How Did Overseas Outreach Get Started in Ukraine?

How Did Overseas Outreach Get Started in Ukraine?

Sergei Golovin is the man who invited me to come to Crimea as a presenter for the “Man and the Christian Worldview Symposium” in May 2001, and he has put up with my idiosyncrasies and cross-cultural blunders for the past 20 years! Also, he and Georges Carillet continued to allow me to come as a presenter for the Symposiums and Conferences (including the Eurasian Apologetic Summits), in spite of the fact that I was outclassed in my higher education degree by most of the other presenters (both Christians and non-Christians). I am very thankful for those opportunities and the friendships and open doors that came my way by participation in those gatherings through the guidance and grace of God. Zhenya Molodchy asked me once if I had invited Sergei Golovin to be a representative for Overseas Outreach, and I told him, “No.” When he asked why, I told him, “I think Sergei is already carrying enough (more than enough) responsibility as founder/director of Christian Center for Science and Apologetics, regional director for Good News Productions, International, and chairman of the board for Georges Carillet’s ministry (Teaching Ministries, International).” When I told Sergei about Zhenya’s question and my reply, he responded, “Thank you, Brother!” He told me that he also serves on the Board of Directors for a Biblical Christian Seminary in Ukraine and has been invited to serve on others. No wonder! The first article I read about Sergei was in the Fall 2000 issue of Creation Magazine. It was entitled “Creation Crusader of the Crimea”.  So, although Sergei Golovin is not one of our Overseas Outreach representatives in Ukraine, he is a vital partner and key figure in outreach! That is why we often share with you his reports in our Overseas Outreach prayer letter.

The two legs for our Overseas Outreach mission to move forward are: 1st – Creation Evangelism  2nd – Compassion Evangelism. Both are functioning very well through our Overseas Outreach representatives in Ukraine! However, to give credit where credit is due concerning the first leg of our mission, creation evangelism, we are going back to Sergei Golovin to share his two most recent reports:

What is God Doing in Ukraine?

5-8-21:  “Beloved brothers and sisters,

“Thank you very much for your care, support, and prayers! With great joy, I present you the Christian Center for Science and Apologetics 2021 April newsletter.

Due to another round of lockdown, our focus was on online ministry development. We focused on posting the everyday messages to the most locally relevant social networks and channels (Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, Vkontakte) and our regular YouTube content. Since the beginning of the year, users from 117 countries have visited our website! The previous record was 76 countries through the entire year 2020. May the Lord be praised!

We continue to teach and preach online at the maximum-security prison through our partners in the prison ministry in Lviv. Everyone at the general block is able to attend the meetings. The prisoners at the life sentence block even arranged a worship room there… Please pray for these people who found Jesus while serving their sentences. May they become His light for others in that place of darkness! May those who are going to be released eventually become the Kingdom witnesses to their former fellows!

The youth conference at Kyiv on the Scripture veracity was online as well. Only those, who are in the direct fellowship anyway, were present at the venue. The rest of the participants followed the discussion via Zoom. Nevertheless, it was very engaging. Please join our prayers for these young leaders of the next generation. May they become new Calebs and Joshuas of the nation that experienced the exodus from the Egypt of communism to the desert of secularism!

Media is the key to reaching young people, and it is crucial to reach them in their native language. As the Ukrainian schools switch their teaching to the national language, more and more young people in the country prefer to speak, read, listen, and watch in Ukrainian, rather than in Russian. Spoken by 33 million people (mostly – domestic, but also the diaspora communities in Canada, Australia, and the USA), the Ukrainian belongs to the world’s top 50 most used languages (#44). Regretfully, there is little to no Christian media content available in Ukrainian. That is why we are so excited to announce that our volunteers in the partnership with the content development group at Rivne (Western Ukraine) decided to start a team for producing and teaching others to produce native-language media content. We highly encourage them to go on with this project, supplying them with some essential equipment and providing intensive training on media production. Please pray with us for this important initiative development.

