THE last report on the work in Eastern Europe stated that it was our intention that the Levitsky family from Odessa would visit Scotland in April. In the good providence of the Most High, Mr and Mrs Dimitry Levitsky arrived safely and were present at the Laide communion.
Advice was sought at the 1999 Synod as to the propriety of granting baptism to those in the Odessa group fit to receive the ordinance, and the Synod directed Rev D. A. Ross to proceed according to the laws of the Church. Accordingly the Levitsky family appeared before the Laide Kirk Session requesting baptism for their three-year-old child. The young Ukrainian couple, having been duly examined, and being known to some in the Church since 1996, not only received baptism for their child but also were themselves received as communicant members of the Free Presbyterian Church. They gave a very good account of themselves as to having a sense of sin and a saving knowledge of Christ. They were also well versed in knowledge of the Bible and the Shorter Catechism. Mr and Mrs Levitsky wished to belong to the Free Presbyterian Church because of its close adherence to the Word of God as summarized in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms. They have returned safely to Odessa, where Mr Levitsky hopes to do further studies in English so as to be of more use in the work of the gospel in the Ukraine.
With regard to the sum of money given by our Church to Odessa Childrens Hospital, during my visit to Odessa in March, the following letter was received from the Head of the pathology department:
The Administration of the Odessa Childrens Hospital expresses its deep thankfulness to The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland for the assistance provided on March 2000. Today, Ukraine is in a great economic crisis and cannot help the sick children. A lot of our children have no parents. We are thankful to you that you have heard our call for help and assisted us to buy the sun protecting blinds for the childrens rooms etc., and the swaddling clothes for the newborn babes per the sum of £320.00. We wish you the Lords blessing. We pray that God would bless your country, the Government and your families.
Sincerely, the Head of the pathology department of newborn babies.
A similar letter was received for aid (a large amount of money) given in September 1999. The letter states:
The Doctors and personnel of the Odessa Childrens Hospital, and also sick children and their parents, are thankful from all their hearts to the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland for their invaluable assistance provided on September 1999. The hospital furniture and equipment has been distributed throughout the hospital. The medicine has been an invaluable gift, and along with food and clothing has been mainly used for children, which are destitute and have no parents.
May the Lord bless all that were partaking in gathering means for our Childrens Hospital and brought this aid here to Odessa. We will remember you all with thankful esteem always.
Sincerely yours the Hospital Staff.
At the moment we are arranging a visit to a small congregation in Romania. The leader of this group is a young man who I am told, along with other Hungarians were excommunicated from the Hungarian Reformed Church for their adherence to Calvinism. To this congregation, during the month of July, Mr George MacAskill, Inverness, and Mr Alasdair Ross, Glasgow, hope to bring a load of aid, which will include Bibles and literature.
In November 1999 the printing in Russian of 5,000 Shorter Catechisms and 5,000 of the Mothers Catechism was completed at a cost of £1,750.00
The printing of the 10,000 copies of The Westminster Confession of Faith in Hungarian is also completed at a cost of £4,650.00. The young men in Hungary and Romania already mentioned will distribute eight thousand of these, while two thousand Confessions will be distributed by the Church.
The printing in Russian of 5,000 copies of The Westminster Confession of Faith has begun and will shortly be completed at a cost of £6,814.00. Along with the Confession of Faith will be bound, in one volume, The Larger Catechism, The Shorter Catechism, The Sum of Saving Knowledge, The Directory for the Public Worship of God, The Form of Presbyterial Church Government, and The Directory for Family Worship. It is intended to print a further 2,000 copies once some costing problems are resolved.
The above mentioned work is only a part of the mission work our Church is doing in Eastern Europe. We are deeply conscious of the fact that the Word of God will fall on deaf ears unless it is accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit to the quickening of the dead and the reviving of the living. We hope therefore that our people are ever mindful of this work at the throne of Grace as well as continuing to support it with their means. It is necessary too that humanitarian aid would prove to be a true handmaid to the gospel as well as a caring for the needs of people in poverty. May the Lord in His infinite mercy give that spiritual increase which we desire and labour for.
“The Lord of us hath mindful been,
and he will bless us still” (Psalm 115:12, metrical).
(Rev.) D. A. Ross