A muddy and slippery Crimean winter is a time for more evaluation and planning than for trips and projects. The year 2008 was a great blessing for us – the first time after many years of the ministry we see a real ripple effect through a building of a network of self-governed ministries and missionaries. Apologetics centers in Central Russia, Central Asia, and the Far East are impacting extended regions around them that we hardly ever could reach (like, for instance, supplying Turkmen churches with the books through Uzbek ministry). The first retreat of national coordinators in May became a milestone in our ministry’s international development through the way of multiplication, decentralization, and integration.
Another sign of the ripple effect is various conferences in various parts of the former Soviet Union that are fruits of the seeds we were planting for a long time but organized without our involvement at all or where we are invited to take part just as guests. It shows that more ministers grew up who share the vision we cast and are ready to implement it where they serve. The most significant events were the February Education and Apologetics Congress in Uzbekistan, the April Apologetics Youth Conference in Central Russia, the October Missions Forum in Kyiv, and most of all — the very first Creation Science conference at national Ostroh Academy university.
The mobility we got with the vehicles allowed us to start a “landing parties” approach with the visiting courses on evangelism and Creation Science across Ukraine and neighboring areas of Russia providing training both for local believers as well as guests leaders of the Christian students at secular colleges and universities movements of former Soviet countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine
Besides our own Children Apologetics Camp, the camps for teenagers were made at Amur (Far East) Apologetics camps for teenagers and for college students as well as for teenagers of Central Asia in Uzbekistan.
It was a very fruitful year for our publishing ministry as well. We printed twelve new book titles as well as reprinted my textbook Introduction to Systematic Apologetics since we run out of it. The total amount of the books we published since the publishing ministry beginning in 1994 is 103 so far not counting quarterly magazines “Tvorets” (Creator) for Sunday School classes and “Ad Notem” (‘For consideration’) for secular school science teachers, as well as monthly topical apologetics tracts.
Another big arrangement on the ministry multiplication, decentralization, and integration is starting the Internet network of Eurasian Apologetics Society www.apolsoc.info where everyone can run a blog as well as post or comment on materials, and news, etc.
A new step in our media ministry is ‘Simply Essential’ Short Videoshttp://scienceandapologetics.com/en/index.php/multimedia. Their target audience is young people who are accustomed to the format of TV commercials. Also, our great joy of a year is the Bronze Crown Award for Best Youth Film and Gold Crown Award for Best Drama Under $250,000 our pro-life movie “Urok” (The Lesson) got.
Please join our praises to the Lord for His guidance in the year that passed as well as for the upcoming events, especially for:
April 18 – May 31 – My studies at Asbury Seminary (Graduation on May 22) June 20-30 – Children Apologetics Camp September – hosting MediaCallenge advanced international/regional workshop October 15-17 – Darwinism and its Impact on Science, Education and Society conference November 2-9 – Intl Coordinators Retreat / Uzbek National Apologetics Summit June 2010 – II Eurasian Apologetics Summit (networking and training Russian and Ukrainian apologists)
For most of the month, we were focused on national partners networking and making the arrangements for next year’s ministry. However, the greatest event of the month was a conference on the teaching of the origins in public schools. The conference was arranged at Osgroh Academy, the oldest university in Eastern Europe, where the first complete Bible in Russian was printed.
You know, it is hard to believe that a conference like that happened at all! About 200 educators from Ukraine and Russia came together at the campus of a top rate state (!) university to discuss the issues of academic freedom and integrity in teaching the origins in the state-approved curricula!
The President of the university joined the conference on the second day, and that gave official status to the event as well as gave me an opportunity to give them a set of our materials as a gift for the library. We also made a presentation of our resources. As a result, the faculty of the humanities college of the university shows a great interest in our work and, God willing, they could manage to invite us with a modular course on Science and the Bible eventually. Could you imagine – teaching Creation Science at the post-communism state university?! May the Lord help and leads that potential partnership!
At the ending plenary session of the conference, the declaration was approved by the participants about the inadmissibility of discriminating the biblical creation approach in education. It is going to be distributed to the colleges and universities as an official document. God is doing unbelievable things! We could not even imagine something like this happening so soon.No doubt, we still have a long way to go, but it is hard to underestimate that great step that was made. Please pray for the seeds planted to provide a harvest in God’s timing, as well as pave the road for new opportunities.
RESOLUTION of the international scientific-practical conference „Creation Paradigm in Modern Science: on the Road to an Integrated World View” On November 28-29, 2008 at the National University „Ostroh Academy” (Ukraine) the first International scientific-practical conference „Creation Paradigm in Modern Science: on the Road to an Integrated World View” took place. In its work about 250 leading researchers (including 24 doctors, and 47 candidates of sciences) took part from various spheres of knowledge from Ukraine, Russia, the USA, and South Korea. The participants of the conference came to the conclusion, that the conception of creationism (paradigm of Creation) is fully scientifically correct. The main topics of the conference have been general methodological and philosophical aspects of the Creation paradigm in science, methodological problems of natural sciences, methodological problems of social sciences and humanities, the spiritual revival of man and society, education, mass media, public and religious organizations.
The conference has stressed that the correctness of the topics discussed in it consists in that the Creation paradigm describes the facts of origins and existence of the physical Universe more adequately, and it solves the problems of the origin of life, consciousness, language, and information more adequately. This theory is better supported by material facts and fundamental laws, than the naturalistic paradigm which is dominant nowadays. The importance of the biblical kind of creationism was underlined which gains all the more solid confirmations with every new coil of accumulation of scientific information.
