For a number of years now, we have been building relationships in Crimea and Ukraine. Beginning in Crimea, we worked with Next Level International to support the planting of new churches. As part of this work, we sent 2 short term mission teams to help encourage and train leaders of the Crimean churches. While our time of support has ended we continue to pray for the churches out there and the work of NLI.
More recently, we have been making connections with churches in rural Southern Ukraine. The people there have been facing many challenges. There has been political turmoil, and civil unrest. Many Ukrainians feel under pressure with their political views, and churches have been divided by their member’s positions. Some feel vulnerable to invasion from neighbouring nations, and some feel that foreign leadership is what Ukraine needs. On top of this, there are economic consequences to the unrest, and more Ukrainians facing poverty. This has put church leaders in difficult positions trying to lead a divided church. There have been a number of short-term mission trips made to this area, to support and encourage churches and their workers and leaders. In Summer 2014, a small team went to help run a children’s ministry. We stayed with Pastors Victor and Sveta, and we were inspired by his work in his village church where they have renovating and extending the church building, developing their children’s ministry and reaching out to their local community. We also met with pastors and leaders from a number of churches in the region. The pastors with whom we met were so encouraged by the visit, and God has been using this relationship to speak to us about further overseas relationships. We will be organising further trips to Ukraine and Crimea in 2015. Please speak to Gareth or the Overseas Mission team if you’re interested in more information.
Here is the latest newsletter
Hello Dear Family and Friends,
To encourage you, we are sending news of our Mission Trip to the Crimea, and what fantastic news we have to share.
It was a privilege to serve a small Church in a small town Armansk - North Crimea. The Pastor Anton and his lovely wife Julia had been struggling for the past 7 years to cope with the winter rains coming in through the Roof - leaving a very damp and wet building. There were even photos on the walls of the congregation sitting with their umbrellas "UP" worshipping God!!
When Jim saw this on his last trip to Crimea he was moved to help and encourage these great people that God does care and also people outside their Country. A small Team then got together from our Church Liz, John, Mike & Ruth, and we all set to raising funds for a New Roof to stop the rain leaking in and to give them a foot-start in repairing the building.
The Team amazingly raised $4,500 for the Roof, their flights out there, accommodation and funds to do a 4-Day Event for the Children around the Church Building where the Roof was being built by Anton, his helpers, some ex-alcoholics, Jim and John. It was quite a sight to see these Guys in the heat working so hard on this and the very precarious ladder being used - on which Jim had to be rescued more than once!! We were thrilled to hear that the Roof is now completed. Can you imagine the joy of the people out there!!! We had many people ask us "Why do you care about us" both by the Church members and people watching from the Community - what a wonderful way to show God's love!!!
While the building was going on Liz, Ruth, Mike and Marie ran a Childrens 4-Day event, around the building in the middle of this Community and what a great time we all had!!! It was great fun and a joy to see around 50 children thoroughly enjoying the Games; Crafts; Sporting Events; and of course food!! All these real fun times; including the Bouncy Castle - which took some managing with these excitable children! Also we were able to start teaching these children about Jesus' love for them, probably the first time most of them had heard this. To see their interest and response to all of this was a real blessing.
There were many precious moments during those 4 days to see the effect of showing love to these children - a little Autistic Boy came into the church one day and walked straight to me (Marie) wrapping his arms around me to feel that love and security. He turned up every day and was very much part of the activities going on. Liz was really touched when a young 9 year old girl, came quietly alongside her and took hold of her hand. We thank God that these children felt the love of Jesus and on the Sunday afternoon it was so good to see 15 children coming into the church to hear more and to see us all. So there and then a Children's work was established with Gallina and Dema to carry on the good work already sown
At the end of the week a very happy Team made their way back home, so blessed themselves too - leaving us to stay on a few days more visiting more of the Pastors we are now supporting.
Very quickly after saying our good-byes to the Team we were whisked away to a Childrens Camp being held for 6 Foster Families by the Black Sea!! It was very basic camping, but the children were having such a good time. A great lady organises this Camp each year, also having 10 foster children herself . She has been doing this for 23 years now and keeps her children till they leave for work, etc. It was a privilege to meet her and we are hoping to be able to raise some funds for her so more foster families that she meets along the way and the ones the Authorities meet, can enjoy this time, which encourages and blesses the children. It was a joy for her and us when Jim was asked to join the Pastor there to baptise her daughter in the Black Sea!! What an experience - very joyful and encouraging!!
We spent the next few days spending time with other churches in the North and South Crimea. Sirge who lost his lovely wife, Diana, and Timothy his Son are doing well despite this trajedy. His Church is growing and many young men, alcoholics, etc., are being drawn into the room where they hold the Church Services. Sirge really needs to move into a larger room or building now - people were standing in the corridor to listen.
Alex and Sverta a young couple who are our Co-Ordinators and the Pastor of Balclava made us very welcome. Their Church is growing and they were very excited to show us areas of land where they would like to build a Church having already made a good reputation for themselves in helping clean and repair a Childrens Playground in their beautiful town Balaclava, in one of the more needy estates.
We were so blessed by this visit to Crimea and we want you to feel part of this! Without your support and prayer we would not see so many great things happening in this country. It encourages us to keep moving forward and planning the next steps to show that love in the Crimea. We will continue to send you news as it comes through and pray you will be very blessed as you read our News Letter.
We Love you all,