Victor Kubik, a member of the Council of Elders and senior pastor for Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, traveled to those areas Jan. 10 to 24. After delivering charitable aid and picking up UCG publications from a Sabbatarian printer we use in Ukraine, he traveled north to Lithuania.
While in Lithuania, on Jan. 17 Mr. Kubik met with Renatas, a man who is interested in the Church. "I really enjoy talking to new people who have enthusiastic questions that demand enthusiastic answers," Mr. Kubik said. He gave Renatas a set of the first four Russian Bible Study Course lessons.
Jan. 19 he traveled by bus to Tartu, Estonia, where Johnnie Lambert, an elder from New York, met him.
Since Mr. Lambert goes to Estonia about four times a year, he has purchased a one-bedroom apartment across from the train station. It's small but has a large combined kitchen/living room that's perfect for church meetings and office functions.
"It was so good to unload my Russian Bible Study Courses that I had been dragging from Ukraine," Mr. Kubik said. The amount of literature he brought will be enough to get a first mailing out from requests the Church has received.
Mr. Lambert is "one of the most dedicated people I know who has done so much to move the preaching of the gospel forward here in Eastern Europe," said Mr. Kubik. "Already the work is bearing fruit as new people are coming along, and more are behind them as we offer literature and study aids in their language!"
The next morning they recorded commercials advertising the Bible Study Course at Pere Raadio. This radio station is part of a network of Christian stations. It broadcasts in both Estonian and Russian. On the AM band, the reach of the Russian programming goes past Moscow to the east and covers all of Belarus and Ukraine. The ads will be aired in Estonian, Russian and Ukrainian.
Then Mr. Kubik and Mr. Lambert went to the Atlantis Club to discuss plans for a larger Feast of Tabernacles this fall.
The Church brethren came over to Mr. Lambert's apartment that evening. "We had a wonderful evening of fellowship and discussion until way past 11 p.m.," said Mr. Kubik. "During the evening we called Imbi Kuuskuulu, a member who just moved from Estonia to Dublin, Ireland, to work. Her leaving is a big loss, as Johnnie Lambert relied so heavily on her to translate for him. She is fluent in English, Estonian and Russian."
For Sabbath services Jan. 20 there were eight people at the apartment plus Toomas Schvaak in Tallinn and Imbi in Dublin, Ireland, connected by Skype.
Mr. Kubik gave the sermon in Russian about "Learning to Live With Joy." "I made sure that I looked up and was conversant with key words," Mr. Kubik said. "I'm okay preaching in English and Ukrainian but Russian challenges me to the full. Language is always a challenge in Estonia …"
Mr. Lambert projected the scriptures in Estonian on a big LCD screen during the sermon along with a handout he printed.
Sunday, Jan. 21, Mr. Kubik flew to Kemi, Finland, near the Arctic Circle.
"What a wonderful visit with Klogay and Margaret Doh," Mr. Kubik said. "Their niece Elsa Doh also lives with them and we all felt like we knew each other for years as we met again."
The Dohs are Karen refugees from Mai La refugee camp in Thailand. "The Dohs are cut off from their families, their homeland and brethren in the Church," Mr. Kubik said. "They have been resettled from the tropics to the arctic. Here it is cold and dark almost 22 hours of the day at this time of year. My heart goes out to them.
"They expressed special gratitude to Peter Hawkins and U.K. office, which has been sending them sermon CDs and literature and periodicals such as United News that give them a sense of community with the Church."
The Dohs stay connected with other members through the Internet. "One of the first items of business when I walked into their apartment was to contact another Church refugee family that has recently moved to Trondheim, Norway." Mr. Kubik talked with Ka Paw Gay and her husband and children using a webcam.
Jan. 22 Mr. Kubik traveled to Sweden, where he delivered copies of the Swedish The Road to Eternal Life, translated primarily by Kira Spenser, and visited a few families before returning to the United States. "Hopefully we can do a two-night seminar in Sweden later this summer," Mr. Kubik said. UN