wpe25.jpg (4373 bytes) Such was the success of the Autumn 1998 Ellel Ministries visit to the Ukraine that no less than 26 churches requested a further Ellel team visit.
Heather, Barbara, Zoltan and myself  It was therefore an honour to be asked by Ellel Ministries to lead a four person team back into the Ukraine in March 1999. 

The team was made up of Heather from Bangor in Wales, Barbara, an American now resident in Cairo, Egypt, Zoltan from Budapest in Hungary and myself from Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Week one was a return visit to the Bridge of Hope church where the previous visit had born so much fruit that Pastor Vadim Urimagov had requested a return visit to major on Personal Counselling Appointments (PCA's) for many members of his fellowship. So many people came each day that working in pairs became a rare luxury and lunch times became non existent!  The highlight of week one however was the teams work with the Messianic Jews. On Sunday we visited the Pastor's home where I taught on the Fatherheart of God and curses, whereupon everyone present requested prayer. Although we only had one interpreter we managed to pray for each individual in hallways, kitchen and bedrooms and saw God clearly move in each life.  We were asked to teach the church on Wednesday and it was a wonderful evening as we watched some 150 people walk around the church in praise and worship, Jewish style.  I taught on God's order in marriage and on sexual soul ties with the team doing superb acting out of many marriage problems. Amid much laughter God's truth got through and many came forward at the end for ministry.   Pastor Boris and the team struck up an excellent relationship of trust.

Week two was an amazing week in Zhitomir, at a church with more than 2,000 members.  The Church was in turmoil as a serious rift had developed between the senior pastor who had become heavily involved in politics, and the junior pastor and the majority of the congregation, leading at one stage to the senior pastor locking the congregation out of the church. A church council met in Kiev on the day we arrived (Saturday) and they decided that the junior pastor should become sole pastor of the church while the senior pastor be given the opportunity to start a new church elsewhere. Our first visit to the church on the Sunday was when one of the leaders of this church council in Kiev announced the split and the new arrangement to the congregation. This took over an hour with both Pastors having their say and then I was handed the microphone to teach.   Talk about a speaker's graveyard!!  As I spoke people began leaving and I had to cut the teaching short.  (At this point I honestly thought we had arrived outside of God's timing and that the week was going to be a disaster. How wrong I was!)
Pastor Alexander and I Luda, Zoe and Iryena

Pastor Alexander and I at the farewell party

Luda, Zoe and Iryena - members of the church's ministry team in the Zhitomir market.

The plan was that our team would meet with the church ministry team for two hours of fellowship and teaching each morning in the apartment we had been given for the week, and I was to teach for four evenings in the church at night time.  A surprisingly sizeable crowd showed up on night one despite the behind the scenes turmoil.  I taught on the 'Fatherheart of God' and it was clear that God was moving mightily in hearts throughout the church, including the new senior pastor.  Night two's teaching was on 'God's order in marriage and in the church' and the crowds greatly increased in number. When ministry time came approx. 95% of people stood for ministry (including the Pastor.) The following day Pastor Alexander asked if he and I could meet and when we did we found that we established a strong friendship very quickly.

When night three began the translator's first words were 'look how many people are here!'  It was the amazing to see the downstairs, the balcony and three side balconies all full, plus almost every inch of standing room occupied.  I taught and ministered into 'curses' and when the evening was over we could not understand why the people were not leaving until we were told that the Presence of God was so strong that most would not leave the church.

The last night saw, if possible, an even greater number of people, and the teaching was on 'Fear'.  The Presence of God was tangible and it was exciting to just be there and see what God was doing amongst His treasured people.  A farewell party was held in our apartment by the church ministry team and Pastor Alexander told all that he felt that he and I had known each other for years.  He has invited us back and asked that he and I build in some recreation time as it turned out that we were both serious athletes prior to the call of God upon our lives.  What could have been the worst week turned out to be an unforgettable week.

Thank you Jesus.

The Zhitomir apartment block which was home for a week.

The Zhitomir apartment block which was home for a week.


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