Website: Bear Valley Bible Institute of Ukraine homepage
In 1997, Eastern Meadows Church of Christ began providing complete support for Buck Hall, who was to be the first dean of the Bible Department, operated by the Bear Valley Institute, and located in the Kramatorsk Economical and Cultural Institute. His job was to teach courses, find American teachers who could travel to Kramatorsk and teach, recruit and select students for the program, and see to the many details of getting a Bible department up and running. He did an excellent job, serving in that capacity for six years before returning to the U.S. to begin his work with the Vancleave, Mississippi church. As Buck worked in Ukraine, our involvement in mission support in Ukraine grew. Eastern Meadows also generously contributed to the tuition fund for the students in the Bible Department.
In 2007, the school was moved to Gorlovka, Ukraine. During the Russian-backed rebel takeover of Gorlovka in May 2014, the school/church building was seized by soldiers forcing the school to move. The school was moved to Ternopil, Ukraine (about 800 miles from Gorlovka) for the 2014-2015 school year. In 2015 the school found a home in Bila Tserkva, a town about 53 miles south of Kiev, the capitol of Ukraine.
Currently, Eastern Meadows provides monthly support for the school and provides support for the Eastern Meadows minister, Steve Housley, to teach in the Bible department. He has taught annually since 2000. Now he typically travels to Ukraine in May to teach the Gospel and John and the Epistles of John.
About a year after Buck had begun his work, two Eastern Meadows elders, Don Brannan and Ted Norton traveled to Kramatorsk to see the work. While there, they stayed with Vladimer and Oksana Paziy. They saw great potential in a young Russian-speaking Vladimer and encouraged him to enter the Bible department. Eastern Meadows replaced his salary received from the Astron Appliance Store, and he and Oksana became full-time Bible students. Not long afterward he began preaching in Konstantinovka, a town about an hours drive from Kramatorsk. We continued our support of Vladimer for several years until he began to concentrate his work with the Kramatorsk church, and at that time, long-time Kramatorsk supporters, Azalea City Church in Mobile, Alabama, began to support him. Vladimer now is fluent in English, has received the Masters degree from the Bear Valley Institute, and has provided significant leadership in getting the Kramatorsk building remodeled.
In 2004, Eastern Meadows Church of Christ began to support Oksana in her work as church secretary and teacher at the ABC School, a Bible/English program the church conducts to interest and teach Kramatorsk children the Bible. This work has been very effective, some years having as many as 90 students, from Kindergarten age to adult. Oksana Paziy continues in this good work.
Eastern Meadows members conducted a summer campaign in Kramatorsk and nearby communities of Old Town and Yasnogorka in 2001. Additionally, Eastern Meadows has provided about half of the funds to buy and remodel a building for a Kramatorsk church meeting place.
Many different churches and preachers have worked and provided support for various works in Kramatorsk and many of the nearby towns. As such, the church has regularly established new churches and has seen continued growth. Eastern Meadows is happy to have had an opportunity to be a part of this work!