Finally, please join us in celebration of a very special milestone for the post-communist world apologetics ministry. The Joint School of Christian Apologetics has graduated the first students with an MA degree in Christian Apologetics. May the Lord be praised! May these warriors of Him be faithful to the apostolic precept: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Please pray for our country, for all our partners’ health and safety, for the opportunities to reveal God’s greater glory through the challenges we face. Please keep praying for our ministry, our team, our families, the finances, and God’s guidance and protection in everything we do. You are in our prayers as well.

Yours in the love and grace of Christ Jesus, Sergei”

5-13-21: “Beloved brothers and sisters,

“Rejoice with us! I am excited to announce the great news: the Eurasian Apologetics Training Center moves to Kyiv! But let me start from the beginning of the amazing story. On the morning of the 4th of March, our daily Scripture reading was from Genesis 41. It was about Joseph’s interpretation of the Pharoah’s dreams of the seven thin years followed after the seven years of great plenty. While reading, we realized that the date was the very day of our flight from Crimea seven years ago. And we wondered: “Lord, isn’t this a sign that the seven thin years have passed by?” Looking back, these seven thin years turned out to be the years of the glorious Kingdom work after all:

The Eurasian Apologetics Society movement increased from 150 to more than 1500 members. It involves groups and individuals across 8 former Soviet Union times zones as well as the Russian and Ukrainian-speaking diaspora worldwide.

We held more than 100 academic courses, training seminars, and conferences in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Israel, and Portugal.

We published 79 books.

Our YouTube videos gained 3.1 million views (monthly view rate increased from 2k in 2014 to 11k in 2020).

Our social media pages and channels (Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, VKontakte) daily publications gain thousands of views every day.

People from 117 countries have visited our website.

The very first student group graduated from the Joint School of Christian Apologetics with an MA degree in Apologetics.

The very first Doctorate program (M.Div.) in former Soviet Union countries with the special focus on Apologetics was launched.

Despite the exciting development of the ministry and the great work of the Kingdom the Lord was doing through it, those seven years were pretty tough for us. The Training Center building in Crimea was our great moral and financial burden that did not allow us to rejoice fully. We were not able to use it anymore, while the danger of losing it at any time remained our everyday reality. At first the facilities were under the threat of being confiscated by Russian authorities as property belonging to a foreign religious organization. Many Ukrainian and international ministries lost their property in Crimea in that way and were banned. Nevertheless, the Lord gave our manager Vadim wisdom to register the building properly to avoid this threat.

A difference in the requirements Russian and Ukrainian regulations have for any construction of that kind was a cause of the following danger. For instance, under Ukrainian law (the law we have started the project within), a building under construction is the property of its owner. Under the Russian law, however, (the law applied after the Anschluß) the property under construction does not belong to the owner until its exterior is completed. If the owner does not continue the construction, the government can demolish it, and the owner should pay 50% of the building cost as the fee for the demolishing. Also, because we started the construction under the Ukrainian architect requirements, it did not fit the Russian ones. The authorities demanded to rebuild it under the same threat to demolish it and charge us the demolishing fee. Through the procrastination of the paperwork for several years, we have finally managed to rebuild it despite the shortage of resources.

Later on, to secure the site in the future, we decided to change the formal ownership of the facilities in a way as it belongs to Russian citizens. Two days after we completed the procedure, Russia has issued another law that prohibited foreigners from owning a property at the Crimean shore! We had no idea that the law is coming. The decision to secure the property in that way at that very time was completely the Lord’s guidance! Although we properly secured the property through all these years (regardless of the constant change of the requirements and many other threats), we could neither use nor sell it any way. Nobody wanted to buy it. Even the Russians hesitated to invest in a property in Crimea as a grey zone under the international sanctions. Nevertheless, just a week after our Genesis 41 reading mentioned above, we got a message about someone interested in buying the building! Pandemic became the factor that changed the situation. Russians got highly limited in opportunities to go overseas for vacations. That raised their interest in Crimea, and the real estate market has revived at the peninsula.

