Andrea and I consider ourselves very blessed to have been a part of MTW's work in
Ukraine since 1995. When we first arrived in Izmail, a small town on the Romanian
border, life was definitely rustic. For two years we often had no electricity, we
never had hot running water, and daily life was similar to a small rural town in
While modern conveniences were lacking, a thirst for the knowledge of God was not!
72 years of communism had created a society that eagerly sought truth. We were
welcomed into the community and quickly began Bible studies that led to the
beginning of the first Presbyterian church in Izmail.
In the last ten years this reformed church-planting movement has spread across
Ukraine with amazing speed, resulting in eleven churches, all led by Ukrainian
pastors. (Click here to see a map showing our churches) a national presbytery, a
reformed Seminary, one of the finest medical clinics in the country, and a host of
ministries, including: a soup kitchen for the poorest of the poor and elderly, drug
and alcohol rehabilitation center, street children ministry, orphanage outreach,
clothes closet, humanitarian aid, reformed book translation, and a Christian day
At first the work was done primarily by people like us, North American missionaries
working through MTW. Over time, however, these ministries have been transferred to
Ukrainians - which is exactly what we want. Ultimately, our goal is for this work
to be completely led by Ukrainians, with MTW missionaries working alongside them,
helping them to achieve their goals.
Right now the Presbyterian Church of Ukraine is poised on the edge of exponential
growth. Our goal is have 44 churches in the denomination in the next 15 years. One
of the biggest hurdles in achieving that goal is financial self-sufficiency -- the
churches are heavily dependent on help from the west. As I lead MTW's
church-planting team in Odessa over the next five years, this will be a priority for
me personally, as well as for our team. We have already begun meeting with
businessmen, other organizations, and the International Economic Development Center
of Belhaven College to achieve this goal. It's not going to be easy, but it's an
essential component that must happen for the church to thrive and spread not only
throughout Ukraine, but all of the former Soviet Union.
In His perfect timing, God has brought about other events to allow His church to
thrive, primarily the election of Viktor Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution of
2005. While other post-Soviet countries are showing signs of growing religious
persecution, this election has actually opened the door wider in Ukraine for freedom
of religion, evangelistic activities to spread, and Christian businesses to grow.
We find ourselves now in a crucial window of time for strengthening the church's
foundation and enabling them to spread the grace of our Lord among their own people.
Our ministry is financially supported by the contributions of individuals and
churches who desire to see this work prosper. We need you! If you are interested in
helping this work continue, please indicate so on our Partner With Us page. All
gifts are tax-deductible, and very gratefully accepted. Thank You!