Year 1 Complete

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The Lord has been abundantly gracious to lead us to the completion of our first academic year. He has provided a warm place to live, a lovely new church family, and many new friends. Westminster Theological Seminary now feels more like a home away from home. So far, year one of seminary has been a great experience.

Words can not express what a huge blessing these past months have been. Silas is growing strong and speaking more words and opinions everyday. Natalie is doing well and at her work at the resterant…really well and enjoys the nature of the work. The Lord seems to have given her favor in the eyes of her fellow servers and the management. Our time together has been well spent and we seem to have grown closer together through this academic year. Even though I loved my job as UC Davis the stress compared with the Westminster M.Div program is equally high but not the same. I enjoy the Westminster stress more than the UC Davis stress…I’m not sure if that makes any sense but there it is.

Natalie’s visit to California went well and by God’s grace Natalie’s mother’s surgery went well. And while Natalie was away Silas and I had the chance to make some great father-son memories. Some fun memories and some not so fun.

Natalie is now involved in the music ministry at Trinity and I am participating as a pastoral intern. Thank you all for your prayers and if you wish to serve and encourage us please simply let us know either by text or with a phone call that you are praying for us.

P.S. – Due to a few requests here is where we have been and what we are looking at next semester:

It is almost unreal to think how fast and see how much material has been covered in this past year:

First academic year completed only by God’s grace…thank you for your prayers!

Intro to Apologetics, with William Edger
The Ancient Church, with Carl Trueman
Orientation to Ministerial Formation, with Timothy Witmer
Prolegomena to Theology, with David Garner
Mentored Ministry Integration (case studies), with multiple professors
Gospel Communication (sermon prep and present), with Mark Salade
Church Growth and Church Planting, with Bruce Finn
Doctrine of God, with Scott Oliphant
Counseling in the local Church, with Mike Emlet
Mission of the Church (missiology), with Mark Sarasino
Medieval Church, with Carl Truman

…and here is what we are looking at in the Summer and Fall 2015:
Summer:
Greek 1, with Brandon Szerlip

Fall:
The Reformation, with Carl Trueman
Greek 2, with Brandon Szerlip
Intro to the New Testament, with Brandon Crowe
Expository Skills and Evaluation, with Richard Hughes
Church Dynamics and Pastoral Practice, with Tim Witmer

I am looking forward to next semester’s classes!

Finally please pray a praise for God’s provisions through two grants that have been awarded. I am prohibited to talk of them in detail, but I can call you to rejoice with us!

Bring on the Spring

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“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst.” – Nehemiah 9:20

God has been so good to us! These past two months have been exciting. In Fall 2014 I took five classes and I did really well in all but one – New Testament Greek.

I did well on my exams throughout the semester but I guess I just didn’t know it well enough to put it all together on the final exam. My advisor, Brandon Crow, encouraged me to not lose heart as it is not unusual and he even shared that one of his most used New Testament Greek references was written by a guy who failed Greek three times! Hey, who knows maybe I’ll be a Greek scholar after all 😉 …it’s possible but not likely. To make a long story short – I had enough to pass the class but since I didn’t pass the final I will have to retake it in the summer of 2015.

Spring semester is expected to be easier since I will not have to take any language classes. I plan to take:

·      PT123 – Gospel Communication

·      ST113 – Doctrine of God

·      CH223 – Medieval Church

·      PTC 522 – Counseling in the local Church

·      PT343 – Mission of Church

·      PTM163 – Church Growth & Church Planting

·      PT021p – Mentored Ministry case studies

I know that might seem like a lot of classes but the only heavy one is ST113 – tons of reading and heavy reading too. The PT classes tend to be a bit less reading then the ST classes and they tend to be easier reads as well.

But much has happened in January.

1) We moved closer to the seminary and into our own place. Instead of being 57 minutes away we are now 15 minutes away. We had plenty of help with the move from our Trinity Church friends. They showed up ready and eager to help – even though it was snowing.

Moreover the place we were going to move into didn’t work out. We signed the lease in November but the move-in date was January 7th, 2015. When we arrived the house still had all the landlord’s stuff, no working heater, and to make matters worse the pipes froze – so we had no water. In mutual consent the landlord and I cancelled the lease. Twenty-two days later the guy returned us our money…(better late then never).

