Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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Teaching Ministry in Full Gear

Dear partners in ministry,

With language school behind us, ministry is now in full swing. Last week (September 5-10), I flew with friend and ministry colleague Artyom Kluchnikov to Kemorovo, Siberia to teach in a biblical counseling training module co-sponsored by International Faith Initiatives and Overseas Instruction in Biblical Counseling. This was my fourth opportunity to work with these two organizations which are partnering together to advance the cause of biblical counseling in the Russian-speaking world.  I had the opportunity to teach on several topics and thoroughly enjoyed the 35 enthusiastic students and their passion for the personal ministry of God’s Word. Artyom and I departed on Saturday, encouraged that biblical counseling is making significant progress in this part of Russia.

Shortly after returning to Kiev, I began teaching a course on Pastoral Ministry in a two week module with 4 hour per day classes (similar to American J-term classes). While the format is a bit tiring, the opportunity has been exciting thus far. I have a small class of 7 students which allows for more discussion and greater opportunities to really get to know the men. It is a privilege to share with them the truths that God has taught me over the years through many godly mentors in my life.  My passion (and prayer) is that God will use this class to help these men grasp the great privilege and awesome responsibility they have to shepherd God’s flock. Please pray that God will give me strength, wisdom, and sensitivity to the cultural nuances so that these men will grow to love Christ more deeply, embrace His Gospel more fervently, and care for His sheep in a way that produces a healthy sheep whose lives make the Gospel attractive to the lost.

Thank you your support of the Gospel to the Russian-speaking world,

Jerry Benge

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Brief Update and Requests

Dear friends and partners in the Gospel,

Latest Update (9-7-2011)
Just heard from Volodia that Zechariah is at home now. When they took him to the intensive care unit with their newer equipment, they redid all the tests and found that he was fine. The only problem is that he was on medicine that he did not need for 10 days. Volodia and Oksana are praising the Lord, and we are too. Thank all of you for your concern and prayers. The doctors said he would probably recover much sooner at home.

When Jerry got to the airport Monday afternoon to leave for Siberia, he called Volodia one last time to check up on Zechariah. They moved him to an intensive care unit in the hospital and decided to redo the tests they had done before. The tests on his kidneys came back normal, so that is very good news. The other part of the hospital where Zechariah was has old equipment, and so the tests were not accurate. He is still in serious condition, but the good news is that his kidneys are not failing. Please continue to pray for Volodia, Oksana and Zechariah to have strength and God's grace throughout this ordeal. They know that many people around the world are praying for them. Thank you for your faithfulness and love - Kellie

Original Post:
I am sending out this brief update on our friends in Ternopil, Volodia and Oksana, and their son, Zechariah. Volodia informed me that Zechariah has taken a turn for the worse. Apparently his kidneys are starting to fail. I have no additional information because Volodia could only speak briefly. So please continue to keep the family in your prayers: Zechariah for healing if God wills. His parents for strength and hope in God's wisdom, love, and sovereignty. Oksana has not left his side since this ordeal began over two weeks ago--and she is exhausted beyond measure. Pray especially that God would be glorified and that the Gospel will advance through all this. They have already told me of situations where they have been able to speak about their faith in Christ.

Pray also for me as I leave today to participate in a biblical counseling training module in Kemerovo, Siberia. Please pray for safety as we fly tonight and strength as begin teaching tomorrow morning with little rest.

For the Gospel in the Russian-speaking world,

Jerry Benge