Taking into account the above said, the participants of the conference have decided:
1. To appeal to the National Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine with a request to give their recommendations to the scientific magazines and publishing houses that are under their jurisdictions to follow the principle of equality of rights of world views during the selection of materials for the publication, – a principle which is contained in the art. #35 of the Constitution of Ukraine;
2. To appeal to the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the Parlament of Ukraine with a request to bring the Law for Education of Ukraine in accordance with the art. #35 of the Constitution of Ukraine; (the Constitution postulates the right for freedom of choice of world view (the equality of rights of world views), while the Law for Education postulates the secular character of education (secular is interpreted as atheistic by the Ministry of Education);
3. With the purpose of further development and popularization of the Creation paradigm in Ukrainian science and society the Association of creationists of Ukraine should be founded, the task of which would be the distribution of the new world view, a world view enabling to accelerate the progress of science and to attain the spiritual and moral revival of society and man;
4. To appeal to foreign organizations sharing the ideas of creationism with a proposal of strengthening collaboration between them and organizers and participants of the conference, in particular with the Association of creationists of Ukraine;
5. With the purpose of solving the most difficult world-view, scientific and philosophical problems and constructing a general scientific theory of creationism the Scientific Educational Institute for Creation Research should be founded;
6. To recommend to all the organizations dealing with the world-view questions (research, educational organizations, mass-media), and also public organizations to study and then use and popularize the materials of this conference, which will be accessible in particular at the websites www.christian-ethics.org.ua, www.creation.in.ua, www.apolsoc.info, www.scienceandapologetics.org, www.biblicaldiscovery.info, www.nt-creaz.org.ua; and also to conduct scientific-elucidation and lecture work;
Head of the Organizational Committee of the Conference, Rector of the National University „Ostroh academy” Igor Pasichnyk
The greatest news of the month is the starting of the Internet network of the Eurasian Apologetics Society www.apolsoc.info – now every apologist can develop a blog there as well do network and coordinate with others through it. This is a great step toward our goal of decentralization of the ministry, so different aspects of the ministry could better grow into self-guided self-sustained ministries as well. Even in this infantile period of the site life, we got 620 visits during a month with an average statistic of 4 pages per visit! Please pray for the development of this new way of cooperation and outreach.
At the very beginning of the month, our mobile group has come back after the trip to Kursk (a city the submarine was named after, our ministry entry point in Central Russia) and was doing the Media Challenge workshops on using the media in the ministry. Many in our part of the world consider media incompatible with the church and hesitate to use modern tools for worship, ministry, and evangelism. This limits the opportunities for the Good News spread in the modern world considerably. But step by step we are trying to destroy that stereotype. Two groups of young passionate servants of the Lord got intensive training on how to use modern media tools – from cell phones to HD cameras – for the glory of the Lord (see the pictures attached). Please pray for the Lord uses his young servants in this way.
The next team including myself went on a 1000+ mile lecturing trip to the Western Ukraine and Kyiv area with ‘Science and the Bible’ and presentations at various churches and missions on the importance to be faithful to the truth of the Bible. The trip was opposite to the ones we had previously both in the direction and priorities. If the Eastern part of Ukraine we went to before is known as the Red Belt, now we went to the West, the Bible Belt, the most ethnically and culturally interesting part of the country. I had to practice my Ukrainian as never before (most people speak Russian in the East and the South and both languages are equally used in the North).
Most of the time we spent at the city of Rivne, the very “buckle” of the Belt, a place with the highest amount of the evangelical churches in the country both historically and culturally, sometimes doing short trips to smaller towns and villages around. Every day I have some meetings with various groups – with the young and with the senior believers, with the ministers, with the laypeople, with the missionaries and evangelists (see the pictures attached). The main focus of all the meetings was encouraging the saints to be on the guard; stand firm in the faith; be people of courage; be strong, and do not compromise the truth of the Bible. Many people were telling how much they were impacted in the way of motivation for equipping the believers for effective evangelism through apologetics in general and Creation Evangelism particularly. Here is one of the feedback we got:
“I would like to thank you for the Creation Science Workshops you were doing at our church recently. That was a blessed time when the Lord was strengthening our faith considerably. I can not say we believed in Darwinian Evolution before the seminars, but some arguments of atheists were quite confusing for us. Now I know their weaknesses and can strengthen other believers in truth. The greatest help for me personally was the clarification of the issues of Ice Age causes and chronology and so-called Vestigial Organs. All explanations were clear and easy for understanding. Sometimes we felt as if we are not at the seminar on science but on worship, and it was the greatest thing about the course. I have got extremely helpful books and videos – thank you so much for producing those materials! I also became a frequent visitor of your website. This is exciting how much various information, news, articles, and answers are there! Great thanks to your entire team for your ministry! May the Lord richly bless you in proclaiming the truth!” (Nadezhda Dolya, Rovno, school teacher)
The greatest interest was raised by the issues of teaching children in the way it would be supplementary to the state high schools curriculum (there is no legal ground for homeschooling in the former Soviet Union yet), so the kids could not just be able to see in the Biblical way the facts they study at the school, but also be effective missionaries to their peers and even to their teachers. Please join our prayers for the seeds that were planted.
Feedback is not an easy thing to get in our culture where reticence was a major feature of life for several generations. However, God sends us encouragement constantly. Amazing news we got from Marx (after Karl Marx), a small town in deep Russia close to a bigger town Engels (after Engels) at the shores of Volgograd (former Stalingrad, after Stalin) water reservoir. It is not easy to trace how has a copy of our pro-life Urok (The Lesson) video got to the city administration’s high schools education department, but it has got there, and the school’s committee was so impressed with it, that order to show it to the students of all the schools in the city as a part of curriculum!! We never know the ways God is going to work through! What a great lesson for us it is to not worry about how to spread the message – we should just be faithful to what we are called for, and the Lord will arrange the rest for His glory. May His name be praised!