We faced two new challenges in the outcome: how to retrieve the funds from Crimea (cash! – not one international bank works there because of the sanctions) and what to do with those funds for the Kingdom’s sake and according to the purpose the funds were initially designated for. A week later, someone contacted us out of the blue – one who had the money in the mainland but needed them in Crimea. Soon after the successful exchange, we got an incredible offer to buy a perfectly suitable building for the exact amount of money we had, despite the market price differences in Kyiv and Crimea! We are so amazed at how fast, and smooth everything was going after the seven years of uncertainty! All this is unbelievable, isn’t it?

The building has a gathering hall for the training courses, retreats, fellowships, media production, etc. It also has a conference room, office space, study room, a guest room for visiting partners, storage chambers, big garage and a private area – a two-bedroom apartment for us to stay at! The new facilities require an interior renovation as well as the furniture and appliances purchase, but a brand-new facility like that would cost at least twice as much. And this is something we can handle gradually after all. Please join our prayers for this need to be met. Also, join us in praises for the amazing and unique way the Lord moves the mountains!

I run out of words to describe how absolutely thrilled and grateful we are and how we are moved by the Lord’s miraculous plan, which worked out step by step through these seven years, and especially the past two months! May His name be praised! Thank you so much for the incessant prayers, fraternal care, sacrificial support, and immense love you share with us through the years!

Yours by the grace of Jesus, Sergei”

What is Marxism?

Actually, it is deeper than an economic system and philosophy – it is an idolatrous replacement for Almighty God with almighty anti-God government. The goal of Marxists is to lead us to think “the government is my Shepherd – I shall not want!” It is a rebellion against the rule of God in our lives, so Marxists are intent on destroying faith in the one, True Almighty God and His created order with the nuclear family of father, mother and children as the basis for society. To undermine our faith in God as creator, Marxists push the naturalistic philosophy of evolutionism, and in order to destroy the family they push outrageous, pornographic so-called “sex education” in schools from pre-kindergarten through university level. Their so-called “education” – is actually indoctrination. Do you know that both Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler, underneath the camouflage of atheism, were actually Satanists, who played with the occult? You will not understand the evil essence of Marxism unless you can see through the thin veneer of excuses for their actions and policies. Resisting Marxism involves intense spiritual warfare! Please pray earnestly!

I confess that the more a corrupted government administration tries to persuade me and pressure me with mask mandates, social distancing and jabbing a needle in my arm with some so-called vaccine – the more resistant I become. Why should I believe they are compassionately looking out for the health and safety of all Americans when at the same time they are adamantly intent on murdering more and more babies, elderly, and handicapped people through abortion and euthanasia? And why should I believe they have our “welfare” in mind when they have a verifiable record of lies and cheating? Fake news is their propaganda of promotion! Why should I believe a Marxist regime that wants to use my tax dollars to murder more of our most vulnerable US citizens, while at the same time flooding our borders with illegal aliens (including traffickers and terrorists)? Why should I believe them when I know that another Marxist tactic is to incite chaos in order to divide and conquer?

“The End Justifies the Means!”

The end justifies the means is one of the basic strategies of Marxist aggression. In practice, what this means is that anything goes for Marxists who are promoting their agenda, with no moral boundaries! They consider lying, stealing, cheating, slandering – even murdering “good” if it promotes their ideology and goal of world domination. No wonder God inspired Jeremiah to write “woe to them that call evil good and good evil”! That warped premise was being used by the false prophets in his day.

“Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste”

Rahm Immanuel clearly stated another basic strategy for promoting the Marxist agenda when he said, “Never let a crisis go to waste!” Don’t you see the exercise of this strategy manifested constantly all around us for well over a year during this covid plandemic? Don’t you notice the double-talk and extreme hypocrisy concerning masks and vaccines? Why are church gatherings extremely dangerous for the spread of Covid-19 – while hordes of rioters or illegals crossing our borders without masks or vaccines are ignored? And what is in those vaccines? Aborted baby body parts? Dangerous drugs to make us more compliant? Marxists have used such tactics in other countries – should we be trusting them now to have our health as their goal rather than their desire to control our thoughts and actions?

