Dear Friends and Family,
It’s difficult to summarize the suffering that so many in the east (Donbas) and south (Crimea) of Ukraine have experienced at the hands of terrorist and Russian military over the summer and into the fall. If you read the news, you probably have some sense of it. We know of pastors killed, churches torched, towns flattened by tanks and artillery, entire families displaced, and people from mental institutions freed and issued automatic weapons by terrorists and Russian militia. Two of our chaplaincy graduates were killed in action in the Donbas region over the summer, I was told by a visiting Korean chaplain teaching at KTS last week. Numerous graduates have fled the Donbas war-zone and many students from Crimea find it impossible to come up to KTS for classes.
It is unfair and we wish for revenge. We want to see the Ukrainian government and other nations of the world doing more to resist such blatant and unjust bullying, and illegal annexation. But we also realize that God’s ways are not our ways, and that any revenge we initiate, though perhaps offering temporary relief, pales in comparison to God’s final judgment.
God’s provisions for His Church, even in the midst of tough times, continue to amaze us. We expected low enrollment this fall at KTS. Instead, the Lord brought 20 new students in the master’s in Biblical Counseling program, 10 students in the Talbot master’s program, and over 40 in our bachelors programs! More surprisingly, 9 of the 40 chose the World Missions program. It seems for our students this geo-political situation underscores the relative shortness of time for getting the message to the nations! We are grateful for the moving of the Spirit! How is the Spirit moving in your sphere? We’d love to hear from you and pray with you about it.
Grace and peace,
Rick & Marilyn Perhai
My Peace I Give to You
Jesus gives sustaining peace when war is near
Thanks to your prayers and the gifts of some generous supporters we have the needed funding for Vitaliy our new Assistant Academic Dean for the next 12 months. Vitaliy is working at the seminary 40 hour a week. We meet daily to discuss the history of and administrative policies & procedures at KTS. Please keep Vitaliy and the seminary in your prayers as we navigate these unprecedented days.
The news continues to get worse from eastern Ukraine, with the recent downing of MH17 by pro-Russian terrorists there. Though dismaying, it is not too surprising when we consider the testimony of a Ukrainian nurse from the east who worked at a Mental Institution, but fled to relative safety in western Ukraine. As she watched the TV news portraying the pro-Russian terrorists sporting their AK47s, she noted, "Oh, that man there was a resident at the institution where I worked. And that one. Oh, my. And so was that one!" In other words, when the pro-Russian terrorists took over the regions surrounding Donyetsk and Lughantsk, they carelessly released patients from the psychiatric wards and equipped some of them with automatic weapons. This group has also taken over the Donyetsk Christian University, as their new barracks.
The world and its false prophets cry, "peace, peace" when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14). Jeremiah reminds us that true healing and true peace requires more than words. It requires the hand of God, and submission to His reign. God promised through Isaiah a day when His people will experience His peace and His healing (Isaiah 57:18-19). Believers since the resurrection and ascension of our Lord are the first fruits of that promise (Romans 5:1), which God will see through to perfect consummation (Romans 11:26).
We seek to trust God day by day for our continued presence here. And we thank you for your continued faithful prayers and support. Pray that church leaders would stand firm in the truth of the Gospel and that God would continue to call many to prepare for Gospel ministry even in these extraordinary days. Pray that God would be the Church's front and rear guard. Pray that God would galvanize His Church to desire only that which pleases Him.
Your missionaries in Ukraine,
Rick & Marilyn Perhai
P.S. If you would like to give to fund Ukrainian theological educators for the future, you can send your gift checks by mail to: SEND International PO Box 513 Farmington MI 48332. Please write "Ukrainian Educators: KTS Assistant Academic Dean" on the memo line.
I am sure most of you have heard of the recent tragic events of the Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 ‘shot down’ on Ukraine-Russia border.
It is with great sadness that we listened to these reports. The fighting has escalated in the east and most every family has been touched in some way by this war. In Kiev, it is still relatively peaceful but refugees and orphans continue to flood into Kiev, and some of these people have lost everything. They need help to start over again. They need food, clothes and counseling. Many churches are giving time and money to this expanding need. As you can see ministry continues….
We recently served at a camp ministering to refugees. We brought food and clothes and then prepared supper and cleaned up. Becca and David sang songs, did art projects, and just played with the kids. Please continue to pray for Ukraine and its beloved people. May the gospel of Christ go forth!
