Ministry Day Seven – Chernihiv


Our final concert is in the books. We sang for a very enthusiastic audience tonight. We even got a Russian hand clap after Jon Ratzlaff finished the solo on Change In My Life. 

The hall was very nice and had an opera house feel and look to it. We were pleased to see every seat full tonight. That would put the attendance at 1,000 plus people. 

Michael shared with us just before the concert that in this city of 300,000 there are only about 1,000 Baptist and 1,000 other Evangelical faiths. There is a great spiritual need in this city. 

After the concert he also informed us about several people who came from the country of Belarus. They drove about an hour an a half and had to wait at the border for four hours to get in the country. They will do it all again to go home tonight. They are special friends of the Gott’s and wanted to come hear us since we were close to them. 

We have done our best every night to exalt and honor the Lord as we sing. He has been lifted up in each place and the Lord has done amazing things in the lives of the Ukrainians. We praise the Lord for 424 who responded to the call to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in tonight’s concert. 

After a two hour bus ride, we are now back to the hotel in Kiev just before midnight. We really won’t sleep tonight since the buses will leave at 3:00 am to take us to the airport. From there we all fly various routes and flights back through Europe and arrive back in Texas Friday late afternoon/night. 

Pray for our safe travel home. Begin praying now for the 6,511 people who indicated a response to Christ during this mission. Pray for the local churches that will now do the important work of following up with each person. Pray that that many of these will indeed become a sincere follower and disciple of Jesus. 

Also please pray for our guys who will step back into their pulpits Sunday to lead in worship with only one day to recover from the jet lag. Pray for their ministries as they come back to busy family, work, church life and other responsibilities. 

It has been a joy to write and update this blog once again. Thanks to all who wrote comments and sent kind words my way. Perhaps we can meet face to face sometime. Come see us at a SMOT concert when we are near your area. I’ll be in the orchestra area playing French Horn. 

Speaking of that we have our final regular season concert on Thursday, May 11 at Austin Baptist Church in Austin, TX at 7:00 pm. Would love to see anyone who can come join us. Go to our main website for info and directions. smonct.org

Once again YOU served a vital part of this mission as you prayed for us. Many of you gave money either to SMONCT or to one of our guys directly. We are grateful and say THANK YOU. 

Hopefully in the coming days and weeks we will update a bit more and add some other photos and videos before we put a final wrap on this edition of the Mission Blog. 

Wishing God’s richest blessing on each of you. 

On the Road Again … Final Time

We are loading up for our final road trip of two hours to Chernigov. We will be about 50 miles from Chernobyl. It is a Russian Orthodox Church stronghold. It is a place Singing Men have not been before. 

The past couple of days the respiratory bug has swept through a good number of our team. Pray for us that we will be strong not only in voice but in physical strength and stamina tonight for our final concert. 

Pray that all 1,000 seats will be filled and that as Michael shares the simple gospel message one more time the Lord will draw to Himself many, many people. 

Michael challenged us all today that regardless of our age God still has plans and a purpose for our lives. It is never too late for a miracle. We are claiming that tonight. 

Once again thank you for your prayer support. Let’s all pray over the next several hours . . . Lord, do it again!

Ministry Day 7 – Kiev

It is Chernobyl Day here in Ukraine. 31 years ago on this date, April 26, 1986 life in Ukraine changed for many thousands of people. It is still remembered here. Some of our team have toured the Chernobyl Museum today and have a better grasp on how that disaster so many years ago really affected the very area we are in.

This is the reason we do not have a concert here. Back in 2012 when we were here and had a concert on this day it was met with some mixed reaction from the Ukrainians. This time around as we put the schedule together, we arranged to be off this night.

It has been a day of rest, discovery, & sightseeing of this delightful city.

The concert last night was very good. This is the largest hall that we will be in and is the most modern. Estimating the crowd is harder to do in this setting. We will say there were around 3,000 in attendance. We do know that 1,301 of them filled out a response card and registered their response to Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord.

We prepare for our final day in Ukraine tomorrow and our final concert. It’s hard to believe this mission is coming to an end. Tonight is the last full night of sleep we will get before we are all home back in Texas. (Thursday night will be late getting back and we leave very early in the AM to head to the airport.)

Thanks for your continued prayer for us. I will try and post the results of tomorrow’s concert as soon as I know them. In the days after we get back, I will also try to post some video that I have not been able to do this time around.

Hope everyone at home has a great Wednesday.

 

Tuesday Night Update – Kiev

Our concert in Kiev was great. Had a good sized crowd, was not a full house, but at 3,700 seats and being in Kiev, that was a tall order to fill it full.

I don’t have the numbers or pictures yet so will post that tomorrow.

There is a change in our schedule for tomorrow that may not be reflected on a Prayer Guide copy you may have. Originally we were going to do an informal concert at the Dom Evangelia church, but the leadership of that church felt it would take away their people from attending tonight’s concert. So our day tomorrow is a free one for the most part. It is a welcome respite and will be nice to not have to be on a bus tomorrow.

We still want you to pray for us, just wanted you to know that we did not have that event that made some earlier editions of the Prayer Guide.

Pray for our team as they relax and reflect on our days together. Pray that as we go about the area that we will have opportunity to show and share Jesus.

We have one concert left on Thursday night in Chernihiv.

Till next time.

