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Sardines Never Had It So Good!

To tell you how attracted some of our students are to our ministry, I want to give you a snapshot of one of our discipleship course in the town of Pervamiesk, which is a town of about 50,000 people in the Kharkov region. The church is comprised of 80 Christians and our discipleship course has attracted 30 of those same people – almost half the church.

They are so zealous to learn more about Jesus that they packed into a room tighter than sardines so they could take our course. When we began the course there was only room available for us to teach and it was a room comfortable for only five or six people. But because these Christians deeply wanted to learn they endured the discomfort of stuffing 30 people into this small room. There was so little room for all of them to fit that not even one more person could participate even if they stood up! Before each class period they would pray and sing several songs to the Lord with robust energy and joy.

I have included a picture of this group so you can see how tight the seating arrangements were. However, do not fear. They have all survived and moved to a much larger room that has now become available.

Vitalik and Ruslana Say Big Thank You

As many of you know from my email prayer letter in September, Vitalk and Ruslana lost their baby boy at delivery because the doctor was unable to perform a simple C-section. Ruslana is the daughter of one of our partnering pastors and she is married to a non-Christian who is close to becoming a Christian (This is very common in Ukraine since they have been without Christ for 80 years until recent years).

This couple is very poor and has been unable to pay for the funeral costs associated with their child’s death. However, I made an appeal to some of our sponsors and you came through! By the generous donations of several individuals we were able to raise over $500 for this couple.

I asked Ruslana and Vitalik to meet me after their thanksgiving service one Sunday in October. After the service we went into a side room of the church and presented a love-gift to the couple from all the Christians who donated to them. After reading off the names of every person that donated, we told them how much Jesus loves them and that we hoped that this small gift would help them in some small way. Ruslana’s eyes became very tearful.

The result is that they were blessed in the midst of their grief. Now her husband has been coming to the church every Sunday since we told him about Jesus’ love through your sacrificial giving. Vitalik is not a Christian yet, but through your giving, he is closer to Jesus than ever before. I have attached a picture of Ruslana that was taken before her pregnancy so you can see her photo. Here is a small note from Ruslana and Vitalik to those who blessed them:

“We thank God for His kindness and love to our family and for those people which He motivated to bless our family. When we are reading the names of those who helped us, we pray for you and hope God blesses you. We never imagined that such a blessing was awaiting us. This money will help us to have a better hospital experience during some future pregnancy. My husband and I believe we are in God’s hands and everything He is doing is for our good. We pray for you, we thank you and hope that God’s blessing will be upon your houses and families as He meets all of your needs.” – Ruslana & Vitalik

2005 is already looking to be our best year yet. We are now helping short-term missionaries who are preparing to come to Ukraine next Summer. As it looks now, God is drawing several teams of people. Early indications show a growing interest to work with orphans with one of the orphanages that we have a relationship with in Kharkov. We are excited to see how God will bless the work through these teams. Please pray for God’s blessing on this new aspect of our ministry.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Ron Putnam

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