It looks like my doctorate studies got to the productive phase finally. My seven months-long proposal hearing is completed and I got an approval to go on without approval 🙂 The problem was that I did most of my research by myself while the school policy, as I found later, requires everything to be done under their supervision. It took so long to reconcile my interests with their requirements. Now I need to make a brief follow-up study under their approval to make all the studies approved finally, so the ending is close.
Any way, various ministries, and missions do use the results of the study already, so it was not useless anyway. On October 24-25 we are doing the missionary forum in Kyiv, where the top leaders of all denominations, missions, and ministries of the former Soviet Union are going to come to discuss the need of considering the “worldview approach” in evangelism in the area where the seeds of the Good News fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no roots (Mathew 13:5,6). Our great hope is that the event could become a starting point for restoring the biblical way of evangelism in our part of the world. Please pray for everyone who is going to come there would be ready to see the challenges of the current situation. Pray also for us to be able to follow God’s guidance and find proper words to deliver the message of hope for the church in the post-communist world.
On the same date as the forum, another part of our team is involved in the “Man and Christian Worldview” symposium, our “short-term ministry to the tribes of academia.” We are doing technical support for the event; our volunteer Vladislav Olkhovsky, a leading nuclear physicist, is going to replace me as a leader of the Science section while I am going to the forum. I would appreciate your prayers about this outreach event as well.
The most strategically important event of the month was a conference of the leaders of the Christian students at secular colleges and universities movements of former Soviet countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine was a great blessing for us! A lot of prayers, discussions, brainstorming, feedback, and fellowship was going on (see the pictures attached). We were discussing many aspects of the general principles for the Biblical ways to spread the Good News, as well their particular applications in various cultural and social contexts; the challenges, opportunities, and advantages of evangelism in post-communism post-perestroika situation. The workshops with young people passionate about the spreading of the truth of the Bible in their countries were both adventures and challenges for every one of us. As one young athlete told me afterward, “the workshop on the evangelism strategy was less boring than the ball game!”
At the same time, our publishing ministry has passed a very joyful milestone – a hundredth publication! We have published six titles of apologetics booklets (32 pages stapled softcover pocket size) to use at the youth conferences mostly. The titles are:
Does God Exist? What is the Bible? “Natural” Evidence for the Existence of God When Ice Age Was? Where did Races Come From? What happened to Dinosaurs?
Thus, our ministry publishing record has overpassed the 100 publications mark now, and that is something to celebrate for the glory of God!
Many of the booklets were used immediately at the Christian Youth Forum at Odessa. More than 2500 young persons from 15 former SU courtiers were staying at the venue, and even more, attended who were local or stayed elsewhere. We did not have any speaking appointments there, however, our goal was to find boys and girls who do care about proclaiming the full truth of the Bible and could be involved in our network eventually. We had a display with our materials there and were talking and giving booklets and contact information to everyone who show up there and demonstrated any level of interest. A lot of seeds were planted. Please join our prayers for God’s work in the hearts of young believers to call them as the workers at His harvest field.
The message we got on the ICVM Crown Awards final verdict was great joy and encouragement for us. Our pro-life movie “Urok” (The Lesson) earned the Bronze Crown Award as Best Youth Film and Gold Crown Award as Best Drama Under $250,000! May the Lord be glorified through the crowns laid at His throne and even more through the message we spread about Him!
At the same time, we got another good news – representatives of the TBN satellite TV channel from Estonia watched our videos somewhere and have contacted us for permission to broadcast our programs, so the ways our materials could serve the Kingdom grow! Please pray that the seeds planted produce a harvest in God’s time.
We have completed the outside works at the new facilities (see the pictures attached). Alongside the regular production and distribution work we are doing Summer Media Training on the video postproduction for our youngest volunteers – they are the future of the ministry. This is the final stage of the new curriculum testing before going with the workshops to Central Russia.
In the meanwhile, the Lord opens another window for the message to spread – a couple of small rural churches on the other (Eastern) part of the “Red Belt” rural areas (Mariupol, Makiivka, Donskoe) show a keen interest in Apologetics and Creation evangelism and having mobility now, we are sending there landing troops with the workshops there to explore the field for the most effective entry points of the network development.
The generalized evangelism methods, used in the big cities during the massive missionary intervention right after the communist collapse, despite immediate visible effect produced religious indifference and apathy in the long run (see for details). However, in the small towns of the “Red Belt”, the region that was the most resistant to the organized evangelistic campaigns, people still have big spiritual hunger. Our last year’s Balakleya landing party gives us great hope. Now we are visiting various places of the region looking for local churches, groups, and individuals who do care about pulling down strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God; and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Cor.10:4-5). Everyone wants to be a fast harvester, while the process of preparing the soil is long and sometimes not much visible.
However, this is the only way for producing a real harvest in the long run. The most interesting fact about this trip – all generations were equally present at the workshops (see the pictures attached), and all of them feel the need for a return to the biblical methods of evangelism. Please keep this development in your prayers.
At the same time, our Amur (Far East) team has finished an Apologetics / Creation Evangelism youth camp. The camp had two shifts – for teenagers and for college students. The feedback was the same from both groups – they were amazed how much their faith in Jesus could be well-grounded through Apologetics in general and Creation Science particularly. The Far East team of young people who are ready to proclaim the gospel effectively and to teach others to do it grows! Please pray for them as well.