Ministry Day 6 – Poltava

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Good morning from Kiev, Ukraine!

It is a gorgeous morning here in the capital city of Ukraine. We had an unplanned morning after arriving at 1:15 am this morning. We head to one of the key Baptist churches in Ukraine, Dom Evangelina Baptist Church for an early afternoon lunch and devotion meeting. We have our Kiev concert tonight at 7:00 pm (11:00 am Texas time) at the National Palace of Culture “Ukraine” that seats 3,780.

If you have been keeping up with our travels you know that yesterday was our longest travel day of the trip and we are glad it is behind us. We headed to Poltava after a brief city tour of Kharkiv where we were shown a memorial park to the Ukrainian soldiers who died in World War 2. A local pastor was very informative as he shared about the struggles that continue here in Ukraine. Kharkiv was a city that rebuked the Russian invasion three years ago. There is a group of Christians, led by Baptist pastors who gather in the main square to pray for their country.

We then headed to Poltava and had lunch at Central Baptist Church. We also had our daily devotional with Michael Gott. His word to us was that to do evangelism we must heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 12. What we are doing is robbing the strongman – Satan. We do all this in Jesus name, through the blood of Jesus and in the authority of Jesus.

The concert hall in Poltava was once again full and the audience listened enthusiastically to us sing and to Michael preach. We are grateful for the 757 who responded to Jesus Christ last night.

We enjoyed a nice dinner bag on the bus as we headed toward Kiev. We arrived tired and weary, but still eager to press on with our two remaining concerts. For many of us that have been on SMOT trips to Ukraine, coming to Kiev and this hotel almost feels like coming home a bit. We refresh a little today and are excited about our venue tonight. This is one of the largest concert halls we have ever sung in. The stage is massive. When the statewide group was here in 2015 the hall was not totally full. Pray that many will come this time to hear the Gospel message that Jesus loves them, that He died for them and wants to have a personal relationship with Him.

Blessings on your day back in Texas (or wherever in the world). Pray for many souls to find Jesus tonight.

Arrived in Kiev

It is 1:00 am in Kiev and we are nearing our hotel. We survived the day. 

Concert in Poltava was another packed house of around 1,100 people. 757 of them indicated a response to Christ tonight. 

Will post more and pictures after we get some sleep. 

Thanks for all your prayers. 

Ministry Day 5 – Kharkiv

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14 But thanks be to God! For in union with Christ we are always led by God as prisoners in Christ’s victory procession. God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. 15 For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. 16 For those who are being lost, it is a deadly stench that kills; but for those who are being saved, it is a fragrance that brings life. Who, then, is capable for such a task? 17 We are not like so many others, who handle God’s message as if it were cheap merchandise; but because God has sent us, we speak with sincerity in his presence, as servants of Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Our journey now has taken us to the eastern part of Ukraine, about 20 miles from the Russian border. Our trip to Kharkiv yesterday was much smoother than the previous days for which we were most grateful.

On our past trips we usually will attend and sing at a local church service on the Sunday morning we are here. Because of the distance we needed to travel and the fact we had a 6:00 pm concert we did not do that this time.

Just because you can’t make it to church doesn’t mean you can’t have church where you are. Each bus had their own time of worship and devotion. We all sang the same songs and read the same scripture followed by a brief devotion and then a sweet time of prayer together. The passage quoted above was the key passage for our time yesterday.

What a great thing to know we are a sweet fragrance to the Lord as we go and minister in His name. We are doing our best to not handle this wonderful Gospel like cheap merchandise.

IMG_0133We unloaded and had lunch at our hotel in Khariv and had a couple hours to rest and prepare. We are in a very nice hotel as most of the more budget hotels simply don’t have enough rooms for our group. Our dollar goes a long ways here. While the accommodations are nice, we certainly don’t want to lose sight of our purpose here. As I look right out my window, it’s easy to see the poverty and suffering that still is around. This city is the second largest in Ukraine and is home to several universities and science academies. It does have a different feel than the others we have been to before.

The concert was fantastic last night. The place seats 1,800 and there was every bit of 2,000 there, perhaps even more. God’s spirit was very evident and we have recorded 1,277 who have positively responded to Jesus Christ last night. The crowd hung around and our group enjoyed visiting and taking pictures.

As we came back to the hotel, we took the opportunity to make a video we hope to use in the future. This hotel has a huge foyer/atrium area with all the floors looking into it. There is also a grand piano so we circled up and sang Come To Jesus before we headed to dinner. I’m sure if you look on Facebook you will see it posted.

We were surprised when we got to the concert and found out about the live stream. We really did get the link just minutes before concert time. The link still is working and you can see the replay. It is missing the first and last songs, but you can get the general feel of what we are doing each night. Here is the link again in case you missed it.

Singing Men in Kharkiv, Ukraine April 23, 2017

We once again load up and head to Poltava (2 hour drive) today for our concert tonight. Following that we drive to Kiev (4 1/2 hours). This puts us at our final hotel and will be nice tomorrow morning. Tonight, it will make for a long day.

Pray for our stamina and strength, we have three concerts left and this is the hardest day travel wise. Pray that we will be able to bring the same energy tonight that we have the previous concerts. Pray that God will once again stir the hearts of people to come to Him.

Thanks for all the comments, prayers and support. Next time I post will be from Kiev.