far from the Center.
“Well, – Yury said, – first time I attended your seminars about 20 years ago as a new believer. That drastically challenged my understanding of the church, evangelism, and mission, impacted the rest of my life! I am a pastor now, and our church has recently built a new sanctuary right at the next neighborhood from your Center and near the public bus stop at the main road. Feel free to use it for any of your programs – we will be honored by the partnership with you.” Isn’t this amazing? May the Lord be praised!
The confirmation for the need for the Reliable Foundations Media Club restarting has come almost immediately! Someone, out of the blue, sent me a video clip – some men are relaxing at the campfire after a day of hike in the woods in the middle of nowhere (attached). What do you think they are doing? They listen to the RFMP seminar on the biblical view of life and death! May the Lord be praised!
The shift of the public schools for the distant learning became due to great opportunity for us! Our materials for children help them learn better, shape their worldview, and make them missionaries to their peers and their teachers! Attached are the pictures one pastor sent. His daughter uses our books for doing her school assignment on science. I am sure her teacher will find many good points to think about while reading that notebook! Please pray with us for all God’s youngest witnesses!
The Eurasian Apologetics Center facilities remodeling goes on. By God’s grace, we have raised 59% of the estimated cost and completed the essential indoor works (you can see the progress pictures here). The most important issue, for now, is getting the kitchen completed and installed. We plan to move into the facilities in a week to be able to maintain the place while the first frosts come. Thank you very much for your care and prayers!
Despite the lot of our time and efforts the remodeling takes, we do not slow down the pace of the ministry. We keep all the commitments we made to introduce the Truth to skeptics, strengthen the saints in their confidence in the Truth, and equip God’s people to proclaim God’s Word effectively. We just choose a proper format of the approach to practice according to the situation. For instance, a Doctorate course on Biblical Anthropology at the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological University (Kiev) was made in the hybrid format (few students are in the class, the rest are online – the pictures attached), while some of its parts for the Bachelor level students at Ukrainian Biblical Theological Seminary (Lviv) were provided in the media format at the same time. The same hybrid approach was used for the schoolteachers’ seminar on incorporating the biblical worldview and understanding of science into the government-controlled school curricula, while the youth conference on the Bible veracity was more purposeful to do as an actual gathering (see the pictures attached). Please pray with us for the fruits of all these events! I believe somebody who attended them will come someday and say: my heart for Jesus, for evangelism, for ministry, for missions was impacted there!
The most exciting moments we experience whenever we come to a new place (in Ukraine, in Russia, in Uzbekistan, in Belarus – elsewhere) are when somebody approaches us with the same words: “You do not know me, but I know you! I constantly watch the videos, follow the social media posts, read the books you produce!» The rest of the speech may vary.
For instance, one can say: “I was strongly indoctrinated against the Bible and the church, but your materials made me change my mind.”
Or: “I was doubting about giving myself to Jesus, but your materials helped me to make the right decision!”
Or: “I was brought up in a family of believers but lost the faith because of the education I got. Nevertheless, your materials restored it and made it stronger than ever before!”
Or: “I hesitated to share my faith with others, but your materials laid a solid foundation for it and have helped me to become a bold proclaimer of the message!”
Or: “When my kids went to school, I was afraid it would seriously challenge their beliefs. But your materials made them the Lord’s witnesses to their classmates and even to their teachers!”
Or: “I never even considered anything like ministry or missions. But your materials inspired me to accept the calling!”
All these encouraging testimonies are the fruits of God’s work through your faithful care and prayers that encourage, inspire, and equip our team and us for the sake of the Kingdom’s greater glory! May the Lord be praised!
This time the new place we added to our short missions’ geography was the city of Hust in Transcarpathia (Subcarpathian Ruthenia). We took an extra day to cross the mountains away from the noisy highways (see the pictures attached) and then went down to the valley. We enjoyed the last warm days of the year alongside the everlasting warmth of fraternal fellowship with God’s children we never met before and will never forget now.
