October marks Mission Month at the Skillman Church of Christ. Over the next 4 weeks, we will be hearing from members of our mission committee with updates about our various long-term relationships with missionaries in Ukraine, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and various local efforts too. Additionally, we will have opportunities in Bible classes as well as during our Sunday worship service to learn more about what is going on and how we can be further involved in mission efforts through our church family.
“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 14:37). Sergey and Sveta Budagovskiy, Skillman’s missionaries in the Ukraine, has long embodied that light for the people of a country which may seem like the ends of the earth to many at Skillman. Working for the Lord and His church is difficult in all places, and working in His service is even more difficult in a country like Ukraine where atheism was taught for generations.
Sergyi and Sveta tirelessly shepherd to their congregation in Zaphorozhye, Ukraine, and daily serve to teach and give comfort and aid to the people of that city. Forced to move from their home in Makeevka when the Russians invaded and threatened their former home congregation, they moved to the other side of their country to continue their lives of ministry in the Church of Christ, spreading the gospel and love of Jesus Christ. Their current congregation, much like Sergyi and Sveta, consists of refugees who fled the hostile eastern regions of the country for saferty in Zaphorozhye. It is through Skillman’s support of Sergey in recent years that Sergey is able to provide this safe space for those displaced and in need of Christ’s love in Zaporozhye.
The current situation in the Ukraine remains unstable as the Russian and separatist forces in control of the region of the country in which Sergyi and Sveta used to reside are now threatening to commandeer the properties of numerous Ukrainians who fled and left behind their property during the fighting. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a solution on the horizon to the conflict in the region. On top of this, the Ukraine is still grappling with the coronavirus and is a long way from achieving a sufficient level of vaccination within the country. Currently, barely more than 3% of the nation has been fully vaccinated. Though daily cases have decreased considerably in recent weeks, the Ukraine has a long road ahead to combat the coronavirus.
Inflation in that country has increased 4-5 times for daily essentials such as food, clothing, utilities gasoline and kindergarten expenses for Sergyi and Sveta’s precious daughter, Mira. Sergei has not asked for an increase in pay since 2016. Now, however, there is a need for an increase of $300 a month. He knows that the rent for the apartment his congregation uses for Sunday services will increase by $50 per month in December, adding to the mounting financial obligations of our missionaries and the congregation. While Skillman provides Sergyi and Sveta a salary for their living expenses, this money is also used to provide for the congregation, as Sergyi often receives requests for assistance for medicine, food, clothing and transportation.
We ask that you please keep this dear church and Sergyi, Sveta, and Mira Budagovskii in your prayers and budget planning so that our Skillman family can positively care to these dedicated people in Ukraine, where there is so much need for the Lord, and where Sergei and Sveta are so committed to the spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many of you may recall the announcement from the missions committee last May that we were supporting a new missionary in Liberia. Through our own Kavian McMillon, we came into contact with Nathan Tears, a fellow brother in Christ working in Western Africa in Liberia. Kavian met Nathan while studying abroad in Ghana. Mr. Tears is a graduate of Heritage Christian College in Accra, Ghana. He serves and ministers to hundreds of people in multiple villages in a region known as the Bong Mine District in Liberia. He has been involved in rural ministry in that region since 2009.
We shared about the extreme poverty that Liberia faces from a history of strife and civil war. For many in this country, access to basic necessities such as food and water is not a given and often requires great effort on the part of the populace to find these amenities. For most people in the villages in Bong Mine, access to water requires travel to contaminated open water sources which often carry disease, such as cholera and parasitic diseases. Over 60 towns and villages in this region do not have a reliable source for potable water. This is why we in the missions committee decided to support Mr. Tears in the construction of 2 wells in the Bong Mine villages.
These 2 wells have been completed and provide safe drinking water to over 600 people. The dedication of these wells by the community recognized Skillman for the support we provided to make these wells a reality.
It is the mission committee’s hope that we can support Mr. Tears even further and support the construction of 5 more wells in the Bong Mine villages. For less than $2000 a well, we have the opportunity to bring life-saving water to over 1500 people in the surrounding area! Such an effort would work wonders to promote the overall health of people in rural Liberia. We in the missions committee would like to see the Skillman Congregation play a role in bringing Mr. Tears closer to that goal and helping those who have so little. As we at Skillman are continuing to wade through the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic, let us take a moment to be grateful for our health and continued prosperity and take a moment to consider those who still struggle, whether in good times or times of medical crisis. Skillman has an opportunity to show its generous spirit to people on the other side of the globe who will be immensely impacted and will be eternally grateful for said generosity.