Sunday, March 16, 2008

Conferences in the Villages

Last weekend we had 2 marriage conferences in the villages of Vinytsia and Zhitomar, both went really well, the room was packed and the people were extremely attentive. The Ukraine conference has 4 sessions: Message 1 - Five Threats to Oneness, Message 2 - Resolving Conflict in Marriage, Message 3 - The Gospel Presentation, Message 4 - Romance in Marriage.

During the conference the couples also do various projects together including writing a love letter to one another. This is powerful in Ukraine because it is a culture in which emotion is seldom shown, particularly by men. In both cities the men seemed uncomfortable at the beginning but as time went by seemed more softened towards their wives, the wives were beaming by the end of the conference. We noticed that many of the older men were especially appreciative by the end of the conference toward the speakers saying how important this message was to Ukraine right now. We were also very encouraged by the number of young newly married couples who seemed so excited. It is very exciting seeing how open these people are to the message of the Gospel and to God's plan for the family. In a country with a divorce rate of almost 70% that is only 2% evangelical christian, we are seeing alot of fruit in just 6 months.

Probably the biggest joy was working with the volunteer team in each city. These couples did alot of work to get the conference to their cities and even provided music, food and fireworks!
It was cool (classnee in russian!) to see how different the conferences were because of the different personalities of the volunteers. They really owned the ministry and felt that it was their people they were bringing the gospel and Biblical principles for marriage. This is what we love to see because these are the people who invite the conference attendees into their homes and churches after the conference and disciple them when we are gone back to Kiev. The conference gives them about 300 contacts, pastors here are thrilled to get these contacts and are very supportive of the conference so far. We are praying that those who responded to the gospel would grow in faith and that those who were equipped would disciple others, specifically we would like you to pray that many of these conference attendees would respond when we contact them in the future to take part in home Bible studies and help plan for the conference to come back to their area next year. Glory to God, great things He has done and may the name of Jesus Christ be worshipped all over these villages!

Also be praying for the youth of Ukraine as Josh
McDowell ministry will be here in May, pray for a great attendance and for many teenagers to respond to the Gospel. Mark is helping to set that up along with youth pastors all over Ukraine.
We miss home so much, but time is passing quickly as we stay so busy in ministry! We will be visiting in August so we are excited to see you all!