The key project of the trip was teaching the “Bible and Logic” course in the Master’s program of the Transcarpathian Christian Institute. It was a great joy we shared with the regional church leaders to explore the ways of spreading the Gospel message “nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth” as well as exposing the tricks of false teachers and opponents of the faith. The rest was a precious time of fellowship with brethren and teaching at the local church (see the pictures attached). May the Lord multiply the fruits of this trip abundantly for His glory alone!
Another great event of the month was the presentation of our books at the International Book Forum publishers’ fair at Lviv (see the pictures attached). Could we imagine a decade ago that Christian books would be represented at events like this in the former Soviet Union without any limitations and discrimination? People came to the Forum from other cities and even from other countries – Russia, Belarus, Moldova. Some came specially to buy our books! They were asking the publisher to pass on their appreciation and the words of gratitude and encouragement – like, for instance, this unknown man in the picture. Please join our prayers for the seeds planted through the printed word!
We celebrate 30 years of the former Soviet Union nations’ great exodus from the Egypt of communism into the desert of secular democracy. The Church of the Exodus Generation existed despite the oppressions and persecutions. Participation in any event from street evangelism to youth camp was a danger of facing serious problems, even imprisonment. There were very few opportunities. Nevertheless, our older brothers and sisters boldly did everything they could. Fighting the good fight, completing the race, they kept the faith and passed it on to us, the Generation of the Desert.
Our generation received everything at once – without sacrifice, without risk, without hard work. Brothers from other countries joyfully and sacrificially shared with us their resources, experience, knowledge, programs, strategies, methods, approaches, etc. All this was available for taking without considering whether it is relevant to our context. Being a Christian was often a self-sufficient occupation “for internal consumption” – building the Kingdom from 9 am till 5 pm with a lunch break. Why should we, believers, go into, say, science? Or economics? Or politics? Or education system? Or business? All the people are of great size there, we are like grasshoppers in our own eyes! It is so safe here, in our comfortable church ghetto!
I am exaggerating, of course. There were many heroes of the faith, people who were not indifferent and challenged both the world and the stagnant tendencies within the Body of Christ. But this multitude, alas, was a minority. As in the old days, for each Caleb, there were half a dozen “grasshoppers in their own eyes.” Indifference to what was going on outside the church walls has been a common feature of our generation. Moreover, whether one “did care” became the main criterion in recruitment for our own projects. We decided to train the called rather than trying calling the trained.
But time has passed, and a new generation has grown up – young people thirsting for fellowship, learning, devoting themselves to the work of the Kingdom. They do care! They do not want to be “grasshoppers in their own eyes” but yearn for change, proclaiming: “We should go up and take the land, for we can certainly do it! The Lord is with us! Do not be afraid!”
I believe that the Generation of Joshua that follows us will become the city on a hill and the lamp on its stand, so people may see their good works and glorify the Father, which is in heaven! And the best what we, people of the desert, can do now, is to invest ourselves in them. We shall provide them with the necessary resources and share all the knowledge and experience we’ve gained so that they do not need to waste time and effort repeating the mistakes we have already made. And so that they too could entrust the things they have heard from us to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others in their turn (2 Timothy 2: 2).
With this in mind, we were doing our best to come with masterclasses, seminars, training programs, etc., for every youth camp and festival we were invited to! We were going from one side of the country to another all the time (see the pictures attached). The spectrum of the topics discussed was so broad! Effective evangelism, God’s existence, faith and science, mercy and suffering, the role of Christians in civil society, dinosaurs, keeping the truth in the confusing world, use of media for the Kingdom, biblical leadership, etc. Our direct involvement was amplified by the online seminars as well as the media ministry of young people, trained and equipped in previous years. Please pray with us for all these young warriors of Christ!
The summer was an extremely exciting experience that inspired us incredibly! We do know: those who follow us are better than us! They must become greater, and we must become less.
Training and equipping key capable and called young people is and always will be our top priority. Having the Apologetics Center facilities as a permanent base will make this task much easier for us now.
The Center remodeling goes on. By the Lord’s provision, we collected 57,64% of the estimated cost already. The electrical works (including reserve autonomous power generator) are done already, as well as most of the flooring. Most of the appliances and furniture are ordered as well. We still hope to move into the facilities by winter. Please keep this goal in your prayers!