Monday, October 12 is my scheduled departure to go to the Ukraine. I’ll be joining a small group of preachers and other church members lead by David Deffenbaugh, preacher at South College congregation from Tahlequah (this particularly mission effort in the Ukraine is a work overseen by the church in Tahlequah). David has been has been involved in mission work in Ukraine since 1994. The thrust of this trip will be a three day seminar located in the city of Kramatorsk, a province of Donetsk.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Ukraine, it was once a part of the USSR, and is bordered by Russia, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. Until about 1986, it was almost impossible to spread the Gospel throughout the country without some type of persecution. Over time, the Iron Curtain was brought down and slowly but surely the Gospel of Jesus Christ began to spread throughout it. There have been over 60 congregations of the Lord’s church established in this country.
The seminar will focus on the Gospel of John and will be especially helpful for preachers, teachers, and church leaders as well as evangelistic in nature. I will be teaching four classes. In addition, we will be working to provide support, encouragement and training to native preachers and church leaders at congregations in Konstantinovka and Artemovsk. We will also have the opportunity to visit an orphanage and kindergarten center and a public school in Minkovka. This will be a packed ten days.
Needless to say, I am very excited, nervous and anxious about this trip. I am obviously apprehensive about leaving my wife and three children during this time. This will be my first time to cross the Atlantic. It will be my first experience working with a translator. The only other time I’ve been out of the US was on campaign while I was at Harding over nine years ago. I was only a very small “role player” in that mission trip. No speaking or anything like that. But I am very excited about sharing lessons from the gospel of John with these brethren and also ministering to children in the orphanage.
I solicit your prayers while I’m on the trip not only for my safety and for my family while I’m away from them, but for success in the efforts that have been planned, and for God to use while we are there to His greatest glory. My scheduled return is late Thursday evening, October 22. I will very much look forward to giving you a report of this mission trip.