NEWS / THEOLOGY

IRINA’S “BOLD” TRANSFORMATION & DIMA’S TRANSFORMATION FROM A DESTRUCTIVE LIFE

“My name is Irina Ivanenko and I attend a church in the village of Zhukovskaya. I would like to thank SCM for the wonderful theology courses and for building into our lives using Ron Putnam’s theology books. These courses produced great results and I am a living testimony to that fact! Since my early childhood I was a quiet, reserved, and self-conscious girl; it was always difficult for me to communicate with people because of my insecurity. I was so timid that I couldn’t even travel by public transportation because of my fear of crowds.  After being a student in SCM’s theology courses for three years, my confidence level in the Lord (and in life) has improved dramatically. SCM’s classes are amazingly educational, clear to understand, and SCM provides a very loving atmosphere. Through our weekly sessions, I have discovered many new biblical principles and deepened in my relationship and commitment to Jesus Christ. God’s Holy Word has truly transformed me!

 

Because of everything I have learned through SCM’s courses, my doubts about myself and God are minimized. I have stopped asking questions like “Where is God in this situation?”, “Why is there so much evil in the world?,” “If God loves me, why does he help others and not me?,” and “Where are his miracles in my life?” I am now confident in God’s love for me. 

 

Because of these courses and my improved understanding of God, I stepped out in boldness and took a new job where I now interact with people constantly; this is a huge victory for me! My step of faith was possible only through my personal development and trust in God and in his guidance in my life … now I am very happy and joyful. I want to thank SCM, Ron Putnam, and pastor Kostya for such a great ministry to my church. God is good, and all the glory belongs to him. Thank you!”

DIMA’S TRANSFORMATION FROM A DESTRUCTIVE LIFE

 

“Hello, my name is Dima and I am the youngest of six kids. All my siblings have done a good job of making a successful living, following Christ, and having their own families. Unfortunately, I was the disappointment because I allowed myself to be enslaved by drugs and I became an addict. I worked in a train station, sometimes fully intoxicated, until one day, I lost my job because of my addiction.  Eventually, my disease overwhelmed my life, my wife left me, and my siblings were deeply disappointed in me. 

 

I came to the realization that I had lost everything important to me and that I had nowhere else to go – it was time for help and God’s intervention in my life. One last time, I reached out to my family and they helped me enter this Christian drug rehabilitation center. While attending the rehab center, pastor Kostya was teaching one of SCM’s theology courses. 

 

We were studying one of Ron Putnam’s books and I came face to face with the realization that I deeply needed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This theology course helped me to turn to God, to discover the truth about Jesus, why Jesus came and died for me, the power of prayer, and how to be a committed Christian. Because of this study, I gave my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior, began to pray, and read the Bible consistently. 

 

I am confident that God (through the Holy Spirit) dwells inside me and that he is helping me overcome my addiction and transforming me every day. I have learned that where God is, there is freedom and victory. Please, keep praying for my full recovery and deliverance from drug addiction. Thank you for sending pastor Kostya to us too; he has done a wonderful job pointing all of us to Christ and teaching us God’s Word.”

REPAIRED ROOFS AND RENEWED HOPE

“Hi, my name is Vita. I am from the town of Stariy Saltov-Petrovsky Church. Some time ago our church went through a very difficult period, where there were unfortunate divisions 

between people and some people had personal failures. After the consequence of these events, only a few discouraged Christian sisters remained faithful to the church, including me. We remained steadfast and prayed to God that our church would be restored. I am pleased to report that God has answered our prayers by sending us an American named Ron Putnam. 

 

Pastor Ron wrote great books and a study guide on how to restore one’s relationship with God. Pastor Kostya and pastor Vova taught these wonderful courses within our church and presented theological information, as well as, helpful ways to apply these truths in everyday life. For three years Slavic Christian Ministries has been investing in our church and have produced great results. We have all grown spiritual and we have engaged evangelistic outreaches to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have also remodeled our church facility and repaired the roof. 

 

At one point, my job conflicted with church and I neglected my spiritual growth, with dire consequences. My money seemingly evaporated, my problems multiplied, I was discouraged, and became obsessed with material things. When I realized my dire situation, rededicated my life to Christ, renewed my prayer life, went to SCM’s courses, and recommitted to the body of Christ. When I did this, almost immediately, my heart was filled with peace and joy. I quit my job in my dedication to the Lord. But once my boss learned the reason for my departure, he said, ‘If you come back to work, you can have Sundays off, so you can go to church.’ I was so blessed by this, because in my culture lots of people needs jobs and are easily expendable. 

 

I am now deeply committed to the Lord, serving at church, and my walk with the Lord has improved dramatically. All of us at church are so thankful to pastor Ron, his discipleship courses, that he has invested in our church. Thank you too for pastors Vova and Kostya, who faithfully teach and serve us. New people are now joining our church, praise God! The work that God began is impossible to stop; we consider it a privilege to serve God locally in our church. Thank you!”

 

Friends, when we began these theological courses, we had no idea the impact they would have through our efforts. But as you can see with this church, they were encouraged, it helped with revival, and now the people have renewed vigor for the Lord. Please keep this church in your prayers and for all of the churches where we teach every year (which is an average of six churches per year). This is not an unfamiliar story – God has used this area of our ministry in wonderful ways. Praise God!

 

I want to thank each one of you for praying for our family and mission, while sacrificing so much to keep our little ministry going. You are a blessing to me and all our partners in Ukraine! 

 

March 1st is our ministries’ 18th anniversary! Thank you for allowing me to partner with you for 18 wonderful years of service to our Lord. With your help, we have served over 13,000 people (mostly on a regular basis) and almost seen 1,000 people make first time confessions of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I humbly thank God for him giving me this vision, but it didn’t happen without you too – Thank you very much!!!

Vita’s Testimony

My name is Vita. I am from the town of Stariy Saltov-Petrovsky Church. Some time ago our church has gone through a difficult period, where there were unfortunate divisions and personal failures. Only a few discouraged sisters stayed faithful and continued to come to church. God stirred up our desire to press on and we began to pray about our church’srestoration. And I am pleased to report that God has answered in a miraculous way - He used an American named Ron Putnam. 

Pastor Ron wrote great books and a study guide on how to restore your relationship with God. Pastor Kostya and pastor Vova taught these wonderful courses. These discipleship courses were split into sections and presented in the proper way. For example, in one class we learned the new material and receive spiritual encouragement, the next time we apply all that we have learnt. For three years we had been involved in studying and practiced the Biblical truths. Praise God, our efforts were not in vain and produced great results – our church community got strengthened spiritually and we started to do evangelical outreaches, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We also began remodeling of our church facility (its roof broke down).

