Lithuania Pastors Conference

Throughout history, the church of Christ seems almost inevitably drawn towards liberalism. There is no shortage of examples of denominations and seminaries where biblical orthodoxy has been compromised, if not rejected outright.

So to hear of a group of churches that seems to be moving upstream is very encouraging. The Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania, in the past heavily influenced by German liberalism, appears to be taking a decided stand for biblical reformed truth.

Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas, Lithuania

Rev Ian Macleod

Rev Ian Macleod

COAH is sponsoring a pastors conference from September 27-29 in Kaunas, Lithuania. Dr Darius Brycko, a missionary in Warsaw, Poland for the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church will team-teach with Rev Ian Macleod, pastor of the Grand Rapids (Michigan USA)  Free Reformed Church. COAH board members Tom Moerdyk and John Vergunst will also be present. The topic is Preachers: Men of the Word. The goal of this conference is to encourage Lithuanian pastors to teach from and trust the Word of God, as their foundation for preaching. Personal anecdotes, interesting illustrations, subjective ramblings, contemplative musings, humanistic ideals, moralistic platitudes, witty cleverness - this is not what God-honoring preaching is about. Rather, it is the authoritative proclamation of God's truth - "thus saith the Lord!"

Please keep this conference in your prayers over the next week. May God be pleased to come down and move in this gathering, and may there be a lasting blessing on it.

Pastor Denis Boris - Kazakhstan - Ministry Update

Dear friends,

Discipleship

I never get tired of writing about importance of discipleship. By God’s grace, I am discipling several people now. It’s second best joy of mine after doing sermon preparation and preaching. In September a couple of guys whom I disciple will have a chance to try themselves in various responsibilities in the church.

Timur, my co-pastor, is getting married in September and I freed him from all the responsibilities that he had. In his absence, my two dear brothers Oleg and Nurmuhan will be leading in prayer, doing meditations, leading the service and helping with deacon’s work. Please pray that God would minister to them as they minister to God’s flock.

Serving the Church and Those Who Are Near

Two members of our church had surgeries in August. It was an opportunity for us, as a church, to show God’s love and care to them. Please pray that members of our church will understand that we are one family and act accordingly. I teach and model the care and long to see my church family enjoy serving one another.

There is also a poor family that attends our church regularly. They haven’t become members yet due to various, mainly, financial reasons. Single mother is too busy providing for her 4 kids. One of her kids is disabled. Please pray that we, as a church, would be ready and active in showing them God’s love and care. Mother’s name is Mahabat.

Balcony Remodeling into a Study Room

Our balcony renovation is finished. It took the whole month to remodel and furnish it. But now, there is a good study room in my apartment. I am a happy man. Thank you very much to all that prayed and participated financially in this project.

Denis's 'new' study...and Sophia, of course!

Denis's 'new' study...and Sophia, of course!

Evangelism

My deep and strong desire is to see converts. I long to see God convert souls under the ministry of our church. There was one lady whom we believe that God converted under our ministry but she left our country and we are not sure about how she is doing now. Since then we have not seen yet one conversion. Please pray with us that God would bless our labors and instill in our hearts a greater zeal for the salvation of the lost.

Prayer Requests

Please pray that:

  • We would be patient and wait upon the Lord
  • God would bless our partnership with Bagid and brothers from Taraz
  • That my former pastor and dear friend, Andrew Willis would be completely healed after multiple strokes that he had
  • We would be bold in sharing the Gospel with the unbelievers (here are the names of some: Daulet, Alexander, Danil, Bahytzhan, Mark)
  • God would be glorified in our conversations and meetings with others (Zhanibek, Aisulu)
  • God would bless our discipleship efforts (Nurmuhan, Oleg, Ilya)
  • God would be glorified through our translation project
  • God would build his church in Kazakhstan

With love,

The Boris’

Casu Pentru Copii - Home for Children

Joanne denBoer volunteered on behalf of COAH in Romania for 2 weeks this summer. She reflects on her time there.

“Mama casa! I am going home today to live with mama again!”  I could see the immeasurable delight in the eyes of ten-year old Georgiana as she shared this unexpected announcement with me.  Children and youth living apart from their parents due to difficult circumstances yearn to hear such good news.  Whether truly orphaned or socially orphaned, how blessed it would be if a previously disadvantaged mama or tata is now able to care and provide for the needs of their child.  Georgiana’s good news is rare; she is one of the few children in any of the COAH-sponsored children’s home in Romania to return to her family home for good.  

Joanne and the children and youth from Emmaus House waiting out a downpour

Joanne and the children and youth from Emmaus House waiting out a downpour

It is true, some children and youth return to their family home from time to time, for as short as a few days or as long as the summer break.  Many are confronted with the stark reality of the circumstances that brought them to the children’s homes in the first place.  The home environment has not changed much since they first left.  There is chronic pain in the heart and mind, if not the body.  The alcoholic parent is still alcoholic.  The impoverished, abusive, and neglectful home environment has not diminished. 

One young girl, home for the summer, gouged her leg on a bicycle pedal.  Parental ignorance of basic medical care resulted in near amputation.  A boy sustained injury from unsupervised and unsafe wood chopping practices.  A frostbite scar on the calf of another girl revealed there was insufficient heat during a winter visit home.  Stress about family dynamics – shouting, hitting, lack of food – rekindles anxiety.  Resentment is real in those children whose family is split up, with some siblings permitted to live in the family home but they are pulled away to live in the children’s home.   Yet most children, after a brief stint in the family home, are relieved and happy to return to the COAH-sponsored children’s homes.

