Saturday, June 15, 2019

Summer Has Come on June 1st

Summer arrives early in this part of the world – they don’t go by the solstice but from June 1 to the end of August is summer!

On Monday, June 3rd, Artur Litvinenko arrived to begin his work with us! He stayed with me until Friday as he hunted for an apartment. He found a nice apartment on the 9th floor in a building across the river, about 15 minutes or so from where I live. It will give him another opportunity to reach out to people in another part of the city.

We have ordered extra Bibles and evangelistic materials from EEM for outreach to the city. Artur did this kind of street evangelism often in his work in L’viv before coming here. Artur preached his first full time Sunday here and will preach the next 2 Sundays as I finish up our Bible Class on “God’s plan to save us.” Then we will switch off every 2 weeks between preaching and teaching. We’ve had 16 in attendance the last 2 Sundays.

We began mid-week Bible Class with singing, study and prayer time at 5:30 on Wednesdays. We had 11 our first night out! I was very pleased!

Other activities have been going on for me. On June 1st, I went to the village where our Orphan family live and spent the afternoon and evening with Olya (a Christian sister and her family), Sasha (my translator Brother) and of course the family. It was very nice! One of the things I love about Ukraine, if people can, many times the meal is planned outside and is ALWAYS very good! This was a combination of 2 birthdays and 2 graduations. Another activity just happened yesterday and was the result of another birthday celebration. My next-door neighbors invited me to a village dacha (a 2nd home in the country) to celebrate. We arrived about 2pm and were there until about 9pm. It was very relaxing, great company and a little swimming as their place (actually a fairly rich uncle’s place that they are caretakers for) is next to the Dnieper River.

We will be taking 15 people to an all Ukraine Bible Camp called Amerikraine designed to strengthen Christians.  This will be July 1-5. We all are excited about going! I’ll tell you all about it when we get back!

In Christian love, Doug

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Who Held the Ropes?

by Steve Higginbotham
May 31, 2019
Who was the U.S. President that was shot on March 31, 1981? Surely, most people reading this would be able to correctly respond, "Ronald Reagan." But what if I were to ask for the name of the Washington D.C. police officer who stepped in front of President Reagan and took a bullet that was intended for the President?  Could you tell me his name?  I'm guessing that most people would not be able to recall his name.

This is just one example of countless individuals who have made notable differences in the world, but who have all but been forgotten by history. The Bible records one such example in Acts 9:23-25. The Jews in Damascus were so angry with Paul, they plotted to kill him (Acts 9:23). The Jews had all the exits to the city watched, day and night, to catch Paul. But learning of the plot, some nameless brethren let Paul down through the city wall in a large basket (Acts 9:25). Had these nameless brethren not been willing to hold the ropes for Paul, his ministry may have been snuffed out before it even started.

Then there's your story. You may never be in the limelight. Your name may never become a household name, but you can make an eternal difference in the lives of countless people. You may not be the next "apostle Paul," but you can hold the rope, can't you? May I encourage you to stop focusing on what you can't do and your limitations, and look around you and "grab a rope!"

Monday, May 27, 2019

Keep On Keeping On
Philippians 3:12-15
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Every day is a choice to become more Christ like through the ups and downs of life. Another verse that has stayed in my heart and mind lately is Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Just some notes of some good things that have been going on here.

Ø  Our Sunday Bible Classes and Worship have gone well. We have been encouraged over the last few weeks. We’ve had a low of 8, with an average of 12 and a high this last Sunday with 16! Normally we have had a 25-minute Bible Class followed by our worship. This last Sunday we changed things up a bit with more songs in our worship. Then we had a farewell fellowship our dear Sister Sasha as she and her husband, who won a Green Card, will move to the US on May 31st. Sasha Revakin and I were the only men present, so we took care of everything in the worship.

Ø  I’ve had the opportunity to reach out to our local Teacher’s College (there is another name for the teacher’s college, but I can’t pronounce it!) and they have reached out to me. I’m excited to be involved with them! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to go and speak to an 8th grade and 11th grade English classes. Then on Saturday, I was invited to go to a resort close by with them and taught a couple of English classes of 8th graders. It was fun and a blessing! I believe this is opening great things for the future!

Ø  I’ve had opportunities to make re-acquaintances again with several people that God is already blessing! This too is opening more doors for the future! Along with this, I’ve been having more people over for home cooked meals and this is a lot of fun too. It is joy doing the work of the Lord!

Ø  On June 4th, Artur will arrive in Kremenchuk to begin his ministry here. God has brought us together for His purpose to carry out His work in all we do!

 Thank you for your love and support through thick and thin! It’s like a marriage isn’t it? “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part!”

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


The Kremenchuk church of Christ would like to announce the hiring of Артур Литвиненко or in English Artur Litvinenko to serve as the Ukrainian preacher alongside Doug Berry, Michael Braswell and the Church in the work of the Lord in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Artur will be joining us in Kremenchuk in early June. He is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute in Ukraine and has been working alongside 3 gospel preachers in L’viv, Ukraine this last year. We are excited to have him come and join us in this work!

The young lady in the picture is Artur's Christian girlfriend, Mariana Medvid and she also will be moving to Kremenchuk in the near future.

We are very excited to have them both come and be a part of the Church!

Friday, April 26, 2019

What Do You Do with Disappointment?

Many times, and sometimes with me, disappointment leads to discouragement and discouragement leads to quitting. Are we going to face disappointment in life? Of course! Everyone does! At one point in John 6 Jesus had a large crowd of disciples following Him and they all left except for the 12 and Jesus asked them if they would go too. Peter answered, “Where shall we go? You have the Words of Eternal Life.” What about the Garden and Jesus said, “Let this cup pass from me! But not my will but Yours be done!”