My recovery is going so well, that in two weeks after the surgery I was able to take a trip with a local lore studies expert to Kamyana Mohyla (Stone Mound), the archaeological site that challenges traditional secular views of the human history and could be used effectively to teach people to think critically and lead them to accepting the truth of Biblical understanding of human history (Some information in English could be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamyana_Mohyla (with the name mistranslation as “stone tomb”, since “mohyla” means “tomb” in Russian, while the word is Ukrainian and/or Ancient Slavonic, where it means “mound”) or http://www.wumag.kiev.ua/index2.php?param=pgs20073/70).
The site is to the North from modern town Melitopol, at the Molochna (“flowing with milk”) river bank. It looks like it used to be a big sandstone monolith with truncated pyramid shape, cracked into the pieces later on. It is the only structure like this in all geological area. There are several hypotheses on its natural, artificial, or even supernatural origin, but all of them are pure speculations and do not have any supporting evidences. On my opinion the theory of the ancient giant water spring crater has least weaknesses, but it does not have supporting evidences either.
Whatever the origin of the pyramid is – it was used as sanctuary and “library” during quite a few thousand years! No any burials or settlements found at the site. (The only burials found around belong to ancient female semi-Scythian warriors, in very good correspondence with the Herodotus’ story about the Amazons in The Histories vol. IV, 110 – 117). However the “Mound” had an altar stone at the top and more then 60 discovered caves around with thousands of petroglyphs (inscriptions on the stone)!
“Official” academic scholars have no any agreed opinion on anything about Stone Mound petroglyphs – neither on the dating (the spectrum of their ideas spreads from Paleolithic to Chalcolitic) nor on their interpretation. For instance, one cave has a clear picture of a mammoth. However, they say, “since according to our understanding of history there was no possibility for the mammoths to live there at that time, it could not be a mammoth, but, probably, it is a mythological heavenly bull”. This is a typical way of argumentation behind the interpretation.
However when some of the most unclear (no recognizable as pictograms) petroglyphs were introduced to an expert orientalist recently, he recognized proto-Sumerian writings in them! According to the sources I have access to, some other Sumerologists participated in the work and their translations were practically the same! However since the idea of proto-Sumerian culture could come from Northern Black Sea area does not fit official dogmas it is refused by most of scholars despite evidences.
According to the references I found, big part of the texts corresponds to Sumerian cosmological epos. However many pictograms reflect stories common with Egyptian and Indo-Aryan symbols that could be traced back to the book of Genesis – tree of life, sneaking dragon as a symbol of evil, a serpent defeated to a forehead by a foot, etc.
All the caves that were studied before are buried with sand now for protecting the petroglyphs from vandals. However for a symbolic token of appreciation a local guy was happy to show us some caves recently opened by erosion, the scholars do not studied yet. We were able to see many pictograms (see the pictures attached). Most of them do not make any sense to me. The caves are mostly covered with send and it is hard to see a big picture any way. The biggest plate I was able to see looks to me as a genealogies record with lot of ramifications, generations counts on every brunch and the families on the ends symbolized by the odd bare foots pictograms. But – who knows what it actually meant.
In general this great adventure was very productive for the ideas on using the local material telling people truth of the Biblical view of human history including creation, fall, the dispersion of the nations and the need for the Redeemer.
Great news we received during the month – our youth pro-life movie Urok (The Lesson) got to the top three productions of the year list of the International Christian Visual Media Crown Award contest in two (!) nominations (Best Youth Film and Best Drama Under $250,000), and going to receive either a Gold, Silver or Bronze Crown Award in each of them! The final announcement will be Friday night, July 11, 2008. What a joy to lay down our crowns to the throne of the Lamb!
But the greatest adventure of the month was ‘Tvorets’ (‘Creator’) children camp with ‘Six Days of Creation’ curriculum.
We are doing a camp like this third year in a row (we did some before when the orphanages in our region was not started yet – just to take children out of the streets where they were exposed to the drugs, prostitution and had to sniff the glue just to suppress the hunger), but this year it is very special for us – for the first time we use the curriculum we develop ourselves (we were using translated ones before) that targets worldview and education challenges in post-communism countries specifically. The curriculum tells about various aspects of the world we live in through the context of its creation. As with all our children programs and materials, our strategic goal is to cover the gap between the Sunday School stories and secular schools science classes for developing in the children immunity to the naturalism and secularism, as well as equipping them as missionaries to their classmates and even to their teachers.
This year we took as many children as the venue we rent can handle. Most of them were from low-income and\or foster families who can not afford sending their children somewhere otherwise. We had a spectrum of challenges – from social to medical, but had great fun all together after all (see the pictures attached). Quite a few of our kids were from non-Christian families, so we had to train them properly as missionaries even to their parents and siblings. Please pray for them specifically.
As in previous two years, the strategic goal of our camp is a field testing of the curricula before offering it to other ministries and churches. Nevertheless, as the word spreads, we have more and more parents who want their children go to our camp specifically.
This year we had request from all the parts of the country and first time we had some (5%) kids from remote regions of the country, but we had more requests then we could accept any way. Now we are thinking whether God wants us to have a purposeful camp ministry with several shifts during a season? That is also something to pray about. Please pray also in God’s guidance and providence in our vision for having our own venue for the camps, conferences and training courses.