Why is that?

The children and youth in Emmaus House (Targu Mures) and Casa Emanuel (Criscior) never worry if food is scarce:  they receive three (sometimes ‘thin’) meals a day.  They have a comfortable, large home to live in (where it is warm in the winter).  Staff care for them with love and humour.  Since most children and youth have varying degrees of learning challenges or special needs, they receive educational support from staff or volunteers. 

In Emmaus House, the Director knows each child and youth so well (all 45 of them!) that she seeks out special activities and programs to foster their growth, development, and confidence.  Many have received medals in wrestling competition – yes, even the slender girls!  I asked why the weekly wrestling program was so welcome.  Boys at school tried to bully one of the Emmaus girls.  “Don’t mess with me,” she warned them.  “I have won several wrestling matches.”  Other programs include music, dance, gymnastics, and art.  And who better to send for groceries than the young man who has many medals as a marathon and half-marathon champion?

More importantly, the spiritual needs of the children and youth receive priority.  They attend the local church where some of the older teenagers have done “confirmation” [confession of faith].  At Emanuel Casa, I was welcomed by an impromptu children’s choir, including Jesus Loves Me – in English! 

“Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4a) was the focus of one of the daily Bible lessons I was to teach at Emmaus House.  Rejoice? Always?  Even when faced with heart-wrenching circumstances?  Rejoice when you have been removed from the family home, albeit a neglectful one?  Rejoice when the children’s home faces the insurmountable financial burden to pay for heat in the winter?  Rejoice when the 12-seater van sits on the side of the road because you cannot pay the insurance?  Rejoice when your father abandons the family and your mother says she doesn’t want you anymore?  Rejoice when your alcoholic father beats your timid mother?  How can a 5-year old rejoice when all he and his younger brother and sister have known are daily beatings?  How could I, a foreigner who “has it all”, encourage them to rejoice in the Lord always?  Only by referring them to the Scriptures which speaks of the sufferings of Paul and Silas in Philippi, whose circumstances drove them to sing praises and to rejoice in the Lord. 

Why could these disciples rejoice? Because they knew that Christ Jesus suffered poverty, hunger, abuse, yea, the wrath of God, for them.   The suffering Saviour taught these disciples to rejoice in the Lord - always.  Surely He can teach the children, youth, and staff to rejoice in Him also!

While “Mama casa” is deeply yearned for, Emanuel Casa and Emmaus House are a welcome haven and indispensable homes for these disadvantaged children and youth. 

Since the Lord commands His people to “defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Psalm 82:3), won’t you consider supporting the casa pentru copii?

 

Denis Boris - Kazakhstan - Ministry Update

Dear Friends,

Hermeneutics Class for Kazakh Speaking Pastors

Right at the beginning of July I conducted a class on hermeneutics for Kazakh-speaking pastors. It was arranged by my brother and partner in the Gospel, Bagid. The lecture was translated into Kazakh. It went for the whole day with a break for lunch. It went very well and was received with great enthusiasm. We decided to have another class on hermeneutics soon to allow the students to practice their skills. Please pray that more preachers would hear and see that expositional preaching is a biblical way to preach the Bible. I also plan to conduct a similar class for lay people of our church so that they see the beauty of the Scriptures and grow in appreciation of an expositional preaching.   

Picture Denis teaching 2017.07.jpg

Nurmuhan’s Debut

Every service at our church we have a short meditation on a passage related to the main passage of the sermon. It is given at the beginning of the service. Usually if the sermon is from the Old Testament, the passage is from the New Testament and vice versa. Last Sunday, June 23, Nurmuhan shared such a meditation with the church for the first time. It was theologically sound and pastoral. He spoke on eternal life from John 17:3 which prepared the way for the sermon on Hosea 4. Several people came up afterwards and thanked him for some profound insights into eternal life being primarily about knowing God and not about endless succession of the periods of time. Please pray that God would show us and Nurmuhan if he is called to the teaching or preaching ministry.  

Preparation for an Eschatology Class

I have started working on Eschatology class. Bagid and a couple of pastors from Taraz requested such a class. The longer I work on this class the more I understand that such a class could also be taught to lay people so that they get a clear understanding of what the end times are all about, i.e. that it is about the coming of the King and submission of all to Him. Please pray that God would bless my preparation.

Translator is Found

You know that we have been looking for a translator from English into Kazakh. I have asked you to pray for that. Looks like we found one. Praise be to God. Thank you for your prayers. We are in the middle of negotiation about the details of the first project that we plan to do with the help of COAH. Please pray that God would bless our efforts. Also, please pray for the translator. His name is Talant.

Prayer Requests

Please pray that:

  • We would be patient and wait upon the Lord
  • God would bless our partnership with Bagid and brothers from Taraz
  • We would be bold in sharing the Gospel with the unbelievers (here are the names of some: Daulet, Alexander, Danil, Bahytzhan, Mark)
  • God would be glorified in our conversations and meetings with others (Zhanibek, Aisulu)
  • God would bless our discipleship efforts (Nurmuhan, Oleg)
  •  God would be glorified through our translation project
  • God would build His church in Kazakhstan