I was among those faithful sisters at first but due to the complicated economic situation in our country (revolution and war) and financial instability in my family I was forced to accept the first job offer that came my way. As a result this job consumed all my time and I had to take my cell-phone even into the shower in order to answer the incoming phone calls. Gradually I began to skip church services. I neglected my spiritual growth and rarely attended the church at the time when my sisters were encouraged and were growing in their walk with God. 

At one crucial point I realized that the money I made vanished pretty fast, my son was experiencing problems, I felt tired and discouraged and was obsessed with material things. So I made a decision to go back to church, repented and rededicated my life to God.  I was crying as a baby. I started praying and praising God and suddenly my heart was filled with peace and rest! At that moment I decided to quit my job and deep inside was really satisfied with such a decision. However, I thought if God wanted me to stay at my job place, I would stay. When my boss found out about my decision and the reason for it, he asked me what kind of job I would like. I shared my concerns and asked him to implement some changes in my job duties (including the mandatory day off on Sunday) and he agreed!! Praise the Lord!

Since then I can come to prayer meetings at church every evening as well as serve on Sunday. God has provided a ministry for me at church! That is amazing! Also my spiritual condition drastically changed. 

We are so thankful to Ron that he remembers us, Vova and Kostya who are faithful to come visit and support us. We have almost completed remodeling, our church looks so nice and cozy now. New people and children have joined our church. 

I am so thankful to God for sending an obedient minister Ron Putnam who made the discipleship course for our church members possible. We are also grateful to people who pray and financially support this ministry. The work that God began is impossible to stop! It is a privilege for me personally to be involved in God’s work at His church!

LEAVING EVERYING BUT FINDING SALVATION!

“Hello, my name is Ludmila Podkolzina. My family and I moved from Donetsk to Kharkov because of the war with Russia. We were not happy about leaving everything behind: our home, jobs, and of course, our church.  It was scary to begin again in a new city and with nothing but our clothes. I used to work in the court system in Donetsk and we were well respected, had a good reputation, and had financial security. All of that was lost when we fled for our safety.

After our new beginning, friends of ours recommended that we visit Good News Church in Kharkov. My family and I were warmly received, and during this very troubling transition, we

found great comfort from SCM’s theology course that was taught by pastor Kostya. It seemed like each topic wasprepared personally for me – and each lesson deeply touched my heart! God used these classes to encourage me emotionally and grow me spiritually, while showing me his will for my life in the future.  

 

After our move to Kharkov, going through much stress, and hearing the gospel message of Jesus Christ, I am pleased to report that my husband came to know Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior after 10 years of consistent prayer and pleading to God. Our two sons and a daughter-in-law also came to Christ after our move to Kharkov. Despite losing everything in Donetsk, God performed an amazing miracle in my family!

 

I am very thankful that God provided me with the same type of employment in Kharkov that I had in Donetsk. His mercy and love have humbled me even more, as I see his care and concern for my family. Because of my family’s salvation and my spiritual pruning, I have a greater heart for the poor and needy, and I have chosen to serve in a hospice center, so I can share God’s love for them. In my spare time, I also share the Gospel message in the streets of Kharkov, because of the abundant thankfulness flowing inside of me. 

 

And one final praise report – my home in Donetsk remains untouched by the war, which is a miracle, considering all the surrounding houses were destroyed in the conflict. God is so good to us.”

 

Dear friends, this is just one of many testimonies about how God is using our theology ministry to encourage, bless, and educate about 100+ people per year in about 6 different church locations.

Nadia's Answered Prayer

 “Hi, my name is Nadia Segeda. I attend Good News church in the town of Stariy Saltov, Ukraine. If you don’t mind, I would like to share with you my testimony.  

Shortly after accepting Jesus as my Savior, I began to pray for my husband, who was an unbeliever. By God’s grace he came to Christ and then died unexpectedly. It was difficult for me, but I thank God that he came to Christ before passing to our Lord; yet, I found myself as a widow.

I was fearful, but after a period of time, God sent me a wonderful Christian husband from Belarus. We adopted two children into our family (a brother and sister), moved to Stariy Saltov, and joined Good News Church. Shortly thereafter, the military conflict began in Eastern Ukraine, and our hardships were significant; but mostly we were concerned about our adopted kids.

During that turbulent and fearful season, SCM’s theology courses (based on Ron Putnam’s books) were in full swing at our church and it became one of the key factors for the entire church’s spiritual growth. I witnessed many people’s lives positively change and it helped my faith grow too. My confidence in God’s protection and provision was evident to my unbelieving friends and they wanted to know why I was so calm during so much uncertainty. I told people, not to fear, because God is in control and watches over us.

 

For example, while attending SCM’s classes, our cow (which we rely on for our survival) became deathly sick with an incurable disease. We were very concerned because financially we gave all we had to purchase the cow and all the supplies for her care. One day after class, SCM’s theology teacher, pastor Konstantin prayed for us and that same day the cow was miraculously healed! We praise God for answered prayer. I told my friends that God’s answered prayer and learning sound theology has strengthened my faith and resolve. We have seen that these theology courses have done the same for many other people in the church too. A special thanks to Ron Putnam, SCM Mission, pastor Konstantin, and Vova (SCM director). They are truly God’s instruments that bless people with their gifts and talents!”      - Nadia

 

This testimony reveals God working through our classes, but more importantly answering people’s prayers. For Nadia, it wasn’t just about a cow, but her family’s livelihood. Thank you for helping us reach people in many ways

Learning to Lead

“Hi, my name is Lesya and I want to give you my testimony. Ever since my childhood, I heard about God from my orthodox grandma. I knew about him from her, but that was about it – I never had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

In 2000, I began attending the Orthodox church and began reading their literature, but I still felt distant from God. Who was he? Why was he so elusive in my life? Then about seven years ago, my friend invited me to an Evangelical church service at Good News Church in Kharkov.

I was attending this new church regularly, when all of a sudden, I became very sick. I asked the church to please pray for me and amazingly, God heard their prayers and healed me. It was at this moment, I truly believed God was real and cared about me. I accepted Jesus as my Savior shortly after this event and began sharing my faith in public.