The final reason for praises of the month was completing of the publishing of CREATIO (translation from German), a high school Science textbook disproving the naturalistic lie at the state textbooks and bridging right with the Bible the facts children learn in the school. As I wrote before, the book happened to be unexpectedly difficult project compare to a regular books printing due to amount of information and facts as well as complicated design that perfectly addresses modern Internet-based culture. The book came up really great – may the Lord be praised!
Now we are working on the planning the projects for the rest of the year. The bigger of them are:
– The seminars on the evangelism strategy in post-communist society for the leaders of twelve former Soviet countries national Christian students movements in August – Creation Science course for Western Ukraine church leaders in September – Conference for young secular scholars in October – Missionary forum on the worldview focused evangelism in October (practically – the same dates with the conference) – Creation in Education conference in November
However the greatest project we are starting to work on now is a conference on Darwinism for October 2009. Year 2009 is proclaimed as very special for the secular education, media and publishers in the former Soviet Union because of the double jubilee – Darwin’s 200th birthday and 150 years of ‘Origin of Species’ first publication. Only the laziest ones are not going to ‘celebrate’ it in some way. Lot of conferences and publications are planned to present Darwinism as greatest achievement in the science and humanity progress history. We should protect people from ongoing brainwashing and allow them to know alternative views of the issue as well. Our response to this challenge is going to be international Christian conference ‘Darwinism and its Impact on Science, Education and Society’. After the conference we plan to publish a book with the same title with the conference papers collection. It would be it is going to be the most extensive short-term mission to all Russian-speaking world we ever had! We would highly appreciate any help in finding proper level speaker(s)/paper(s) for it. Please feel free to pass this information to any one who could be interested as well as keep this project in your prayers.
This month together with the previous one was the most challenging period we had in a while – never before we had so many various strategically important projects going back-to-back! It was great test for the teamwork – for the level of interaction, cooperation, and mutual support. And I should say we have proved it: we are the team now, not just some people working together.
The Symposium (a short-term mission to the tribes of academia) went great. We have very representative gathering of the professors from Moscow, Sanct-Peterburg, Kiev and other universities (see the picture attached) as well as guests from France, US and even Australia (see the picture attached). Everybody was actively involved into discussion on the biblical foundations vs. naturalist lack of grounding in physics, biology, sociology, politology and even in mathematics. At the night program we have show them Ice Age Civilizations and Black Sea show and had very good responds. Please pray for the seeds that were planted.
Right on the return from the symposium we have started the first retreat of key leaders of the apologetics ministry leaders – Eurasian Apologetics Society national coordinators. Unlike the Summit few years ago, it was ‘closed’ event – the actual leaders who makes a grassroots level change in Amur region, Uzbekistan, Central Russia and Ukraine came together for the first time (see the pictures attached). It was extremely blessed time of worship, fellowship, prayers, training, networking and strategy development (see the pictures attached). We shared lot of ideas, updates, personal testimonies, and set up close and long-term goals for the apologetics and effective evangelism development in our part of the world. I believe it was a significant milestone for the ripple effect in the ministry. Another thing that made it special in our history – for the first time we made such a project using our own facilities and our own transportation only! The last part of the retreat we made as a hike to Eskeekermen, the Crimean Gothland archaeological site, the place where the very first known translation of the Scripture into Slavonic language was made. May the Lord be praised for blessing us with strength and encouragement, and providing a single vision for effective ways of spreading His Word and the Good News in our countries and cultures! Please join our prayers for the Lord’s guidance in the ministry in post-communism part of the world development.
The last big “project” of the month was not planned ahead but extremely opportune. Four recent months was the most hectic time for me in last few years – so many projects was going back-to-back: my doctorate studies in America and Korea, media production workshops right on return, academic symposium immediately after them and the international network coordinators retreat starting on the day of the symposium ending. The retreat was the most strategically important one – it launched the ministry on the completely new level providing it the sufficient momentum to go on whatever happened to me personally. The very last project in this continuous chain before the brake for Summer projects preparation was one and the half days assistance in teaching at the town of Theodosia, about 65 miles away from Simferopol. In order to pick up the main speaker, the equipment, and the books for distribution I had to leave at 6 am. I did not feel well, but abstaining from food was making me well in couple hours usually when I had feeling like this before. When we came to the teaching venue at the time of the chapel worship, I did not feel any better. And then, during the worship I got very clear thought (I believe it was from God), that was going completely against my plans: I should go home immediately. I told the main speaker that he should be ready to teach himself, made arrangements for his next day transportation back, and drove home. At home I went to the clinic where the doctor has commanded to serve the surgery table with me immediately! The stone had blocked the bladder and it became 154 mm (about 6″) swollen. You know the rest of the story – I was home again in three days feeling much better then before the surgery.
Looking back I praise the Lord for his guidance and protection. It is hard to imagine this happening with me at the campus in US, or in Korea, or during 12-14 hours flights I had there and back. The Lord has allowed me to complete all pioneer projects that definitely required my participation and He did bring me to the clinic right in time before it is late, with sufficient time for the recovery before the summer projects. Even causing me to not take any food into my mouth was providential – I could handle anaesthesia without any problems. Please join our praises!
The Lord is constantly blessing our ministry with personnel growth. Vadim Tsaritson, our international coordinator, used to combine those responsibilities with the work of the resources manager. And when it became too much for him, a media production team volunteer Sasha Zagidov was ready to work as a part-time resources manager. Please pray for the new member of our team.
The preparation for “Tvorets” (the Creator) children camp is almost finished. We have trained a team of mentors (some of them are former kids from the camp) and the curriculum. This year we will use ‘Six Days’ curriculum – the very first one developed by our own children department. We are now on the last stage of preparing – updating equipment for games and studies, medicines, etc. The dates for the camp are the same – June 21-30. Please pray for the Lord to bless us with wisdom and patience, and for the children to spend amazing time together at the sea shore, to gain knowledge from the Lord and to have fun.
