Convicts and Cheaters
What do convicts and cheaters have to do with the International Reformed Theological Seminary in Donetsk, Ukraine? Well, they have a lot to do with it. This September I asked our new students to introduce themselves and tell us something about their backgrounds. The oldest student, Evodna, said he was 42 years old and had spent 17 years in prison. He is an excellent student and smiles all the time.
I taught Homiletics and one of the students used an interesting sermon illustration. He was a Junior in college when he was converted and he realized he could no longer pay his teachers for passing grades (a usual practice in Donetsk).
Now what do these two men have in common? They both had dramatic conversions and they are overcoming great difficulties to study and be approved workmen of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Covenant of Grace Reformed Church
Another new student, Anatoly, started classes in September with one of his main goals being to help RITE with our new church. Covenant of Grace Reformed church had its first service on September 9th. We rented a small room and we had 28 adults in a standing room only situation. We are looking for a larger place for worship. Of the 28 adults we had four male Muslim students from Syria. They went to the church office after the service for a time of fellowship and desserts to eat, but they remained non-committal about themselves. Many of the people that came did not know what reformed was, but they will find out with time. Rev Artyom did an excellent job of preaching and conducting the service. Our Lord has been gracious to allow us to be part of the beginning of this reformed church after just four years in Donetsk.
Gift Of Books
Through some special donations we were able to purchase some theological books that are printed in Russian. We purchased 25 copies of the following: Calvin on Romans &Galatians, Matthew Henrys commentary on the New Testament (6 vol), Matthew Henry on Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, The Westminster Shorter Catechism &Commentary, Thomas Watsons, Doctrine of Repentance, Octavius Winslows, The Work of the Holy Spirit and Spurgeons 4th book of Psalms. We got 30 copies of the Heidelburg Catechism. We purchased three copies of William Guthries, The Christians Greatest Interest and Thomas Watsons Heaven Taken By Storm. The last two sets were for our seminary library. We also purchased about 10 copies of the Geneva Study Bible and Calvins Institutes for those who lacked the Bible or the three volume set of Calvins work. We certainly appreciate the special gifts to purchase these books. Now for the first time students will have theological books at home for their personal study.
In September we had the pleasure of having two ladies from Canada visiting classes and some orphanages. Mrs Thea VanDixhoorn and Mrs Anje Boer were there for about a week. I think they were tired when they left, but they saw a lot and met our present students and some past graduates.
Dr Merle A Messer, email@example.com Cell 24/7 1-601-573-8974