I began witnessing to middle-aged Orthodox women who also had this elusiveness with God. Because I wasn’t trained, I went through SCM’s sponsored leadership course on how to be a small group and church leader. I am looking forward to leading a group of women very soon. I want to thank you for what I learned through pastor Kostya and Slavic Christian Ministries.

 

Thank you for giving me the tools to succeed.” – Sincerely, Lesya Pustovoytova

“Practical Theology” For Dailying Living

“My name is Alexander Vanin, I am assisting the pastor in establishing a young church in the town of Merefa, which is just outside of Kharkov. Because we are a young church, we need many things – pastoral care, sound Christian teaching, spiritual protection, and of course learning how to become mature Christian disciples.

When our pastor announced the start of a systematic theology course based on Ron Putnam’s books, I was both excited and concerned at the same time. I was concerned I would have neither the time nor the energy to study, because I am so busy attending college and serving in my church. But after the first lesson my concerns disappeared. Truly these classes are a blessing and time flies very quickly when attending this course. I feel inspired and encouraged after them, ready to apply what I have discovered in everyday life. Let me give you an example.

Recently, I had a water line break in my apartment, causing much damage to my neighbor’s apartment; I was responsible for the cost of the repair. I didn’t have that much money and suddenly it occurred to me that at our discipleship course had taught on the topic of “Prayer.” I remembered how inspired I was by the lesson and how it strengthened my faith. Because of my dire straits, I relied heavily on God through prayer and petition. All this helped me not to get discouraged, but to rely upon God to supply my need. And God was faithful in miraculously calming down my neighbor, where we came to an equitable arrangement.

I owned an old car that I was never able to sell, despite all of my efforts. Oh, how I wanted to sell that old broken down car! After I prayed and cried out to God, wouldn’t you know that my neighbor came to me and said, “How about you give me your car and we are even; you will not owe me anything more for the repairs.”

Only God could do this … not to be humorous, but I was released from liability and got rid of that old broken down car all at the same time! If it wasn’t for Ron Putnam’s course, teaching me to have faith and pray to God, I would not have been prepared to react with dignity and have faith in my dire situation. But God solved my problem in his timing, praise God!

I have also applied the concept of spiritual fasting in my life and ministry and I can now see the results of practicing the spiritual disciplines before God. Thank you and pastor Kostya for the teaching our church.”

My Life Became Meaningful!

“Hello, my name is Natalia Borzova. I live in a village far away from the city of Kharkov. Our pastor only comes once a week (on Sundays), which we are thankful for his service to us, but we are not left with many opportunities to grow and learn spiritually. When we were offered to have a midweek theology course taught by Slavic Christian Ministries, our little church in the middle of nowhere was very excited for the opportunity. Most of us do not have access to the internet, so it is hard to get Christian information on our own. We began studying Ron Putnam’s book The Way to Restoration. We studied topics about God’s existence, each person of the Trinity, etc. From the very beginning, I really enjoyed the book. I noticed changes in my worldview, thinking, and within myself. Before studying this book, God was just a distant concept. I have been pleasantly surprised, if not shocked, of God’s majesty, infinity, omnipotence, justice, and holiness. I am also surprised that such a great God remains very personal God towards me. I have learned that God loves me, protects me, provides for me, and will continue to help me. Learning all of this has changed my inner world, prayers, and actions. When you grasp the nature of God, like I did, you are totally transformed; my life became meaningful! Perhaps I was most touched by the chapter on “Sin.” Beforehand, I had a superficial understanding of sin. I knew a sinful action was a bad deed, but the more I learned, I discovered how deep sin penetrates our human nature – our thoughts, motives and intentions. For the first time, I grasped the power of salvation and God’s provision of Jesus on the cross for all of us. We all hope that we can continue to learn all three on Ron Putnam’s books. Thank you for blessing us!” – Natalia Borzova

Can’t Put the Book Down!

“My name is Valentina and I am proud to report to you that God literally has changed my future overnight!

I had suffered from asthma and my condition was worsening by the day, when I began to suffocate. Everyone was worried, but there was nothing anyone could do, because our village had no doctor, only a nurse.

My family immediately sent for the nurse and when she arrived, she asked me ‘If we could pray together.’ I wasn’t too surprised, because I knew from the community that she was a Christian. After we prayed, I immediately felt better.

Since that prayer, my asthma has never returned and I have been completely healthy. It was a miracle from God! And from that moment, I realized that God existed! I was previously an atheist and denied God, but since my healing, my whole worldview has changed.

After this miracle, I naturally ‘ran’ to church, repented of my sins, accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and was baptized. I serve God continually and remain faithful in my walk with Christ.

And while salvation was critical to me, I still needed spiritual strengthening (and others in my church too). This was made possible through Ron Putnam’s discipleship courses. I was especially interested in the topic, “Does God Exist?” since I used to be an atheist. My heart was overwhelmed with joy because I could testify to everything reported in the chapter, as if it was my story and experiences were outlined within his chapter.

Pastor Ron’s proof of God’s existence and the evidence he provided to support this truth inspired me with confidence. We thank God for Ron and pastor Kostya for these courses. I have been greatly encouraged, as well as, everyone else in our church. I really enjoyed this awesome book and I couldn’t stop reading it. I read it from cover to cover in one week. Thank you very much for this ministry!” – Valentina

Revival Happened through “Theology Courses”

“Hi, my name is Galina and I live in the town of Stariy Saltov, which is within the picturesque state of Kharkov. I was saved and baptized shortly after our church began, which was a few years ago. Before my salvation, I was almost disabled person; my organs were failing because I used to be an alcoholic. After I received Jesus Christ as my Savior, almost immediately my body was restored to good health.

I am currently retired, but I still work and feel better physically than before I was saved. God has totally changed my life! Our church has gone through ups and downs, but there is a hunger in our hearts for revival. We continued to pray to God for help, until one day, he brought us the opportunity to receive theology courses from Slavic Christian Ministries. We saw this as God’s answer to prayer for our church.

We began by studying “The Way to Restoration” by pastor Ron Putnam. After studying this book, every one of us has deeply reexamined our knowledge and commitment to God. Our church is filled with joy, peace, and confidence because of the education and transformation we are all undergoing.

For example, take the chapter on “The Father,” it speaks about why God has revealed himself to us as our father and how we have become his children. This is such a strong practical application! The lessons are a hug blessing for all of us and we always look forward to each week’s lesson.