It is hard to believe that it was only a month, so much it was filled with experiences, adventures and joy of the work at the field of the Lord!
After a last week of my session at the seminary all our international students group went together for a week to Seoul, Korea. It was very exciting adventure and helpful experience to see the effective Christian ministries in that mostly Buddhist country!
Right from Seoul I went back home to Ukraine and found lot of great news. Our new office building in fully equipped and furnished now. We have hosted our first visitors in the mission guest rooms! The only work that is actually left there is the backyard organizing, which is going to be completed by the end of May.
The new media postproduction facilities allowed us to release all the projects that were in process for a while, including the Russian dubbing of ‘A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection’ as well as ‘Evidences of the Flood at Msta River’ documentaries. Right now we are working on the new short films.
Our girls’ mobile team (Zhenya and Lena) had very successful trip to Voronyezh (Russia) where they were leading workshops at apologetics youth conference (see a picture attached). The goal of the workshops was to teach young leaders to communicate the full truth of the Bible to the youth subcultures, not conforming with the world, but becoming a light of it to save at least some.
About 200 young people we expected to come for the conference from various parts of Central and Southern regions of Russia, but there were about 500 persons. Even experienced pastors and church leaders found the workshops very useful for being faithful to God, serving people on the work places and at the universities. It reminded each one of us – they say – that we are called to fulfill the great commission.
Lena for the first time in her life was a speaker at the conference. She presented a workshop on using Internet resources for the evangelism among youth. In the modern youth culture they communicate via Instant Messengers and e-mails – that’s why on-line evangelism is one of the most effective approaches in our ministry. Zhenya over again has presented a workshop on witnessing to the youth counter-cultures. The issue it appeared to be so important and burning for the young people that this time about 60-80 people attended the workshop, while the room could only hold 20-30 people – so the workshop had to move out into a lobby.
This trip had a great importance for our ministry. Equipping the next generation of effective evangelists is our strategic goal! In our post-communist part of the world we feel this need especially strongly. Our peoples have experienced a great exodus from the slavery of communism into a desert of secular democracy. We are responsible now whether will the next generation enter the Kingdom, or keep wander in the wilderness.
Right on my return from Korea all our team went to the rented venue (please keep praying for us to have our own one) at Aloushta, a small town at the sea shore, where we had a great time we had with young gifted people from Byelorussia, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, who came here to Crimea for the Media Challenge workshop on using video as an effective tool for evangelism, apologetics, church services, education. The goal was to teach and encourage young leaders to teach and encourage others to use any equipment young people they have available – from cell phone to camcorder – for effective ministry (see the pictures attached). In the countries like Byelorussia, Russia and Uzbekistan, where opportunities of evangelism are very limited, the media could be a gateway to the groups where preachers can not go themselves, as well as video workshops can provide access to young people.
On the return from Aloushta we had a second workshop on using media for the ministry – the regional one (see the pictures attached). It had a little bit different goals from the international one. All participants was from our region, Crimea (except one girl from Byelorussia who desperately wanted to attend the international one, but we had no more room there and we managed to incorporate her into the regional one). We hope that people from both workshops are going to use the skills they got there right away, but our secondary goal was different now. The participants for the international one were selected carefully with the hope they some of them may be will be media ministries leaders in their regions some day. As for the regional one, may be some of them will as well, but we are going to use them already as volunteers in our ministry projects. Please join our prayers for the Lord’s guidance in the development of our training programs – both in the technical skills and in the missionary content.
The workshops were very successful both from our point of view and from the participants’ feedback. Here is what they wrote:
The information I gained during the workshops was new for me, it was important, relevant. Of course I would like to gain more and have more time for practice. The speaker was great – it is always sad to say goodbye to people like that…
I enjoyed the simple approach, the clarity. The basics that every beginner needs to know were gained.
The workshop is terrific! It helped me to systematize previous knowledge and gain some new one.
It was a great privilege and blessing for me to take part in the workshop! I am sure a lot of people would like to participate, however I actually had an opportunity to attend the workshop. I am very grateful to all who sacrificed their time to share the knowledge with me.
It is a great impulse in my work with video camera. I have a desire to create for the glory of God.
I thank God for the opportunity to take part in the master class, to meet people, who are absolute professionals in media. May the Lord bless all people, who took part in the workshop. It is a great opportunity to lead people to the Lord through media.
Just super! It would be hard to com up with something better!
Thank you very much. Such projects are very encouraging, and I believe that they will be a great impulse for the development of Christian work in media. Everything was just great! I loved the kind atmosphere very much. New friends, connections, and a lot of good impressions.
In a meanwhile our main work is a preparation of big upcoming projects. The Worldview symposium, a short-term mission to the tribes of intellectuals, as we call it, is going to be on May 14-17. It is a sort of a working model of Areopagus. The professors of secular schools are coming from various parts of the former Soviet Union to discuss an issue in an academic way, and this is an open door for us to tell them about God the Creator in a way Paul did in a setting like this.
On May 17-20, right after the Symposium, we are going to have an event the most strategically important we ever had – the retreat of Eurasian Apologetics Society national coordinators. The actual leaders of the apologetics development in the churches of China, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will come together for the training, fellowship and prayers to develop the vision for the next stage of the EAS development for the greater glory of God.
