Archive for the ‘Ministry Updates’ Category


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Kyiv Theological Seminary March Update + Prayer Requests

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I have lots to do this month but the big item is going to Poland to renew my visa.  It is something I will have to do every year and this will be my first experience with it.  Ukraine only grants 1 year religious visa now and mine expires on December 1st.  Since I will be teaching all of November, I cannot leave to renew my visa.  So I will be doing this in October (12-16).  Also, Ukraine changed their visa laws this September.  Now, to renew your visa, you have to leave the country , go to a Ukrainian Embassy outside of Ukraine (Poland is the closest and cheapest), and then you return to Ukraine with a 45 day visa that has to be submitted to the Ministry of Culture to be changed into a 1 year visa.  So there is a lot of red tape to go through (not to mention waiting in lines and hoping you are in the right one).  Katya will be going also so she has to get a visa to be able to go with me to Poland.  So … this month is “visa month” for us.  Be praying that we can get our visas and that everything will go smoothly as planned. (more…)

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TRI August 2011 Update








Back in Kiev (August Update)

We arrived back in Kiev last week and returned to find out that we have no hot water for 20 days (annual pipe cleaning)!  No problem – this is a regular (minor) issue in Kiev and Katya has years of experience in living without hot water.  I’m learning—but it really has not been bad.  The hot water should be back on next week.  Plus three weeks of camping in National Parks and Forests this summer prepared me too.  Even so, I’m looking forward to hot water showers again!

We returned to the seminary to see many changes.  Some remodeling is being done to improve the bathrooms and so there is dust everywhere.  Hopefully it will be finished by the time students come next week.  Also, there are a lot fewer professors here this year.  A few retired last year and so they will not be returning.  Also, some have had to return to the states for medical reasons.  Finally, we have quite a few who will be gone this year on furlough, including our academic dean who will be in the states working on his dissertation.

In short, there are very few people at the seminary right now so it is pretty quiet here.  Also they are not serving lunch at the school yet so we have had the joy of having some professors over to our apartment for lunch.  What a blessing it is to be so close to the seminary!

Next Tuesday (August 23), we begin interviews and testing for prospective students.  This is a very important time at the seminary when we are introducing potential students to the school and its programs (degree tracks) and also interviewing them to make decisions about their entry.  We have programs in Bible, Pastoral Leadership, Youth Ministry, Chaplaincy, Christian Education and Missions on the bachelor’s level. We also offer accredited Master’ degree programs in Biblical Counseling, Youth Ministry, and Biblical Studies.  So please be praying for us as we interview students next week.

I will be teaching a full load again this year – three classes in the fall and three more in the spring.  This fall, I will teach Christology, Church History and World History.  In the Spring, I will be teaching Theology 4 (Eschatology and Pneumatology), Homiletics 2 and Research & Critical Thinking.  Even with all these classes, my main goal this year will be to work on learning Russian.  I have 3-4 hours a day scheduled to work on Russian (except for the weeks I teach).  Because my teaching schedule does not allow for consistent lessons, I will be trying to learn on my own with Katya’s help.  It will be much more difficult this way but it seems to be the only way with my schedule.  Be praying for me as I work on learning every day this year.

Our summer in the US was wonderful!  We were able to visit 4 different churches and see a number of friends and supporters briefly.  Most of all, we were able to spend time with family in Arkansas and then we had a great “family reunion” (all my kids and grandkids except for Joel, Alyssa and little Lucas) with Debbie’s’ parents and brother & sister in Sarasota, Florida.  We also travelled to the other side of Florida to visit my dad and the MacKenzies from Connecticut.  On our own, Katya and I spent 3 weeks in a tent visiting places like the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains.   It was wonderful!  The splendor of God’s creation was overwhelming.  We have more pictures than you can imagine (which you are welcome to see them on Picasa if you send me a request by email).  Our time this summer was both relaxing and refreshing after one of the busiest years I can remember!

We really did not have the opportunity to work on fund raising so we will be trying to do some this fall.  We are thinking more about adding new supporters to our support team rather than trying to raise a certain dollar amount.  This way the focus will be on people not money (I don’t like raising funds L).  We currently have 19 regular supporters.  We would like to have at least 30 people on our support team by December.  Pray with us over the coming months that we can effectively communicate with at least 11 more people about the ministry of Teaching Resources and involve them as part of our support team.  You have all been an amazing blessing with both prayer and finances through the last 16 years (amazing!) and we cannot express how grateful we are for your prayers and support!

Thanks for being part of our team as we minster here in Kiev!

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We have home is the states for the last two weeks and we have had a wonderful time with friends and family. We have been able to worship with Cornerstone Bible Fellowship and the Bible Church of Cabot as well as getting together with some Home Groups. What a joy it is to be with believing friends! We’ve also had a great time with family … we’ve been camping and swimming and just enjoying being together. Katya and I have also enjoyed some Arkansas treats including going to an Arkansas Traveler’s baseball game, visiting the Ozark Folk Center and Blanchard Springs Caverns. We had shaved ice and ice cream and watermelon too not to mention Mexican food (not much in Kiev!). Tomorrow (July 1st) we head out on a great adventure –three straight weeks of camping. We will head first to the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas and then will stop near Santa Fe and visit a friend in Albuquerque on our way through. Then it will be on to the Grand Canyon for a few days followed by Mesa Verde and then about a week in Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado). I have never had a vacation this long and I have never camped more than 3 days in a row (last year) so this will be a totally new experience for me. And Katya has never seen these beautiful places in our country. We are both excited even though we will be “roughing it” at National Park campground the whole time. We return the end of July to Arkansas for a week with family and friends and then on to Florida with my children and their spouses and grandkids. From there (Sarasota), we will fly back to Ukraine ready to start the next semester in August. We’ll post a few pictures on Facebook just so you can rejoice with us at the grandeur of God’s wonderful creation! Continue to pray for us and our support levels. We still need some additional people to help with supporting our ministries in Kiev this fall. Also, the General Fund for Teaching Resources has gotten very low this year. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!!!

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Almost Home …

We’ll be home in the US in a little over a week!  But there is still a lot to do before then.  Here are a few highlights and updates from our ministry here in Kiev, Ukraine.


Graduations … Yesterday (Saturday, June 4th), I was able to participate in the graduation at Kiev Theological Seminary.  It was wonderful to see these students receive their diplomas after 4 years of classes.  We had nearly 40 students graduate this year.  We have students from Ukraine, Russia, Belarusia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Moldova. Also, we had 7 students graduate from the Master’s program from Talbot Seminary in the US last month (a few of them are pictured here with our Kiev directors).  At KTS, we also offer accredited Masters Degrees in Theology, Youth Ministry, and Biblical Counseling.  Each of these programs is connected with an accredited university or seminary in the US.


Still Teaching … This week will be my last week of classes here in Kiev this academic year.  I will be finishing the class on Critical Thinking and Writing 2 that we began last week.  The weather here has been unusually beautiful and I took advantage of this by teaching the class outside.  Good weather, great students, wonderful class!  (Here are some great pictures taken of our class last week).


Much to prepare … Even though this academic year is winding down, I still have much to do for next year.  In the Fall, I’ll be teaching Christology, Church History 1, and World History, while also trying to take Russian lessons every day.  In the Spring, I will be teaching Advanced Homiletics (Homiletics 2), Theology 4 (Eschatology and Pneumatology), and Critical Thinking and Writing 1.  I’ve taught most of these before but there are two totally new classes I have to create.


Coming to America … In mid-June, Katya and I will be headed to the US.  We are both very tired from a long academic year and very excited about seeing friends and family, but especially looking forward to some rest!  We have an interesting summer planned – We will spend time in AR in June and then head out on a 3 week camping trip through the Southwest.  We choose to camp because finances are really limited and we can camp for under $200 for 3 whole weeks!  (We hope we will be just as excited at the end of the 3 weeks!).  We are looking forward to a great adventure seeing the wonders of God’s creation everywhere!  Then we will be back in AR for a little over a week when all my kids and their families will head to Sarasota, Florida to spend a week with Debbie’s family and go to Disney together.  From there, we will fly back to Kiev in the second week of August in time for the opening of school for a new semester.


