After the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (SELCU) held its convention January 8-9 and I visitedNikolayev, I went south to the Crimean Peninsula, preaching in Armyansk on Saturday (a new mission start) and in the Black Sea resort town of Yalta on Sunday.
Monday we took a long train trip northward to Dnepropetrovsk to visit extensively with LCC Missionary Aleksey Navrotskiy. On Tuesday I lectured about 50 students at the “Alpha and Omega Student Society” about hearing God’s call to leadership and fulltime service in the ministry. Wednesday I preached a Christmas season message (here in eastern Europe it’s still Christmas) on a Dnepropetrovsk television station and also for an evening service at the new Lutheran congregation served by Missionary Navrotskiy.
Thursday I went to the town of Zariya and was given a formal ceremonial Ukrainian greeting by two girls in the school auditorium, dressed in folk costumes, presenting me with the traditional welcoming gift of a round loaf of bread topped with salt. We then proceeded to a private home in Zariya for an evening Bible class, which was held by candlelight because hydro went out! Two rooms in the home were jammed full of listeners.
Thursday midnight Pastor Navrotskiy, seminarian Oleg Schewtschenko and I boarded a night train with sleeping compartments and rode eight hours, arriving in Kiev by breakfast. We left Kiev very early—5:30 a.m.—Saturday for our return flights to Frankfurt, Toronto and Winnipeg.
I will look forward to reporting on everything in detail in The Canadian Lutheran soon. This has been a fruitful trip. It educated me well in the details of our mission enterprises in Ukraine, and helps me understand how we can help these treasured ministry partners.
President Robert Bugbee