Voser Report Jul-Aug ’08

Newsletter 40 (July-August 2008)

Dear brothers and sisters,

Lena and I are seriously considering visiting the US in May and June of next year, 2009. We need to be looking for new supporters and for another overseeing congregation. The congregation in Thun can continue to move slowly toward becoming self-supportive, but we do need your continual financial support still to more than 30%. We are about to decrease our financial need provided by congregations in the US under $2000 a month and we will make further steps toward self support in the upcoming years. I ask you to keep this work on your mission efforts as long as we do need it. It is a great work that I believe God uses and blesses greatly in a country in which people tend to move to greater spirituality. We need to be equipped under God’s guidance and be ready for searching hearts. That is why we need to strengthen and expand our efforts. In part this happens through the ministry of Lena and me. We ask you to pray for the continual effectiveness of our ministry efforts.

Vacation in the Ukraine and in Belarus
Lena and I spent our vacation in the Ukraine and in Belarus this summer. My wife’s birth place is in the Eastern part of Belarus, near Russia. We travelled for the first time together to her home country and visited her uncle and aunt in Mogilev. I was surprised at the good condition of the streets and houses in this last dictatorship of Europe. After our arrival we had to go through quite some registrations in the city where we stayed. It was an odd experience. One day Lena’s uncle and aunt drove us to the capital city Minsk. We also visited an impressive World War II Memorial a few miles outside of Minsk. It is a memorial cite where the people of a village are remembered who were burned in their houses, when Hitler’s army was on their way to Moscow. When we returned to Mogilev we looked for a Church of Christ in the directory of the city to worship on Sunday and found one, but when we called no one answered the phone. We went to the address that was indicated in the directory and stood in front of a seemingly abandoned old house where a dog barked at us.

Lena’s mother and aunt joint us reading the Bible on Sunday evening. We read the last few chapters of Matthew about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Lena’s aunt asked some questions and so we did have a good Bible study besides the reading. One of her questions was if she could read through the New Testament chronologically. Not really was our answer, but we encouraged her to do daily Bible reading. We hope to continue the reading and studying with her and Lena’s mother on another occasion. I was also glad to be allowed to say a prayer before meals a few times. One time when Lena’s uncle, an atheist, was at the table and I prayed he left the room silently.

Seminar on Ephesians in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine
At the beginning of July, I held a seminar on Ephesians in the church in Bila Tserkva in which Lena became a Christian in August of 2000. My wife translated the seminar from English into Russian. Some children from the neighbourhood made us change rooms because they put some nasty gas through the door of the library room. Each evening the attendance was about 10-12 people (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). We had one visitor who came to the seminar every evening. It was a young lady, an English teacher, at the age of 20-25 years. Four young people from Let’s Start Talking from Chattanooga, TN, participated also in the meetings when they did not have English students to teach. On Sunday morning I was surprised at the large crowd of about 30-40 people many of which were there to say good bye to the Let’s Start Talking teachers. I preached about testing our Christianity with three questions: do we submit to Christ? Do we serve him? Do we live what we believe? My points came out of Ephesians. We hope that this seminar was inspiring to the small congregation in Bila Tserkva and to some of the visitors.

Helping Poor People in the Ukraine
Martha Schnegg, 61, who is a member in the congregation in Thun made some clothes for Ukrainian children (see picture in the E-Mail). We appreciate her serving poor children. We took them and used clothes with us to the Ukraine in our backpacks. In the Ukraine we received pictures and artwork from an organisation for an exhibition in Thun. The money will benefit orphan children. In a later newsletter I will write more about our benevolence efforts.

Working on an Old Testament Survey
In August I started teaching an Old Testament Survey on Wednesday evening. It consists of 12 lessons plus and introductory lesson. I limited the space to one page per lesson. I thought this may be helpful as a compressed overview over the Old Testament. It should be beneficial for beginners, but it is also designed as a tool for long time Christians. In November I plan to edit the text so that it is ready to be put on our Internet page and may be used by German speaking churches. I would like to spend more time in writing on subjects that may be important for growing and strengthening churches. I am seeking God’s guidance that I may produce writings in future times that may be a blessing to people.

Church News on People
Alice Gugger, 84, who was baptised in fall of 2007, receives now intense care by one of her Christian daughters, the preacher’s wife of the congregation in Basel. She was moved to Basel. Christine Schwertfeger, 41, who moved to another part of Switzerland for work two years ago, will return to the area of Thun in December. We will be glad to have her back in our community. Regina’s pregnancy is going well so far. She is expecting the baby at the beginning of January. We continue to have a Bible study with her every two weeks and every Sunday she attends church in Thun (almost a one and a half hour travel time).

Prayer Requests:

  • -effectiveness of the ministry efforts of Lena and I
  • -James Ferguson and his growing in faith
  • -our teenagers
  • -looking for a permanent place to worship on Sunday and for Bible study on Wednesday
  • -financial aspect of the work
  • -continual effect of the seminar and ministry to people in the Ukraine and in Belarus

Please, send any one time or monthly funds to:
Park Avenue Church of Christ
5295 Park Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38119-3543

Grace and Peace,
Ivan + Lena Voser, ministering in the Church of Christ in Thun, Switzerland

E-Mail Address: voserivan@hotmail.com

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