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The Our House Ministry

Ukraine's Glory?   Ray Walker

Ray Walker is a member of The Point Church in Brisbane. Ray has served and spent time in various
ministries in Ukraine beginning in 2006, and every year since 2011. Since 2015, he’s focused his efforts on the Our House Ministry. This is a news update he provided to InterSections in early April.

Every day since 24 February 2022, I’ve contacted those I love and care for in Ukraine. Their stories
have brought me tears. You, no doubt, have seen in the media the senseless destruction caused by the war. For me, to see places I know, streets I’ve walked, and a beautiful countryside blackened and obliterated is heartbreaking. 

Even as I write this update, new evidence has emerged of atrocities committed in Ivankiv, Borodianka, Bucha, and Irpin. Besides the destruction of homes and buildings, there are photos of dead men in civilian clothes with hands tied behind their back and a bullet hole to their head. Dead young women left naked by the road on a pile of burning tyres. People next to their bicycles shot dead on the road. Reports of women gang raped. 

Are there any good things coming from this horrific, barbaric war?

My morning began with tears (again). But today, they are tears of relief and joy! Before I awoke, I received a call from Ukraine. It was Zhenya. I’ve known him since 2012 when he was a restless, undisciplined, at-risk lad attending a Christian camp. I took it upon myself to keep his short attention span focused on our Bible lessons. 

Zhenya is now 21 and a soldier in the Ukrainian army based in Odessa. He called from a Kyiv hospital to tell me he’s OK. He’d suffered a shrapnel wound to his head – an injury which happened during the battle for Kharkiv. He said he thanked God daily for his life. I thank God too that Zhenya’s childhood faith has grown, and that he’s retained some of those Bible lessons. 

This is a common theme across Ukraine: the continuing growth and strength of faith and trust in God demonstrated by a long-suffering people.

Constantly, I’m reminded that God is answering prayers. No one I personally know has lost life. 

The orphan youths I’ve worked with since 2015 at Our House escaped to western Ukraine less than three hours before Russian tanks invaded their village. The Our House Ministry was established in 2014 in response to the Donbas refugee crisis. It’s a Christian home for orphan graduates, successfully teaching life skills and Bible to young people.

Some time ago, I taught Andrei and Artyom how to drive; they ended up driving unlicensed for two days to take their family to safety.  Edic, a teenage refugee I helped in 2014, has escaped to Germany with his family; this week, he excitedly informed me that his wife, Veronica, delivered their second child there. His cousin, Marianna, also a Donbas refugee, was hiding in a basement in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine when the shelling began. She was nine months pregnant and fearful that she would give birth to their child out of hospital. God answered many prayers and she was able to have her baby boy in hospital. Marianna was especially thankful because her baby was born with excess fluid in his lungs. 

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Artyom learning to drive

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Marianna and Olekseii

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Zhenya

God is giving new life amidst death and destruction! Others I know have been able to cross borders safely and even this week one of the Our House orphans, Vova, has been gifted a flight to the United States to join a Christian home in Texas.

Further, God is being glorified through the generosity and humanitarian work of Christians, both in Ukraine and around the world. From Australia, the Tanah Merah church is purchasing a van for Olekseii (Marianna’s husband) to assist with aid distribution and refugee transport. The Cleveland church and several individuals have contributed to the Our House Ministry in order to help with food production for displaced Ukrainians. From the United States, the College church in Searcy, Arkansas, has contributed over US$320,000 for aid. 

The need is enormous, but God is providing help! You can join this effort too, if you wish, by contacting me for more information.

You may have heard President Zelensky proclaim, Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!) Indeed, Ukraine’s tenacity and resilience have surprised many and are rightly praised. But, for Christians, all glory belongs to our Father of Mercies. Slava Bohu! (Glory to God!)

Ray Walker is a member of The Point Church in Brisbane      raptoray@iinet.net.au

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SPBC’s Certificate in Chaplaincy  Rosie Atchley

In February 2022, South Pacific Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand, ventured into new territory. SPBC launched its first fully online qualification: a Certificate in Chaplaincy.

Among the six students who started the course in February, we were delighted to welcome Chris Yang from Melbourne’s Belmore Road congregation – making history as the first person to study with SPBC while based in Australia!

As a growing field, chaplaincy responds to the world’s cries for care and connection, and opens doors for Christians to minister beyond the traditional church environment.

SPBC’s new qualification comprises four integrated courses. It introduces students to the Christian chaplain’s role; it exposes them to essential skills and knowledge; and it equips them via real-world practical placements. The qualification is especially suited to those looking to enter or upskill in this kind of service. The certificate’s part-time, online delivery offers flexibility to students in Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere.

The launch coincided with another big milestone: SPBC’s 40-year anniversary. By God’s grace, since its opening in 1982, SPBC has graduated students from more than 20 nations. We’re proud to see the church in many of these places benefiting from the spiritual investment SPBC has made.

Much has changed since our beginnings. While our existing residential programs continue (as I write, New Zealand is opening its border to Australia) – the new chaplaincy course could signal more future online offerings. Please pray with us for God’s guidance as we look to serve the emerging needs of Christians and churches in the region.

Applications for the July 2022 Certificate in Chaplaincy intake are now open. For more information, visit: https://www.spbc.org.nz/study/courses/CertCH

Rosie Atchley, Tauranga, New Zealand.       rosie.atchley@spbc.org.nz

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