Monday, January 21, 2008

Kiev Update - 1/21/2008


• I checked in to my room at the seminary today, and got settled in. It’s such a blessing to have a comfortable place to stay with access to the internet right in my room! As I sat in my room and checked e-mail I was reminded that I have this opportunity to update my friends on what God is doing in part because of the efforts of many of you who are reading this blog right now!

You see, several years ago a group from my former church followed God’s lead to gain the donation of some servers from IBM, to bring to Kiev to help assist one of our missionaries who was serving here. I remember lots of prayer went into that trip and I remember rejoicing with the team members with how God completely blessed the delivery and set up of the equipment that really helped to enable KTS and that missionary to give the seminary students an opportunity to learn and grow (in a 21 century way!)

Well, now I sit here several years later with the tools needed to help the YMI story be told…That’s Awesome to me! So I want to say thank you to those pioneers (you know who you are, and I don’t want to leave anyone out so I won’t name specific people) for your investments into the ministry here at KTS it’s being used for God’s glory, just like you hoped it would. Check out the KTS web site…

• After settling in I met with the lady who will serve as my Interpreter for the class. Her name is Natasha and she and her husband Sergei both work as interpreters here at KTS. We spent some time getting to know each other, and work out specific words that we’ll need to use to communicate clearly to the students.

One of the things that is fun but can be frustrating for me and for the interpreter is translating words and concepts from Russian to English and back again. I’m continually amazed (and jealous) of people who have this ability, I mean I can barely understand the way people who live in different regions of the US talk let alone interpret a whole different language…it’s a gift that I really appreciate!

Anyway as we were talking I found out that she was at KCU which is where the Pastor that we ministered with the first time I came to Kiev teaches. So I asked her if she knew Pastor Volodymyr and she said with a hint of sarcasm “there are many Volodymyr’s in Ukraine”, to which I said “this one was a famous Russian rock star in the 80’s”. Her face lit up and she said “oh, of course Pastor Volodymyr!” and she went on to tell me all about him and how great his ministry is doing.

It was incredible for me to listen to her talk about how he’s using his gifts (music especially) to spread God’s love all across Ukraine. As she talked my mind again went back to the investments that were made by praying people in the US (many from my former church) who gave sacrificially so that missions teams could help provide tools (guitar, drums, sound equipment to name a few) for his ministry to reach the people of Ukraine with the gospel.

Pastor V has an amazing gift of music that he put on the shelf when he became a Christian, because the church leaders told him that music with instruments was not accepted in the church. Some people from our church found out about that and raised some money to buy him a guitar and he began using his gift again (after about 10 years of silence)…and the rest is History…his church is growing and he is using his God given gifts and abilities…talk about a win-win!

When our team in 2004 was getting ready to come to Ukraine one of my youth leaders who couldn’t come on the trip but felt that God wanted him involved in a very creative way, said to me “I would like to make an investment for the kingdom through your team, here is what I believe God wants me to do”…”here is $315” There were 9 of us on the team and he wanted me to give each team member $35 to invest in a person or a ministry or whatever God was leading them to do that would help the Kingdom of God expand (it was kind like “Pay it Forward” if you ever saw that movie)…

Anyway, each of us prayed about how God would have us use this money to make an investment, and I must say it was pretty difficult to narrow it down because there were so many needs…

At the end of the week though a couple team members and I sensed God leading us to pool our money together and purchase some studio time so that Pastor V could make a CD of his music to be used to bless others, and that’s exactly what we did…What a blessing it was to give him the money and explain why we did and what we were trusting God to do through him.

So for me to hear Natasha talk about how his ministry is growing and how he’s using his gifts and his CD...WOW!

So to that particular youth leader (and I know you're reading this, because you're still such an incredible encouragement to me), who was tuned in to God’s voice and made an investment in the kingdom 4 years ago…Guess what…It’s working!!

• I taught my first class, and had a great time! I have 23 students from all over Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Belarus and Russia), and from 2-6pm we began our journey together into the complex field of beginning to understand youth culture. I began by telling them that we need to learn from each other because we all have insights to offer. It was a good first session, and I trust that God is going to continue to bring great things as we learn together.

• The picture above is a rock that dates back thousands of years, it’s on the top of Ki’s hill (one of the brothers who founded Kiev), it basically says “from this rock come all Russians”. The history and traditions are so intriguing in this place, but I’m so privileged to take part in imparting tools that will help the youth leaders of this culture to share God’s truths with their young people in a way that they’ll really get it, and realize that God wants them to be a part of His family because our lineage is traced back to HIM!

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