September 2008

The greatest news of the month is the starting of the Internet network of the Eurasian Apologetics Society – 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.