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A Sermon for New Year’s Day by Charles H. Spurgeon

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5

How pleased we are with that which is new!  Our children’s eyes sparkle when we talk of giving them a toy or a book which is called new; for our short-lived human nature loves that which has lately come, and is therefore like our own fleeting selves.  In this respect, we are all children, for we eagerly demand the news of the day, and are all too apt to rush after the “many inventions” of the hour.  The Athenians, who spent their time in telling and hearing some new thing, were by no means singular persons: novelty still fascinates the crowd. As the world’s poet says —“All with one consent praise new-born gauds.”  Continue Reading »

Looking Backward … As we enter into 2015, we have many things to be thankful for.  Here are just a few (there is not time to list them all).

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We Need a Little Christmas, Now (December 2014 Update)

Ukraine does not celebrate Christmas until January 6th.  Usually trees and Christmas decorations do not go up until around December 25th.  But we decided to start ours early.  Following the US tradition, we put away fall decorations and brought out our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving.  We also began to play Christmas music pretty much around the clock.  We bought our first Christmas tree in Ukraine and had a great time decorating it and the rest of the house.  We are having Advent devotions with our Advent Wreath.  Why?  Because we need a little Christmas! 
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Changes (November 2014 Update)

November in Ukrainian is Листопад meaning “leaves fall down.”  It’s a great description of the beautiful forests with golden and red leaves DSC_2385.EFFECTS.1now forming a carpet on the ground.  It’s a scene I get to see every day from our new apartment and I get to walk through those leaves on my way to the bus stop every morning.  So much has changed since our moving to the Right Bank of Kiev!  My daily trip is about 1/3 of what it used to be and our opportunities for ministry have greatly increased (see below) now that we live over on this side of the river.

There are also many changes here in Ukraine this month.  We elected a new Parliament and there is a “ceasefire” in the Russian-Ukrainian war right now.  I put “ceasefire” in quotes because, although the government forces have ceased firing, the pro-Russian separatists have not.  And Russia continues to send men and equipment across the border to reinforce the territories they captured.

But, in general, things are more peaceful – for now.  Most believe that Putin is reconsidering his approach since so many Russian soldiers died in Ukraine and Russian mothers are asking how this happened if there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine (the world has been asking this for months!).  Also, many believe that Putin is shifting his strategy to a “Cold War” in which his withholding of gas supplies is the weapon.  Russia has already reduced gas supplies for two countries that have sold gas to Ukraine and Putin has warned that he will shut off the gas from Russia if Europe (50% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia) sells gas to Ukraine!
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Many Ministry Opportunities (October 2014 Update)

The situation in Ukraine is now at a slight “pause” but that does not mean everything is fine.  In fact, with winter approaching, things will probably get worse even if Russia does not do anything more to Ukraine — which is unlikely (more below).  People ask me repeatedly, why do you stay in Ukraine?  Why don’t you go back to America where it is safe and you can live in comfort?  For me, there are a couple of answers, not the least of which is that I also have family now in Ukraine.  But most of all, this is the place where we are ministering.  And as long as we have an open door, we need to continue to minister and serve here even though things may become more difficult. Continue Reading »

God’s Provision in Difficulties (September 2014 Update)

In Ukraine, the situation appears to have become worse as now regular Russian troops have invaded in the East and the South of Ukraine.  The Ukrainian economy has worsened with inflation and it looks like it will be a while before things stabilize.  But more about the situation in Ukraine later.  We want to tell you first about God’s provision in difficulties.

Praying for an Apartment

Before we left in June, we made a decision to move to the right bank (Western) of Kiev to be closer to school, church, campus ministry and family. Even though this would cost us $100-200 more per month, we believed the time saved in travel would be worth it.  So we packed up everything and put it into storage.  We tried to find an apartment before we left but we found that prices were higher and we did not want to pay for 3 months of summer rent while we were in the states.  So we decided to wait until we returned at the end of August.

All summer, we kept in contact with a couple realtors who were looking for rental property for us.  They kept telling us that apartments were very scarce and there was nothing available for us.  We returned on Thursday, August 28th and spent the afternoon on the internet and talking with a number of realtors.  They all said the same: there were no apartments available and the prices had risen to $300 more than they were in May.  But even at that price, nothing was available. Because of the situation in the East and in Crimea, many refugees had resettled in Kiev. Continue Reading »

Ukraine Has Some Relief (We Hope!) (June Update)

The situation in Ukraine appears to be improving, at least for now.  The presidential elections were a success and the new president won by a landslide – signs that Ukraine is more united as a country than many believed.  Russian troops, although still close, have moved back from the border and, in spite of requests by the separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Putin has decided not to intervene in Ukraine.  These are all good signs.2014 KTS Graduation

But there are still many difficulties ahead.  Right now, Ukraine is waging a war with the heavily-armed pro-Russian groups in Eastern Ukraine.  There has been some progress in restoring order and preventing them from further take-overs but it has cost many lives (mostly Russian soldiers who are supposedly NOT in Ukraine).  But the toll on the people has been great also.  People are afraid to go into the streets and definitely afraid to say anything positive about Ukraine.  The separatists routinely abduct, beat and even kill anyone who voices any opposition.  They are currently holding over 80 people hostage (including many journalists and international observers).  Many believers are holding open prayer meeting on the squares and they have been persecuted and beaten by the separatists for doing so.  We know so pastors who have had to live the area because of threats to their lives and to their families! Continue Reading »

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