Chaos in SE Ukraine
What does the future hold for Ukraine?
On May 12, I sat in our KTS church planting office as the director spoke with a graduate of the program. The graduate, who will remain nameless, lives in southeast Ukraine. He spoke of drunks, drug addicts and other undesirables running around the city with rifles and machine guns threatening peaceful citizens. He told of the pro-Russian groups pushing to outlaw all “sects” (which, for them includes all protestant evangelicals), and starting to implement their new laws prior to their ratification! Our former student spoke of receiving repeated phone calls asking him if he had voted in the referendum to separate from Ukraine. He was directed to vote for the proposal and the callers made it clear that neutrality was not an option: If you are not for us, you are against us.
Many church leaders from this part of Ukraine have not come to KTS this week because they are in fear for the torching of their church buildings. Some pastors have received unveiled threats on their lives from pro-Russian thugs. Ukrainians fear speaking their own language in their own country in the southeast. This is the eastern “freedom” which they are offered.
Please pray for peaceful and effective nation-wide elections for a new president on May 25. Pray that church leaders would stand firm in the truth of the Gospel. Pray for God to put a hedge about His church. Pray for peace in Ukraine and that the country would not fall into civil war. Pray that if some of ours are persecuted or martyred, that it would bear much fruit for the Lord’s name sake.
We have known for years that our time here in Ukraine was limited. We understood that we had a window of opportunity to be catalysts for the change of the spiritual landscape of the Slavic church. But we had no idea that our window of opportunity might end this way, with the re-Russification of southern and eastern Ukraine.
Our hearts break for our dear Ukrainian brothers and sisters, while we trust God will use this all for good.
Your missionaries in Ukraine,
Rick & Marilyn Perhai
P.S. In the midst of these challenges, our new Assistance Academic Dean starts at KTS June 1, and we still need $597/month to pay his salary. You can send your gift checks by mail to: SEND International PO Box 513 Farmington MI 48332. Please write "Ukrainian Educators: KTS Assistant Academic Dean" on the memo line.
As you may recall, we in the Kiev Theological Seminary leadership team has been searching for an assistant academic dean (AAD) for over a year. After much prayer, searching, interviewing and discussion, we believe the Lord has brought forward Vitaliy Maryash as our AAD. Vitaliy is from Ternopil, Ukraine, where he has served for 9 years as an assistant pastor. He has also served with Bible Education by Extension, and taught classes for Ternopil Bible Seminary and Ukrainian Evangelical Seminary in the areas of Old Testament Survey and Apologetics. Vitaliy loves the church and he loves studying and teaching the Word of God. He has completed a course of study from London Theological Seminary and Talbot School of Theology—Kyiv Extension, where he graduated with highest honors. He has been recognized for his academic excellence by “Who’s who Among Student in American Universities & Colleges” in recognition of outstanding merit and accomplishment as a student at Talbot School of Theology.
Vitaliy has been married for three years to Ludmila and is the father of two children, Mariana and Mark. His church and elders give their full approval for the Maryashs to move to Kiev Theological Seminary, knowing that he is called to this kind of ministry. Vitaliy actually prefers teaching to administration (as do I), but is committed to help take KTS to the next level in terms of practical academic training for the church in the Slavic context.
In order to bring Vitaliy and his family to Kiev, we must raise his salary for his term as assistant academic dean. The term will likely be 27 months--starting in June 2014. After he successfully completes this term as AAD, we plan to promote Vitaliy to the role of Academic Dean. KTS is committed to paying his salary after he becomes Academic Dean. The AAD salary is 1000 USD per month. So we are appealing to you for one-time gifts and monthly pledges towards Vitaliy's 27-month salary. Commitments have already been made as follows:
- by KTS to cover his pension fund and office
- by SEND International Ukraine, 200 usd/mo.
- by our supporters previously raised, 200 usd/mo.
So we still require 600 usd/mo. for 27 months. Please, give generously, especially in light of the present geo-political pressure on Ukraine, which underscores the need to move forward with the development and support of national leadership for the evangelical seminaries of Ukraine.
You can send your gift checks by mail to: SEND International PO Box 513 Farmington MI 48332. Please write "Ukrainian Educators: KTS Assistant Academic Dean" on the memo line.
Thank you for your prayers and support. And may the Lord bless His church and give peace!
With gratitude we remain your missionaries in Ukraine,