During my visit to our friends in the gospel in Odessa, I was impressed by the amount of literature which Mr Igor Zadorozhniy has distributed on behalf of the Church since he and we were brought together by the Most High. It was on a cold November evening in 1996 that Mr Edward Ross and I first arrived at his house on the outskirts of this old city. He had contacted the Church some months previously through a woman in Crimea to whom a Bible had been sent by Rev D A Ross. By following Mr Zadorozhniy’s directions we arrived at his house as smoothly as if we had been carried there – which in a sense we had been in the kind providence of the Lord.
Since August 1998, Mr Zadorozhniy has distributed (just to those who have submitted requests) about 37 500 pieces of literature. This I discovered on going through his monthly reports to assess the full extent of his work for us. He is well known at the central Post Office in Odessa where he arrives regularly every few days with his bicycle laden with the parcels of literature which he has carefully packaged for posting throughout the Ukraine. (Parcel postage rates there are much cheaper than in the UK.)
The above total included, in the Ukrainian language, 6270 Bibles, and 1382 copies of The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) bound with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. In the Russian language, which is widely spoken, he has distributed 692 Bibles, 4200 copies of the WCF with Scripture references, 481 copies of the WCF bound with both Catechisms and the other Westminster Assembly documents, 4500 copies of The Shorter Catechism, and 20 000 copies of The Children’s Catechism (a translation of The Mother’s Catechism).
In addition he has sent out 10 000 Scripture Calendars for 2001 (kindly granted by the Trinitarian Bible Society), and thousands of tracts on such subjects as the occult and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thus the seeds of truth are being steadily sown. The Church is much indebted not only to Mr Zadorozhniy but also to all those who are supporting this work by their prayers and givings. May the Lord give the increase.
For the present, Mr Zadorozhniy has ceased inserting adverts in the provincial newspapers (inviting people to request a Bible and literature) because there is a backlog of more than 200 letters awaiting his attention.
While in Odessa I arranged for the reprinting there of 10 000 copies of The Shorter Catechism in Russian with full Scripture proofs. We have also recently taken delivery there of 5000 copies of the WCF in Russian with full Scripture proofs, and 5000 copies of the WCF in Russian and bound with the Catechisms and other documents. They are both beautiful productions, copies of which are being regularly posted to those who request them.
Mr Zadorozhniy, formerly a journalist, receives many questions of a religious and spiritual nature from recipients of literature (some by e-mail). So answering these is also very much part of his work. His good knowledge of the Baptist and Pentecostal scene in the Ukraine, and of modern Arminian evangelism and of cult activities, helps him in responding to some questions. With a view to answering certain other questions he is ready to seek help, if necessary, by e-mail from one of our ministers.
During the week I had the happy task of delivering to Odessa Sick Children’s Hospital the blood transfusion machine mentioned in the last issue. (We have just received a message from Odessa, six weeks after returning home, saying that so far the machine has helped to save the lives of 50 babies.) It was encouraging to see the Trinitarian Bible Society Scripture Calendars, delivered to them on our behalf by Mr Zadorozhniy and Mr Levytskyy, hanging in the doctor’s office and other rooms. I was told that every office and ward in the hospital has this TBS calendar displayed in it, and that many mothers received a copy.
Our efforts as a Church are but a minuscule drop in the vast ocean of spiritual and humanitarian need that exists in that great country of 55 million people. Nevertheless we are sure that the Lord, having led us to work there, requires us to do what we can, while we can, for the good of the precious souls with whom He has brought us in contact – and we are sure that He is able to prosper our small endeavours. May He be pleased to do so.