Winter has shown its face in Kyiv. But as I write, the snow has almost fully melted, and we are actually enjoying moderate weather (around 39°F/3°C) and possible signs of an early spring! However, please remember to keep Ukrainians in your prayers because the Flu has become an epidemic this season with hundreds of people who have already died this year alone, especially in the rougher, war-torn parts of Eastern Ukraine. Thankfully our family has managed to stay relatively healthy this winter!
At the end of January, I was blessed to be able to go to a seminar in Armenia, where Patricia Picavea, the Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries Superintendent of the South America Region (SDMI Super. of SAM for those who like short forms) was able to share with us how she was able to develop the discipleship ministries in Central and South America and how we can do the same on our Field. In the coming years, this will be an emphasis of mine, as I dream to see a stronger emphasis in discipleship (Sunday schools, Bible studies, small groups, etc.) throughout all of our churches in the CIS. Please pray that our churches will develop a deeper passion to intentionally grow into Christ-like disciples!
With the encouragement of some friends, I have also started another small group focused on study Koine Greek - the original language of the New Testament. I have always been an advocate that Christians, particularly Protestants, should study the original languages of the Bible. It has been quite helpful in my sermon preparation and personal spiritual growth. I hope that as I teach, I can communicate the passion that I have for Koine Greek and share some personal highlights that I have gained through studying the language.
Finally, we have recently just registered to give birth in a Maternity Hospital. Although the baby is not due until the beginning of March, we are almost completely ready! (Last night Hannah joyfully helped Ree pack her "overnight" bag, for when Ree is in Labor and Hannah will need to stay with a friend.) Thank you for your continual prayers in this matter. Ree and our son are still healthy and "normal" and we do not foresee any complications in delivery. Ree's mother, Marla will fly in at the end of February to be with us during delivery and first weeks of the baby. Hopefully by the next newsletter a child will be born!
We are scheduled for a short home assignment this spring from April 26 through June 30. We will begin our time at the Intermountain District Assembly where Joseph has been invited to be ordained this year. Then we have plans to criss-cross the country, although we will end up back in the Boise area to fly back out to Ukraine. If you would like more details about our plans and to see if we might be able to schedule a service, or maybe a meal or coffee with you as we pass through, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). While we cannot promise that every connection will work out, we would love to connect with as many people as we can.