In June 21-30 we are going to have “Tvorets” (the Creator) children camp for field testing of the very first national curriculum (the ones we had before were translated ones) for equipping children for not just standing strong in their faith in a secular school environment but even be a missionaries using the state school Science curricula for bringing their peers and teachers to Christ.
It is hard for me to believe, but I am done with all the courses of my program at the seminary! I mean ALL at all – till the very end of the study! Now the research paper is the one and only focus of my studies which is approaching the last year. As for this time, it will take one more week here at the campus and then another week – at Seoul (Korea), where we are going to attend various churches and ministries as a part of program.
The technologies make many things easier, so we are in constant contact with our ministry team back in Ukraine. As usual, spring is the busiest time for us when we are launching up most of the projects of the year at the same time.
Having our own recording studio has increased our media production immediately. Two ‘Simply Essential’ short films are completed and available at http://scienceandapologetics.org/simply.html, two more are going to be done shortly. The audio tracks for two documentaries Noah’s Flood evidences in Central Russia and Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection are recorded and postproduction is coming to the end.
More storage space makes us easier handle both old and new publications distribution. Protestant Girl book came off the press, as well as part of Training Positive and Productive Kids print run.
The book CREATIO happened to be unexpectedly difficult project compare to a regular books printing due to amount of information and facts as well as complicated design that perfectly addresses modern Internet-based culture. The current status of the project is following: the text translation and editing are completed. We have purchased the paper and made the arrangements with the printer back in December. But being committed to the highest possible quality of the book we keep working on the page layout minor details. According to our quality control policy, the book goes to the editor and proofreader over again after any layout changes. On my estimation this ‘game’ is about to be finished, and the book suppose to go to the press in April.
Our “mobile troop” of Vadim and Misha made very successful landing party at the city of Melitopol. They presented our resources and strategy to various churches where invited everyone for the workshops Youth Purity (based on The Lesson video demonstration and discussion) and Science and the Bible (the importance of the Genesis account in Christian life and doctrine). About 400 persons (mostly – young ones) attended the workshops with a great involvement (see the pictures attached). The church that hosted the workshops is very missionary-minded and interested in training programs for its members; we are most likely going to do more seminars and conferences for them. Please pray for this partnership development.
Next week another “mobile troop”, Lena and Zhenya, are going to Voronyezh (Central Russia) to present workshops on youth evangelism at the “Nowadays’ Christian” youth conference. The conference is a sort on orientation for the young Christians in the today’s culture; it is to help youth to see the moral values in the arts and other aesthetic aspects of the culture, in order to use them as a tool for evangelism. Zhenya is doing a workshop on spreading the Good News among the counter-cultures, while Lena is going to talk on using the Internet for evangelism. By the way, this is going to be the very first experience for Lena of doing the workshop herself. Please pray for her, for Lord’s guidance in her presentation and for the listeners’ openness.
We are on the low start for both international and regional workshops on using media in the ministry. The participation lists are full and the participants are counting down the days. We are expecting the participants from Ukraine, Central Russia, Far East/China, Belarus, and Uzbekistan. Please pray for their journeys, safety and successful training for the glory of our Lord Jesus.
As you can guess, I am writing this report at the campus of the seminary. This is our one before last session here, and, probably, the hardest one. On the one hand we still have classes with pretty intensive assignments; on the other hand we have started to work on our dissertations already, and will have hearing by the end of the month. Nevertheless, our ministry team in Ukraine works great even when I am away. It makes me wonder: do they need me at all? 🙂
The greatest news of the month is: we just have had our first staff conference at the new facilities just before my departure (see the pictures attached)!
As I wrote you before, the building second floor is used as a mission house with the long term workers apartment and short term workers guest rooms. Now the first floor is in use as well. It includes distribution office, conference room and postproduction studio.
While moving to the new facilities we have issued a release of our first two Simply Essential short films – Easier to deal with and Why be surprised. The second one is a cartoon actually. The miniatures have already been presented in our staff home churches as well as are available for view at our website at http://scienceandapologetics.org/simply.html.
Despite all the troubles of the office removal, the Black Sea documentary Russian version is completed, and we are about to release Chastity show with Rev. Timothy Alferov (evangelically minded Russian Orthodox priest and leading Creation Evangelist in Russia). The show addresses teenagers and young adults with the issues of purity, faithfulness and responsibility.
The postproduction facilities usage has allowed us involve a new committed volunteer, Alexander, in the video department work to disciple him in the experience of video cut and editing. With his involvement we plan to complete two more Simply Essential miniatures, the original documentary on the Noah’s Flood evidences in Central Russia and Russian version of GNPI video A Doctor Looks at the Crucifixion and Resurrection (Russian script is completed).
We have quite a progress with the books printing projects as well. The incorporation of Poland into Schengen Customs Zone of EU has caused enormous cargo jam at the Polish-Ukrainian border, where the paper for the books printing got stocked. But the problem is resolved eventually. The books Worldview: A Missing Dimension of Evangelism and Introduction to Systematic Apologetics are printed finally. The last hardest step of the CREEATIO project – page layout (very complicated one!) is about to be completed as well, and the book will go to the press after the proofreading.
Another development we have in the team due to having the office facilities in a full-time children ministries leader, Irina. Her main focus so far is apologetics curricula for Sunday Schools and Summer Camps development and field testing. The Tvorets ‘08 Children Camp curriculum and counselor’s manual are developed already, there will be first camp staff meeting and in the middle of March. Please keep this project in your prayers: may the Lord prepare the hearts of the children so they would be open for accepting the Good News and the hearts of the parents whose children are going to the camp this summer.
