Over this past month God has opened up an awesome, new ministry/language learning opportunity for me. I call it “Sports Ministry”.
It started with some neighbor kids and I going to play Volleyball, Frisbee, Etc. at a nearby field. At first there were just a few of us, but then more people came and invited their friends.
It has been a perfect opportunity to share Jesus with them. God has continued to bring more and more kids each time. Yesterday we had 18!
Here are some pictures:
This is Oleksii.
He is a guy I met about two weeks ago while out talking with people, and sharing Jesus. It was awesome to be able to sit down with him and talk about Jesus!
I told him about how Jesus shed His blood on the cross for us, in order to pay for our sins and the sins of the whole world.
And how Jesus endured all the suffering and wrath of God in our place. So that we wouldn’t have to pay for our own sins, and spend eternity in Hell. But now we can have eternal life forever with Him!
I really think he understood what I was saying. Pray that he would believe on Jesus.
I had the cool opportunity a few weeks back, to go on an overnight hiking trip with three Ukrainian couples.
We went and tent camped overnight at some big rock formations in the Carpathian Mountains called “Skeli Dovbusha”.
We got rained on pretty good, but it was all worth it by the time we got to the top, and saw the rocks and view! Also, it was a great language learning opportunity to be around some Ukrainians for an extended amount of time.
We all met at a friend’s house in a nearby village.
While we were waiting for the rest of our group to arrive, I was able to do some weed eating for them. It felt so fulfilling to do some real physical work again. I had a blast
Pictures and projects from June
Things you can pray for
Pray that the Holy Spirit would be working through me, and in the people that I can share Jesus with.
Pray for Oleksii. I really think he understood what I was saying. Pray that he would believe on Jesus.
Pray for the sports ministry kids, and that God would continue to accomplish His work through it.
Each month, I have been able to understand/speak more and more Ukrainian. I am always looking for ways to be with Ukrainians.
The other day, I met a whole group of new kids that all live right around my apartment building square. We had bunches of fun playing tag, soccer, and other games.
It is great Ukrainian practice, and my favorite way to learn!
Here is my friend Nazar. We have spent and lot of time together running, hiking, and talking. He has been a great blessing to me for language practice, and is a great friend.
A couple weeks ago, I had a Ukrainian guy over to my apartment for supper. His name in English is Andrew. I met him a few months back while out talking to people. We had a great time playing Chess (He won three games in a row, so that tells you how good I am at Chess), talking, and eating.
At the end, my roommate translated for me, and I was able to share the whole Gospel with him! Please pray for the seed that was planted in his heart, that it would fall on good ground and produce fruit
Picnics, Villages, and Friends
Most of my weekends this month were spent with a very nice Ukrainian family: The Cheparas. Serhii, Natalia, and their daughter Francishka.
Serhii is part of the ETO team here. He takes care of mailing all the Bible correspondence courses to the students.
The office from where they mail all the letters is here in my apartment. So I see Serhii at least once a week, and this month a lot more than that!
Serhii and Natalia also own a little house in a different village. I’ve been there 4-5 times this month. We had picnics/workdays there with different friends on different days.
I have had a blast each time, and enjoy being able to work with my hands again!
Here are some pictures of some different times I was there:
This past Saturday, Serhii and I went out to the village house and built some more shelves for the cellar. After we finished, we drove and looked at a nearby old, rundown Roman Catholic church.
We have been able to start back the Youth Meetings this month. For the past three weeks we have been going through a film series about the life of Jesus called The Chosen.
My goal in doing this is so that I can be able connect/relate with to them better, so that we can learn more about Jesus together, and so that Jesus might come alive to them. Please pray that their eyes and hearts would be opened up and that they would see who Jesus is for them.
I had someone ask me if I have the ability to receive recurring/monthly donations. If there was a way for them to set up a recurring or monthly donation.
The answer is: Yes I do.
Before, I didn’t have a way where somebody could set up a recurring donation, but now I do.
