After breaking last week for the Ukrainian Christmas (here in Ukraine they celebrate on the 6th and 7th of January), we prepared for English Club and ABS (Audio Bible Study) this week with anticipation. Over the past few weeks attendance had dropped due to the holidays, and we wondered if people would return. We had seen some good momentum and interest, but would it continue? On Monday we called our contact list, reminding people that we were resuming the meetings after Christmas. Everyone seemed excited to hear from us and promised to come. Sure enough, on Tuesday evening, the majority of our core group arrived with enthusiasm!
Joshua's message that evening came out of John 17, with a special emphasis on verses dealing with eternal life. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3 Anya, a young adult seated next to me, seemed to eat up every word that Joshua spoke and eagerly pursued the verses as we read them.
There is a great spirit about this group and we are grateful for the freedom they seem to feel in spending time with us, asking questions, and building relationships. Ukrainian gatherings can often be stiff and uncomfortable, with everyone feeling uneasy and nervous, but that is not the case with this group! We pray for the salvation of each one, and for those who will listen to the preaching being recorded on CD each week as we meet.
A special thanks to all of you who are specifically praying for this ministry! We believe that God is at work through your prayers. "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight."
With Nathan and Denise in the U.S. right now, Joshua and I have had the oversight of the Correspondence Bible Course. We are working each morning on grading and sending lessons, and answering letters we receive from students with questions about the Bible. Last week we had roughly 35 pieces of mail in our P.O. box, waiting to be graded and sent back out! It is so thrilling to see people who are consistently studying God's Word and growing in understanding.
We are currently finishing the writing process for Lesson 13 (Sodom and Gomorrah), with 14, 15, and 16 on tab to be finished by the end of January. Writing each lesson can be a very time consuming affair, including research, drafting, editing, translating, correcting, and formatting, so please pray for us to make good progress. The finished course for the OT is slated to have around 33-34 lessons, with the book of John being the finale.
New Blog Feature (from Josh ;) )
You may have noticed that on the side bar of our blog there is a new section called Josh's Twitter Feed. Twitter is a free online service used to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of short text messages. These messages can be posted via the Twitter web site, or even through one's mobile telephone, and are then immediately displayed on our blog. We find Twitter useful for those times when we'd like to post a quick note or update, but don't have time to put together an entire blog post.
So if you're looking for news from the Steele's, be sure to check the Twitter feed. If you like, you can open your own Twitter account and follow us online.