Ironically, the theology courses are not only training our members, but the revival we have longed to see within our church has begun to happen. People who left our church in previously, have now begun attending church again. Praise the Lord for his goodness to us! We also want to thank the whole SCM team and their sponsors; may our Lord bless all of you abundantly for your kindness to us!” – Galina

Theology and Distance Learning

During the time of the Soviet Union much of Christianity was lost to the atheistic agenda of the government. Since the fall of this regime, many churches and universities were created throughout Eastern Europe. But the rising costs of hyper-inflation has seen many Christian colleges and universities drop dramatically in their attendance. A new strategy was necessary to invest and education the next generation of Christians.

Slavic Christian Ministries has made every effort to mature thousands of Christians across Eastern Europe through our theology courses and our own distance learning resources that have been highly endorsed.

By partnering with churches, investing in pastors, Christian college students, and laity, Slavic Christian Ministries has designed a spiritual formation materials that nurtures sound theology that is relevant, practical to everyday living, and transformational. Equipping indigenous Christians ultimately builds the national Church and makes strong Christian disciples.

Sardines Never Had It So Good!

To tell you how attracted some of our students are to our ministry, I want to give you a snapshot of one of our discipleship course in the town of Pervamiesk, which is a town of about 50,000 people in the Kharkov region. The church is comprised of 80 Christians and our discipleship course has attracted 30 of those same people – almost half the church.

They are so zealous to learn more about Jesus that they packed into a room tighter than sardines so they could take our course. When we began the course there was only room available for us to teach and it was a room comfortable for only five or six people. But because these Christians deeply wanted to learn they endured the discomfort of stuffing 30 people into this small room. There was so little room for all of them to fit that not even one more person could participate even if they stood up! Before each class period they would pray and sing several songs to the Lord with robust energy and joy.

I have included a picture of this group so you can see how tight the seating arrangements were. However, do not fear. They have all survived and moved to a much larger room that has now become available.

Vitalik and Ruslana Say Big Thank You

As many of you know from my email prayer letter in September, Vitalk and Ruslana lost their baby boy at delivery because the doctor was unable to perform a simple C-section. Ruslana is the daughter of one of our partnering pastors and she is married to a non-Christian who is close to becoming a Christian (This is very common in Ukraine since they have been without Christ for 80 years until recent years).

This couple is very poor and has been unable to pay for the funeral costs associated with their child’s death. However, I made an appeal to some of our sponsors and you came through! By the generous donations of several individuals we were able to raise over $500 for this couple.

I asked Ruslana and Vitalik to meet me after their thanksgiving service one Sunday in October. After the service we went into a side room of the church and presented a love-gift to the couple from all the Christians who donated to them. After reading off the names of every person that donated, we told them how much Jesus loves them and that we hoped that this small gift would help them in some small way. Ruslana’s eyes became very tearful.

The result is that they were blessed in the midst of their grief. Now her husband has been coming to the church every Sunday since we told him about Jesus’ love through your sacrificial giving. Vitalik is not a Christian yet, but through your giving, he is closer to Jesus than ever before. I have attached a picture of Ruslana that was taken before her pregnancy so you can see her photo. Here is a small note from Ruslana and Vitalik to those who blessed them:

“We thank God for His kindness and love to our family and for those people which He motivated to bless our family. When we are reading the names of those who helped us, we pray for you and hope God blesses you. We never imagined that such a blessing was awaiting us. This money will help us to have a better hospital experience during some future pregnancy. My husband and I believe we are in God’s hands and everything He is doing is for our good. We pray for you, we thank you and hope that God’s blessing will be upon your houses and families as He meets all of your needs.” – Ruslana & Vitalik

2005 is already looking to be our best year yet. We are now helping short-term missionaries who are preparing to come to Ukraine next Summer. As it looks now, God is drawing several teams of people. Early indications show a growing interest to work with orphans with one of the orphanages that we have a relationship with in Kharkov. We are excited to see how God will bless the work through these teams. Please pray for God’s blessing on this new aspect of our ministry.

Discipleship Courses

DISCIPLESHIP COURSES ARE MAKING AN IMPACT

We have been teaching the essentials of the Christian faith for two years now. In the beginning, it was unsure whether this was a needed resource or not, but two years later we have discovered that we are providing a critical need within the Christian community and the secular world.

Our resources have been embraced by Christians wanting to go deeper in their education, and non-Christians who have wanted to use my book to learn more about the existence of God, and the truth about salvation through Christ alone. We now have a few pastor’s asking us to teach their congregation our theology course. It is wonderful to see people hunger to go deeper in their theology. Perhaps a few are even being saved.

Here is the testimony of one man named Volodia from a town a hour outside of Kharkov, named Valki.

“It is good that we now have this theology course. We used to hear from other churches about this class, but now we can see firsthand for ourselves that this course is really good. Many things taught in church have become more clear to me thanks to SCM’s teacher,

Koysta Deineko.

When I began attending the class, I was very shy. Actually, I had a real problem with alcohol. When I attending the course, I felt very guilty for even being there. But the theology course has helped my faith grow. Since attending this course, I have seen God, his power, love, and desires for my life in a different perspective. Although I was ashamed to be there, I asked SCM’s teacher to pray with me. It was quite a powerful time for me. Now I do not drink alcohol anymore and my neighbors asked me what happened to me since I changed so dramatically. They say that I am a different man. Thank you for this theological course.”

– Volodia from Valki

What a wonderful testimony of God’s work in Volodia’s life. It is my hope and prayer that God will used this course to touch thousands of lives across Ukraine and beyond. If you would like to make a donation to continue the publication and distribution of this book to pastor’s throughout the Russian speaking world, it would be greatly appreciated. We would like to publish thousand of more books by the end of 2006.

CELEBRATION TIME

Believe it or not, SCM’s five-year anniversary is next month! We will be mailing you a special newsletter next month covering a few of SCM’s accomplishments during the past five years. We want to thank you for your prayers and faithful support over the years. We could not have accomplished anything without God’s blessing and your support.

To the Ends of the Soviet Union

NOT TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD…BUT AT LEAST TO THE ENDS OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

Perhaps SCM is not ready to tackle the entire world for Christ, but my theology book, The Way to Restoration, has been sent to the top 40 Christian colleges and universities in Ukraine. Each school director and library received a copy of my book. SCM is continuing to accumulate names and addresses of schools throughout the former Soviet Union so many Christian students can have the opportunity to increase their knowledge through this book.

