SOME time ago we gave notice of our need to purchase another vehicle for the work of transporting Bibles and aid to Eastern Europe. In the good providence of God we were able to purchase a seven and half ton box van at a vehicle auction sale. It appears to be in very good shape. We had hoped to obtain an integral van but this was not possible. Messrs Alasdair MacRae and Edward Ross kindly gave of their time and expertise to assist in the purchase.
It is intended, God willing, that a visit be made to Romania in the summer in order to take the usual literature and aid, and it is hoped that Messrs Alasdair MacRae and George MacAskill will be able to go. It is encouraging to meet with pastors in Romania who are are anxious to study the theological writings of, for example, A. A. Hodge and L Berkhof, and who endeavour to preach this biblical theology in their ministry. Although we have met very few such pastors, it is one of them whom we hope to visit in summer. I believe that it is such men especially who should be assisted with literature and aid.
In those countries in Eastern Europe which we continue to visit there is still a cry for the supply of Bibles. While Bibles are available in some areas, many people do not have the means to purchase one. It is our ongoing aim to continue supplying Bibles as long as funds permit.
Preparation of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms in the Ukrainian language is now complete. We are indebted to Rev M. Fesenko, Toronto, for the translation, and to Mrs N Hopkins for preparing it for printing. These three documents will be in one volume, and it will be the second print. The first print was done by Rev M. Fesenko himself, and there was a steady demand from the Ukraine for copies. That print has been exhausted for some time, and we hope, the Lord helping us, to continue supplying the demand that continues to exist in the Ukraine for copies.
At one stage in the history of the Reformed Church in Ukraine there were hundreds of Reformed congregations but most were wiped out by Communism. Only a few remain. In Odessa, Mr Igor Zadoroshney, leader of the group there to whom we minister, took me along to the centre of the city to see the church which once had Reformed worshippers. This magnificent building is now in a bad state of repair and is used for secular activities. It is government policy to return such buildings to the original owners, but in some cases no owners are to be found. Even if they could be traced, such would be the great cost of restoring properties that it would hardly be worth their taking them back into ownership. Mr Zadoroshney was interested in the city centre church as a possible place to assemble for worship, but it seems that it would not be practical even if it were given free. Our group of worshippers in Odessa, naturally wish to obtain a place of worship rather than continue gathering in a private home.
Mr Zadoroshney has tried several times to register the group as the Free Presbyterian Church of Ukraine. While the doors are not closed to registration, it is an uphill struggle to obtain this status. There are a number of advantages in being registered, one being that the church there would be in a position to invite visitors from abroad and receive aid.
We continue to ask our people to support the work of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Eastern Europe, especially by prayer and Christian giving. Scripture tells us that the Saviour “went about doing good”. This is also the aim and hallmark of the Christian Church. We need grace to reach up to this objective more and more.
(Rev.) Donald A. Ross