June 2008

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.