Christ’s Love Unites Believers in Russia and Ukraine
Reaching Refugees from the WarAs a consequence of the war in eastern Ukraine, the resources of the country have been severely taxed and as many as 800,000 persons have ﬂed the war zone. The infrastructure has been destroyed and lawlessness is rampant. Only the inﬁrm, the elderly, the poor, and those ﬁghting remain. One of IBLP’s trained leaders still remains there, faithfully taking resources into eastern Ukraine and ministering to orphaned children. The other trained leaders have been scattered into the surrounding regions and are ministering to many others displaced by the war and living in temporary homes.
Even in the midst of upheaval, people are responding to opportunities for Biblical teaching. Late this past spring, IBLP held a Leadership Training Seminar for refugees relocated to Terebovlya, Ternopil Oblast. Fifty people attended and the impact was signiﬁcant. Six participants came forward and repented. Each gave testimony as to how their lives had changed that week. Praise God for these six and how, in the midst of many external conflicts, they found peace for their greatest internal conflict!
Seminar Expands to Twenty-One Oblasts
In May, IBLP staff was invited to give the ﬁrst Leadership Training Seminar in Sumy Oblast. This area is located less than fifty miles from Ukraine’s northern border with Russia. Of the twenty-five total oblasts (regions) in Ukraine, IBLP now has ministry in twenty-one of them. The results have been consistent: regardless of age, culture, or gender, participants relate to the same universal problems of life and are excited when they realize there is a root cause and a solution. The teaching from Scripture enables them to recognize how far short they are from the glory of God and motivates them to make appropriate changes to their lifestyle which are consistent with the goals God has for His children.
Missionary Workers Attend Financial Freedom SeminarIn September, 110 workers from Ukraine, Belarus, and Azerbaijan gathered in Zakarpatia, Ukraine, for an annual Christian conference on effectively ministering to children. IBLP staff was invited to present the Financial Freedom Seminar during the conference. Since finances are rarely taught from a Scriptural perspective in the churches in Russia and Ukraine, it was a revelation for most attendees to learn that the Bible has over 700 references to ﬁnances and that two-thirds of Christ’s parables deal with stewardship. Everyone expressed gratefulness for all they had learned from the seminar.
Russian Believers Celebrate Harvest FeastIn Russia several church groups from Tatarstan, Kirov, Udmurtia, and Tumen (Siberia) Oblasts gathered to celebrate the Harvest Feast. This event is the New Testament equivalent of the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the celebrations of the Israelites. IBLP staff ministered at the Harvest Feast this year. It had been three years since IBLP’s last presentation there, and the attendees were very eager to have IBLP there again.
An IBLP staff person was told by a participant, “We felt like we were back at one of your seminars. And, as usual in those seminars, you always explain very clearly the nature of God's Kingdom. It was a very rich time in the Word.” One staff member has the privilege of following up the seminars quarterly by traveling via train sixteen hours each way to disciple those churches. The staffer reported that there is one young adult group that is one of the most God-seeking groups they have encountered among the various Slavic churches.