SCM has also distributed over 240 books to pastors that minister all over Ukraine through several pastor’s conferences. SCM has committed to providing every pastor in Ukraine a free copy of The Way to Restoration, if they ask for a copy. SCM is hoping to begin 36 discipleship courses throughout Ukraine (through our distance learning program) as early as this fall, if all comes together as planned. Please pray for God’s will concerning the expansion of our theology courses.

As an additional encouragement, Dr. Craig Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary has officially endorsed the book, and has provided a written recommendation that we will place on the back cover of future printings.

An Encouraging Spring

After teaching English evangelism and theology in many different locations since last September, we ended our teaching year on an encouraging note. After investing in many of our student’s lives over the past eight months, six of our English students made confessions to Christ.

Our discipleship students continue to be encouraged too. Most of them are Christians, but they are learning to go deeper in the essentials of the Christian faith, so they can witness better to their friends and family, and be more firmly rooted in their Christian theology. One of our students recently said,

“I am thankful for your ministry and for the classes that I have been attending with great joy. I received much from what was taught to me and now feel much better spiritually because of the truths taught through your ministry. Truth used to be difficult for me to comprehend, and because I am a leader of a small youth group, I used to feel like a failure in my ministry because I felt unworthy. Consequently, my lack of understanding of biblical truths hindered my spiritual life. With the abundance of the Holy Spirit and with the solid teaching in your course, I understood that I am in God’s will and that I am on the correct path in life. God’s word now keeps me strong, comforts me, and gives me success in everything. Thank you very much for your course.” – Nadia Solishina, Pervamiesk Church

We praise God for students like Nadia who have been touched by Jesus through our ministry. We hope that many more students will be helped with each passing year.

I continue to preach almost every Sunday to churches as small as fifteen people and as large as a thousand people, depending on the size of the church that invites me. When I preached in April, nine people made professions of faith to accept Christ, and four or five more people recommitted their lives to Jesus.

SCM’s Theology Ministry is Taking Root and Expanding

God has been blessing our discipleship efforts for several years now. During the past three years, God has allowed us to minister to 659 people through 37 different courses of theology using my theology book The Way to Restoration. Our courses usually are taught over a six-month period of time.

The book is making a considerable spiritual impact in people’s lives. People are being educated and matured in their faith every week. There is a report where one man accepted Jesus through this course, despite the fact that it is taught to Christian audiences. Christian students are also using this book to evangelize their non-Christian family members, and sometimes it is being used as a free gift to non-Christians during street evangelism events.

In 2006, two copies of the Russian version of my book was distributed to 84 Christian colleges and universities libraries and directors within Ukraine, Russia, and a few satellite countries. When I go back to Ukraine very soon, the main emphasis of this trip is to distribute a free copy of our theology book and study guide to approximately 50 colleges and universities, totaling around 6,000 copies.

One Baptist college near the city of Dnipropetrosk already informed us that they enjoyed the book so much that they are going to use it as their primary teaching tool for this subject within their school. Praise God! We have already sent them 100 copies for their students and faculty.

The purpose of this mass distribution is so we can expand the knowledge of essentials of the Christian faith throughout the entire country of Ukraine, God willing. As each student graduates, he is encouraged to contact us so we can help educate his or her local congregation.

We will be hiring eight new people to help us with this mass distribution project. We are hoping and praying for even more growth by fall 2007 because of these efforts.

God has also opened the door for us to reach beyond the country of Ukraine. During the past twelve months, the Way to Restoration was also translated and published into Burmese. 2,000 copies were printed and are now being distributed to the pastors and Christian leaders inside of Myanmar. If the book is favorably received, we will most likely have another printing for distribution in the latter part of 2007.

Here is what Dr. Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary has to say about the book:

“The best primer on evangelical Christian discipleship for any contemporary culture would be a good one written by an indigenous evangelical Christian well acquainted with his or her own culture. But in many parts of the world, such a book does not yet exist. Ron Putnam’s excellent introductory volume, translated into the appropriate languages, therefore provides what may often be the best available substitute. Focusing on biblical principles and basic applications, this volume largely transcends culture-specific distinctives. It distills complex theological concepts into simple but accurate, bite-size chunks, full of practical illustrations and insights for living.”

Please continue to pray that we can publish and distribute 6,000 books and study guides, which is very expensive. Also pray that God will continue to use this book in whatever countries he chooses to glorify his own name.

Canvassing Ukraine

Our Lord Jesus gave us the Scriptural command to go and make disciples of all nations in Matthew 28. From SCM’s earliest days as a ministry, we have taken this charge seriously, and made it our aim to remain steadfast to our vision, and be committed until this command is fulfilled. Besides making disciples, we also want to expose people to the Good News of Jesus Christ as much as possible. We believe the prophet Habakkuk, who said in chapter 2:14, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” We strive to do our part in exposing people to the Gospel, and educating them about God’s love, all for God’s glory!

I am pleased to inform you since this past May, SCM has been able to distribute an additional 2900 copies of my theology book The Way to Restoration (and its companion study guide) to the students and faculty of many Christian colleges, churches, and through various outreach events. It has been a joy seeing people use this resource in a variety of ways.

Hopefully, many additional churches will use this book in the future to educate their people on the essentials of the Christian faith. If you are interested, at the end of the letter is a list of locations where we have distributed this book since May.

My next book, The Way to Intimacy, discusses ways Christians can grow closer to God through the spiritual disciplines (prayer, fasting, etc.). It was completed in early September, and I am waiting for the professional editor to return the manuscript, and for my former Seminary professor to do his theological review of the book. The English version will go to print this upcoming January and the Russian version in February. If all goes as planned, we will distribute this second book to these same schools in April!

Transcending Culture through Education

We recently completed teaching my latest theology book, The Way to Intimacy, to three churches in Kharkov. As we were hoping, the book has transcended cultural barriers and is making an impact upon the lives of our students!

The early feedback we are receiving is that this second book is more widely received and accepted than my first book, The Way to Restoration. Despite its recent printing, even people in America have begun studying it and are enjoying the content very much.

In Ukraine, all but one Christian college and Bible institute (that we have spoken with so far) has approved The Way to Intimacy for their student body. If Yura Davudov is any indication of what we can expect, I believe God will use this book as a resource to draw many people closer to him, reach the hearts of many, and help develop their spiritual maturity in Christ. Please read Yura’s testimony below.

A MESSAGE TO YOU FROM ONE OF OUR THEOLOGY STUDENTS

 

Hello,

My name is Yura, and I minister at Source of Love Church here in Kharkov, Ukraine. When our senior pastor decided to study Ron’s latest book, The Way to Intimacy, within our church, I was not very open to the idea of attending another course—but apparently, God had other plans.

