Date: 31-03-03
Articles written by: Joshua and Maurie Hanauer

Itís Just Life

Joshua: We knew it would happen sooner or later. We knew that eventually we wouldnít have anything new and exciting to write about. We knew that living in Kyiv would become just like living in Nashville or Cincinnati. Maurie and I are finishing up the month of March here in Ukraine and life here has become normal life. We are not bored nor are we too busy. We are just living life, and sometimes itís hard to write about normal life and make it something that people would want to read.

This last week we had a special guest with us, an American from Texas. Larry Foster has been to the Holy Land several times and has well documented evidence of taking those trips. He works as a minister for a church in the States, but he also travels around the globe meeting with churches to talk about his trips to Israel, and to show off his extensive slide collection. He gave three presentations last week, which were very popular with the Ukrainians. Maurie and I talked about how sometimes when you read the Bible, it can become just another story. But when you see the pictures of where Biblical events took place, it makes it much more real.

Aside from having Larry in town, life continues as usual. Here in Ukraine we shop, just like in America. Here we go for walks by our river, now that it is not frozen over anymore. We eat, sleep, prepare lessons, deliver lessons and study to get ready to prepare more lessons. The grind of it all can take over, but we find ways to make it fresh. Right now I am working with Sasha Kuzmenko to prepare a special lesson on resurrection. I want to help Sasha gain some confidence in his public speaking abilities. For me, there is no better way than to just get up in front of people and do some speaking. However, there is something else that makes this lesson special. I figured if Sasha is going to preach for the first time, then I am going to preach in Russian for the first time. So, we are going to preach together. He is going to take responsibility for the bulk of the lesson and I will take about seven minutes. I am working right now to get the manuscript written for my section so that I can memorize the Russian version that my friends and I are going to translate together. We are slated to preach on the 20th of April (the day the West celebrates Easter). My parents will be here and I imagine it will be strange for them to have to have their sonís words translated for them. I am looking forward to it.

Maurie: I have recently begun two Bible studies at the UEC. One, which has been a special blessing to me is a study of the gospel of John with two university students. Masha Yakimchuk is a freshman at ICU and has been involved with many activities at the UEC since we arrived. I approached Masha at the start of the semester and asked if she would be interested in a personal Bible study. She accepted and asked if she could bring a friend. Her friend, Nastia Spirina, is from the National Pedagogical University. During our first meeting I asked them why they decided to accept my offer for a Bible study. What interested them? Nastia explained that Masha had invited her to Home group, where they frequently had Bible discussions. She said that she had never read it before so she wanted to learn more about it. Masha agreed that her involvement with Christians at the Center had spurred an interest in the Bible, and her Bible classes at ICU had been her first encounter. We have now had three studies and as you may know, the first three chapters of John are quite difficult, especially for those who have never read the Bible before. We have gone back to the Old Testament to understand Johnís references to Elijah and Moses. We have discussed why Jesus allowed himself to be killed, and why it was necessary. We have talked about what the kingdom of God really is. Both Masha and Nastia were present for Mr. Fosterís archeological presentations, and from their physical reactions and from talking with them later, I know it had a positive impact on their search for what they believe.

We continue to be blessed by our interactions here, and pray that we will learn as much as we can in our remaining months. Thank you for your interest and support in what we do.

Maurie with Polina and Artem, UEC staff