22 December 2013

MERRY #CHRISTMAS FROM #UKRAINE

Merry Christmas to all our friends out there.


31 October 2013

ARE YOU LEAVING UKRAINE?

The beauty of western Ukraine shines through in this lovely country shot.  From a distance this could be any where in America or even the world.  I look at something like this and I think....why did God send us here?  It's one of those questions that lingers without an answer, but is part of a bigger plan than I can see and it's his plan.  Several people here have asked us lately if we are leaving to go back to America?  This question always surprises me, but gossip tends to fly around at high speed.  Just like the question of why Ukraine, there is no answer as to when we leave here or even "if" we leave.  Family asks this question every time we return home to the states.  Therefore it is something we've thrown around and discussed.  What we have come down to is this.  We don't know.  When God tells us our time is done then we'll know.  And he'll have to make it quite clear.  As far as we are concerned, until we get clear direction, we are here.  We are at His bidding and if he says we go, then we go.  Where?  He'll tell us that as well.  In the meantime, as God brings us to mind please pray for us that we would be faithful in what He has entrusted.  And for safety.  Know that we pray for you too and we so appreciate everyone who helps with ministry here.  God's blessings abundant to you.

28 October 2013

CRAFTING IN UKRAINE ~ ALTERED BOOKS CLASS

 I'm a bit behind in blogging, but this is one of the classes from September.  Crafting are L-R, Lyuda, Ericka, Liza (back right) and Valentina.
 Each Saturday we do a craft that they can include in their altered books.  Here Ericka was feeling the part of Indian princess with her new feathers in her hair.
 We also did "Twinchies."  Twinchies are mini pieces of art on 2x2" pieces of paper.  Perfect for including in a book.


I have to say that I love teaching and have come to just love these girls.  This class is being done in English (not my usual class) and came about as a result of our English camp this past summer.  It really is another form of small group ministry but simply around the form of arts and crafts.  My thanks go out to all who have sent supplies to serve this ministry.  It is a blessing.

24 October 2013

BETHANY CHURCH YOUNG MARRIEDS GROUP

In 1994 we came to Ukraine as missionaries for the Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMMA).  We lived a bit more than three years in the Crimea region of Ukraine in the very south of the country before we realized we needed to be closer to an airport for Jeff's work in other countries.  In 1997 we moved to Bucha, located just outside the capital.  We joined the Bethany Church and this lovely group of young people at that time were all young kids.   It's been our joy to watch them grow up for the last 17 years that we've been in this church.  This was a recent meeting (September) that they do monthly.  Jeff spoke to them that night about conflict, a topic of importance for all people.  As we approach our 20th year (2014) we don't know how long God has planned for us here, but we do know that we are so privileged to be a part of the lives of this group.  This is the future of the church and I know they will make a great future for Bethany Church.

11 October 2013

WILL TIME "BE NO LONGER" IN HEAVEN? By Jeff Franks

I used to think that in heaven we would be "beyond time" because of the wording of one

verse in the KJV "that there should be time no longer" (Rev 10:6). However, many

years ago I heard a sermon based solely on this phrase, wherein the preacher, having

meditated at length, concluded that the absence of time demanded the absence of

everything linear. Since thoughts are linear, so is all communication, and so is all

movement. His heretical conclusion was that all prayer, all songs, all worship, and all

fellowship will end as our souls will know only joy in perfect unity with the Godhead.

Since I knew many depictions of heaven in the Bible where people praise, worship,

communicate, hold their silence for half an hour, etc., I knew he was wrong. I

discovered that the phrase in Rev 10:6 could legitimately be translated "there will be no

more delay" as in the NKJV, the ISV, the ESV, and many other translations.

Surely one day our eyes will be opened to other dimensions of which we know nothing

now except by faith. But faith, like a true portal to the "great beyond", comes by hearing

and hearing by the Word of God, which shows us not only joy and bliss, but also great

activity in praise, worship, feasting, and servanthood all of which is linear in nature.

When Christ appeared to the disciples in his risen body he spoke and ate with them in

the humblest way, giving us joy and hope that heaven will not mean the loss of time

(blending with godhead), but rather the full enjoyment of it as redeemed souls with real

risen bodies.

07 October 2013

DOES BIBLE PROPHECY INCLUDE THE USA? By Jeff Franks

I see the United States today leading the pack in what the Bible allegorically refers to as Babylon,

the center of world trade that according to prophecy falls in one hour. (Rev 18:17)

I am not saying that USA is Babylon, but rather that we exemplify spiritual Babylon by being the

leader in spilling innocent blood through abortion (55 million killed since "Roe vs. Wade"), and by

corrupting the morals of the entire world through our music and movie industry, especially

Hollywood "blockbusters". How are we not like Babylon, "mad upon our idols"? (Jer 50:38)

As "red-blooded American patriots" we become indignant at the anger of militant Islamic fanatics

who cry "death to America!" But we easily forget that just like Babylon we act militarily as the

"hammer of the whole earth" (Jeremiah 50:23) and flaunt our riches and decadence. So how are we

not just like Babylon? Note:

"Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations

have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad." (Jer 51:7)

"O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure

of thy covetousness." (Jer 51:13) Neither ancient Babylon nor modern Babylon can be said to

“dwell upon many waters”. Therefore, this prophecy points to another nation or kingdom, whether

national, multi-national, or trans-national.

