Of course, nobody has to do anything. But if you are a true blue Christian you will have a genuine heartfelt desire to see Christ glorified in all the earth. Sometimes this desire gets a little distorted or fuzzy by things like Americanized Disney Worldish renditions of Christianity, or say maybe things like postmodern relativity or perhaps a bad batch of Panda Express!
Let’s look at this quickly.
Believe it or not there is not a unanimous consensus at your local evangelical backyard BBQ potluck of what the bottom line mission of the church is. Two friends (whom I’ve never met but are my friends) wrote a book and tackled this question in depth. Save yourself some time in this fast paced iPod and Angry Birds world and behold! …their conclusion:
“What’s our mission, what are we launched out to do? Boy, it just seems like the old traditional answer is the right answer, that [it’s] the Great Commission to make disciples. And it sure seems from Paul’s letters that that’s what he’s interested in, and in the book of Acts, interested in making disciples, which is different than making decisions, building up local churches…
The thing that we are sent into the world to accomplish is to make worshipers who follow the Lord Jesus.”
The fall before last (not a personal sin I fell into, or another primordial Adam and Eve in a parallel dimension of sorts, but the fall season of 2011) during our missions training, we took a great 5 day intensive course on missions called Kairos. This course profoundly awakened me to God’s global focus. I recently encapsulated what we learned in this course in one chunky beefy paragraph!
“We believe Jesus’ Great Commission to His disciples to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations”, is a command given to all who desire to follow Jesus and be His disciple. We believe God is a God on mission and we are to be a people on mission. Just as He sent Jesus, so sends He us. We believe that as Abraham was blessed to be a blessing, so to are we blessed to be a blessing to the world! We believe, since before time began, God has planned that His name should be glorified before all the nations. This is seen numerous times in the Old and New Testament. We believe that Christ’s return is contingent upon all nations having heard the Gospel and that one day every tribe, tongue, language, and nation will worship the Lamb as described in the book of Revelation. We believe according to these passages, and a passage in 2 Peter, that we are able to hasten the coming of the day of the Lord. We believe this is the commission of the entire Christian church, not to be left to a select few. If you believe this as well, would you join us in working in harmony with our prayers, “Maranatha!”, “Come oh Lord!”?
(Mt 28:19, 16:24, Ac 1:8, Gen 12:2, Jn 20:21, Mal 1:11, Hab 2:14, Ps 67, Gen 22:18, Mt 24:14, Rev 5:9, 7:9, 2 Pet 3:12, Mt 6:10, Rom 11:25, 2 Cor 8:2-12, Lk 8:1-3, Ac 18:3-5)
*If anyone has any questions as to whether the verse in 2 Peter literally means we can hasten Jesus coming by taking the Gospel to every nation, I would humbly ask you to read this over:
Currently our main focus of ministry is building up our support base so we are able to continue serving God in Ukraine, and for me to continue learning the Russian language. To fulfill this goal I have been working nights to coincide with US time zones. I am currently available if anyone would like a call or a Skype talk!
Lera will be done with her translation degree in June and she continues to learn new worship songs for Friday night. As well as leading worship, she translates for me. Pray for her voice! :)
Additionally we have a Friday night study at our home, the homeless outreach once a week, and now a new English Club for the orphans at The Way Home. Sergey, the head of The Way Home, did not seem to think the kids would be that interested, but said we could try. However, they loved it! This week they asked us if we could come back more often so they would not have to wait a whole week before we came back. To encourage them to participate, and for more of them to continue coming, we bought a bag full of surprises where they can earn points to purchase prizes by how well they are learning English and how good their attitude is. Today we left them with Gospel’s of John in Russian. We are hoping to be allowed to teach them Bible lessons in the future.
We are also looking into a couple other outreaches as well. My friends in the picture above are all unsaved friends who I spend time with occasionally. I had them over to play cards and this Sunday they will come over to play Settlers of Catan. Please pray for them, Losha, Zhenya, Dima, and Sasha.
We visited the head of another organization called Faith, Hope, and Love who works with HIV infected people and prostitutes in the city. When we explained to her that we were seeking to volunteer because we wanted to work with the homeless, the prostitutes, the addicts, the orphans, etc, because we plan to have a center in the future which serves these people, she began trying to tell us how great their center was and seeing if we had money. However, although they have a faith based name, their work has very little to do with the Gospel at all. After finding out that we wanted to serve freely as missionaries, she didn’t answer our phone calls, although she had told us we could patrol with the people who worked with the prostitutes. (This kind of thing will happen sometimes on the mission field).
She did tell us that 3 years ago there were about 260 girls disappearing from Odessa every year due to trafficking. However, boats were shut down between Odessa and Turkey, and organizations fighting the problem in both countries has supposedly brought this number down to only 10 girls disappearing/year. While this was nice to hear, we will have to investigate this further on our own, as we’ve been told stuff like this before, such as there were no more homeless on the streets, or that there are very few, only to find out there are still very many in need! We will explore other avenues of making some prostitutes our friends.
If you haven’t yet read, our ultimate long term vision is to build an Oasis Center in the city which trains disciples academically, and hands-on-practically, to serve the less fortunate people and the kids in the city at a recreation center/church! We plan to raise about 10 million dollars to get this started in the next five years.
Sasha (in the green shirt) studies at a University which teaches English, and he has asked them for permission for me to teach English Clubs there. This would be a great opportunity to connect with some college aged adults.
What we really need is to raise our support up to our total need so we can afford to rent a room where we can have church meetings and our own English Clubs. Since early Feb God has graciously provided us with 64 out of 100 needed new commitments to send us out with just $15/month! Just 36 to go! At least by what friends have said, the results seem to be looking well, and we have enough to stay in Ukraine! We are now just praying to raise it to our projected goal to cever ministry needs and raise our budget to a little more manageable number.. :)
A complete transparent and detailed financial breakdown can be seen here:
Would you prayerfully consider being one of a hundred to contribute to the spreading of the Gospel in Ukraine? If you would like to, simply print out this form, complete it and pop it in the mail:
The Lord has been doing a great work with the leadership team I was working with before, and things are going unexpectedly well for me with them. I thank God for their fellowship in the Gospel. Lera and I will continue to move in the direction God has paved out for us. We are really praying for a ministry team! If anyone were to move out here to serve alongside us, short or long term, simply to help organize and lead English Clubs and meet with individuals for one on one discipleship, they would be doing very fruitful work towards building God’s Kingdom! Consider joining us! We need help from both qualified servant leaders and deacon missionaries! We can also direct you to some great missionary training with International Messengers!
Just today I got news of a young man at my former Bible College who would like to illustrate a Gospel tract I have written of which a Christian publishing friend in Ukraine is set and ready to publish. Can’t wait!
If you like, you can take a look at a rough draft of this tract/booklet we will soon translate into Russian:
1. Please pray for the fellows named in the picture above!
2. Please pray for enough support to rent a room as a meeting place and for English Club outreach!
3. Please pray for the right ministry team for us.
4. Please pray for my retention of the Russian language (I do not absorb it like I do theology or the Bible but I am trying :))
5. Please pray for the Oasis Center mentioned above!
Thank you so much for taking the time to pray and please do not NOT pray because prayer does make a HUGE difference and that’s why we ask. :)
How can we pray for you?