I met Yuroslav or just "Slav" at a Go Ukraine party. Though I had never been to Ukraine, Christy got me in because of her Go Ukraine experience (thanks Christy). I was introduced to Slav and immediatly noticed his strong resemblance to Mark Dever, so I knew I would like him.
Slav was the much anticipated new pastor of Central Baptist Church in L'viv, Ukraine where Clear Creek Community Church has a church-planting partnership. The young group of Ukrainian believers that we work with had been praying for a resource church to help support and catalyze the church-planting movement that they have been eager to pursue for some time. Slav was the answer to years of prayer as his heart is clearly in sending out missionaries around the former Russian-speaking world and beyond.
As Slav shared pictures of his family from Ukraine, I connected with him and we started talking about learning new languages. He knows at least three that he mentioned in passing, but probably more. I shared that I have started to study Portuguese for our trip to Brazil and he was really eager to encourage me. His English training started at the age of 21 where he would study ten words a day for three days with three review days each week. Slav took some time to motivate me into trying his method of language acquisition, and after being impressed by how well he spoke English, I told him I would start tomorrow.
The next day he was introduced to our church at our First Wednesday Gathering of the saints. He talked about Christianity in his culture growing up in the USSR. His English was clear, his story, profound. He told of how he remembers putting his little ear to the door as a child in order to hear the whispered stories of family members' imprisonments. Needless to say, he told us he was very glad to be visiting our church because he never dreamt that he would be traveling to and speaking the language of the country that was supposed to be his enemy.
Then he awed the congregation when he was asked to read Ephesians 1 in Ukrainian. Please see video below.
After the service I chatted with Slav and rattled off my ten words for the day in Portuguese. He didn't let me slide though, he made me give the definitions as well.
Thanks Slav for the encouragement.