On the Fun Side … I don’t want to give the impression that it is all work and no play… A few weeks ago, Katya and I joined 20 others on a 3 day kayak trip.  It was really roughing it but it was fun. Here are a couple of pictures form the trip.


Prayer Needs … As we have mentioned in pervious updates, our finances are very low (no crisis but close).  With the changes due to seminary financial struggles, we will need to raise funds to cover Katya’s salary and well as cover additional living expenses.  Also, the General Fund for TRI is lower than it ever has been and we also need some additional support to help with general funds for the ministry.  If you know of anyone you might be interested in helping us train Ukrainians and students from the former Soviet Union, let us know so we can contact them about being part of our support team.


Thank you so much for your prayers!  We are looking forward to being home and getting some rest.  This has been the busiest year I can ever remember and I need an extended rest.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone soon (counting the days!).  Thanks for your support that allows us to do this ministry!

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To download this update with pictures, click here: June2011TRIUpdate







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May 2011

Christ is Risen Indeed!

“The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Luke 24:34

Spring is finally here and the weather has been beautiful here in Kiev. It’s not Arkansas but it sure is nice after a cold winter.

The last two weeks, I have been teaching in Belgium at Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven. I’ve been teaching there since 1998 and I always look forward to returning. ETF is currently the only evangelical school in Europe offering a PH.D. program that is accredited by the EU. I taught a class on Issues in Contemporary Theology that is very important for pastors and theological students. Everything went extremely well. The students were excellent but now I have a lot of papers to grade! Katya finally received her visa from Belgium so she was able to go with me! Thanks for all your prayers!

Also, I am finishing up teaching a World History class at KTS and I have only 2 exams and 1 paper to grade! Just two days after returning from Belgium (Monday), I will be teaching Research and Critical Thinking 1. Then I have two weeks to prepare for teaching Research and Critical Thinking 2. That class will end June 10th.

Sometime after that we are hoping to head to the US for about 1 ½ months in the summer. Some of our time there, we will be raising additional support. After nearly a year here, I can see that my estimates for living in Kiev were way too conservative. We have managed but our budget is too low and we will need to increase our monthly support.

Additionally, the seminary has been having financial struggles this year due to increasing costs and inflation here and reduced donations from the United States. As a result, the school has been trying to cut costs in a variety of ways in an effort to keep the school open. This past year, the seminary asked professors to pay most of the translator’s salaries because the school could not afford to pay them. In the past, the school has covered these costs; in the fall, we began covering part of the costs. Now, they are asking us to cover all of the costs. This means that we will be paying $250-300 more for each class we teach so the seminary will not have to pay them.

Also, the seminary decided to lay off at least 14 people (Ukrainians) from the seminary staff to keep the school running. Katya and I decided that we could help by her donating her monthly salary (about $400/month US) back to the school instead of taking a salary. This will affect us a lot financially, but it will help to save at least one person’s job at the seminary. So be praying for the school. And also be praying for us as we raise more support. Right now, each month, I receive around $2500.00 of the $3000.00 that I originally estimated last year. Due to the increased translator costs, our donating Katya’s salary back to the school, and revised living expenses, we anticipate that we need to increase support to about $4000.00/month. Those who support us right now have been very generous, but we need to add new people to our support team for this next academic year. If you know anyone who might be interested in supporting us, let me know so that I can contact them over the summer. Most of all, be praying for us all that our ministry here can continue without interruption.

Things at our church continue to be a blessing to us! We were able to teach in our church retreat in April and we are currently helping on Sunday mornings with ESL Club Bible Studies. We have a wonderful home group and we had a great celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday and a great Easter service. It is a blessing to be part of such a wonderful church here in Kiev!

Finally, we had our first visitor from the US (actually from Graz, Austria where he is studying this semester) – David Myers from Cabot. We had a great time with him and I got to be the “tour guide” for many sites that I never had time to see in Kiev over the last 15 years that I have been here! Most of all, it was great fun just having him with us!

Thank you so much for your prayers! We look forward to being back in the US in a couple of months but I have a lot to do before then! May the joy of His resurrection empower you to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth! Happy Easter!!! He is Risen!

Teaching Resources International

20 Sunrise Place

Cabot, AR 72023-2047


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