Though Islamic hatred of America is Satanic in nature, perhaps we should relate to their cries more

like King David related to Shimei, the man who cursed him when David had abandoned his throne

to rebellious Absolom and was departing Jerusalem in sack cloth and ashes. (2 Sam 16:5-13)

Sadly, I see America's coming judgment as a harbinger of the eventual fuller judgment of Babylon,

for USA's economic empire will likely fall in one hour.

"And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city,

wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is

she made desolate." (Rev 18:19)



If you like what you read here, please leave a comment so we can know whether to do more of these types of postings. 

12 August 2013

MAKING #CARDS IN #UKRAINE




These are some of the girls I've worked with recently.  We have an ongoing art class we've been doing through the summer.  I love seeing how creative they are.  On this particular day we made cards.  We've also made ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and we are now working on altered books.  I love doing this with them.

23 July 2013

FINAL SESSION OF ENGLISH CAMP

 This was the final session of English Camp on Sunday evening in Bucha, Ukraine where parents were invited to see what their children had learned.
 These were the teachers, along with some Ukrainians.  This team came from Texas led by Amy Pannel on the left front row.
 The children did a great job performing their new English songs they learned for their parents.
Jeff Franks and Alexander (Sasha) Kulbich announce the follow up English Club that will be held every Friday afternoon for the summer.

These are two of the three groups receiving their English school certificates.  They were happy.  Please join us in praying for these kids and pray for us as we minister to them.

11 July 2013

ENGLISH CAMP IN UKRAINE







Lots of games, songs and fun at English camp at Bethany Church in Bucha, Ukraine.  We are having a morning session for the little ones and afternoon session for the youth.    We will go through Saturday and the kids will perform a special show for their parents on Sunday afternoon.  Please be in earnest prayer for all of these activities.

10 July 2013

"HAS GOD JUDGED AMERICA?" By Jeff Franks

The United States of America is facing unprecedented crises along many fault lines. 

Economically we are facing the largest national debt in human history.  Politicians on

the left downplay it and those on the right speak words of warning as though pretending

that meaningful action is still possible.  Many Bible scholars however categorize our

debt as already "runaway", beyond our ability to address.  That does not mean God has

judged America, but who can deny the "handwriting on the wall?" 

Politically we have become a surveillance state, wherein every keystroke and every

phone call is being recorded in a huge data base.  Only a small minority of citizens are

unwilling to trade privacy for security, but of these only a tiny percentage have found a

way to live "off the grid", so to speak.  Anyone living in this manner is seen as a wildeyed fringe
fanatic, going without the ability to use internet and cell phones to stay in

contact with friends and family: virtual hermits who are even more vulnerable than they

can hope to realize, unwilling to see the "handwriting".

Internationally, we are mired in foreign wars, for which we are unable to pay.  Though

our actions be right, we are unable to control Islamic hatred which stems from spiritual

darkness rooted in cultures which have no tradition of critical thought.  As a nation our

vast military complex is helpless to effect real change politically, economically, or

socially among these cultures.  All we can do is keep our finger in the dam against

certain hostile groups, such as the Taliban, who are striving in every possible way to

gather momentum.  We applaud our brave service members, but ignore the

"handwriting".

Morally, we are divided over issues of homosexuality, abortion, and immigration, which

issues are reflected daily in the political realm.  Because of our history of abortion,

approved at the national level and funded by taxes, many believe that judgment is

overdue.

God has been allowing unprecedented natural disasters to warn Americans to return to

him in heartfelt repentance.  Every fire out of control, every hurricane, every earthquake,

every tornado comprises a "handwriting" that we should be able to read, not of

impending doom and disaster, but of a loving God who is calling us back to himself

before it is indeed too late.

27 June 2013

ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH CAMP TEAM

This picture was taken over the weekend in Kiev, overlooking the Dneiper River and the city in the background.  The camp team is now with a bunch of campers in southern Ukraine.  L-R, Addison Williams, Shawn Hammontree and Justin Berg.

Rebecca Haley is so excited as are all the camp participants.

Dan and Cindy Williams of Conway, Arkansas have been doing these camps for years.  They are the team leaders.

They were blessed to do a little touring yesterday.  Crimea has some old ruins from centuries passed.