Three days later (1/10/15) World Evangelist of Christ (WEC) took us in. While at WEC we got to meet a great group of missionaries from all over the world and were cared for like family. Special thanks to Josh Lemons.  We also met a Brazilian family who just moved out of a duplex and helped us move into that place. It has turned out to be a much better fit – cheaper, cleaner, and warmer.

2) Natalie started working as a fitness instructor for one hour a week for two months…..and she’s lovin it. Learning the art of teaching plus getting a good workout for the week is nice when the gym pays you to workout instead of you paying them.

3) I got hired to write articles for http://www.goingtoseminary.com and http://www.best-seminary.com.

4) Not only does Westminster seek to train students with a global worldview but it also seeks to come alongside nationals and missionaries around the world to assist them in their task of theological education. Part of this endeavor involves facilitation – that is, making connections for WTS alumni to serve Christ long term or short term in theological missions. Arguably the greatest need in Russia missions is theological training. Sadly I have not met a single Russian or Ukrainian MDiv student at Westminster. So, I’ve offered to help become a catalyst to serve in this growing need. Dr. Lillback (president of WTS) is in Indonesia with some WTS students now and perhaps we will be able to visit Russia together in the near future. Please be praying as we make plans to come along side the Russian theological institutions and help with theological training of the Russian-speaking people worldwide.

5) And last but not least, Silas said his first sentence! Well sort of. He said; “I know.” I don’t know if he knows what he said but he just might know that he doesn’t know what he said. But any progress is still progress.

Well that’s it for now thanks for reading. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. May the Lord bless you ten fold.

With love from Philly,
The Bugriyev’s.
(916-821-0811)

P.S. – If you’re ever in the area, come on over!

So Far Its Been Smooth Sailing

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Thank you for all your prayers the Lord has been so good to us. So I’ll start with our MVP – Silas. He has been doing well getting along with the other (4yr old) toddler in the house. He is learning to share and play by the rules. She is also making him talk in Russian. The Lord has been merciful to keep him from any sickness and we hope that will remain the case through the winter season. 

I can not even begin to explain how or rather why God has given me such a loving and patient wife. I truly wish every man had a wife like mine – she is awesome!
Natalie has decided on working evening shifts three days a week at a nearby restaurant and in January she might get some students for her fitness training job, but it doesn’t seem to be the case for now. I think that one part-time job should be enough for us to get our own place and I don’t want Natalie to get overwhelmed. I’m in class and studying most of the day so when I come home (around 5pm) I hang out with my home boy Silas and then put him to bed around 7pm…that’s the plan anyway.
So far Natalie and I have decided that I not work and just focus on school. It has truly been like drinking out of a fire hose, but I am loving it. With all its pain and sleepless nights (literally I have nights when I study from 11pm and then pack up my books and go to my morning class…) I would not trade it for the world…well maybe I would but you know what I mean. Most of my time is devoted to Greek, so my only regret is not getting a head start on Greek before I came to seminary, but either than that
Natalie and I have made lots of good friends and I am meeting more and more Baptist brothers on campus. And just for the record my Presbyterian brothers are not giving me a hard time about my baptism convictions…well some do but it is always light-hearted and out of fun. I am learning more that I thought I could, reading more than I thought I could and growing in and by His grace.
We are still looking for a church to join. Almost every Sunday we have visited a new church but for now we seem to be gravitating towards Trinity Church (http://www.tcphilly.org/).
Please do not stop praying for us we continually need your prayers that God would fill us with knowledge of his will and direction through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
Please continue to pray that we may live a life worthy and pleasing to him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God and our own finiteness.
Please continue to pray that we find a church family that is healthy and a good fit.
Please pray that all would be well with Natalie’s work and for a smooth and godly transition to work by seeking to redeem all things for His name and kingdom.
Please continue to pray for my spiritual and intellectual growth to be in a continual progressing balance for His name sake.
Your brother in Christ,

Pavel Nickoliyavich Bugriyev