Kiev and expansion

Since November 2014, I have been able to make three separate ministry trips to Kiev, Ukraine, by the grace of God and the faithful support of a small team of folks. I am so grateful for that team of supporters!  The opportunity to build relationships and share with friends at the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS)New Life Church KievRecOn Media School and Music in World Cultures has been a blessing. I am also so grateful for my ongoing friendship with IMG_3704Anatole Glukhovski, founder of UETS and Lausanne Regional Director for Eurasia, whose invitation to come and teach in 2012 opened the doors to all that God has been doing now.

The last year

The chance to bring greetings and sing at the Mission Ukraine conference last November was nothing compared to getting to see the heart and passion of the church leaders in that nation to stand for Jesus no matter what may come. At that point, I also was able to meet with several leaders and do research for what became the MUSIC IN WORSHIP conference this past March, when we saw many more than we anticipated come to both build their musical skills in worship service, but also to understand the essentials of Biblical worship from a theological, historical and cultural basis. As a result of that, my trip this October/November was to teach the first of two intensives a year on Essentials of Christian Worship at UETS as we look to help shape their Music Ministry and Theology program. As a lecturer there, I also took part in evaluating the students’ musical juries, and spent quality time with the rest of the faculty. We also laid expansion plans for the follow-up conference for this coming spring, when I will also teach the second part of my course with the seminary students. An unexpected blessing was opportunities with Vitaly Bolgar and the work he is doing with Baptist churches and worship leaders in Kiev, and teaching/training in the former Soviet republic of Georgia (not Atlanta!).

Here’s a link to a report sent by UETS on my time there.  I’m glad they found it valuable.  You can get a feel of this whole past trip in the pictures  below…check this out!

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(By the way, you can find the translation of that sign at the end of this post!)

New chapter

Having finished my Masters’ degree at Institute for Worship Studies, it seems this is the start of something new that will take and build on those studies and my experience. The key word that keeps coming up is expand. In a season when so many of my peers are able to back off a bit, this opportunity continues to grow.

This Scripture comes to mind:

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.  (Isaiah 54:2)

Expand…

  • Expanded teaching at UETS with Marina Yarmolenko and her staff
  • An expanded seminar in the spring
    • a full teaching and leading team to be recruited
    • possible outreach
    • major public worship event
    • national impact
  • Expanded options alongside Vitaly Bolgar (Music in World Cultures)
    • Baptist churches
    • working in central Asian republics (Georgia)
  • An expanded role in coming alongside UETS in Kiev
    • advice and input to the music ministry department
    • teaching and developing courses and curriculum
    • assisting in helping equip churches and pastors in this area

All of this and more calls for an expanded need for regular financial support.

More than just paying for flights, but having an expanded team of partners who will stand with us in making this possible in prayer, input and finance. More than just meeting expenses, but providing a base of support that will allow us to focus on our ministry and not worry about finance. That may mean more opportunity for work here to supply income, but will definitely mean more missionary support on an on-going basis.

Pray.  The next weeks and months will involve communicating this need, seeing who God is raising up to stand with us and how we uncover those partnerships. I would covet your prayer for wisdom for Judie and me.

Give.  Our direct expenses for the last trip were met well, but missed income was not included. Add to that the unexpected purchase of a new phone to take the place of the one stolen, and you’ll know that additional support is needed. I’ll be communicating in more detail shortly, but in the meantime you can give support or find additional information here.

Give input.  I’d love to hear anything you sense the Lord saying as you pray, or other information you may have that you think would be helpful.

There is more coming, and we need to be ready to step out and take it on, and stretch our tent out wide to receive all that is coming.  Pray for us as we seek to clear out and make room for what seems to be on the way!

(Oh, yes! The sign at the end of the slideshow is for a burger joint that is called LUCKY LUCIANO. That is what the sign says transliterated from the English! )

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