Here is how you can make a one time, recurring, or monthly donation:
After a cold and rainy winter, Spring is finally here. The weather has been beautiful. The sun has been shining a lot more, and everything is starting to bloom.
Here are some pictures:
Getting in the Language
Before the quarantine really locked down, I was going to basketball court near where I live and playing basketball with my friends there. It was a great way for me to be able to meet new people, be in the language, and stay active. I haven’t been able to play since it has been banned, but I am looking forward to when it will reopen.
This is another place that I really enjoyed going to and practicing Ukrainian while buying groceries. It is the Market, or as they call it here, a “the Bazaar”. Unfortunately, it is closed right now too, and won’t open until the quarantine is lifted. As of right now the quarantine is set to end on May 11th, if it doesn’t get extended again.
While I was out giving out tracts to people and trying to practice Ukrainian, I met this guy named Yaroslav. After introducing ourselves and talking for a little while, I learned that he too was a believer in Jesus Christ! It turns out that he had gotten saved a couple years back while attending a Campus Crusade for Christ Bible study that was taking place on his college campus. He is now serving and ministering with a local church here in Lviv.
It was really encouraging to be able to meet and talk with him! Plus we were able to talk for a long while, which was great Ukrainian practice for me!
Practicing Ukrainian and handing out tracts
Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on trying to find people who are willing to talk with me. As well as handing out tracts to people. It has been good. God has blessed me to be able to meet new people, and start/develop relationships with them.
This is a place called the Ska. There are some nice trails in the woods, clearings, and a place for people to exercise/walk their dogs. I have been able to hand out a good many tracts here, and also at a soccer field that is located just over the top of the trees in the picture above.
Here are some of my friends near where I live. I had a good time practicing Ukrainian with them and was able to give each of them a Bible comic book called Good&Evil.
In Ukraine, they celebrate Easter one week later than we do in the States. Ukrainians don’t call it Easter, they call it Великдень (velykden’) which means “Big Day” in Ukrainian. Since we aren’t allowed to meet in groups of over 10 right now, those of us who play music for church services went and recorded some Easter songs. That way the rest of the people at the church could listen to them.
For the past few weeks, I have been a part of a Saturday morning Bible Study/Prayer meeting with a group of men who are all actively evangelizing and sharing the Gospel right where they live. It has been very encouraging and motivating to study/learn more about our great Saviour Jesus, and how to share Him with people. https://www.onwardforchrist.org/
Things you can pray for!
1. Pray for more understanding, learning, and speaking ability in Ukrainian.
2. Pray for people who I have given tracts to, that God would work in their lives and open their eyes.
3. Pray for people that I have met out and about, that God would bless and further those relationships.
Psalm 118:24 (KJV) This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Lviv, Ukraine March 27, 2020
Hello Friends, Families, and Brothers/Sisters in Christ!
March has been a great month here in Ukraine despite everything that has been going on lately with the Coronavirus. I praise the Lord that I am healthy, and rejoice in the salvation, hope, and life that He has given me. This month has been filled with new people, news, and praises; so let’s jump right in…
Praise the Lord! I now have my Residency Permit so I can stay for a year. All I have to do is just renew it each year (without having to get a new Visa)!
Language and New People
Language has been going steadily. I am understanding people better, and can speak simple sentences, but I still have a long ways to go and a lot to learn.
One of my focuses is trying to get out and be around Ukrainians more. Volleyball is a great way for me to meet new people, but most importantly right now, to be where I can hear Ukrainian constantly spoken. Also, I love getting out and playing sports.
Up until about a week ago I was also setting up my net at this spot near my apartment a couple times a week and playing volleyball with some of my local friends and anyone else who wants to join in. But due to stricter quarantine rules and the seriousness of Covid-19 in Ukraine right now, I have stopped the volleyball for right now.
This is Victor. I was out in Lviv Center a couple weeks ago practicing my Ukrainian with people and giving out Gospel tracts and Picture Bibles in Ukrainian.
