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May 25, 2018

A season of Endings and New Beginnings


I was honored to graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 4 in Fort Worth. I received a Master's Degree in Theological Studies and Cross-cultural Missions. We were in the States for Blake and Hannah's graduations and it worked out that I could attend my graduation the day after we arrived in the States.
On Saturday, May 5, we were blessed to be at Hannah's graduation from John Brown University. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry (with honors, by the way). We spent most of the day with her and then drove to Moore, Oklahoma to be at church at First Moore Baptist Church the next morning. Mary's parents and her brother and his family made the trip to Arkansas with us. It was a great family time! Hannah returns to Pine Cove (Christian camp) this summer as the supervisor for female counselors. She was a counselor last year. She has applied to a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma to teach science.
On the following Saturday, May 12, we rounded off our trip to the States at Blake's graduation from Oklahoma State University. He received His Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. Mary's brother and his family made the trip to Oklahoma for the ceremony. That evening we drove to Dallas so that we could be at Mary's other brother's church the following morning to speak about the ministry here in Ukraine. Blake was accepted as a graduate assistant in the choral conducting department and begins his Master's study in the Fall. Proud of his achievements! 
The week after we returned home to Ukraine (our other earthly home), May 24, Bethany graduated from high school from Kyiv Christian Academy. It was a wonderful day of celebration. Bethany finished the year, and her school years, strong. She also received the Christian Service Award again this school year. Not surprising to us, at all. We are very proud of her. See below for a personal message from her.
The teachers and students wrote about each of the graduates and the principal read the comments as each graduate came to the stage. Here's what they had to say about Bethany. It's all completely true.
SETH completed his 10th grade year with fireworks.
He worked so hard this year and was honored to be placed on the "Director's List." It's the highest honor roll. Proud of him!
It was a great blessing to be able to attend all of these graduations. God blessed us with the opportunity to go and He even worked out all of the dates so we could get it all in. He provided people to be with the kids here in Ukraine while we were gone. It was a blessing for Mary and I to be away for 10 days on our own - just us - no kids. We were able to visit many people and speak in a couple of churches. We also had a meeting at a local BBQ restaurant (in Moore, Oklahoma) where we got to share much more about what God is doing in Ukraine. If we didn't get to see you - we are sorry we ran out of time. We tried to get as much in as we could. The kids were all alive and healthy when we returned home. We'll give more of an update about the little guys next time. But they are doing well.
Another "ending"
Chris completed the school-year as the elementary school music teacher and choir director at Kyiv Christian Academy. It was a great year, but the ministry needs in Brovary have grown to such a level that we need to focus all (or at least, most) of our time here in our community. We don't know everything that this coming year will bring, but we do know that the work we do through Grace Baptist Church here in Brovary will increase as much as we allow it to. Pray for us, please, that we will be sensitive to the Spirit's leading and that we will have the discernment of the Lord as we make decisions about what to be involved in and what to leave alone. It is so easy to get over-involved and that is not the best way to maintain a high level of ministry for a long period of time. Not to mention, we have our family to care for.

New Beginnings
We have lots of new beginnings and we don't even know what they all will look like. I shared what the kids are going to be doing, as far as we all know right now. However, Bethany has a very exciting new beginning and she shares her personal words here:
Well, I did it! I graduated! And I’m so excited for what God has in store for me this next year! I will be taking a gap year here in Ukraine and will be doing volunteer work in my parent's special needs ministries. I plan on taking Russian language lessons to further improve my language skills, work in the summer camps, help with English clubs, and Sunday night services that are held for the moms with special needs kids and much more! I’ve prayed long and hard about this and believe this is what God wants me to do! As of right now, I plan to attend college in the States after my gap year and major in Special education, but nothing is set in stone! I’m just trying to do what God has planned for me! Your prayers would be so greatly appreciated as I start this new chapter of my life!  - Bethany Malone
We are excited to see how she grows over the next year and how God will use her. People here are excited that she is going to stay and get involved in the day-to-day ministry to families with children with special needs.

Could you help?  

God may be calling you to give and we are asking you to answer that call. We hear week after week of ways that God is working in amazing ways through His work through what we do. We don't pretend that it is us doing the Spiritual work, but He is using our willingness to be here and serve.

One particularly large need we have at the moment is to finish paying off our house and the ministry center. We need to pay the final $47,000 as soon as possible. This seems impossible as I type it, but it is the current need. I don't feel free to share in this public forum the reasons because I don't know who all will read this newsletter here in Ukraine. If you are able to help with this large need and need more information about the reasons, please email me, privately.

There are several ways to give that you can read about in the gray box, below. If you are a member of First Moore Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, you can easily give through your normal offering (above your tithe - please do NOT give your tithe anywhere but your local church - even to us). You just need to mark it "Ukrainian Missions" or "Malones in Ukraine" or something with the word "Ukraine" in it. 
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We would LOVE to hear from you!
You can reply to this email or email us directly at or .
Giving Options:

You can give securely online at:

Online giving can be set up for RECURRING gifts,
as well as ONE-TIME GIFTS

or checks can be mailed to:
c/o Gus Downing
1417 Old Mill Road
Moore, Oklahoma 73160

Alternatively, you can give through First Moore Baptist Church
If you attend there, you can give through your regular offering and mark it for Ukraine Missions or anyone can mail a donation to First Moore Baptist Church, 301 NE 27th Street, Moore, OK 73160. Be sure and memo the 
contribution for "Ukraine Missions".

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  • School is out! The Summer "race" will be begin soon with many weeks of camps. It will be hard on our little kids, but we know that God can fill the gaps.
  • As a family, we will be taking a "break" this next week. We will regroup and prepare for the summer. Pray that we can persistently draw closer to the Father individually and as a family.
  • Please join us in asking the Father to provide the final $47,000 we need to complete the payment of our home and the UMO Ministry Center. Because we don't know exactly who in Ukraine will end up reading this, I won't share details of why this is necessary now. If you would like more information, you can email Chris at .
  • Hannah begins summer camps soon. She is the female counselor supervisor at Pine Cove.
  • Blake is working this summer to save money for next semester when he begins his graduate assistant-ship. They pay for all his degree expenses, but he also will have to live.  
  • Pray for Chris and Mary. Our hearts miss our big kids. It's the normal part of parenting. Many of you have been through it. They seem so far away with the ocean between us.
  • Pray for our teammates Jamie and June.
  • Pray for our friends and Ukrainian "teammates", Yuri and Sveta.
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Thank YOU for your prayer support, your financial support, and your encouragement.
We could NOT do this without you.

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