March 2, 2022

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, as we took time to pray for the people of Ukraine, I introduced you to Pastor Alex Tarasov and his family; his wife Anna, their son Sviatoslav (16 yrs) and Maria (14 yrs). Alex is the Pastor of Vertical Bible Church in Kyiv. The church is part of the Great Commission Collective of churches that we are part of as well.

I wanted to pass along to you this week the update from Alex so you can continue to pray specifically for him, for his family and for their church.

Dear brothers and sisters! May God continue to protect you, give you strength and wisdom, inspire you to show love and mercy, support each other in these difficult times of war.

Almost all members of the Bible Vertical Church Kyiv remain in Ukraine. Only 3 families left to go abroad.

Some of our church members remain in Kyiv or its suburbs. Like many other citizens, our sister Natalia and her two children spent several nights in bomb shelters, hiding from the shelling with ballistic missiles. In such circumstances, we thank God that we still have houses where we can return for at least few hours a day. That they don’t look like our sister Olena’s colleague’s house just two blocks from her apartment.Other members of the church, at God’s guidance, left Kyiv for other regions of Ukraine.

For example, several families from Vynogradar district woke up at 6 am with an unexpected intention to leave right now. And just in a few hours there were direct fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian armies on their streets
We thank God for our lives and for the fact that some members of the church still have the money to help others pay for their transfer from Kyiv to safer regions or give money for food.

We are grateful that the churches from Western Ukraine allow some of our families to sleep not in the basements under fire. Although sirens warning of a possible air raid are heard in dozens of cities across Ukraine.

We pray and cry for our relatives in different cities of Ukraine. Russian “Grads” are aimed at Kherson, the Russian military is taking hostages from civilians. In this city parents of our sister Olga live.

It is difficult for us to describe all the pain we experience. But we know that God’s heart aches much more. We pray for peace. And for the opportunity to serve even during the war.

We are preparing to serve those who have lost their jobs and will be soon left without funds for basic necessities. We are preparing to serve more actively to the refugees.

We try to testify more actively to unbelievers. Many of our unbelieving colleagues and friends began to pray God every night asking to wake up in the morning. Pray that they will know God and get not just a peaceful life, but the eternal life with God.

Pray with us for Ukraine. We believe in God’s miracles. We believe that God’s glory and His mercy are already being manifested in Ukraine and will be manifested in a way clear to the whole world!

I hope you will continue to pray for Alex and for all who are facing real hardship and war. The Great Commission Collective has set up a Ukraine Relief Fund to provide money that will go to Alex his ongoing work in Kyiv. If you’d like to give, you can click here and give online. Use the drop-down menu next to the donation amount to specify that you are giving to the Ukraine Emergency Fund.

Finally, as you pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and for all the people who are in harms way, pray your way through Psalm 91, asking God that the words of this Psalm would be a reality for all who are His children, and that those who don’t know Him would come to know Him during this time of hardship and strife.

Psalm 91

[1] He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
[2] I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

[3] For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
[4] He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
[5] You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
[6] nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

[7] A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
[8] You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

[9] Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
[10] no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

[11] For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
[12] On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
[13] You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

[14] “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
[15] When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
[16] With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

landon dowden, guest speaker

As you know, a bunch of us are headed up to Greer’s Ferry this weekend for the Men’s Retreat. Dr. Landon Dowden, the Lead Pastor from Hebron Church in Georgia, will be our speaker. Landon is the author of two commentaries that are part of the Christ Centered Exposition Commentary Series – one on the book of Ezekiel and one on the book of Esther.

Landon has also agreed to preach for our worship service on Sunday before he heads back to Georgia. He will be taking us into Ephesians to talk about how the gospel changes our families. I’m looking forward to having him as our special guest this weekend.

See you in church.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Bob

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