When I hesitantly attended the first lesson, I came with a lack of enthusiasm. In retrospect, I am glad that I suppressed my emotions and came to the class anyway, because God touched my heart in amazing ways beginning with the very first class.

Week after week, I anxiously awaited the next lesson and eagerly anticipated what new topic I would study for my spiritual development. Each subject was interesting, spiritually important to my walk with Christ, and taught me necessary things for my spiritual development. I was especially drawn to the topics of prayer, meditation, and fasting.

I had previously attended Bible school and I had learned many important things during that period of time. But without a doubt, I have learned more from Ron’s book and course than I ever experienced in Bible school! Not only has this book influenced my spiritual walk with Christ, but it has helped me in my ministry too. When I met Ron in person, I gleaned even more wisdom that I have applied to my life. Thank you very much for Slavic Christian Ministries! – Yura Davudov

While I enjoy this testimony, perhaps Yura is being too gracious to me. And without a doubt, I am very grateful to our theology teacher, Kostya Deneka, who does an excellent job teaching in Russian and making the subject interesting to our students. Nevertheless, I do believe that Yura’s response bodes well for the content of the book.

With your help we will be able to publish and distribute 3,000—4,000 copies to students across the entire country of Ukraine this Fall. I have taken the step of faith and decided to publish additional copies of my book this July (2008). That way the books will be ready by September.

The Way to Righteousness

RON’S NEW BOOK IS HERE!


After another year of research, writing, and editing, my third book, The Way to Righteousness, is finally in print. In appreciation for your encouragement and support, I am including a copy of my book with this update as a gift to you. Let’s have some fun and call it a “spiritual stimulus package”; to help you grow closer to the Lord!

Rev. Darryl “Bud”; Sparling, former Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination, has given it a generous recommendation. He says:

“After writing two clear-eyed works: the first on the essentials of the Christian Faith, what it means to become a true believer in the triune God, and a second very helpful manual on the praxis of Christian Spiritual Disciplines, Ron Putnam now deals with the crucial topics and issues that we need to pursue in order to grow into the sort of people who live lives reflecting the righteousness of Jesus. In a profoundly simple fashion, Ron points out the significance of the choices we make. This is a valuable resource that will take you deeper.”;

I hope his words will encourage you to take a look at the book. If so, may it be a blessing to you!

Because of God’s graciousness to SCM, we will soon be printing several thousand copies of the Russian version of all three of my books—The Way to Restoration, The Way to Intimacy, and The Way to Righteousness—within the next few months. Then, we will distribute all three books to the students and faculty of the key Christian colleges all across Russia. I am eager for this opportunity because it will be our first chance to reach this country for Jesus! We are looking forward to discovering how far-reaching these resources will be used for God’s glory!

The Blessing of Obedience

“Hello, my name is Alexandra and I am 26 years old. I attend a non-denominational church called ‘Source of Love,’ and serve on the worship team. For three years now I have been taking Ron Putnam’s theology courses (studying all three of his books). I love the lessons very much, and look forward to each week’s topic. I particularly enjoy when Ron comes to Ukraine and visits our class because he makes his subjects come alive.

Allow me to share with you how our theology lessons have impacted my life:

After studying two lessons on the topic of “Obedience,” I was completely transformed in my walk with God and my attitude toward the church, my parents, and employers. Before, I was quite arrogant and displayed a somewhat cocky attitude. I often spoke disrespectfully toward other people in my life. Although I am embarrassed to admit it, this attitude caused a few problems in my life.

But after coming to this realization from studying Ron’s chapter on obedience, I was dramatically changed, which positively affected all my relationships. I now feel love like never before from the people around me as a result of my transformation. Because of my obedience to God and changing my attitude toward others, I have seen God usher many blessings of into my life!

Thank you for making a difference in my spiritual growth through your support of SCM. You are a blessing to me!” – Bakulina Alexandra

What a wonderful example of how simple obedience to our Lord brought untold riches of joy to Alexandra’s life! This is just one of many success stories of how God is using our ministry to transform lives through our theological courses and resources! Alexandra’s life and many people like her would not be touched, transformed, and blessed without your generosity and prayers.

It is Vital to Spend Time With God!

Hello, my name is Nadia, and I am one of the leaders at Good News Church in Nova Vodalaga, a town about 45 minutes drive from the city of Kharkov.

I want to express my gratitude and describe what a huge blessing the theology lessons are to me and to our church. I look forward to each lesson because they truly help me grow in my knowledge of God.

Ron’s theology books are excellent resources to help me understand the Bible better. In fact, I keep his books on my table so I can read them when I have time. When I open them I find something new and interesting. Not only do they offer helpful information, but show me how to make it practical in my life.

Before enrolling in these theology courses, I tried to serve our Lord faithfully, but I didn’t spend much time with him in prayer or reading my Bible. But after attending these lessons, I discovered that it is vital to spend time with our God, and now I make it a regular practice to enjoy him more.

In Ron’s book The Way to Intimacy, I really enjoy the chapters on prayer, meditation, and simplicity, but I especially like the chapter on solitude and silence because it taught me how to listen to God. Thank you very much for these lessons and Ron’s book! – Nadia Losko

Friends, Nadia is a typical theology student. Many of these Christians are beautiful people who have a sincere love for Jesus, but they need to grow in their knowledge and depth of relationship with him. Week by week and month by month, God is graciously using our courses to transform lives and build strong disciples who passionately love their Savior even more after taking our courses.

Please pray that all of our students will be deeply rooted in our Lord through our books and theology courses. Our goal is to produce faithful and mature followers of our Lord Jesus!

I would also like to report that this past week we performed our first medical mission outreach. It was a grand success! I will be giving you an updates about this new outreach in January! Thank you for your continued love, prayers, and sacrificial giving. We truly “thank God” for you during this upcoming Thanksgiving season (and all year long)! Because of your help many people, like Nadia, are being transformed into mature Christians!

Forgiveness Has Set Me Free!

Hello, my name is Anya, and I am 23 years old. Many years ago, when I was still a child, my mother became a Christian, and we became members of Good News Church in Nova Bavaria, which is a suburb of Kharkov.

I noticed that through the years my mother had matured as a Christian, while I remained dormant in my spiritual life. With the passage of time, my mom eventually became a leader within the church, while I was busy doing other things, I guess. Over the past three years, I noticed that my mother had “matured considerably” while attending Slavic Christian Ministries’ theological courses. My mother always came home inspired and overjoyed by Ron Putnam’s books.

My mom constantly invited my husband and me to these courses, but for some unknown reason, I was hesitant to attend. But after waiting several years, I decided that I needed to take my Christian faith more seriously, so I agreed to join my mother for this year’s theological training. We are currently studying the book The Way to Righteousness. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I am enjoying this course. I particularly enjoy the chapters on Faith and Forgiveness!

These two subjects have been a great help for me to understand the importance of forgiving other people and trusting God daily. Because of these two teachings, I have begun to trust God much more in my life, and I have placed a much greater value on forgiving other people too.

For years now, I have struggled with anger and forgiveness toward the Vorsklov family. The father killed two of his four daughters (my friends), and then he committed suicide afterward. I remember my pastor telling me “That we must learn to forgive this family for our own spiritual health,” but it has been extremely difficult for me to do. Now, I can see more clearly the importance of biblical forgiveness.

I want to thank you for helping me mature and for allowing us to have these wonderful lessons. May God abundantly bless you! – Anya Lanina

What a wonderful example of how God is using our courses to touch lives and instill Christian virtues! And by God’s grace, he has allowed our Christian resources to bring greater peace into Anya’s life! I hope he will continue to heal and bless her!

Please continue to pray that many more people like Anya will understand the concepts of love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, because everyone needs these from our Lord within a culture where revenge, grudges, and unforgiveness rule the day.

Please be encouraged that your love, prayers, and sacrificial giving are changing lives, one person at a time. Since our inception, the Lord has touched over 8,000 lives through SCM, if you include everything we have done. So you are making a difference — Just ask Anya!

Discovering Many New Things

Hello, my name is Ira. I am a member of Good News Church in Jukovskaya, which is a suburb of Kharkov. I want to pass on my sincere appreciation for your theology course where you teach me every week.

Because of your help, I have discovered lots of new and interesting biblical information that has been very necessary for my walk with Jesus. I really enjoy Kostya Deneka (Slavic Christian Ministries’ theology teacher). His teachings are always presented in interesting ways that are filled with though provoking questions.

It is without a doubt that these theology lessons have improved my spiritual life. All of this newfound knowledge has improved my relationship with God, and I have discovered the answers to many of my questions that I was searching for in my walk with God.

I also learned about a few errors that I was making in my walk with Christ. For example, In Ron’s book The Way to Intimacy, I learned not to pray in vain repetition (Matthew 6:7). Despite reading the Bible regularly, it wasn’t until I attended this theology course that my error in praying stood out to me.

Before taking this theology course, I constantly prayed repeatedly thinking I could convince God to give me the answer to my prayer. But now I know that prayer is a relationship and a dialogue between me and God. I now understand that God wants to communicate with us too!

I have discovered that spending time in solitude and silence has transformed my spiritual life for the better — and I now begin to see more answers to my prayers!

I want to thank Ron for his books, this theology course, and Kostya for being our teacher!

– Ira Darmider

Ira is just another example of the many students who are growing closer to God through our theology books and courses. So far over 22,000 copies of my theology books have been freely distributed to Christian college students across Ukraine and Russia, used to train pastors, and taught to wonderful Christians, like Ira throughout our area of Kharkov on a regular basis.

It is encouraging for me to hear how all of our hard work is transforming lives for the better. Other than when people repent and are saved, there is no greater joy for me than when people grow closer in their relationship with our Lord and Savior!

Please continue to pray that we will make a dramatic influence in the lives of our theology students, and with Christians throughout Ukraine and Russia. Please also pray for our medical mission and orphan ministries. They are doing well, but still need your prayers.

Just in the Nick of Time!

Hi, my name is Enna. I am 28 years old, and I have worked as a project manager. I have been married to my husband Aleksey for already 5 years. I love my husband, but he works many hours, including holidays and weekends. We have worked very hard at trying to protect our marriage, but work has caused us to have much stress between us.

When we discovered Slavic Christian Ministries provided free English evangelism classes, we thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to practice our English, as well as, do something together as a couple. To our great surprise, we really enjoyed this English course!

There were so many funny and interesting stories to go along with our studies. And at the end of each class we also discussed important topics about love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and many other important and relevant biblical topics.

I noticed that after each class my husband and I continued our conversation at home. I also discovered that I had become more patient, forgiving, and understanding toward my husband. It was wonderful to see how God was improving my family life with each passing month!

In a turn of events in our life, we had to move because of a new job. So we went to our English course one last time to say goodbye to everyone. But God had other plants that night! With great joy God orchestrated events and my husband and I accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior! It was such a blessing that this happened before our departure. I hope we can find a new church in our new city.

If you don’t mind, I would like to share with you the lines that I heard in class that made a great impact on me: Jesus is my God, Jesus is my Spouse, Jesus is my Life, Jesus is my all in all, Jesus is my everything! This is now true in my life! Thank you very much for pointing me toward my new Savior! – Enna

Our English teacher, Lena Miestrenko was so overjoyed when Enna and Aleksey accepted Jesus as their Lord! And she reported to me that during the teaching of this class, a total of ten people accepted Jesus as their Savior! This was an encouragement to Lena, to us at Slavic Christian Ministries, and I hope to all of you who pray and support our ministry! God bless you and thank you very much! Because of your love and sacrifice, the ministries of our Lord continue onward!

Huge Thanks!

In our next letter we will be concentrating on our orphanage outreach, but today, I would like to share with you a testimony from pastor Yuri from Serpnyeve, a village about an hour and a half from our city of Kharkov.

Huge Thanks!

Dear Slavic Christian Ministries,

First of all, I would like to give my “HUGE THANKS” for your wonderful ministry here in Ukraine. You don’t realize how much your ministry encourages us in our walk with Christ. Your teaching materials are excellent!

As a pastor, I know how important it is to invest in God’s people so they will be firmly rooted in the Lord. Your resources are not only foundational, but essential for our faith and spiritual growth.

Our church is located in a village far away from the big city of Kharkov, where you have many large churches. Because of distance and cost associated with travel, we haven’t had the ability to receive the Christian education that we have hungered to receive for a long period of time.

As the pastor in this village, I have “dreamed and prayed” to one day have someone help us learn the Word of God more adequately. When other pastors in Ukraine told me about your ministry and theological course, I had a huge desire to also have your lessons within our church. I asked your director if you would please consider traveling and teaching at our location. We sincerely prayed before our Lord for his blessing and we are so delighted that God answered our prayers to have you come to our church!

