Enlarge My Coast
Slavic Baptist Institute
We want to update you on the ministry in Ukraine. Most of you are well aware of the turmoil that has taken place in Ukraine since last November. Most of the conflict has taken place in Eastern Ukraine and of course Crimea. The Slavic Baptist Institute is located in Western Ukraine where the situation is more peaceful, though in February and May things were very unsettled and travel for our students was very difficult, dangerous and expensive. We were also encouraged by several of the pastors for us to not travel to Ukraine at that time and many of our students live in Eastern Ukraine, so we were concerned for their safety in travel. The Lord willing we will have our August session. Brother Thomas and Brother Lendermon will be teaching. We have no idea how many students will attend this session, but we trust the Lord will send many new ones in spite of the chaos and turmoil in this wonderful land.
While penning this newsletter we see the Russian Bear starting to growl as it did in "COLD WAR I". It seems we are now entering "COLD WAR II" and very inhumane that a country would shoot down a passenger plane with 298 people aboard!! Russia has had its Czars, Lenin, Stalin, and now Putin. The mayor in Kremenchug has been killed, and an attempt was made on the life of the mayor of Lviv which is in the Western side of Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine is spreading and becoming far more dangerous. The conflict continues to spread with over 1,100 killed since April. Over 200,000 have fled their homes in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine seeking for areas of refuge. We need to pray for Ukraine! We need you to pray for Grace Baptist Church (location of SBI) of Khmelnytsky. The church was broken into and much damage done. This included my office which had many items that were taken or destroyed. Any offerings to defray the expense of replacement for the church or office would be a blessing.
The church has been very generous to let us operate the institute at Grace Baptist and it would be wonderful if we could be of some help to them. Continue to pray for the school, our interpreters, the students, the staff, the teachers and kitchen staff.
The Reluctant Missionary
Over the years we have watched those who were called to serve the Lord in some kind of ministry but for some reason refused to be obedient to that Holy and Sacred call. I cannot think of any higher call than to be chosen to serve the King of Kings. That does not mean that you have to be called to preach to be in God's will; however, if one is called to preach we should not flee from that call. This thought brings to my mind one that was called to preach but was reluctant to follow the direction of God for his life.
In the book of Jonah 1:2 we read that he was to ARISE, GO TO NINEVAH, because it was a wicked city. He was commanded by the Lord, and there can be no stronger exhortation than a command by God. To be called to be a truck driver is just as sacred in God's eyes as to be called to preach. I am just saying that if we are called to serve we cannot afford to resist that call to serve God. We read in the book of Jonah that he fled the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:3a, 1:3c, 1:10). What higher calling could we experience than to be called to serve and then to SERVE! I cannot think of a greater life to live than the life God has for us. Psalm 16:11b states for us "...in thy presence is fullness of joy". God said, "go to Nineveh because of their wickedness", but Jonah "fled the presence of the Lord." There is great joy in serving Christ but to refuse that privilege is to miss those delights that come with serving Him and to suffer the anguish and consequences that come by not being willing to yield to His Presence. God's Word tells us that there is FULLNESS OF JOY in His PRESENCE!
Because Jonah refused to "ARISE, go to Nineveh", he was cast overboard from the ship. To be thrown into the sea would be a time of great fear; however, to be swallowed by "a great fish" would be a second great fear. Unbelievably there was to be a third fear. That would be to spend three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. It is recorded this way in Jonah 2:5-6, "The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottom of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God." Imagine what it must be like to spend three days and nights in the belly of a fish. It is possible to run from God though that seems to be very foolish. No matter how fast you run God will beat you to the finish line every time.
To be called by God to serve Him is something that could only be a dream in my mind. How could sinners like us be chosen by our Heavenly Father and then be so brazen that we would refuse to follow His leadership for our lives? It is not always easy to follow someone's direction that may be contrary to our personal desires; however, I would rather obey the commands of our Lord than spend days and nights in the belly of a fish. Imagine the opposite joy that would flood our lives when seeing an entire city turn to God in repentance in comparison to the agony of three days in a great fish.
I will confess that saying yes to the bidding of the Lord for 55 years in ministry has not always been easy; however, it has been fruitful, joyful and blessed. Some say, "there are so many problems in the ministry". That is true but not a reason to resist His call but rather why we should answer His call to serve the King of Kings. Let me encourage you to be affirmative rather than negative in our reply to the beckoning of the Lord.