Saturday, October 5, 2019

Good News! Good News!

Great things are happening in Kremenchuk! Nine months ago, we began our Church plant here in Kremenchuk. Over that 9 months the Church is growing. We have had 5 baptisms! We have found a place for our worship and English School. Our first worship service in the new building was in mid-September and now we have just finished our first week of our Family English School which we began on October 2nd.

In our Family English School, we have conducted 12 classes over 4 days with 51 people coming to these classes! That’s 51 MORE people than we would have been able to teach the gospel to if it wasn’t for holding our family English School! More than one half of these attending are adults! We have had a wonderful fun time teaching English AND the Bible in every class! God is so good and blessed us so abundantly. We are just getting started!!

Most everyone in our congregation has helped in someway in the establishing and running of the church and school! We have such a great family atmosphere! This has been a very successful group effort. I’m so thankful to have Olya and Yulya assisting in teaching the younger classes at the school and translating for me when I need it!

Some prayer requests: Our sister Inna’s sister has a very bad health issues with cancer. We need to raise more support as our success and outreach grows. We expected growth but with growth comes unexpected expenses. Our brother Sasha R. has had some real struggles with his health and his mother recently passed away.

Thank you for your love and participation in the work of the Lord here in Kremenchuk.

In Christian love,

Doug Berry

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Where We Are & Where We Are Going

We have been blessed by so many in the States and in Ukraine to help the work of the Lord here in Kremenchuk move forward! God be praised! We want to take a quick look at where we have come from to where we are. Then we will look at where we will go with the Lord’s help and those that work with us and support us in this work.

Phase 1: Establish and plant a new church of Christ in Kremenchuk. This has been clearly and successfully begun! Over the last few weeks, even with summer vacations, we have averaged 14. This last Sunday we had 15, the week before 17 – and this is with several out of town. Our contribution has been growing and steady as well. This shows a growth and maturity of the local congregation.

We have been to two Bible Camps this summer with great results and blessings. We have had 5 baptisms in the month of August. Other Bible studies are ongoing with other people as well. A final note is that we have had an online fund raiser to help Inna, the Christian mother of 5 teenager Orphans raise the money she needs to fix her roof. We raised over $1,200.00 in under 3 days for needs for the home.

Phase 2: Find and hire a native Ukrainian preacher to work with us. Artur Litvinenko joined us in the work on June 3rd. Over the last 2 ½ months we are becoming more aware of what a jewel of a Brother in Christ we have! He handles ½ of the preaching and Bible Classes we teach along with working with the youth.

Phase 3: the establishment of a church building to also be used as an English Bible School. We have found a building that we think will fit our needs very well! This is more than what we have budgeted but we do believe that God will provide through the generous support from our Christian family of the Church in the USA. I’ll put the budget plans shortly in an email to everyone on my email list, but not here in the blog. If you want more information about these financial plans and budgets, please let me know.

There are 3 very successful English Bible Schools being run in Ukraine right now by 3 different churches of Christ. In September, myself and 2 others are going to visit 2 of these schools to see what they are doing so we can incorporate their successes into what we want to do here in Kremenchuk.

Friday, August 9, 2019

What Do You Do When You Meet an Atheist?

I’m getting to know a young man through English classes. We started talking about people having different values and I found out he was an atheist. I’m not really surprised because a lot of younger people in Ukraine have come to this same conclusion because of so many reasons. Reasons like evil and pain in the world. Reasons like so many different and confusing religions including so many different Christian types of churches.

So what do you do? I’m definitely not sure of all the answers and I haven’t gotten very far as of yet. I started by getting him to talking about his feelings and values and why he believed what he believed. I didn’t really try to answer all of his objections and reasons for being a atheist. That would have only started an argument. I don’t want to argue, I want to understand so I can find a way to show him the way to Christ. I listened to him and really tried to understand him.

One thing that I did tell him that I think got him to thinking. I told him that a lot of people see atheism as a religion! That really took him back a bit! Then I told him that the early Christians were persecuted by the Greeks and Romans because they had many Gods and Christians had only one God. They said that Christians were atheists because they believed in only one God! Hopefully this will be a place that we can go from here.

When atheists become Christians, they are usually very strong Christians because of the transformation that takes place in their lives. Please pray for my new friend (name omitted for understandable reasons). Please pray for me as I strive to show him the way to Jesus!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Mid Summer’s Night Dream

Most of June was pretty “hot” by Ukraine standards with the temperatures ranging from mid-80s to mid-90’s. When many don’t have air conditioning it is hot. Fortunately, there is an air conditioner in my apartment that works well! Now our temperatures getting back to more normal with low to mid 70s! I like this much better!

 In my last writing I told you about preparing for some street evangelization. Artur, a friend from the Bear Valley Bible Institute, Taras, and our own Sasha took twice to the streets the week of June 17th and handed out a lot of literature and invitations. I wasn’t feeling great, so I directed from home (I’m much better now!). They said that about ½ of the people they reached out to received them well and took literature!

 Early on the morning of July 1st, 15 of us, including 5 small children, left for the Amerikraine Bible Camp about a 4-hour bus ride southeast of Kremenchuk, along the Dnieper River. We arrived at camp 1pm. I was very pleasantly surprised to find it more of a Ukrainian resort than many “camps” I have seen in Ukraine with the facilities being very nice! We had our first meeting and devotional at 4pm with about 350+ mostly Christians from across Ukraine! There were 40+ congregations and 4 countries represented at this camp! It was amazing! One of the things that was most amazing to me was that there were over 30 Christians from the Donetsk region that is now held by the occupying forces backed by Russia! They had to go through a lot to get here and to back but they made the extra effort! They are such great people of faith and fortitude! It was such a great blessing to meet them and get to know some of them!

 The camp gets its name from Americans and Ukrainians working together to make this great family camp work! Jeff Abrams, a gospel preacher from Alabama has been the moving force behind this camp for 17 years. This is something that the Churches of Christ in Ukraine have needed for a long time – the unity and fellowship for us to know that we are a big family that can love and work together for Christ’s great cause and purpose! It was only about 4 days long, but it was so worth it! I’ll be sharing some pictures with you here in this post. You can also see many more pictures by going to my Facebook page and checking them out there.

 Artur will be taking 6 teenagers with him to another Bible Camp in western Ukraine in the Carpathian Mountains. They will leave by train on Sunday afternoon, July 21st and return on July 31st! None of the teens that are going have yet to be baptized into Christ, so pray that this will be a very good learning and growing experience for them.

 Now that we are back, we are moving forward with evangelism which centers on outreach through street evangelism and English Clubs and Schools. More to come on the English School as time goes on. Let it be known that the Church in Kremenchuk is moving forward in a very positive way!

They were all laughing at a skit that Yulya, Olya, Sasha and I put on for the talent night called, "The Bula, Bula King!"

This is a picture taken on Tuesday, with everyone there in their camp t-shirts!

Artur, Marina and other singing a hymn that one of them wrote to the tune of the Ukrainian national anthem!
From a recent Sunday morning worship service in my apartment.

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!”