Saturday, September 20, 2008

God Can Open Doors (Literally)

English Club
English Club last night: Edna, Oksana, Yana, Nastya, Tanya, Inna, and Serhiy

In December of last year, we began praying that God would open doors for us at the university here in Bila Tserkva so that we might reach out to people through our English Club. (Currently we are using the TV series LOST as a way to introduce Biblical truths and English language discussions.) We were also praying that at least one guy who spoke English would start coming to our English Club. It had so far been all girls and we had jokingly called it "Girls Club". It had also been in our prayers to have a permanent translator at church since Maria, who usually translates, has to come from Kyiv on Sundays and can't always be here. God has been faithful in answering all these prayers beyond what we could imagine.

First, I'll start with Tanya. She moved to Bila Tserkva with her husband Kolya so that they could both teach at the university here. Tanya has been coming to our church for a few months now and we are blessed to have her. She has offered to act as a translator whenever we need her to. Definitely an answer to prayer. Tanya is also very active in our English club and has introduced us to several English speakers from the university. One of those people is a guy named Serhiy who also teaches at the university.

Through Tanya and Serhiy, we have learned that there is a satellite campus for the university that is even bigger than the main campus and includes student and faculty housing. Last Friday, we met for English Club at the Rosava Palace of Culture (where we always meet and also have church on Sundays). We had the largest group of people show up so far. Unfortunately, there happened to be an event going on that was taking up all the rooms in the building. Undaunted, Serhiy suggested that we use one of the classrooms at the university. A few of the girls couldn't make the trip across town, but the rest of us piled into a marshrutka (shuttle van) and headed for the university.

After we walked through the front doors of one of the campus buildings and Serhiy used his keys to open the classroom door, it hit me. We had prayed for open doors at the university and God had sent someone to physically open them for us. He sent someone who also happens to speak perfect English. God is Faithful.

Our English Club, which we have moved to Fridays instead of Saturdays, is slowing growing in size, one person at a time. It is also evolving into a more fluid and more tightly knit group. Our goal is to build relationships that will allow us to share the Gospel with people on an individual basis. We have struggled with ways to make this outreach successful, but it has only been through God's leading and His provisions that we have begun to see fruit. Sadly, we have heard that some students who wanted to attend our English Club, were told by their parents that they aren't allowed to attend simply because we are Christians, but God is in control.

Sometimes it's easy to try and plan things from the world's perspective. "Things work a certain way. There are formulas and rules to be applied for success. There is a pattern and plan that must be followed in order to get results." The simple truth is that the best marketing strategy in the world can't deliver the results that God can through our earnest petitions in prayer. God is sovereign.

English Club
English Club at the university last week
Front row, left to right: Yana, Tanya, Nastya, Anya, Edna
Back row: Me, Kolya, Serhiy

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. - Revelation 3:8

3 comments:

The Larson Family said...

Elysia and I read Spurgeon's Evening by Evening every night. Here was last night's reading was called “For this child I prayed.” 1 Samuel 1:27

Devout souls delight to look upon those mercies which they have obtained in answer to supplication, for they can see God’s especial love in them. When we can name our blessings Samuel, that is, “asked of God,” they will be as dear to us as her child was to Hannah. Peninnah had many children, but they came as common blessings unsought in prayer: Hannah’s one heaven-given child was dearer far, because he was the fruit of earnest pleadings. How sweet was that water to Samson which he found at “the well of him that prayed!” Quassia cups turn all waters bitter, but the cup of prayer puts a sweetness into the draughts it brings. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet, when they are saved, to see in them our own petitions fulfilled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings than as the fruit of our bodies. Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift? When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God’s faithfulness and truth, and so be doubly precious. Have we petitioned for success in the Lord’s work? How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer! It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way, by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations. Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found him after having sought him sorrowing. That which we win by prayer we should dedicate to God, as Hannah dedicated Samuel. The gift came from heaven, let it go to heaven. Prayer brought it, gratitude sang over it, let devotion consecrate it. Here will be a special occasion for saying, “Of thine own have I given unto thee.” Reader, is prayer your element or your weariness? Which?
Sorry its' a bit long for a blog response, but he says what I wanted to say. Your post was so encouraging to me about God's soverignty of love. We rejoice with you, and continue to Pray with you/for you
Ethan

mom&popfoote said...

Wow, it's hard to follow Spurgeon, but I was blessed reading your blog and God's faithfulness.
Roxanne

Greg and Edna Silva said...

Ethan,
Thanks for the Spurgeon. It's so true what he says. Long Spurgeon responses are always welcome here. We look forward to seeing you guys back in the neighborhood one of these days.

(Totally unrelated, but I thought you'd like to know. We've learned to cut down on the "funk" factor of milk by getting it straight from the cow. We met a lady who delivers it to our door still warm whenever we need it. It's a blessing.)

Roxanne,
I'm glad you were blessed by what God is doing. It seems He may have just opened some others doors today that will be an answer to prayer concerning the creation of a local pastors association. Edna happened to run into a group of YWAM'ers who are working with a local church here in Bila Tserkva to run an English Club. They are all very interested in what we have already been doing and would like to work together. The local pastor they are working with wants to come together for prayer and joint outreaches, something we have been praying about for awhile now. God keeps surprising us.

We'll keep everyone posted as this develops so keep this all in prayer. Thanks.

-Greg