Continuing in Ministry
L’viv is a college town, and our church, New Horizons, is made up largely of students. As summer ends and fall semester starts, our church slowly grows back to its “normal” size, although that “normal” seems to be getting larger all the time! You may remember that we moved buildings about a year ago to accommodate the growing Body – well, here we are again, bursting at the seems and moving to two services at the beginning of October! We’re excited about the growth and challenged at the same time – having two services requires a great deal more out of all those who serve.
Pictures from a church picnic and baptism this spring…
We continue to work on training for both leadership and volunteers in the church. Leaders meet once a month to discuss how each ministry and the church as a whole are doing, as well as to train and plan for the future. We also have regular meetings for all the people who volunteer in the church ministries, including cafe, ushers and greeters, worship, children’s ministry, English club and others.
We shared in our last newsletter that we would have home fellowships in the spring. Four separate groups met throughout the city and studied the book, How People Change, by Paul Tripp. This was a great time of fellowship and discipleship for those who attended, as well as those who taught. We took a break over the summer and will start home fellowships again this fall.
We are also preparing a new discipleship ministry, which follows the principle of multiplication of disciples. Beginning with the church leaders, we will each prayerfully choose and meet regularly with three people over the course of a year, training them to then also choose and disciple others. Our prayer is that this will impact many lives in the church in a deep way and lead to spiritual growth and maturity in the Body.
Josh’s primary ministries continue to be English club and sound. He is now partnering with another missionary couple to lead the weekly English club. They have changed the approach somewhat of that ministry, gearing it towards developing young professionals and teaching them principles like work ethic, personal productivity, and leadership. They also continue to have various fun events, like English movie night and swing dancing. It’s been exciting to see more people coming and relationships developing. Some of the students have also started coming to church on Sunday mornings!
Josh and a young woman, Galya, remain our two primary sound technicians. In addition to running sound for worship and sermons, they are now looking into options to live stream services. Josh has turned over the “words” ministry to a young Ukrainian man – Arthur is extremely faithful and does a great job of serving the body by making it easier for them to sing along during times of worship.
Nicole continues to serve as overseer of the worship ministry, and her role there has changed somewhat over the past year and a half. She led Sunday services for roughly a year, and her last Sunday leading was a few days before the birth of our son in early June. When we first moved here, Nicole helped to develop some policies and guidelines for the worship team, as well as to focus on team building. Now that we have a toddler and new baby at home, we feel that God has called Nicole to step back from physically leading worship, but she continues to serve in a spiritual and administrative capacity. She holds regular devotional/training times with the team and organizes meetings and times of fellowship to encourage unity. She works closely with her brother, Josh, who has taken on the responsibility of leading worship services and developing the musical skills of the team.
Nicole still meets with young women from the church in a discipleship capacity, and she hopes to do more of that in the near future.
We’re excited to introduce our son, Titus Ryan, who was born here in L’viv on June 3, 2016! He made a rushed appearance, just two and a half hours from the first contraction, and we were thankful that he held out until we made it to the hospital! Praise the Lord for a smooth delivery and that Titus was healthy. Thank you all for your prayers!
Although he was born a skinny little guy, he has quickly gained weight and already changed so much. He is now three months old, and it’s interesting to note the personality differences between him and Nora even at this early age. While Nora was a Papa’s girl from the start, Titus is definitely stuck on his Mama! He is a much more sensitive baby than she was and wants attention and to be held most of the time. We pray that his sensitivity will mean a heart that is soft toward the Lord and ready to follow after Him at an early age.
Nora turned three in August and looks much more like a little girl than a toddler now. She has done an amazing job moving into the role of older sister. Children are not allowed to visit in the delivery hospital, so she literally ran to hold Titus when he was first released home. She has become quite the little “mamichka” to him. They love to smile and coo at each other, and it’s shocked us to see how natural it seems to her to care for him – cleaning up little messes, giving him the pacifier or coming to talk with him when he cries.
We’ve asked a young woman from the church to come play with Nora once or twice a week, speaking to her only in Ukrainian. We hope this will help Nora learn the language more quickly, as well as give her some special attention that isn’t shared with Titus.
Josh continues to work via Internet as Director of Client Enablement for an Indiana based company called Springbuk. It’s a privilege that he is able to continue working – he’s always had a strong passion for work ethic and the importance of providing for his family, and we feel it’s a calling that he can both work and minister. We pray that God uses this to connect him with others in the church who are also called to have jobs in the secular world.
Nicole is busy being wife and mama, especially since Titus requires a lot of attention. She is constantly realizing that being a missionary wife/mama is night and day different than being a single missionary. Even the simplest parenting and household tasks take a lot more time here than in America. Because of this, she hopes to be more and more involved in women’s discipleship, having girls and young women over to the house.
Nicole has had several ongoing health problems since Titus’ birth. It seems that some of these are finally starting to clear up, but we appreciate your prayers as she continues to heal.
Thank you to those who prayed for renters in our Indiana house! The Lord provided renters in late spring, and it was a huge relief and blessing! We continue to look for and pray about a new house to rent here in L’viv. As we mentioned before, our landlord’s dogs share outdoor space with us now, and unfortunately, they have turned out to be biters. We’re praying for a house with a yard where the kids can play and we can have people over for bonfires and cookouts. We are also looking into buying a car and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and provision in that area.
Praises and Prayers
Thank you for partnering with us in prayer! Please join us in praising God for:
- New people attending church
- Growth in the English club
- Opportunities for the Body to grow in leadership and volunteering
- Titus’ healthy birth
- Renters in our Indiana house
Pray with us for:
- More people to be saved through English club and other ministries
- More people to get involved in ministry as the needs grow with two services starting
- The worship team to be knit together in unity and grow in worship leading
- Nicole’s health
- Open doors and provision for a new house and a car here, in God’s time
May the Lord richly bless you, encourage you and strengthen you!
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Timothy 2:1-2