It is an amazing thing to see God’s people and God’s work on display in a different country. Kyle McNay and I arrived in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday afternoon. We were picked up by Velaro and Galina, two faculty members from the Obedience of Christ Bible College. They drove us three hours north-east to the city of Korosten. Sunday morning I had the privilege of preaching at Grace Church in Korosten and got to meet many brothers and sisters in Christ. The Eastern Orthodox Church is very prominent in Ukraine, and the Sunday in which I preached corresponded to what the Protestant Christians call, “the Easter for the dead.” In the Orthodox tradition, Easter does not end with Easter Sunday. A whole week after Easter people gather in cemeteries where their loved ones are buried, bringing Easter food and drinks. Some food is eaten on the graves in the cemetery, and some food is left there as a symbolic offer to the dead (cakes and eggs). Pastor Paul, the pastor of Grace Church, brought us to the cemetery and we walked through and observed thousands of Ukrainians celebrating their dead ancestors in the graveyard.
Not only were there Orthodox Christians celebrating the dead, but there were also many Gypsies who traveled many miles to come to the cemetery on this sacred day in order to steal the food that was left on the graves for the dead. The entire celebration was unlike anything I’ve ever seen or experienced.
We are two days into the Prophets class and have worked through an overview of the major prophets. I am teaching through a translator who has been wonderful. Her name is Galina and has been a great help for us in teaching the students and answering their questions. I have been very impressed with the students here and thier knowledge and love of God’s word.
Kyle McNay has been teaching church history from the Reformation to the present time. He has worked through the life and theology of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin thus far. He will continue the course and cover the English Reformation, John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and the progression of church history through our present day.
Ukrainian food is delicious. They have soup every day for lunch. They eat a lot of pork, potatoes, cabbage, chicken, and beets. I have enjoyed every meal thus far. However, I am looking forward to drinking coffee in the states again soon (instant coffee is just not the same).
Church, School, and Orphanage
The ministry taking place here in Korosten through Grace Church is impressive. They have established their church as a ministry hub within the region. They have over 200 people attend worship each week, and they have a Wednesday night and Saturday night service for the church and the youth. They started the college about 14 years ago to educated men and women for the ministry. Many of the students continue their training at the seminary in Kiev. The students travel from all over the region and stay at the school for a week and receive six hours of lectures each day. Grace Church also owns two houses located on their property, which operate as an orphanage. The who stay in the orphanage are kids who are placed here by the government for their safety. The kids are being raised by Christian orphan parents, and are involved in the church each week. This is just scratching the surface of what God is doing through Grace Church in Korosten.
I am so thankful to be here.