Simple Churches in Ukraine and the Russian Speaking World

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Ukraine is the next country on my quest of: One European Country Each Month

Let me begin by sharing my first new experience on arrival at the airport in Kiev…drinking a cafe latte out of a straw…what a strange sensation that was! Journeying on to Odessa, stayed overnight with Alexander and Irina and their family who meet as a simple messianic church in their home…for breakfast sampled ‘Twarozek‘- kind of like cottage cheese, with sour cream poured over the top and sugar that you mix up together…(to English people, this is a dairy product overkill…something distinctly un-english…such people would find it strange to mix dairy on dairy in this manner). Needless to say…it was delicious!

Report Back
After a short bus-ride to Belgorod, spent the next 3 days debriefing (through a CoachingCircle) with the Russian Team I met and trained last September, they’ve joined me here in the Ukraine on this missionary journey. We facilitated a Newforms Level 1 disciple and church multiplication movements training with this team 6 months ago and now they are reporting back all they have said and done with the challenges and successes they have encountered along the way.

We spent time listening to Jesus together and hearing His directions for our common mission. He spoke to us, through dreams, thoughts, scripture and through our surroundings. We also spent time role-playing, practicing and story telling, training and teaching each other the things that we have learn’t so far…

Staying in one place, every day we met together, constantly in prayer, sharing life, scripture and food. Culinary delights include ‘Sushki’ (a round type snack slightly like a pretzel), ‘Buck Wheat,’ ‘Bublik’ (bread a bit like a bagel), ‘Borstsh,’ raw fish and onions and 1000 different types of soup…

Training Trainers
After 3 days reporting back with the Russian Team, many more people came from all over the Ukraine for our first Level 1 Training in the country…but this time, instead of me modelling all of the training, I encouraged those trained last time in Russia to model do this, whilst I mainly assist them. The next time we facilitate a training, it will simply be so I can watch them doing it and then leave them doing it (MAWL). That way we multiply trainers as well as KingdomPlanters and disciple-makers across the Russian Speaking World…

Speaking of which…It’s been great to finally meet Timmy Powers in person. Having spent 15 years so far engaged in mission, making disciples, hosting conferences and facilitating training and coaching in the region…Timmy now reports of groups of disciples and simple organic missional churches in South Ukraine and around Odessa, about 5 churches in Eastern Ukraine, a network of 8 churches in Kiev, relatively slow going in St. Petersburg Russia, around 20-25 churches in Moldova, an Armenian Baptist Pastor who has started around 8 groups. In Uzbekistan- some guys are beginning to see really multiplication. They have different teams. They are calling it a movement of disciple making.

Ideas around finding People of Peace who gather their social circle (oikos) in their homes, cafes, workplaces and so on to form Simple Churches is beginning to spread across the Russian Speaking World (want to know more?)

As the week continued we heard story after story of ordinary people in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere who are gathering together in homes, cafes, bars and a host of other venues to simply meet and eat and repeat the work that Jesus started in Israel 2000 years ago…

Simple Stories
Here are some of their stories…

‘Tira’ is a person of peace. She lives in our area. She was drinking a lot. Her children came to the MissionBase. She was in a bad condition. We prayed for her. She sent her son to ask if we could pray for her. I invited her to the base and she came. She said she doesn’t want to live like this anymore. I shared about Jesus, she accepted him. Often she was with our team in our training and then she decided to make disciples by herself. Many of her friends and relatives are coming to The Lord. If I knew what I know now, I would have gone to her house and help her gather people together

Then Tira met a lady outside her local shop…got talking. Found out about her birthday and purchased some sweets for her. She Invited me to the birthday party. I went to the house…They were very hospitable. I shared a story of what God did in my life. I asked if I could pray with them
They were very open. After a while they asked again if I could come to their home. Then they asked if I could visit their brother and other relatives. Then later we could even study bible together

‘Jenka’ shared a Jesus movie and invited people who wanted to hear more to study the bible and 2 people came and one of them started a church later…through him 15-20 people came to know Jesus…but they brought next level of people who didn’t come to Jesus movie, this is a good example of not necessarily reaching people only on the street. The movie was shown in a cinema. You can also make a drama to attract and communicate the story of Jesus to people.

In the Crimea we (four of us) went to a village in the spring set up some sound equipment and began to sing there. We were near a bar…a lady came out with a bottle of beer and cigarette and listening and smoking. And other older people. After we finished singing we began to testify. We began to pray for her. She threw away her beer and cigarette. Went home and shared to all her relatives. We went back to the area and then her parents, child and sister came. Now in this village there is a community…many people came to Jesus the Messiah.