 It’s always good to report successes. I like to tell successes and I’m guessing you like to hear them. We’ve had some successes. 2 Sundays ago, we had 14 in attendance but last Sunday we had 5 – a lot of people gone for various reasons. Our Bible Club’s attendance has been disappointing for me. We’ve now gone through 2 weeks of “starting” our Bible Clubs with very small or no attendance. I’m not exactly sure why but I tend to spend time thinking about it. Even in these situations I have to decide how to respond or react. We’ve had some positives even with this – we’ve had some new people to come! We’ve had 1 good beginners Bible Club after Sunday worship where we had 7 in attendance!

What do I choose? First and foremost, I’ve been praying about all of this and the work here. Please continue to join me in prayer! I don’t have the answers, but God does! I’m striving to look at new ways to meet people and reach out to them. I refuse to go down the negative road!

We’ve had one young preacher come and spend the weekend with us and he did a nice job. Pray for Ivan. This weekend Artur L. and his fiancé Mariana from L’viv comes in today and leave Sunday night. Pray for Artur L. Next weekend we have Artur M. come in from Dnipro. Please pray for Artur M and our decision making about a Ukrainian Preacher to work with us here.

There is a LOT to be encouraged about! Satan will NOT win for “If God for us, who is against us!?” Romans 8:31.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Whit Sasser of Appleton, WI posted this. It spoke strongly to me and I wanted to share it with you.

The Lord has given every man his work. It is his business to do it, and the Devil's business to hinder him, if he can. As sure as God has given you a work to do, Satan will try to hinder you. He may present other things more promising. He may allure you by worldly prospects; he may assault you with slander; torment you with false accusations; set you to work to defend your character; employ pious persons to lie about you. You may have Pilate and Herod, Annas and Caiaphas against you, and Judas standing ready to sell you for 30 pieces of silver.
But, keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the Devil's dog. Do your work. Let liars lie, let the Devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work God has given you.
He has not sent you to make money. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you to work to contradict falsehood which Satan and his servants start to peddle. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself, and not for the Lord.
Keep about your work. Let your aim be steady as a star. Let the world brawl and bubble. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and neglected; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being, until at last you can say, "I have finished the work you gave me to do."   
Author Unknown

Friday, April 5, 2019

One Month Today!

 Yes, I’ve been in Kremenchuk one month today! Sometimes it feels like I never left and other times I realize that this first month has flown by!! Rather than try to tell you lots of events, I thought I would share a day – Wednesday to be exact. My days differ a lot, but this last Wednesday was rather busy!

 A Day in My Life

I started with the normal stuff of cleaning up and eating – can’t leave those out. I’m getting ready to go with Sasha R., he’s my translator and fellow worker here, to reach out to at least 3-4 schools and ask if I can be involved with their English programs and also invite pupils (anyone in school of 1-11 grades is a pupil) to come to my Bible Clubs starting April 13 at my apartment.

After breakfast, I’m printing 12 full page advertisement/invitations to the Bible Clubs. I met Sasha and we went just across the street to School #19 (there are about 35 schools in Kremenchuk). The director (directors have a lot of authority in their individual schools) was not available, so we made an appointment to talk to him on Thursday. We walked about a mile to school #11 (this is the school that I had worked with the most when I was in Kremenchuk before). We were able to meet with the director and she remembered me from when I was here in 2008. She was the new director then at School #11 who had told me that we couldn’t teach Bible in the school anymore. She was very polite to me and asked me if I was angry at her. I told her of course not. She was very kind and encouraging! On the way to see her as we walked through the school, I met Tonya, who had been a 9th grade pupil when I first came to Kremenchuk in the summer of 2000. We had kept in touch on Facebook, but I didn’t know she was now teaching at the school! It was a joy and a surprise to both of us. After talking to the director, I met Natalie an old friend and English teacher at the school. She was a 2nd year teacher when I started there in 2002 and I went to her wedding. What a joyous surprise! Such a joy to renew old acquaintances. 

Then we got on a bus (Marshutka – like a large van bus) and went to the north central part of town to school #27. I had met a few pupils from this school at an English school and I had promised them I would come to their school. The director here was very nice and friendly! She, along with the director of school #11 said that there was nothing they could do about letting me teach at all in their schools unless I got the permission from the Minister of Education in the city.

By now it’s about 10:30am and we are a “short walk” by Sasha’s standards – a long one by me to McDonalds. Sasha was hungry since he hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I took him there and fed him. I had a McFlury! Sasha helped buy time for my phone (another story for another time). We parted ways. He went home and I got on another Marshutka and went to Yulya and Sasha’s house (yes another Sasha!) We had a great home cooked meal and a very nice first Bible Study with Sasha. He’s a very smart man and is also very open.

While at their home, I got a call from Serge and he asked me to teach 2 of his classes in the evening. I agreed. I got home about 2:45pm, took a short nap and then left at 5 to go to Serge’s office and classroom to teach. I had 7 11and 12-year old boys and girls, including a set of twin girls for the first hour which was a lot of fun! I don’t think they had ever met an American before! Then I had an adult class of 8 mature adults wanting to learn English. It was a lot of fun and the class lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was all a blast but by now, around 8pm, I’m hungry and tired. I stopped and ate at a restaurant close by and got home about 9pm. Sleep was very welcome! 

P.S. Sasha R. and I went to the Ministry of Education this morning and he gave us his blessing to do what we had planned to do if the directors of the schools agreed!! Wow, what a great blessing!