One question I was frequently asked while in Ukraine recently was, "What do you think about the election?" I wondered if there was something going on there which I was unaware of. But, they were referring to our own presidential election. I thought in Kiev I had escaped all that.

The Motherland Statue in Ukraine was built just prior to the fall of the U.S.S.R.  Note the hammer and sickle on her shield. 

The Motherland Statue in Ukraine was built just prior to the fall of the U.S.S.R.  Note the hammer and sickle on her shield. 

Ukrainians are understandably concerned about our election because it could have a significant impact on their war torn country. They are aware of the failure of the current administration in honor protection treaties when invaded. They were also aware of Donald Trumps statements and his connection with Vladimir Putin. 

My usual answer was that it was perhaps the most difficult election cycle I had ever seen.  Most of us expected Mrs.. Clinton to be a candidate but few expected Mr. Trump to become the Republican nominee.  Both candidates had negatives that seemed to clearly outweigh their positives.  I said that Christians were in a quandary as to what to do or who to vote for. I usually pointed out that these may be signs of the times of the nearing of Christ's return.  He did warn about such troubled times. 

We are on the eve of an unprecedented election. We must look to Scripture for direction and be in much prayer as this election happens.  Pray for our country.  Things can change quickly like they did in Kiev.  The great Motherland Statue pictured here reminds me of our Statue of Liberty.  Communism built it as an emblem of the U.S.S.R..  But, a few years later the whole country fell apart. Some today want it demolished. The "eternal flame" at the war memorial near by now is only lit on special occasions now due to the cost of gas. Who knows what the future holds for them or us?  

Pray for the candidates and for God to be glorified in it all as He continues to be our ultimate King.  Pray for the church as we continue to be a light on a hill that won't go out.

For a little more insight on this I suggest you listen to Dr. Al Mohler's commentary from a Christian perspective for today on the matter of the election.  Click on and then on The Briefing 11-07-16 for Monday. 

Pastor Mark


If an eagle symbolizes America, then what symbolizes Ukraine? It is the trident seen on my shirt here. But, what is it?

It is not an anchor but a stylized falcon from the time of Prince Vladimir the Great (980-1015) who first ruled in Kiev (Kievan Rus). Falcons are quick and alert much like our eagle.

The golden wheat and blue sky are the national colors.  Clearly the rich soil and good growing seasons have made the Ukraine the bread basket of this part of the world.  No wonder others want this productive land. My shirt is a gift from our associates here, the Sagadeyevs. They are also co-grandparents of our grandkids here. 

Our weekend in Odessa was productive too.  Sunday Caleb and I were at the Skinniya Church in the downtown. Their building, a store front, is smaller than our barn but packed full of people. During the week the building is productive also as a Bible book store. I spoke here on the resurrection.  Some Tatar believers from South Ukraine testified also about the first Bible in the Tatar language just produced. The director of education for all South Ukraine was also visiting and had lengthy discussion with Pastor Oleg afterwards.  Pray!

In the afternoon we visited an old Soviet resort where now about 500 war refugees are housed. The sun came out so we had the first outdoor service of the season.  Vladimir Sagadeyev organizes this regular outreach and provided portable sound and music which brought residents down from the old hotels nearby to see what we were doing.  What an opportunity for the gospel to such needy people.

Monday we relaxed until noon and then met our long time ministry associate, Velodia Motovilian and his family from the village of Makarovo. They came to have lunch and talk.  Our Ukraine Fund will assist them in doing a VBS this summer. They also have invited us to a special 25th anniversary celebration in October.

Minutes later we also met with Vasiliy and Olga Kaletnik to talk ministry for a few more hours.  Fortunately we were able to help sort out some financial matters and discuss future ministry.  We feel humbled that the Lord has put together such an amazing ministry team in this place that needs the gospel so much.   

We bid our missionary son Caleb's family goodbye in Odessa as we boarded our overnight train to Kiev. We'll spend a few days with our missionary daughter Rachel's family and then fly home. All in all I have gone boarder to boarder in all four directions and spent four nights and a day (53 hrs.) on trains doing it. Thanks again for praying for us during this amazing time of ministry and family fellowship in this amazing borderland of Ukraine.