‘Timmy’ is a blessed person, he helps others who put these principles into practice and hears their stories. I started to meet with one traditional pastor and I shared these principles with him. Together we started to pray and reach people in that area where he lives. We met one person of peace because someone said to us…you need to meet this guy because he is a drug addict. So we went to meet him. He is a classical person of peace, very open to us, and confessed his sin. And we realised we should not invite him to church meetings…that cuts people off from their friends and community…so we said, we want to help and protect you…but lets start reading the Bible in a cafe. He started to invite his friends who were drug addicts and alcoholics. Because it was a public normal setting…many came to Christ…now there are 5-6 generations of disciples that have come to Christ. In the past 5 years 150 drug addicts had their lives transformed. Everything started with one person of peace…this has not been without problems…one of the main people relapsed…and there have been other challenges…but the movement has begun.

‘Volodya’ and his pioneer partner, prayed before going out and had some visions…we saw a park…so then 2 of us went out and got on the bus and we went out and saw a group of men who were drinking alcohol there. We went to talk to them. Some people were not interested…one person was didn’t seem interested at first. But when we started sharing about Jesus he began to ask lots of questions. We found out he is a heavy drug addict. Through our conversation we asked him if he wanted to be free of this…he said, is it possible? we said yes, if you want Jesus to help you. He said yes he wants that. We took taxi to his home and met some of his family…then we said we will come back in one week. We brought him to the rehab centre. One week later…we went to see how he was doing. We didn’t recognise him at first because he gained some weight, his face was bright. He was actually a leader amongst his friends. He said to the guys in the rehab he wants to have a job. His friends from the area they’ve become closer and ask him questions. And then one friend left him to also become a leader. His family visited him in rehab and the family was restored. He is good with working with his hands and so is doing a lot of work in the rehab centre. His life has been transformed. This first man then shared to another man in a hospital. The second man started to gather people in the hospital…

Truth+Dare
However, these are stories of what has already happened in the recent past and the people of the Ukraine and Russia are not about to rest on their past successes! They have set Truth+Dare goals for the coming weeks and months of how they can continue to make disciples and multiply movements in the region…(here are a few examples):

PERVOMAYSK, UKRAINE
Each person in our team received a personal revelation of what we are to do next. We’ve realised that we have lost our first love. We have to be changed ourselves first. Faith without work is dead. We’ve agreed to start with something when we get back. Everyone received individually what to start. I had a vision in the night about a person I need to contact who is mayor of the little town he lives in. This person has influence and can influence others…never thought about this person before. As a team we added it up all together. We only received individual things at first…we make a start then God will send us to different places…future work with people with Jewish roots

Last night God gave me a dream:
A few open doors according to prophecy in my life. 2 doors opened and I saw a third door that came up with an orange colour…what does this mean the colour of orange. Orange is the national flag colour of Netherlands

ARMAVIR, RUSSIA
We are called to make disciples of our team first…and they will make disciples of people who open their houses and at the same time we will look for other persons of peace. We will gather 3 times a week to go and intentionally seek for people of peace. We will discuss with our disciples what are highs and lows of the week. We will gather the team in a circle to report back all they have said and done

CRIMEA, UKRAINE (Belogorsk)
Things I need to do in my city… we have a special hospital with disabled children. We have an appointment each week to meet with them. We can bring Jesus’ Kingdom there. I know there are people of peace amongst the medical workers and they can start a movement. In the same way the children have a pure soul and can feel the Holy Spirit, God can touch them…through love and attention we can bring Kingdom to their lives. This morning we were praying into where God is calling us to and God told me Egypt…started interceding for this country…then Peter started saying you should ask God where are you calling me to and I get Egypt…I never thought about coming to that country before…but I thought, here I am send me, here I am send me…I had some fear inside…then in the break Jenya came to me and said here is a whole bible chapter for you…and the whole chapter is about Egypt…

sergeyevka, UKRAINE
After going to the MissionBase in Russia…Pam came and said ‘would you like to go on a trip?’ I said ‘I have no money?’ Pam said ‘I didn’t ask you about money…would you like to go? Then God told us to go to Chechnya…one lady from there then arrived to MissionBase who are alrready Christians and live there. Then they welcomed us to visit them in their country. Someone then provided the money for me to go to Chechnya…we can start with some works not only words. They people in that country are hospitable people so we can share as we meet and eat with people who invite us into their homes. We can pray that people get healed and Jesus can start a movement there

And so the movement continues to spread in both the Ukraine and Russia

Let these Ukrainian eggs remind us, not of easter and chocolate, (although the Resurrection of Jesus is certainly a good thing to be reminded of) but of the power of hearing and obeying Jesus and of multiplying simple communities with simple patterns that can spread rapidly…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve March 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Great testimonies- keep going for it!

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admin April 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Thanks Steve!

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