Over the past year, Ron Putnam’s book on The Way to Restoration was an excellent study tool, and I have seen the positive results within our congregation from his teaching. All the lessons are interesting, the topics are in good order, and our teacher (pastor Kostya Deneka), is understandable and interesting.

I am also delighted to tell you that a long time ago one family left our church, but when they discovered that we were going to have a theology course in our church, they came, listened, enjoyed, and have been committed attendees at the course. I am also delighted to report that they are once again worshipping the Lord faithfully in our congregation! Within a close knit community like ours, we thank God for each and every family we can minister to and love!


I am happy to report that my church and I are all maturing and excited about our faith because of these lessons. Your ministry is a huge joy for all of us. We anxiously await you every week because God has spoken to us through every lesson! Our church is growing spiritually and we definitely see the benefits to this course over the past year. We look forward to studying The Way to Intimacy next. Thank you very much!

Sincerely, Pastor Yuri

Inspired to Grow!

Dear American Friends,

My name is Vitali and I live in the state of Kharkov. I am one of the Bible students in one of the courses being taught by Slavic Christian Ministries. Currently, we are studying The Way to Restoration, by pastor Ron Putnam, which focuses upon the essentials of the Christian faith. I would like inform you that these lessons, and this book in particular, are huge blessings for our church and for my life as a believer! I can see how the Holy Spirit is using this book and our theology teacher to teach us such important things.

Each new chapter opens up new knowledge and information about God and his Word that amazes me! I can see how I am maturing as a Christian with each passing lesson. I particularly enjoy the section of the book that focuses upon our “sanctification” as Christians. I totally changed my view of Christian maturity after studying these lessons.

But more than just accumulating information, I have been transformed even more – I’ve a newfound desire to live for other people, to serve God with all of my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to be his witness in the world!

Pastor Ron, I want to thank you personally. We are maturing because of your willingness to invest in us. The lessons are simple to understand and apply in life, but very deep with Scriptural truths. Thank you very much! To show my gratitude, I have written a poem for you and those in America that are helping us here in Ukraine:

You are the ray from God,
You are shining to people in darkness,
You are the ray of hope for people who are tired and looking for help,
Let you’re shining light of Christ be bright on this dark planet,
And let your love warm those people around you. – Vitali Kisulev

Dear friends, testimonies like these from Vitali are refreshing and encouraging. They help us remember why we are all investing in this ministry! Currently, we are ministering to about 400 people this year (about 100 are theology students). By helping invest in these lives, we believe they will be deeper rooted in the Lord and expand their influence to others within their sphere of influence. To quote Karl Heim from my book The Way to Restoration, “What Jesus wants is not admirers, but disciples.” In Vitali’s case, he took the call seriously!

My Prayers Are being Answered

Hello, my name is Nikita. My hometown is Briansk, which is a city in Russia. For the past few years (since I was 18 years old), I had been addicted to drugs. When I began using drugs, I thought that it would be a good way for me to feel good about myself. I soon discovered that these substances were destroying my life. I became aggressive, offensive towards other people, stole money, and engaged in many evil activities. But it was quite obvious to me and others that I hated everyone around me and that my life was out of control. Then one day, a representative from the Christian rehabilitation center offered me a way toward freedom from my addiction. Looking at how I destroyed my life, I agreed to enter this place because it was my last opportunity for hope.

When I arrived here, I was surprised by everyone’s kindness and positive attitude toward me. After about a month, I saw myself opening up toward other people; and about four months later I became a Christian, was set free from my addiction, and I had no further desire to take any type of drug.

The greatest transformation of my character came through Slavic Christian Ministries’ theology course, where I learned about our Lord Jesus, asked him for forgiveness for my sins, and asked for spiritual, physical, and emotional freedom. God answered my prayers! I consider it a huge miracle!

Currently, I am maturing as a Christian through Ron Putnam’s book, The Way to Intimacy and by reading my Bible. Each lesson helps me to understand about our Lord and this course has dramatically changed my perspective of God. I thought God was distant, but now I see that he is a loving Father who cares for me. I absolutely enjoy every lesson, but my favorite lessons are on “prayer” and “studying.”

Because of this course, my prayer life has not only increased, but I see the Lord answering my prayers. He really does love me! And because I now know he loves me, I am reading my Bible more every day. As I make plans for my future, I want to return back to my city in Russia and begin to serve God by telling people the Good News of Jesus. Thank you and God bless you, – Nikita Shilkin

Dear friends, what a joy it is knowing that God continues to transform lives through our sincere efforts. Clearly, there is no one too far away that God cannot reach them! The Scripture in Isaiah is very applicable in Ukraine, when the prophet says, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). This is very true in Nikita’s life. God found Nikita and directed him to the rehabilitation center, where all of his needs could be met.

There is so much more to life than drugs!

My name is Matthew Ivansivka. I’m from the Lvov region of Western Ukraine. I’ve been in this Christian rehabilitation center in Kharkov for a couple of months now, but beforehand, I attended five other facilities because I constantly relapsed back into drugs. In the past, I always tried to fix myself with my own strength, but I always failed and relapsed.

After entering this location, I realized that I needed God in my life. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior, and I am seeing God transform me. I see the blessings that that come from having a newfound relationship with Jesus.

While being rehabilitated, I have read all three of Ron Putnam’s books: “The Way to Restoration,” “The Way to Intimacy,” and “The Way to Righteousness.” Ron’s second book “The Way to Intimacy” really touched my heart. We studied this book with Ron’s employee, pastor Konstantin, during Slavic Christian Ministries’ theology course.

Learning about spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation on God’s Word, and fasting, have completely transformed my life. Now I approach prayer as fellowship with the Father and more than that, I finally understand the benefit of fasting to the Lord. Before studying the theme of fasting, I used to feel unhappy and burdened when we would fast corporately. Now I am encouraged to do so! I am pleased to report that I fasted three days with other Christians with the hope that another person would have a successful surgery, which you never take for granted in my country, because of the subpar medical care.

I will forever remember how Ron, Konstantin, and Slavic Christian Ministries have invested spiritually into my life. I have become more patient, humble, obedient and mature because of what I have learned through your ministry to the Lord. Thank you for helping me see that there is so much more to life with God and I don’t have to destroy my life with drugs – Thank you! – Matthew

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