Addison, the youngest in the group admiring the ruins.  Please pray for all these people and  more importantly for the Ukrainians attending who do not know God.  Your prayers would be coveted.

23 June 2013

COURAGE?

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24

It takes courage to be different.  Following Jesus is being different from the world.  It takes courage.  It is not the wide path, but the narrow.  Trusting in Him will strengthen you.

21 June 2013

#KIEV, #UKRAINE TIME-LAPSE

Kiev, the capitol of Ukraine is truly a study in contrasts.  It is an old city breaking out of the mold of it's ancient past.  We live outside the city about half an hour.  I think you'll enjoy these views.  A well-done video.


18 June 2013

KID'S KAMP AT BETHANY CHURCH ~ UKRAINE

I must admit, I'm biased.  This is my favorite group.  I love these little ones.
The oldest group really enjoyed doing these boxes.

This is Vlad.  A bit shy, but he let me take his picture anyway.

The teachers are Natasha(sitting) and Masha. That little doll on the front is Vica.


The scrapbook paper, the flowers, buttons and ephemera were all sent from the states. So grateful.

The round disks are CDs that are covered in scrapbook paper joined with a jump ring to make a mini-album.  Each day we will post the verse of the day in the their mini-album along with pictures and lovely ephemera sent by many from the U.S. and elsewhere.  The star boxes and beads for the necklaces were also sent from the U.S.  I so appreciate those of you who have contributed to making our kid's camp experience a real success.  These are pictures from our first two days.  Check my other blog for more pictures: www.vintageterrace2.blogspot.com or just click on the link on the right of this page.  And we'd be so happy if you "followed on our blogs.

15 June 2013

THE BOOK OF JOB AND TORNADOES

By Jeff Franks



Last month a tornado tore a path of destruction through the town of Moore, Oklahoma,



killing adults and children and countless homes.  In the middle of a mile-wide path of



destruction stood the buildings of Southgate Baptist Church, our home church, covered



in mud, but unharmed, except for a small piece of lumber stuck horizontally into the



front wall above the front doors.  Amazingly it had a cross piece and reminded us



therefore of the cross!



When atheists and others cry out, "Now where was your God?"  We can point to that



cross.  But where do we point when believers who lost their homes and loved ones cry



out, "My God, where were you?"



If "believing" America would only turn to the Bible they would stop calling these tornadoes



and hurricanes "acts of God".  Most scholars say the book of Job was the first scripture



given by God to mankind.  What! The first chapter given by God to man tells us that a



strong wind under Satan's control blew down a building which collapsed on a dear



believer's young loved ones, killing them all?  That's right. The next time the "Prince of



the power of the air" releases chaotic fury on the unsuspecting, try to find one person



who knows this truth from God's Word.  "Act of God" my foot!

08 June 2013

THE "WORD" AROUND TOWN

No, we are not looking for a new car.  In April we were in the U.S. for our oldest daughter's graduation from college and to meet the newest member of the family, our grandson from our youngest of two daughters.  I couldn't help but take this photo of a corner car lot.  I'm so glad my two girls are living in a state (Arkansas) and town that honors God.  I thought how few places would you see anything like this.  If I do ever need a car stateside I do believe I would certainly come check out this location on Oak Street in Conway.  Way-ta-go, Arkansas.

04 June 2013

LAST DAY OF SUNDAY SCHOOL, BUCHA, UKRAINE

 Last Sunday was the ending session of our Sunday school season.  The excitement of the kids was palpable as they anticipated the fun.
 Such a coquettish age.  Aren't they cute.  I couldn't resist showing you.
 And as you can see, we have very little ones too.   And sometimes tears....over a balloon.
 Each child got a gift bag of toys and Christian books.
 Cousins investigating what they each got.  This is Matthew, Dasha and Angelina.  I love doing crafts with all the kids, but this is my favorite group.
 Ending prayers and group picture below.  Please be in prayer for our upcoming kid's camp that will be held the 17th of June.  I'm already preparing crafts.  We shall do mini-albums with old CD disks as the base plus a variety of other crafts, one of which are decorating miniature gourds sent by friends in the U.S.  Thanks to those who send things.  I love doing crafts with the kids.  And they call this a job?

03 June 2013

MAKING CARDS AT LADIES CAMP IN UKRAINE

I had the recent joy of leading these lovely ladies in doing cards at their weekend camp.Oxana, front row left led the ladies.  I'm in the blue next to her.
 They did such pretty cards   Everyone needs cards so this is a most appropriate craft.

 Husband and wife team, Vitaly and Larissa kept everyone well fed for the weekend. What a blessing they are to all.
Oxana spoke on the top of dealing with offenses.  A good topic for everyone.  I'm grateful to those of you who send materials.  I couldn't do it without you since I bring everything to these events.