Archive for February, 2019

A Visitor from Russia
February 25, 2019

In February 2019, we had a guest from Moscow, Russia, in our home. He is Sergey Chervonenko, graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary of Wilmore, KY, and President of Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary in Moscow.

Above is a photo of Sergy and his wife Yulia.

I am grateful that both Sergey and I are alumni of Asbury.

Sergey is in US on a friendship tour, telling people about the ministry of Moscow Evangelical Christian Seminary. We hosted him at three different meal events to meet Brethren in Christ church leaders and other friends.

Here are a few things we learned about Sergey.
* An ethnic Russian, he grew up in Uzbekistan.
* As a teenager, he was curious about Christians and told his mother he would like to visit a church. She was an atheist but did not object to his going to church.
* He became a believer, the first Christian in his family. His mother and some other family members also became believers.
* For four years, he served as the director of youth programs for a union of Protestant churches.
* He served in a staff position at Moscow Seminary, then earned his D. Min degree from Asbury Seminary in 2017, and became President of Moscow Seminary that same year.
* He and Yulia and their two teenagers live north of Moscow and participate in Tushino Evangelical Church in Moscow.

And here are a few things we learned about Moscow Seminary and religion in Russia.
* Churches and seminaries must register with the government. After accreditation is granted, the Seminary is free to teach the Bible and Christian theology without government interference.
* Moscow Seminary was founded in 1993 through assistance from OMS, a missions organization in the holiness tradition. At first, the initials OMS first meant Oriental Missionary Society, but now it stands for One Mission Society.
* The Seminary still has a close connection with One Missions Society.
* The Seminary is committed to training ministers for Russia in Russia.
* The Seminary has grown significantly in the past three years and now has 700 students. Many of them are already pastors of churches.
* The students come from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Russia.
* Several Protestant denominations in Russia have named Moscow Seminary as the official institution for training their ministers.
* Some Orthodox priests are evangelical believers. Occasionally, the Seminary has one of these priests teach a class.

You may learn more about this remarkable Seminary online at:

We will always be grateful for having met our new friend Sergey Chervonenko.

A Visit to the Museum of the Bible
February 24, 2019

On a Sunday in February, four of my family (Ed, Jeffrey, Julio and I) went to Washington, D.C., to tour the Museum of the Bible.

The entrance, on the right, has two 40-foot tall bronze doors depicting text from Genesis 1 from an early edition of the Gutenberg Bible, in Latin. So as you enter the museum, you actually walk into the Bible.

From the observation area on the top floor you can see much of the city.

There are seven floors of all kinds of displays. I will introduce you to only a few items.

A reproduction of the Memeptah Stele (stone monument), 1208 BC. In cuneiform writing, this stele recounts the military conquests of the pharaoh Memeptah of Egypt. Near the bottom, he mentions that he “wiped out” a people called Israel. This is one of the earliest extra-Biblical references to Israel, confirming the historical accuracy of the Bible.

A closer view of the same stele. The photo has a distracting glare because of the overhead lighting.

The above two photos are of a replica of the Lachish Mural, created in Nineveh about 681 BC.

King Sennacherib of Assyria came to the nation of Judah in 701 BC to destroy its fortified cities. Lachish, southwest of Jerusalem, was the second to last of the cities he attacked. The mural is from Sennacherib’s palace in Nineveh and depicts the battle of Lachish, which is narrated in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and the book of Isaiah. The record of the Lachich Mural again proves that the Bible gets it right.

A model of Jerusalem in the time of the kings of Judah. The temple complex is in the upper right section.

A large hall contains dozens of Bibles and descriptions of early persons who translated the Bible from Latin into vernacular languages.

In another area there is an impressive display of a circular library with over 6,000 volumes, one volume for each language of the world. The majority of the volumes represents languages that do not yet have any portion of the Scriptures at all.

A scene representing Nazareth as it was in Jesus’ day.

Another scene in Nazareth.

A portion of the Hebrew Bible in a scroll, similar to what was used in Jesus’ day. Note that the sections of the scroll are laced together so that if a mistake is made in hand lettering one section, the scribe does not need to discard the entire scroll. He can simply rewrite that one sheet.

For the first time in my life I learned about the Wiedmann Bible, which depicts the complete OT and NT in pictures. This Bible is on display at the museum. As you will have guessed, the above scene shows Joseph and Mary arriving in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.

The Bible was created by Willy Wiedmann (1929-2013) in Stuttgart, Germany, over a period of 16 years and consists of 3,333 hand painted images.

A portion of the Wiedmann Bible.

The entire work, “the world’s longest painted Bible.”

This is an exact replica of the portable pulpit used by George Whitefield (1714-1770) for outdoor preaching. Whitefield was an English Anglican minister and evangelist who was one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. He had several preaching tours in America and was part of the Great Awakening here.

The display mentions that “The Marks of the New Birth” was one of his greatest and most successful sermons, which he preached on many occasions.

With that, I close this blog post. Obviously, the Museum of the Bible contains so much more than I can narrate. I urge you to visit it for yourself.

A Personal Testimony
February 18, 2019

On February 10, 2019, our ten-year-old granddaughter Genesis Avila was baptized. I had the privilege of administering the baptism.

Here is Genesis’ poem testimony, which she read to the congregation just before her baptism.


God had a plan to create something big
One day he created day and night
God separated the sky and water on day two
On day three he made land and sea, plants and fruit
He hung the sun, moon, and stars in the sky on day four
On day five sea creatures and birds appeared
God filled the earth with animals on day six
The God said let us make man in our image, in our likeness
God saved his best for last
God created me in his image and he calls me good

I was born on January 27, 2009, in Los Angeles
At three months, I moved to Guatemala
Church and serving pancakes to street youth taught me to be kind and compassionate
God created me and he also created my street friends in the park in his image and he calls us good

I’ve heard about Jesus in church, at camp and at home
He loves me, cares for me, and died n the cross for my sins
I gave my heart to Jesus at Roxbury Camp
God created me in his image and he calls me good

Today I want to show my love for Jesus and desire to follow him
I show this by being baptized here today
Thank you Kidventure for helping me to grow in m faith
God created us in his image and he calls us good

James Madison’s Home
February 10, 2019

In January 2019 we visited Montpelier, James Madison’s home in Orange County, Virginia.

Madison, a close friend of Thomas Jefferson, was the Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and the fourth President of the United States.

Montpelier on a foggy winter day.

The tour leader told about Madison’s life and work as well as the extensive social entertaining of his wife Dolley.

One of the interior rooms.

Carpet pattern.

Near the main house, the quarters for enslaved people. “Enslaved people” was a new term for me, but I affirm it as a term of respect. As you see, some of the quarters are being renovated.

Madison had a mixed experience with the issue of slavery. On the one hand, he was opposed to slavery, as evidenced in this quote: “We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground for the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.” In all my life, I had never read or heard that powerful statement of his.

On the other hand, he was not able to find a way to operate his house and plantation without the work of 120 enslaved people.

In the dining room of the house is this cutout of Paul Jennings, an enslaved person who was Madison’s personal valet at Montpelier and the White House. Paul was later sold to Daniel Webster, from whom he bought his freedom in 1845. After gaining freedom, he wrote the first White House memoir.

An exhibit called “The Mere Distinction of Colour” documents the stories of the Montpelier enslaved individuals and some of their descendants.

“E Pluribus Unum” is a mosaic created from pieces of brick excavated from the living quarters of enslaved men, women and children across Montpelier. On many plantations, bricks were made by enslaved women and children. The mosaic was created by Rebecca Warde.