Are you distressed at seeing and hearing of government plunging our country deeper and deeper into debt by trillions and trillions of dollars at a time – to bankrupt the nation? Changing election rules to allow illegals to vote and inviting illegals to stampede across our border (including disease carriers and traffickers with their drugs and stolen children)? Why do they partner with and protect Islamic terrorists? None of this makes sense unless we understand that the goal of Marxism is to create chaos, conflict and warring factions so they can move into the remaining rubble to take over with total control.

Follow the Science?

Haven’t we heard the above phrase repeated over and over like a mantra? Or don’t we sometimes hear “the science speaks for itself!”?  If we are willing to capitulate to such propaganda phrases, then maybe we should gather to write an essay entitled, “Gullible’s Travels”!  Wasn’t it Mark Twain who observed back in the 1800s that science is the realm of study where such a small input of facts can yield such a large output of speculations? Let’s think about that!

Remember That There is Only One Race – The Human Race!

All of us human beings are descended from our original parents – Adam & Eve. God Almighty created two genders and only two (male and female) – but only one race! There are many people groups and nationalities – but all of us are related through our original parents! Let us treat one another with kindness and respect!

Remember to Focus on Positive Examples

I want to share with you a copy of my appreciation letter to Franklin Graham.

Dear Franklin,

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for the excellent article, “We Stand on the Gospel!” in the April issue of Decision Magazine.

Many years ago (over 50), I entered a contest by Decision to write an article on the subject, “Why I Believe in God.” Although I didn’t win first prize as I had hoped, I did submit my article to another Christian magazine, Restoration Herald, and they published it first as an article and later as an attractive tract. This launched me into a writing ministry, and I’m thankful for that as well. That same message, “Why I believe in God,” was my first presentation for the “Man and the Christian Worldview Symposium” in Crimea in May of 2001, and later it became chapter 1 in our book Ready to Give an Answer. (I say “our” because my writings would not exist without my wife, Della, and our daughter, Sandy.)

I’m writing not only to commend you for standing strong “like a steer in a blizzard” (a phrase I borrowed from Chuck Swindoll). Also, I hope this encourages you to keep on keeping on patiently standing strong against the blasts of Marxism, secular humanism, LGBTQ agenda, etc. – and I’m praying for you and your team. God’s people have too often been disappointed and discouraged by the compromise and/or fall of prominent Christian leaders.

I also thank you for the tremendous work of Samaritan’s Purse – I’ve personally seen the great outreach to children and families in Ukraine – especially at Christmas.

May the resurrected Lord Jesus be always your joy, your hope, your comfort, your strength and victory!  May you come to know Him deeper, love Him dearer and follow Him nearer!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Respectfully yours & His, Rick

Remember the Principles

  1. One of Sir Isaac Newton’s principles was: “Every action brings an equal and opposite reaction.” There is mounting evidence that there is a strong grass-roots reaction to Marxism in America and the gathering of more and more earnest prayer groups for God’s intervention. Are you earnestly praying?
  2. It appears to be one of Almighty God’s principles to wait until the very last moment – when human beings have already exhausted every possible solution – before He intervenes. That’s when the Creator, Who spoke trillions of stars into existence, and who specializes in the impossible, shows His mighty power!

Remember Who is in Control!

Praise: There is only One Sovereign Ruler – in this country; in this world; in the entire universe – and no one can dethrone Him. Remember also that His throne is NOT a duplex!