Before I had gone out I had been praying, asking God that He would give me divine appointments, and lead me to people who were open to the Gospel. I had asked some friends back home to pray as I was heading out, so they were praying as well.
So I had been out for around 1 1/2 hrs and was about to start heading back, when I saw Victor sitting on a bench. I went up, introduced myself, and started talking with him. He invited me to sit next to him, so I did, and he told me about himself and his family in Ukrainian.
It turned out that he wasn’t even from Lviv, but a different city about 60 miles away. He just came to Lviv because he had the day off and it was a pretty day. We talked for about 20 mins, then as we were ending the conversation I gave him one of the picture/comic Bibles that I had with me telling him that I wanted to give it to him for free.
Because in the same way, Jesus came and died in our place so that he could offer eternal life to us for free, and all He wants us to do is BELIEVE on Him and ACCEPT the great gift that He is holding out to us. He was really appreciative and asked if he could buy me a coffee.
As we were walking to the coffee shop, he told me in English, ( Turns out he knew English fluently as well as Ukrainian,Russian, and Polish) ” You know, I had a feeling that someone was going to to come and talk to me today.” I thought to myself ” Wow! God has worked this all out for me to meet him today and share the Gospel with him!”
Anyways, we spent almost 1 1/2 hours in the coffee house and I was able to share the entire Gospel to him from beginning to end. He was locked in. I’ve never had someone listen as intently and focused as he was. After explaining the Gospel to him in many different ways, using many stories and parallels from the Old Testament then connecting them with Jesus, I asked him ” Do you understand this?” He looked me straight in the eye and said “Everything”.
He had to go after that because he had a train to catch, but before he left we exchanged contact info. I just praise God for providing such an amazing truly divine appointment! Please pray for Victor that if he didn’t believe the Gospel then, that he would believe it.
Out and About in Lviv
March Prayer Letter
Here is my March prayer letter. It is a PDF so you can print it out.
Hebrews 13:20-21 (KJV) Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Lviv, Ukraine March 2, 2020
February has been a very busy and productive month! I want to first, praise the Lord for His protection, provision, and his grace. I want to glorify and thank Him for sending Jesus to be the sacrifice and payment for my sins. I now am a son of God, dead to the bondage of sin, and made a new, living creature in Christ!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
I have God’s promise eternal life; living forever and ever in His glory, presence, and righteousness! I am so thankful that I can serve God and bring Him glory.
For the first 5 weeks we had the youth meetings at my apartment, but two weeks ago we were able to move the meetings to the church! It works out so much better because it is a more central location, and there’s more room.
Carpathian Mountain Outreach 2020 is just around the corner. This is an excellent missions trip for any young man (17 and up) or Father/son to get some hands-on experience in evangelism. I went last year and highly recommend it. You will learn different evangelism techniques that you can take back and start doing in your own town/city. If you would like to learn more about CMO click the link below!
On February 18th Joshua Steele and I went to Krakow, Poland to get a visa for me. Getting a Missionary/Religious work visa is one of the very important steps to obtaining the Residency Permit.
Praise the Lord, everything went very smoothly and they gave me the visa with no issues!
Here are some pictures of the trip…..
It was my first time ever traveling on an overnight train. It felt like the shortest 7hr trip I have ever taken, because I was able to sleep a lot!
Going to Poland we had an interesting experience. As you can see, there are three beds per room. Josh and I had the lower two bunks and a Ukrainian teenage had the top one. Well, it turns out that he was smuggling cigarettes into Poland to resale there ( You can buy cigarettes cheaper in Ukraine and sale them for more in Poland). So all during the night he kept moving the cigarettes out of his suitcase, on to his bed, then under the sink, so when the border patrol came in the cigarettes weren’t in his suitcase.
The train station in Poland is located under this big mall called the “Galeria”. That is where we arrived in. Our train got in at 7:00am and our appointment at the Ukrainian Consulate wasn’t until 1:oopm, so we toured Krakow the whole morning! Krakow is a very beautiful, old European city. It was very cool.
