Dear Pastor Sunday, Pastor Bose and members of the church!
I thank God for the opportunity to address the church in the midst of the challenges we are all facing. The persecution has given us the opportunity to be strengthened, developed heading to perfection because as much as it seems that the whole world is against us, God still gives us victory.
Let me share a bit of my experience over the past few months. Early September this year (2010), I went to Holland for a Masters degree programme after receiving a scholarship; some of you may still remember my story…
Of course, I was happy, but I was harried by the fact that I had to give up my dream of going to the Canadian Parliament. This is because the 2010 opportunity to Canada was the last one and it was colliding with my studies.
When I left for Holland, my plans were not to return until I graduate next summer. This meant that all my past achievements and endeavors were left behind, but God’s plan was different. The programme organizers secured funding to extend the programme for one year and that is why I am in Kiev, on transit as one might say, for a second stage interview. I still have a semi-annual selection which I am not afraid of. One thing I know is that God gave me a second chance which I did not expect.
To some of you, this might be a very simple testimony. It is not about the magnitude of the testimony, but the fact that God’s laws are still working. If you are in a position where you think that you have exhausted all your abilities…. just, remember that our God is a God of second chances! His will reigns in every circumstance. This thought was expressed in Pastor Sunday’s sermon “When judgment has been passed…” The message was inspiring and I would strongly recommend every to everyone who feels hopeless to listen.
I learnt that God has the final say over our lives and destiny!
Secondly, I learnt that one has to be willing and ready to face challenges. On my case it was the fact that I was not used to the Western system of education not to mention learning in English, but I realized that things becomes a bit ‘easier’ when you have prepared your mind and attitude and learn to live accordingly. Challenges will always be there but what matters is what attitude one decides to face them. To prove this to you, let me tell you that I finished the first module with a score of 7.5 out of 10 points, which was reached by native students and some of which did their first degree in the same university.
For the past one and a half year, Pastor Sunday has been equipping us with strategies on how to withstand pressure/challenges and still achieve our goals. I would also like you to learn that and appreciate the opportunity you are given. Personally, the teachings I received have enabled me to be ready for any challenge knowing that they are temporary and that I should not run away from them but face them.
The third lesson is that our lives should be focused on the future, i.e. who we ought to become and where we would what to be rather than focusing on the present. Our today is a result of what we did and/or decide yesterday, thus our tomorrow is based on our today; therefore do not waste your time and continue living at the pace and in the mood of retreat, because only this way you can guarantee fulfillment of everything you planned in your written tests. I would also like to advise you start learning English; forget about your personal challenges and remember that Europe needs people who will bring revival.
Spiritually, Europe is drowning… pointing out gay lifestyles or civil marriages is being regarded as infringing of peoples’ human rights. Millions are going to hell both blacks and whites while we are fighting ourselves. Despite the complexity of issues, I urge each one of us not to be carried away with our day-to-day routines because the world is still waiting for you and me.
I have also learnt to appreciate and thank God for the Church He as given us instead of complaining. In this church we are fed ‘fresh food’ a privilege not in the West.
As I was attending services in the International Students gathering, I realized that miracles are very rare; the reason being that people have not come to a place of acknowledging God’s mighty hand, yet we here in Kiev, live in miracles which at times we doubt… This is unacceptable. I believe that God is preparing us to be witnesses of His glory and fame, but the question I am asking is that do we have the strength and patience to wait?. I know that our Pastor is strong and patient enough, what about you and me? Who has the final say in our lives…is it God or those around us?
Finally, the most practical lesson is that of declaring the coming year as The Year of volunteering and active citizenship. The state cannot cope with all the social problems within the society. It is high time non-governmental organizations and the entire society take responsibility. As children of God we can seize this opportunity in two ways:
Firstly, By identifying what project(s) we and/or our organizations can be engaged with. You can go through the EU or the UNO one-year plans which are mostly in English to give us an idea in developing projects in collaboration with Western organizations; and by the way may be some of you have acquired such experience previously.
Secondly, by accessing funds from the EU budget allocated for social projects. In as much the funds might be primarily for EU members, I believe that if we are able to produce comprehensive and competitive proposals in advance, we are anyone else will have chances of being considered. Any opportunity that will help us reach people both in Ukraine and Europe ought to be utilized fully.
Unfortunately, information about voluntary projects is very limited due to little research done on the subject but I just want you to remember that ‘he that seeks, shall find…so keep on seeking for opportunities’.
God bless you!
If you have any questions and/or comments about this article, do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
With all due respect and appreciation,
Translated by Anna Krets
Edited by June Bugenyi