From Our Mailbox

Della and I agree that Ken Morris should be given the honorary title, “Barnabas,” because he is certainly a “son of encouragement”! Here are a couple of his recent letters to us:      

“It was indeed a joy and a blessing to receive the CDs yesterday – including the replacement for the faulty one – I really thank you for your kindness in sending any sermon recordings. Enclosed please find a check to help at least some for the cost of them and to send them. Thank you. And how much I look forward to the monthly newsletters – I always appreciate your thoughts concerning the troubling state of our nation. But in the face of all the wickedness and rebellion against – and outright hatred for – the Lord God and His Beloved Son Jesus, how comforting – how reassuring – to know that although such rebellion breaks the heart of my Dear Lord – yet He is still very much in control. He is still King over all kings – and all presidents – and Lord over all lords – and all political parties. May He be glorified – may He find us as His people to be faithful – and may the Name and the Person of Jesus Christ be lifted up.

Thank you again for the testimony books – a lady to whom I have given one has commented repeatedly what a blessing it is to her – and I have certainly agreed – as it is a blessing to me as well. May my Lord Jesus continue to bless you and Della as you serve Him. –  Ken”

“As I have been progressing through your book of your and Della’s testimonies, I am in awe of two realities – the first being the lifetime of faithfulness exhibited by the two of you, faithfulness to my Blessed Lord Jesus and the second being amazement at how my Lord has used your faithfulness to impact lives and to grow His Kingdom literally throughout the world. May He continue to bless you – to use you – to strengthen you – to provide for you – as you serve Him. Thank you for your kindness extended even to me. – Ken Morris”

Potential Plan for Processing Prayer

Situation                                                        God’s Answer

The request is wrong.                                                          No!

 The timing is wrong.                                                          Slow!

  The heart is wrong.                                                           Grow!

All of the above are right.                                                    Go!

Prayer Requests

  1. At BBC Conference on May 13, Della lost her balance when stepping up on a curb and fell hard on the asphalt. X-rays have shown no broken or fractured bones, but she has had almost constant pain, in spite of massage therapy and multiple chiropractic treatments. Much of the time I even need to help her walk around the house. Please pray for God’s amazing healing. (She may have torn muscles or tendons to cause such pain.)
  2. Please continue earnestly praying for vast spiritual awakening in Ukraine and America.
  3. Praise God for all He is doing behind the scenes in both countries and around the world, in the midst of all the crises and turmoil.
  4. Please pray fervently for God to expose the evil of “critical race theory” – and all the other Marxist tactics they are using to try to gain total control.

Praise Report from Volodya & Maryana

“Greetings in the precious name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, 

We are so happy to share the blessings that our church is experiencing now. Last Sunday 3 people joined our church and shared their desire to be members and to serve the Lord with us. They are a couple from Kharkov and another lady, who is displaced from Donetsk.  The preparation for the baptism is being planned for four young men, who will be baptized in August, God willing.  We are encouraged to see God’s work in their lives and the changes that God makes in them. All of them have found jobs and have been serving at the local church.

A special joy for us is that we started the street evangelism and can share the Gospel with non-believers.  Praise God the prison ministry is also going after a long Covid bans. Vova (Volodya) goes there every Saturday and preaches to the group of 10 people.  Our hearts are thankful for all these opportunities to serve our Lord, and we want to be faithful in all He gives us. We are grateful for your contribution in the ministry as well. 

May God bless you and your family. 

In Christ, Volodya and Maryana Vakula

********************

I recently read the following verses in Jude during my morning devotions – and I started thinking about that “great joy”.  Since I also love music and songs, it brought to my mind “What A Day That Will Be”.  It is my hope that these words will bring joy to your hearts, as they did to me!  

“And now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into His glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.  All glory to Him, who alone is God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Yes, glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to Him, in the beginning, now, and forevermore.  Amen.”  Jude 24-25 (NLT).

“There’ll be no sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, No more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there, And forever I will be with the One who died for me,

What a day, glorious day that will be!

“What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the Promised Land,

What a day, glorious day that will be!”

–  (Words & Music by Jim Hill)

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