(reprinted from the newsletter from Jay Don and Mary Lee Rogers, director of the Ukrainian Bible Institute)
Greetings from Ukraine,
What a WILD and WONDERFUL week we have just completed!! God is doing amazing things in Kiev for UBI and we are so very thankful for that.
August 1st we began our 16th year in Ukraine with UBI and what a beginning we had. Natasha had been writing us before we left Canada that we were going to have at least 10 new students which was wonderful. With the 12 we had that would about put us to our max, considering our building space and funds for scholarships is now so limited. But~~~ when we arrived back to Kiev, she told us the number was up to 12 and we thought whoa, that is probably more than we can handle. Well, opening day we had 5 more wanting to come so now we have an enrollment of 29 with one more coming first of September giving us a total of 30 students!!!! We are literally crammed in like sardines and if you don’t get to chapel early you stand or sit in the hall!!! Great problems to have but a little overwhelming on how to handle them all. We have 16 men and 14 ladies. With our ladies growing from 1 to 14 our ladies classes are now back in action even if we did have to push one of the men’s classes to meet in our staff’s office!
Saturday, August 8th Dave Phillips and Gabe Fisher arrived to teach for our first week. Dave taught on “God’s People”, his speciality, and Gabe who is our “professional” Greek teacher is teaching Greek. Due to a slight mistake in scheduleing Gabe had to start his Greek class early but he will stay for 2 more weeks to finish it. Thank you, Gabe!! I had them both for dinner on the day they arrived and then they both “crashed” for some much needed rest.
Sunday our little church was just overflowing.
When I walked into the worship they were singing “There is Power in the Blood” and a warm feeling just came over me as I thought I am home!!! Gabe and Dave joined us for worship. We had tons of refugees and many of those who started coming in the spring are still coming. Dave was so excited about the wonderful job Natasha is doing in organizing all of the refugee help he decide he wants to start a similar program in Memphis. He just saw it as such a great open door. As each refugee waits his or her turn to come in and receive their needs our students, graduates and staff talk to them about God and where their spiritual life is. It is so exciting to see all this evangelism going on plus knowing you are helping so many with physical needs that to some is a matter of life or death. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS that make this important outreach possible.
Monday, August 10th we had our opening chapel. The excitement at the school was just elecriticifying. With the students, new and old, staff, visitors and teachers we had over 65 trying to fit into a room that packed maybe holds 50. Sasha Maluga gave the opening talk and did a great job. Jay Don then introduced the staff and went over the normal “stuff” for what the students can expect to happen during the school term. Afterwards we had a really sweet thing done for the students. “Care Packets” were presented to each student from the Germantown Church where Dave preaches. Also a dear friend of ours in Vancouver, Wa. had visited with us about wanting to do something unusual but useful for our students. After doing some brainstorming with him he decided to buy each student a Metro card to help them travel without using part of their small scholarship. Man did the students cheer when these cards were given out. What a great idea!!!! Thank you!!! Things like this mean so much to the students who have so little and really give up so much to be at UBI for 2 years. In the past the students have been presented hand made quilts, back packs filled with useful things for personal evangelism and T-shirts, all of which just overwhelms them. They just can’t believe that people so far away actually care about them.
Jay Don, Natasha and I stayed until after 6 that day trying to find all of these students housing and support and tying up some loose ends for the beginning of school. We were EXHAUSTED!!
Later in the week I had Sasha, Natasha, Dave and Gabe for dinner to assess the weeks activities. We all felt the new school year was off to a good start and that all the students seem to be good ones.
This past Sunday we again had a great crowd at our little church with many refugees coming. One thrilling thing for us was that the couple we had met back in the spring whose house had been bombed and lost everything the had, have continued to come. They even told us the week before they were going to bring their kids and grandkids so we could meet them. We didn’t know if they would show up but they did, all 6 of them and it was just a joy to meet all of them. For some reason I feel a very strong connection with this woman and want her and her family to become Christians so badly. It just filled my heart with joy to see how far they have already come from the first Sunday she came in February and could do nothing but cry. Please pray for Irina and her family. God is good and He promises that if you are seeking you will find.
This Monday Jay Don and I both started teaching. He is teaching “Church History” and I am teaching “Growing Spiritually” to the ladies. We had so many ladies~~~~ 3 have to share one desk and extra chairs have to be brought in!! I got to have one of the 2 class rooms since my class was bigger than one of the men’s classes. The men had to move to the staff office for an hour!!! I am so excited to have the ladies classes going again. I have missed them so much and am so eager to learn all about these women and form a relationship with them. It feels a bit strange to see so many new faces but then everything here in Kiev is such a change from Donetsk. I was telling Jay Don last night, “How in the world am I going to have them all for lunch with so many of them?? I only have 12 china plates!!!HA! My head was already spinning and he said, “Just take them out for lunch.” I said, “Oh, no I already told them part of ladies class is to come to my apartment for lunch!!!
We send each of you who support this work so generously huge hugs and thank yous. We will all never know the amount of good being done by your giving.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord,
Jay Don and Mary Lee
P.S. If you or your congregation would like to take on the support of a student ($250 per month), please let us know as we could use all the help we can get with the huge enrollment we now have. You can donate for UBI here.