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Ukraine 2015

Set off for Ukraine with Peter Cotton for two weeks on 17th, September - With 3000 tracts plus 1000 gospel booklets to distribute - We had a couple of evangelistic Bible studies set up - We find people in Ukraine are willing to talk about God and the things of God - Eastern Orthodoxy is the main religious bent.

We Stayed at the Presbyterian Church in Kiev the first night - Below are some pictures of the Church and the surrounding area - As we were out walking, a good number of tracts were received.



      
The top one is the sanctuary of the Presbyterian Church in Kiev where we stayed the first night - We had a lovely meal & fellowship with Pastor Sergei & Olga his wife - Pastor Sergei was converted through reading Soviet Union anti-God literature, the Lord laughs and has them in derision from his throne - He learned english in order to study theology - The Presbyterian denomination has grown to 8000 in fifteen years - The church in kiev is about 60 in membership & growing - Pastor Sergei is working in a very poor part of Kiev where he and his wife seek to identify and integrate with the people around them - They refuse to own a car and use public transport because most of the people around them don't own a car - The church ministers to refugees from the war in the east - Sending aid to eastern Ukraine as well.

The next picture is of Kiev City centre, Independent Square, or Maidan as it is called locally - Here we wandered on our second day giving out some tracts as we went - Peter spoke to a young girl who helped us in getting a taxi - It turned out she works in China, leaving behind her infant daughter in Ukraine - She said she worked as a glamour model in China - I could only imagine what that might involve - It reminded me of the awful human trafficking problem that there is in Europe - Apparently 120,000 people have been trafficked in the last couple of years in Ukraine alone - The young lady took a tract.

The next picture is of the old building next to the new church build (Presbyterian Church) - This building is going to be refurbished in time too, it will be a Seminary for training Pastors & Evangelists - They are a denomination with real vision - Please pray for them.

          
The picture above is a banner depicting the ten commandments - Which Pastor Sergei takes into the park next door to the church - He sits there a converses with the local people as they sit around or pass by - About spiritual matters of course - The next picture of the outside of the Presbyterian Church.

The nest picture reminds us of the political unrest in Ukraine - This street makes no bones about which side of the conflict it is upon - The last picture gives you a flavour of the surrounding area in which the Church is situated in Kiev.

We moved on to Ternopil south west of Kiev - We spent the week distributing tracts in the Square (Maidan) in Ternopil -A beautiful area in which to work which would be ideal for street preaching - Alas we had no one to translate in that fashion for us, very frustrating - We had to order another 2000 such was the demand - With a big weekend ahead, Independence Day on Monday lots of people were expected to be around.

Good number of tracts given out through the first week - We spoke with a man who had a drink problem, communication was difficult but we managed to get something of gospel into him - A lady who took a tract asked if I was a Jehovah's Witness - With Nadia's help in translating I was able to challenge her Eastern Orthodoxy - She was originally from Armenia - But willing to listen and accepted the challenge to her beliefs - She also promised to read the tract - Good days in Ternopil.

          



The first picture is of myself and Dennis - He is a Christian youth worker who was out giving out leflets inviting young people to a Christian camp - The lady in the next picture with Peter wasn't for converting - The next picture is the overflow from the Eastern Orthodox Church - The last picture is Peter with the man who had the drink problem.

The language barrier was difficult but the task was not impossible - I spoke with two Italian ladies, with Germans, Dutch, English, Welsh and yes Ukrainians - The Welshman left army and came to live here with his Ukrainian wife - Also spoke with a young Pentecostal man - It's a blessing to encourage other believers too - Many, many tracts taken - What was encouraging was that people don't discard them as they do in UK - We saw many people reading them as they go.

         

The first picture here reminds me of the poverty that there is in Ukraine - This lady was out late on a Sunday evening selling flowers from her garden trying to make ends meet - The next picture is of the start of celebrations for Independence Day - Glory Ukraine says the next picture - Only the glory of God in the gospel of his Son Jesus Christ can make Ukraine or any other nation glorious - The last picture is of a gentleman studying the tract I had given him - He did so for a long time.

I had some good conversations with Ukrainians who spoke some english - I was also interviewed and photographed by a journalist, she was a very good english speaker, I was able to testify to her - I was asked by Pastor Volydmyr of Grace Church Ternopil to preach at his church on Sunday morning.

         

The picture at the top is of Pastor Volodymyr's brother, then Volodymyr himself with Nadia and Peter Cotton - The next picture is of the Palace in Ternopil where Voldymyr's brother works in the security department - The next is of the sun rising on yet another day in Ternopil - Finally Pastor Volodymyr with Oksana his wife, myself in the middle and Nadia and Peter Cotton on the right - One young lady we heard of had received one on my tracts, she had just lost her brother in the war - She is only twenty four, now she has the burden of raising her brother's children as well as her own - She lives in the same village where the Grace Church is, we were able to direct her to the church - I challenged many religious people over the two weeks - Eastern Orthodox people with their non-existent knowledge of the Bible - An Iraqi father and son listened as I told them of their need of God's provision of a blood sacrifice for their sin - Two young Muslim men listened quietly (amazingly) as I expounded the gospel to them.

We accomplished what we came to do, in fact more literature was distributed than we planned - Many brief but good conversations were had - The gospel has gone out for which we give thanks and praise to God for his goodness to men - We were kept safe in all our travels and whilst we laboured for the Lord. There were of course disappointments as well:

# The planned Bible studies never happened, that was a huge disappointment.

# We never made it to Lviv where I had hoped to take something of the gospel, a big disappointment.

# We had no one with us on the street to translate, there were many people who wanted to converse but it was always limited because the language problem - A year ago I was advised by a friend to learn some Russian which I did, I was told people would understand it and respect a foreigner doing so - That advice wasn't really helpful.

# Also I felt myself in the midst of a tremendous spiritual battle - Why? I've no idea, except to say when the word of God is going out there is always opposition - But I haven't felt it so intense as I did during those two weeks as I have in a while.

# Regardless of the disappointments I rejoice: 1. Because all these things were foreordained, yes, even the opposition, our God is always ahead of the game. 2. We accomplished more than we planned. 3. God kept us and used us, and who knows what he will yet do with what has been done. So I ask you please to continue to pray with me that God would so great things in Ukraine, not just through what I have done but through his own people, through his church in Ukraine. Glory to his name! 



My dear friends and fellow workers




Independence Square Kiev (The Maidan)


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