Heading to the ‘Training/Outreach Landing Party’ tactics as a new approach we are practicing this year as a ministry new development, we are planning the first project of a year at Melitopol city (South Ukraine) in March. A partner church at the site takes responsibility for providing the facilities and gathering the audience, we provide the program that includes the presentation of The Lesson movie followed with the related issue discussion, Bible and Science workshop, promoting books and videos we have available for unbelievers, for believers, for church leaders.
The service at the field of the Lord is so exciting adventure – we hardly too our breath after the last year ending, and January is gone already!
Let me share the greatest news of the month first. Turkmenistan is the totalitarian Eastern tyranny country the most closed for the Gospel in Central Asia. No people or publications from the West can get there in a regular way. Nevertheless, personal contacts are the key to the Oriental culture. The personal relationships between the ministers in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan allowed the ripple effect of the Apologetics Society network penetrate the border of that country after all! Attached picture shows Turkmen minister receiving the books on apologetics from an Uzbek Apologetics Society leader (I am not sure it would be wise to mention their names in the Internet). It is amazing, how God provides the ways for spreading His messages in the places where the way is hard to find! Please pray for the fruits of the seeds planted.
At the same time the leaders of the Apologetics Society Uzbek branch are doing last preparation for the February ‘Education and Apologetics Congress.’ The words like ‘Christian’, or ‘evangelism’ are carefully avoided in the title and all the papers, but this is exactly what it is going to be about – first time in the history the leaders of various churches and denominations of the Central Asian country are going to come together for studies, networking and sharing experience of using apologetics and creation evangelism for the Kingdom spread in their context! Please pray for this project as well.
The list of the enrollment for the master-class on using video in the ministry we are planning for April (right after my return from the seminary) is almost full, and we have quite a geography represented there: Ukraine, Byelorussia, Uzbekistan, Tatarstan, China, Russian Far East and Central Russia. It will be a great cohort to work with!
There will be two workshops actually – the international and the regional ones. Vadim, our coordinator is in charge of regional workshop arrangements. There has been done a good promotion among the churches of the region and many of them are interested to send their youth leaders to take part in the workshop. Zhenya, the project manager, and Lena, the office manager, are now working on all the arrangements with logistics and room & board for the international one. Please pray with us for the proper people, recourses and funds being collected in order the event had the greatest impact for the Kingdom both regionally and internationally.
Rev. Timothy Alferov, Russian Orthodox priest, former physicist, and now, after coming across with our materials – devoted creationist and leading Biblical apologist from Russia has came to work few days with our media team. He made some video shootage of the creation and Noah’s flood evidences at Novgorod area. Our video team is helping him with doing cut and voice acting and other postproduction for the Creation Evangelism documentary for Central Russia. At the same time we have took the video of his great workshop for youth on the moral and sexual purity – the issues teenagers have the most questions on.
While the production studio part of the new facilities is still under the construction, the media production team keeps working on the several other projects as well. We have produced our first apologetics Simply Essential miniature; the technical details for the Black Sea show Russian dub are sorted out and actual voice recording is done. One more DVD with the Symposium presentations is released.
The book publishing ministry has got a new start. There are five titles are ready for the press or in the prepress currently. All the books are dealing with the worldview foundation of the Gospel, but address different audience, addressing the same issue in different ways.
The first one is a Worldview – a Missing Dimension of Evangelism monograph for the Christian Schools professors. Introduction to Systematic Apologetics is a new edition of the textbook for their students as well as for all ministers, evangelists etc. – more and more Christian schools are using it for Apologetics, Evangelism, Missions and Practical Ministry courses. The Third one is CREATIO (translation from German) – a high school Science textbook disproving the naturalistic lie at the state textbooks and bridging the facts kids learn in the school with Creation right. A Protestant Girl is a novel by Rev. Timothy that raises in an indirect but honest way burning questions on the crisis of Christian identity and the unity in the Body of Christ in the post-communist culture. The last but not least one is Training Positive and Productive Kids by Rick Deighton, which deals with the passing the Biblical foundation of our worldview to the next generation.
Three of five books are ready for the press actually. However the crisis of the customs officers strike at the Polish-Ukrainian border does not allow the paper we have ordered for the books printing to go through the customs clearance. Please pray for this situation.
Since our target audience reads Russian mostly, the English pages of our websitehttp://www.scienceandapologetics.org/engln.html updates slowly. However some new materials are now posted there and you are welcome to take a look. Soon we will also post the information about Russian DVDs we have recently made available.
Lena and Zhenya are also working on the seminars they going to lead in April at the youth apologetics conference in Voronyezh, Central Russia, for Russian churches youth leaders. They will do the workshops on evangelism among counter-cultures and evangelism through the Internet. While Zhenya has already some experience of speaker at several conferences, for Lena it will be her first time presenting a paper. Please pray for her as well for other young leaders’ development at the field of apologetics and evangelism.
By the way, speaking about the leaders training among young apologists, last month I shared great news about 20 persons signed up for the Science and the Bible workshops leaders training course at Amur region. It was just a beginning! 50 persons signed up for it by now. That is 10 times higher of our expectations! This is the sign that the seeds were not planted in vain – a new great harvest is going to be produced eventually (Mat 4:26-29). Please join our prayers for it.
The last days of January were especially busy for the Apologetics Society (coordination/distribution) office – we have finally moved to the new facilities! The inner area (the conference room and recording studios) is not completed yet, but the distribution office room is, and we have finally left the decaying place we were renting for many years!
Among all the projects I have to set more time these days for completing my doctorate studies assignments I have to do before leaving to the Seminary on February 23. Please pray for my preparation, travel, studies.