Monday, September 10, 2007

The Lord's Day in Ukraine

Yesterday was our first Sunday service in Ukraine. Since we don't have a car yet we attended services at a Ukrainian Baptist church here in Bucha. The church was beautiful, very simple with pretty new wood benches, all wood floors and alot of glass. The only decoration was a big cross on the wall behind the pulpit. I was thinking how nice a small wedding would be there because it is such a small area to decorate. One pastor preached who was a seminary student, the Senior pastor jokingly said that the student's wife was armenian and he was ukrainian, they both spoke french but he was going to preach in Russian. That's Kiev for you, very international. Anyway he preached on the Prodigal son and a young girl sat behind us and whispered the English translation in our ear.

Next the Senior pastor dedicated the newly finished basement for the use of Sunday School. They called all the teachers and children forward (the children had sat through the first worship time and sermon) and prayed for them. The Sunday School teachers were beaming with joy and looked at the children so lovingly, Just like in America many of them were young mothers and teenaged girls. I could tell that they were all so excited to be having a Sunday School and took the job very seriously. The pastor gave them a charge much like our church in America charges parents at a baby dedication. It was clear that these women felt a huge burden for the future of their church in their teaching on Sunday morning, as well they should!

Then the children dismissed to Sunday School, Josh was the only one brave enough to go to Sunday School that day, (surprise, surprise) and he had his very own translator. He loved it and was excited to find out that next week there would be a Bible quiz on the books of the Bible which he feels sure that he will win. (Lord help this cocky child even language barriers do not stop his desire to conquer the world) After the children left we had our second sermon given by the Senior pastor, his text was the entire book of Esther. The translator was exhausted when that was over! The biggest miracle was that Evan our 3 year old sat through both sermons, I guess the Russian speaking and singing was a little intimidating for him and he wasn't his normal rambunctious self. The preaching was simple but true and we really enjoyed being with these Ukrainian believers. They listened so intently to the sermons and so many seemed as if they were hearing these common Biblical stories for the first time. They looked amazed at the audacity of Haman and very excited when Mordecai was honored!

One thing is for sure being with the Lord's people made us grateful to be here in this country full of new believers, but it made us miss the comfort of our home Church where everything is challenging but is in English!!! Oh well, Language school begins in 2 weeks so we will at least begin understanding a little more every week. Spencer is actually learning alot in school so he is teaching us informally. He still loves school, last friday he and some friends hung out together after school all day, running around the city then attending a youth group which meets on friday night. So Missionary Kids have fun too!

Mark has been working on his first conference in October, so he has been on the Metro alot going to meetings in downtown Kiev. The Metro is always an adventure, one of our friends got his billfold stolen with $300 in it last week, so pray for Mark as he travels. It seems safe but you can't get your guard down too much. Mark has also met many pastors through the people who own this house we are living in, so pray he can cultivate those relationships.

Continue to pray for us as we visit churches that we would discern where God wants to plant our family with the local church here in Ukraine. We love and miss you all. God bless your ministries at home! We love you !!!

4 comments:

Hill family said...

Hello, Claxtons! It was so good to read all of your posts on the blog! Sounds like things are going really well. We sure do miss you. Jill, I miss seeing you before church and chatting about all of our sweet kids!:)

We leave this coming Monday for Durham to get Wesley settled in. Thank-goodness for modern technology! It makes it a little easier, doesn't it? You can read about his year at www.wesleyhill.tumblr.com.

Keep up the posts--we love reading them!

Praying for you,
Suzanne (for the Hills)

Sarah Ray said...

So good to hear how the Lord is blessing your time! We've been getting updates in Care Group too, but love hearing from you all first hand! Praying for you all and your ministry!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a snap shot of your first worship experience in Ukraine. It's encouraging to know that your family is making a quick adjustment to a new home. I can't wait to come visit!

God's blessings,

James Henrich

James1twelvesoldier said...

Mark & Jill,

I am glad to hear that you all are getting settled in. We pray for you all here around the dinner table and talk about you all often. Tammy and I were talking about you guys last night as the two of us were coming home after being out together. I have linked your blog to my blog site so anyone visiting mine can visit yours. We love you guys and miss you all.

Brett