Dr.Jacob Patriyuk Kharkov UBF
"As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. 'Follow me,' Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him."
I thank God who was with us during our Bible Academy which we held on November 4-5 and blessed it by his word and presence. In the beginning we needed to decide whether to participle in Kiev UBF conference or to hold our own. Personally I want to participate in the Kiev UBF one, because it was more easy. I remembered how hard was to serve our Academy last year, which I prepared only with my wife with no helper from Kharkiv UBF. But this time we had 2 faithful sisters and during the preparation meeting Sveta, Olya and Shs. Joan of Arc said they wanted to hold our own conference and promised to be good helpers. They wanted to learn the sense of responsibility and the spirit of serving. We also wanted to invite some new sheep, which is more easy if we held our own Kharkiv conference, than to invite them to Kiev. So I repented my fear before difficulties and decided to serve sacrificially with a pioneering spirit the Kharkiv Academy. We were going to have a small Academy with some sheep from Kharkiv and 5 guests from Kiev. But Dnepropetrovsk UBF decided to participate with us and Kiev center sent not 5 but 15 persons. I learned that our God is the great God. He sent from Kharkiv 10, Dnepropetrovsk 4 and Kiev 15 – a total 29 participants.
Our Fall Academy last year was titled "Vision and hope" and was held mainly for us, so we may renew our vision and hope for our land of mission because during the last one and half years we had only one faithful sheep. But this Academy we decided to hold our meeting for new sheep and titled it "Follow me!" to help them to decide to follow Jesus. I thank and praise God for brothers Volodymyr, Simeon, Maxim and sister Nadya who received the word of God and decided to study the Bible 1:1 faithfully.
During 2 weeks we gathered together for prayer meetings and Academy preparation. God sent 2 new sheep – br. Volodymyr, and then miraculously s. Sveta. The messages were: "Repent and Believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:1-15, Shs. Joan of Arc, Kharkiv), "Follow Me" (Mark 2:13-17, Sh. Jacob, Kharkiv), "The Love of the Heavenly Father" (Luke 15:11-32, Sh. Abraham, Dnepropetrovsk), "Go and Change Your Life" (Gen.12:1-4, Sh. Volodymyr Popelnukh, Kiev) and "Blessed man" (Psalm 1:1-3, Sh. Jonathan, Kiev).The first four messages are about the invitation to the Kingdom of God, to be Jesus' disciples, the love of the Heavenly Father and to the blessed life. The last lecture gave us clear direction of what we should do after receiving God's calling – to study Bible faithfully.
Through my message "Follow me!" I heard Jesuss calling personally for me. I have realized God called not only new sheep, but also me to follow him. I worried about fruits, but I need to follow Jesus and to continue to receive His training and grow spiritually. I often lost my spirit because of student's indifferences to Bible study, by their lies and unfaithfulness. Jesus teaches me to understand and love them and to have faith in God who can change and use them. God also teaches me to have compassion upon them. They pretend to be independent and all-sufficient, but in reality they are unhappy and suffer inside too much. They need God's grace. S. Olya has been studying the Bible two and half years without visible change. If she doesn't want to come to SWS, she simply writes SMS 5 minutes before: "I will not come." Yet, she always comes because she thirsts for God's grace. We pray her to be the Sarah of faith in Karazin Kharkov National University.
The Saturday night message was delivered by Sh. Abraham from Dnepropetrovsk UBF. They suffered to bring even one sheep to the Academy, but God blessed them and b. Simeon had come. They are happy to serve God's mission, because they know the grace of God. We were moved by their gracious testimonies about God's work in their lives.
S. Sveta is growing spiritually. Her Black Sea is her unbelieving husband, who strongly opposes her faith. But because of this problem she is learning to pray and depend on God. She has not found love from both parents and husband, but she has found love in God in full. In this year she entered the 1st course of sociology faculty at one Kharkiv institute. Her spiritual thirst and thirst of knowledge are great. I thank God for s. Sveta heartily.
I have known b. Volodymyr durring the last one and half years, yet it was his first Bible Academy. He was really touched by the word of God and sincere testimonies of brothers and sisters. He liked Bible study and Christian fellowship. He also realized himself to be a sinner and wrote short testimonies, where he confessed his decision to follow Jesus. His short testimonies were sincere and touched our hearts.
Through Academy preparation I learned to depend on God. The night before the Academy snowfall began, so I was afraid all roads would be blocked up and we would not be able to go to the Academy place. The day before the Academy br. Volodymyr called saying he urgently needed to go home and was not able to participate. The husband of s. Sveta did not let her participate. My head was split because of these and other problem. But we gathered together and prayed to depend on God. Then God held this Academy in the best way, destroying all the obstacles, giving us beautiful sunny weather and brought b. Volodymyr and s. Sveta. He was with us by the Holy Spirit and worked in our hearts.
I thank God for Kiev UBF and their heart to participate in pioneering Gospel work in Kharkiv, for their labor and prayers. They are not rich materially and one week ago held their own conference, but 15 persons came to our Academy. Their messages, testimonies, performance, fellowship comforted us greatly. I thank God for M. Rebecca's coming and delivering her life testimony. We saw her God who led and blessed her missionary life in Turkey.
Our prayer topic: