Friday, January 16, 2015

My thoughts on mobilization in Ukraine

Here in Kiev many people go about their daily life relatively unaffected by the war that is tearing apart our country except for economical hardships.

With news recently about the new waves of mobilization that will occur this year, many of us, even Christians, have become more uneasy and worried about what the next few weeks will bring for us.

Here's the link to the news in Ukrainian

I understand the steps that Ukraine is taking to defend itself, but I, like many others, will find it very hard to let go of our husbands, our sons, our fathers, and stay back helplessly as we send them off to a war which we do not know if they will come back from.

I know that God has all of this in his control, and he has promised that he does all for the good of those who love him.  The hardest part for me is knowing that I am not spiritually and physically prepared right now to be without my husband.  But God knows that.  God knows how hard it would be for me, and so many other wives and mothers to let their men go to defend the nation.

My parents served in the military, and my mother in the Iraqi war, but I always believed as a young person that they would be fine.

Now I am older and I better understand the real horror of war, and a part of me is desperate to escape from all this. My mind tries to comfort me, thinking, "he will not be called because of his health", or "If we went, he wouldn't be in a dangerous area."  And as these thoughts run through my head I realize that all I need to be comforted right now, or in my future hardships is the all-sufficient grace of God.

Today I listened to a sermon called, "How God Uses Suffering" on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
The pastor focused on the deep suffering and pain that Paul was going through because of this church, and his reaction to God's response to take away this suffering.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul was an ordinary man, who God did extraordinary things through by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I'm sure that Paul's suffering in his life was worse than anything I have yet to encounter, and maybe greater than what I will encounter.  So, it is striking to me that he says he is "content" with all of his hardships and problems.  He knows that while he goes through all this stuff, that the power of Christ rests upon his weak body. This gives him strength and the ability to be content through it all.

Another verse, 2 Cor 9:8 says "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." which means that we will always have enough grace from God to go through every situation in life.

This filled me with a lot of hope, and helped me cast away the feelings of worry and despair that had started to cloud my vision.

I would ask you to pray for Ukraine: pray for peace, for an end to war, for as many soldiers to come home as possible, and that there will be no need for the future conscription of so much of the population who is not ready to go into the war.  Pray for all of our hearts that we will trust our souls to God our faithful creator, knowing that to live is to live a life for Christ, but to die is even better because we would be with him...and let us really believe this great truth.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bible Verses for Kids

In the last few months I started searching for bible verses to start to learn with one of my students.

We started with Psalm 8:1

The next week we drew a verse explaining the gospel - 2 Thessalonians 5:17

Then we moved onto several short verses from 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 16, 17 and 18

Yesterday we worked on Hebrews 13:8, which turned out to be difficult to explain the word "unchangeable" or "is the same".  But it worked out.

My student enjoys the lessons, and her parents thanked me for taking the time to work on bible verses with their daughter, saying that they could see the fruit from this already.

Since most kids like to draw, I realized this is a great way to teach biblical truths and scripture, and you don't need to be able to draw well! I you can see, I have done stick figures in all these pictures :)

In the future we'll be working on some of the following verses, which I found at this website, along with some nice coloring pages

Acts 16:31 – Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved
Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all.
Genesis 16:13 You are the God who sees.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Proverbs 14:5 A honest witness does not lie, a false witness breaths lies
Numbers 6:24 The Lord bless you and keep you
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 3:23 All people have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world.
Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.
Matthew 28:20 I am with you always.
Act 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another.
1 John 3:23 Love one another.
Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in You.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Psalm 138:1 “I will praise thee with my whole heart”
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Monday, December 22, 2014

November/December updates

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your prayers and support of Kiev Evangelism Ministry!  November was a difficult month for most Ukrainians, as most struggle with job loss and financial insecurity.  Our family is extremely grateful to God, that, while at times we were short on cash, we always had exactly enough to make it.  

In November, the biggest obstacle in our ministry is that we are still seeking the resolution to, is our car problem.  As many of you know, our car was hit by another car on the way back from the October mission trip to Eastern Ukraine. Here is the picture right after the accident. The car is currently not drivable, and we don’t know whether to repair the car, or just to sell it as it is and save money to buy a better car later.

At the time of the accident, we only had liability insurance, which means that unless the court rules that the accident was the other driver’s fault, we will not get any compensation for the damages to our car.  We also see that there is still immense corruption within the judicial system here, and it’s very possible that the other driver bribed the police officer or the judge to rule in his favor.  Right now we are currently waiting for the final court date, which they have still not notified us about.

For our family, and for the ministry of public evangelism, our car is essential, and without it, we are not able to do as much as we used to do.

Would you please pray for the court date to come before the new year, and for us to receive some financial compensation for the damages to the car? Please also pray that we would make the wisest decision about whether to sell this car and buy another car.  We do not sense clearly what God wants us to do right now.

However, even without the car we have still been busy with great ministry opportunities that God has provided.
Oles's ministry responsibilities for this winter are the following:
  1. Oles has the opportunity to preach and be a chaplain to basketball players in the Hibel Christian Basketball league, which actually consists of unbelieving players. He plans to keep being a chaplain and evangelizing there until the end of the season.
  2. Oles will lead four home groups this winter, and if the Lord wills, he may lead a new home group in the spring because our current home group is over-crowded and can't meet the spiritual and community needs of the people.
  3. Oles preached a harsh and rebuking sermon recently to the older group of kids in our church, and he thought that they would not love him after that, but we understood later that the kids actually loved it.  Oles's mentor for the kids ministry told him that his sermon was not typical for the kids.
  4. Oles also read a book about evangelizing to the Orthodox culture. After talking with our pastor Nikolay, Oles believes that soon he will start to organize a new conference to train believers how to better evangelize to the Orthodox culture here in Ukraine.

Also, this weekend, our church Almaz will host  the conference “Don’t waste your life.” The conference had so many people registering, that they ran out of space and had to permanently close registration!  What a blessing, to run out of space because so many people eagerly want to come and seek God and a life that glorifies Him more!

Friends, it is not too late to make an end-of-the-year donation to the work that GCM is doing through our ministry in Ukraine.  Would you prayerfully consider making a special gift or recurring monthly donation to GCM on behalf of Kiev Evangelism Ministry?

To give, please visit and search for “Kiev Evangelism Ministry” and click give now, or contact us for more detailed instructions.

God bless and thank you for keeping Kiev Evangelism Ministry in your prayers.

In Christ,
Oles and Jessica Skakalskyi
(Here we are last Sunday at our friend's wedding!)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Baby-friendly Berry Quick Bread

I've recently tried out a quick bread recipe I had lying around because my baby loves bread, but I want to give her the healthiest kind, which I believe is home-made.

The recipe is very versatile, and has several key elements to why I think it's baby friendly.
- no butter, and no oil - which makes this bread low in saturated fats
- no eggs - experts disagree about whether babies under 1 year can handle cooked eggs, but my daughter is over 1 year now so I don't worry about it.  Still this might be a plus for a baby whose eating finger foods who is less than 1 year old.
- low in sugar - yes, babies will love sugar if you give it to them, so I make this bread's sweetness come from the berries I add.
- high in fiber - you can completely substitute whole-wheat flour or use a percentage of rye flour if you want instead of regular flour to add fiber.

Here's the loaf I cooked yesterday, with blueberries. I've also tried it with raisins, raspberries, apples slices, and banana slices. All options are delicious, just make sure you only add the fruits you know your baby does not have an allergy to, and that she/he will not choke on.


Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Prepare two baking loaf pans by lining with baking paper or foil.  Don't use butter or oil, you don't need it.

  • 2 cups sour milk (butter milk, or 2 cups of milk with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, left to sit for 5 minutes until little curds form)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup berries, banana or fruit of choice. (be careful, raisins or large pieces can cause your baby to choke)
  • 3 cups flour ( you can mix flours o use all whole wheat here)

Make the sour milk first, then add the salt, soda, brown sugar, berries and mix well.  Then add the flour.

Pour into 2 baking loaf pans lined with foil and bake in the oven at 325 F for 1 hour.

That's all! Be careful not to give this too often, or at the beginning of a meal, or your baby might demand it all the time like mine does now. I try to reserve this for snacking on-the-go or for "dessert"

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kiev Evangelism Ministry in Action

Hey friends!

Check out A video of Kiev Evangelism Ministry in Action!

On this day we had a small team of 3 people go to the central train station to evangelize and Pass out the Gospel of John to people. 

This is one aspect of our ministry, spreading the Word of God, and talking to people About Christ! 

If you would like to support our full-time ministry, please contact us for more information about how to give or to be added to our monthly prayer letter!

God bless!

Monday, September 1, 2014

And the Ministry Team Development Begins!

As I mentioned in my last post a few months ago, we are on track to begin the Ministry Team Development process.  We've had our Great Commission Trainings last week and our ministry fund is officially open on the website.

Our ministry is called "Kiev Evangelism Ministry "Gospel of the Kingdom", which is based on Matthew 4:23 "And he (Jesus) went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people." 

Jesus's example of teaching in public places is what we have based our ministry upon.  This means we take the bible, a loud speaker and a team of people ready to share the gospel with passerbys and we go to the streets of Ukraine to preach the gospel.  This ministry is difficult, but not without rewards, and we are really excited that God has allowed us to come to this point in our life!

We need a lot of prayer from our friends and family so that we'll not become discouraged or bogged down with negative thinking during the process.

Will you please say a prayer for our ministry and support raising (Ministry Team Development)?

ps Here's a picture of our family from recently.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Full Time Missionaries

We will soon be starting the journey to full-time service to the Lord.  So far we have received the blessing from the pastors of our church Almaz to become full time ministers, and they agree and confirm our vision to spread the gospel in Ukraine through street evangelism and public bible reading.

We need to figure out the logistics about setting up an account for supporters to donate to our ministry, and then we will begin the support raising process.

Friends and family, for those who are interested in seeing first hand what we do, please look at our youtube channel  here .

In most of the videos Oles or another team member is reading the bible and preaching publicly about sin, salvation and the Lord Jesus Christ, while other team members distribute the gospel of John and talk individually with interested people who want to hear about Jesus.

Our major goal is this: to fill this city with the word of God, and thereby glorify God and see the salvation of people.

in Acts 25:27-32 Peter and the apostles are brought before the high priest and the council and the high priest accuses them:

 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.”29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

We see that Ukraine needs the word of God desperately, and this is our goal, to boldly bring it to the people.

We would ask you to please pray for us that we will trust God to provide everything along the way.

Please also spread the word about our ministry and refer us to your church and friends who are interested in supporting the spread of the gospel in Ukraine during this hard and needy time in our country.

Thanks friends and may God bless you this day!