Traveling, connecting and raising funds – our final months in the U.S.
That pretty much sums up what we’ve been doing the last few months. When traveling in the States, I’ve been able to bring Andrea and the girls along with me to visit supporting churches, talk about what God is doing in Ukraine, and raise additional funds, but I’ve also recently made three trips to Europe. One was with the family for our Europe Area Conference (held every three years), one was for meetings with leaders, and the last was to help lead our annual English Camp.
Here’s a 5-minute video clip of me teaching at camp. In this excerpt I’m starting to make the point that the law is not meant to tell us we can try harder and be perfect, but that we can’t be perfect. We’re hopelessly unable to help ourselves and we need a Savior. Even though it’s English camp, there are some who aren’t fluent in English, so we use interpreters to make sure they don’t miss anything.
Support raising has been very successful. We’ve nearly reached full personal support – only about $200/month left to raise – and we have nearly all the support needed now (both in gifts and pledges) to purchase property for our church plant in north Odessa. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged us with your generous giving! Praise God for always bringing in what we need, when we need it.
7/2/17 update: We’ve reached full support now! Thank you to all who have given so generously!!!
Meanwhile, Andrea continues to plug away at fixing up our home for renters. We’re very thankful to God that He brought good renters for the next four years – a wonderful family that is part of our Presbyterian Church community. It’s sad that once we finally have fixed up our home we have to leave it, but we’re glad to have a trustworthy family taking it over for us!
Heading back to Ukraine
It’s been a wonderful time here in the States – almost too good! It’s going to be difficult leaving family and friends once more, but we’re excited for the road that lies ahead, being able to see our home church in Ukraine again and jump back into ministry. We’ll move out of our home here on July 15th, and once we’ve received our visas and sold our cars we’ll fly back to Ukraine to begin our next four year term. Lord willing, the next time you hear from us we’ll be back in Eastern Europe!
Reaching the next generation for Christ
Many of you have not yet met George Kadyan, but I hope you will one day. He’s the pastor of Covenant of Grace church plant in north Odessa, and the head of our denomination’s church-planting committee. He’s passionate about advancing the church, and he’s also very passionate about raising up new leaders to “take the mantle” and lead churches to the next level.
It’s always been our goal to have churches that proclaim truth about Christ, but also to have churches that are so integral to the community that if they ever closed their doors, the people in that community would truly miss the church’s impact.
George’s vision for his community (about 350,000 people) is to create a community center that would target youth from 8 – 18 and help them in several ways. He wants to help them understand God’s calling for their lives, and help them develop a plan to reach that goal. He and his wife Snezhana envision having weekly seminars from local professionals (doctors, architects, pastors, businessmen, etc.) who can explain what their jobs entail, what is required to do it well, and how to get there, etc. It would be a way to inspire the youth and give them direction. The center would also be available for after-school tutoring, and it’s inevitable that they would counsel the youth – George and his wife are great at listening and counseling.
The underlying foundation is that throughout all of these activities the gospel would be modeled and preached and we’re praying that many of these youth would give their lives to Christ and become the future leaders of the church. Currently we know of no other ministry like this in the area. It’s a big need.
What we need now are funds to remodel our existing property so we can use it for a ministry center, a worship center, and living quarters for the pastor and his family. It looks like it will take close to $60,000 to do this. The repairs will not all happen at once, however. The purchase of the facility probably won’t be official completed until September, so we’ll do any necessary remodeling in stages, and won’t need full funding until all of the plans are in place.
Our biggest goal right now is to raise the remaining funds by the end of the year to begin remodeling. If you would like to be a part of that in any way, we would be very grateful. Once we’re back in Odessa I’ll be able to assess the needs clearly, and have a more precise cost-figure for the work that needs to be done. Please pray for this ministry, and whether God would have you be involved! Let me know if you’re interested in helping us out with this.
Spring 2017 in Review
The last few months have been busy, here are some of the things we’ve been involved with….
If you’re unable to view this slideshow on your viewer, try clicking here instead or on the picture below. If you enlarge the screen and click on “show info,” you’ll see the captions for each picture.
Thank you for your encouragement, support and prayers.
We couldn’t do what we do without you!
Bob, Andrea, Abigail, Emily & Iris Burnham