This building is located just outside and in front of the main gates of the city. It’s purpose was for if enemy invaders tried to get to the main gate of the city, they had to get by this defense barricade first. The defenders inside the barricade could fire at the enemy from any angle.
Krakow has one of Europe’s largest open city squares.
Out and about in Lviv
This month I have started focusing on going out and being around Ukrainians. Playing soccer with them, talking to them, and just being in the language. I have met a lot of new boys and it has really helped with language learning.
Monthly Prayer Letter
Below is my February Prayer Letter. It is a PDF so you can print it out.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Wow! It seems like just a few days ago I sent out an update, and it has been three weeks. I have been super busy and time has flown by!
God has been good to me. I am safe, over being sick, and finally settled into life here in Ukraine! Well, I have a lot of news so let’s jump right in ….. 👇
First, here are a couple pictures of my room in my apartment
…. And here is my roomate Daniel
This is Daniel’s Family ( and one of their friends). They had me over for Christmas Eve, which in Ukraine is January 6th. I had a great time and was able to experience some real Ukrainian food and culture.
Next, the weekend of January 11th I helped out with a English camp. here are some pictures of that….
On Jan 18th we had our first Church Youth/Teen Meeting at my apartment. It went really well! We had games, singing, Bible teaching, and of course, tea and snacks (which is a “must” in Ukrainian culture). We are starting out going through the book of John.
We’ve had two meetings thus far. Here are pictures from both weeks.
Also, I have started language lessons. I have three 1 1/2 lessons per week.
A couple pictures from my neighborhood…
Here are some thing that you can be praying for:
Getting my Residency Permit – This is a little bit of a complicated process so you can pray that all the steps would go smoothly and that there would be no issues.
The weekly Youth Meetings – Please pray that God would bless and do a great work through this ministry. These kids go to church and know all about God, but some of them have never met and believed on the Savior, Jesus Christ. Pray that God would open their eyes to their need for what Jesus has to offer to them: that is forgiveness for their sins and impute to them His Righteousness.
Language Learning – Please pray that God would bless me as I learn Ukrainian and that He would help me to understand and to speak it.
Thank you all so much for your prayers, support and encouragement! May God be greatly glorified!
Dear Friends, Families, brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you all so much for your prayers, encouragement, and support.
God has indeed provided and paved the way for me coming to Ukraine!
I left for Ukraine January 2nd from Greenville, SC.
God blessed my travel tremendously! Everything went very smoothly. No missed flights, no delays, no lost baggage.
I flew from Greenville, to Washington DC, from Washington to Munich, GER, and from Munich to Lviv.
During my layover in Munich I found a really neat place to be able to rest for awhile with a departure screen right there so I didn’t have to walk to find out what gate my flight was going out of!
Got a chance to play some guitar during my 3hr layover in Munich.
The Last leg of the flight from Munich to Lviv went smoothly. I landed in Lviv at 1:30pm on Jan 3rd.
I made it through customs without an issue and was met at the airport by Joshua Steele, one of the missionaries that I will be working with here in Lviv.
It was such a joy to go to church on Sunday and feel the unification of the Holy Spirit. To be able to worship and praise the Lord together even though we are speaking different languages!
Revelation 5:9 (KJV) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy bloodout of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Quite a few of the people knew some English though, and they were excited to talk to me.
Here are some things that you can be praying for:
Upcoming English Camp Jan 9th – 12th
Youth/Teen meetings that I will be leading every Saturday starting on the 18th
For me to be able to learn the language as fast as possible
Once again, thank you everyone so very much for all your prayers! God answered all the prayers for safety of travel and in getting here. Our God answers the prayers of His children and He shows himself mighty on their behalf! He receives glory in doing that!
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. 2Ch 16:9a (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (KJV)
Dear Friends and Family!
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! As many of you probably already know, I will be leaving for Ukraine on January 2nd to do missions work in the city of Lviv. I will be sending out updates every month so that you can know about everything that is going on in my life while I am in Ukraine!