Ministry Updates We shared in our last post that New Horizons L’viv was moving to a new building. We had outgrown the apartment where we previously met and had been holding two Sunday services for several months when our landlord gave us notice that he would no longer be renting the place out. Praise the Lord for providing our new church home, which has much more space and more rooms for Sunday school, youth group, and our cafe, where we serve coffee and snacks. We prayed that no one would “get lost” in the change of address, and from the very first week, we were wall to wall with people! We even began to wonder how long it would be before we need to have two services in this location, as well! Many people are now traveling for the summer, and students have returned home for their break, so it will be interesting to see how well we fit come fall. We are praying about how God might want to grow the cafe ministry and how He might use our church to be a witness to the businesses around the area, especially as a night club has since opened next door to us.
The weekly English club is continuing without a break this summer, and Josh has scheduled a number of fun events that allow the students to practice their conversational English, as well as simply “hang out” and have some fun. They have learned how to swing dance and how to play ultimate Frisbee. He is also beginning to raise topics that deal with apologetics, theology, science, and worldviews, which make for interesting conversations and, he hopes, challenge people to consider what they believe.
Nicole now serves as the worship leader and oversees the church’s worship ministry as a whole. In addition to leading the Sunday worship services, she has been working to develop some policies and clear vision for the ministry of the worship team. She is addressing questions such as clearly defined responsibilities of team members, training of musicians, adding of new members, and developing unity and spiritual accountability for the ministry. Our church is blessed to have many new people interested in getting involved in worship. Josh continues to work with Galya on running the sound ministry. He was involved in planning the setup/placement of the sound system in our new building and has since been working out bugs so that the system contributes to a worshipful environment for the congregation. He and Galya are also working to define the vision and goals of that ministry. Josh is also responsible for the “words ministry”, those individuals who run the lyrics on the screens during worship services so that people can sing along. He introduced a new program for that purpose, and the team of volunteers have been busily inputting our songs into that program. Nicole has been meeting with more and more girls from the church for discipleship, and she is blessed by the relationships that are being built during those times. She prays that God uses her to have purposeful, challenging, and encouraging conversations with the girls, but she also sees how God uses each of them to grow her, as well.
We love spending time with people and try to have someone over, whether from the church or not, as often as possible. As in the States, there are cultural norms here about marriage, parenting and family life that do not coincide with the Bible’s teachings on these matters. We pray that God would use our family, mistakes and faults included, as an example to others in these areas, even as we learn from our own failings. We see that part of discipleship is simply living life around others, so that’s what we try to do! We were also given the opportunity to go through pre-marital counseling with sweet friends in the church, and we look forward to seeing them married soon! In May we went with a large group from New Horizons to the annual Ukraine Calvary Chapel National Conference in Kyiv. It was a sweet time of fellowship, prayer, worship and being in the Word. For Nicole, it was also an amazing blessing to see friends from the church in Dnipropetrovsk, where she lived and served for several years in high school and after Bible College.
Josh continues to work for Healthiest Employers/Springbuck, via the Internet, and his position is changing and growing as the company grows and continually develops a larger clientele. He appreciates the opportunity to continue working in that environment and recently celebrated his one year mark with the company.
Josh has been taking Ukrainian lessons for about one month now, and I (Nicole) see him diligently pouring over his homework everywhere-at home, on the bus, you name it. Nicole is trying to teach herself, as the language has so many similarities to Russian, which she already speaks. She’s found a good program online to use…now if she could only figure out the best time to do it! She decided first thing in the morning would be the best use of her time, but unfortunately, Nora seems to think that the earlier Mama wakes up, the earlier she MUST want Nora to wake up!!! Nora consistently uses her Ukrainian words with people who only speak to her in Ukrainian and with kids she meets at the park, but we want to increase her exposure as much as possible. She’s the only kid in her Sunday school room most weeks, so we’re considering putting her in dance or tumbling lessons. We’re hoping they would give her the opportunity to make friends, learn Ukrainian, and have fun dancing (which she LOVES) all at the same time. Nora is doing extremely well overall. Now that summer is here, she has been much healthier, thankfully! She is quite the character, with every bit as much “silly” in her as her Papa. She is also very stubborn and has a strong will already (Nicole is SURE that didn’t come from her!). We pray God gives us wisdom as we raise her so that He can use all the strengths of her personality to be a blessing to others and glorify Him. Nora jabbers on and on, most of which is still unrecognizable to us, but she seems to add so many new words every day. We’re both a little jealous when she repeats even Ukrainian words with seemingly no trouble after hearing them just once. She still loves to be outside, and she’s learning shapes, numbers, colors, letters, and animal sounds. She’s an avid reader already, and she also likes to help Mama hang laundry and cook.
Praises and Prayers Thank you for continuing to pray with us! Praise God for…
- Continued growth of the church, both in numbers and spiritually
- Providing for our family’s needs
- Relationships we are building here
- Opportunities for discipleship and for growth in those people
- The many volunteers in every church ministry
- Nora’s health
Please pray for…
- Each of us to learn the Ukrainian language
- Salvation for some friends here who don’t know the Lord
- Continued ideas for English club for Josh and open hearts in that ministry
- Wisdom for Nicole as she leads the worship ministry
- Nicole’s health, as she is having some ongoing problems, and her emotions, as this has been a difficult situation for her
- The war with Russia to end; for salvation of the troops, comfort to those who have lost loved ones, and hope for the nation overall
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” –Philippians 1:3-5