An example of the ministry of a "small town" pastor, whose ministry is supported by the Light of Resurrection Mission.
Igor Lysykh, his wife Natasha and their three children now live in a small town of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky, located 80 km from Kiev. In 2014, when the war began, they moved here from the Lugansk region, from a city in now-occupied territory. There they had their own house, business and a blessed ministry in a small Baptist church. In one day, being able to collect only personal belongings, they were forced to leave their home and like Abraham move to a place they did not know. God led them to Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky, where they literally began their life from scratch. Igor actively joined the ministry, started preaching in the surrounding villages and helping other refugees. As a result of his preaching a new church was founded in the village of Vypovzky. After a while, the local brothers where he lived invited him to take a position of a pastor in the church in the city. This is a small congregation of about 50 members. Igor accepted this invitation and began his ministry there. We often communicate with him and visit him.
It turned out that the congregation is in a rather complicated internal state - many people who have been in the church for a long time do not show the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Indifference and apathy is seen on their part. There is a lack of desire to change anything, both in their life and in the life of the congregation.
Once in desperation, Igor said - "I do not see that these people who are in the church can change. It seems to me that it is much easier to evangelize and work with nonbelievers than to expect changes in the lives of current members of the church." One can disagree with Igor's conclusion, but this is the way he sees the situation from within.
Igor asked the Light of Resurrection Mission for help. The congregation does not have financial means to support him full time as a pastor, so we included him in our pastors support program. Now, we not only support him financially, but also help to pay for the rent of a small apartment.
Then there was another request from Igor - there are many dysfunctional families in the city, and in such families children are not given much attention. We need to start a Day Center for such children where they can get attention, care, Biblical counsel, hot food, and help with homework. Maybe working with the children will give access to their parents and will give an opportunity to share the Gospel with them. Our team decided to support this ministry. Currently 25+ children come to classes in the day center 3 times a week.
Here is how Igor describes the story of one of the girls for whom the Day Center became the first contact with believers in her life:
"... And this is Sasha, she is 12 years old. She is one of those girls who never skips the Day Center meetings without having important reasons. When you look at her, you can see her shyness and slight lack of self-confidence. But she's very good at making friends. Her friendship manifests in the fact that she first came to the Day center club with her classmate Katya, and now Julia and Alena are coming along with them. All the girls listen attentively to what is said in the Bible lessons, because it's all new to them. At home, nobody speaks to them on such topics. And when we have personal conversations with children, we can see how little they know about God. Sometimes they ask questions that show that what is being said, it does not pass by them, but the Bible truths remain in their hearts.
Having become further acquainted with Sasha, you learn that she has both father and mother, and an older sister who already has a job. None of her relatives know the believers and Sasha is the first one from the whole family who came to church.
Sasha really likes doing crafts. When there are sport games at the Day center, she does not show much interest, often we need to invite her several times, but when it comes to crafts, there she shows special interest and diligence. When Sasha manages to create something special, you can immediately see how she begins to feel more confident and wants to take her craft home. And how important it is to understand that such small moments in children's life are vital, this way children begin to "grow in their own eyes."
When we began to talk her dreams, what Sasha wanted in life, among common childish dreams there were dreams that are mature enough, that she formulated clearly and intelligibly: Sasha dreams of peace for the whole territory of Ukraine, and that people would no longer kill each other, but learn to love and forgive.
It is a special privilege to work with children who do not know and have never heard about God, but at the same time it is a great responsibility to correctly and accurately convey to them the Bible truths, and by reflecting them in our own lives.”
Day Center is a work that does not lead to quick results, but its success is possible only in laborious daily work with children and their parents. Our prayer is for God to use the ministry of the Day Center for the profound transformation of children and their parents, for their salvation and for the filling of His church.
Then Igor turned to us with one more need: preaching at the villages, he saw that old people live in dire need. They live in such poor and meager conditions, especially those who do not have relatives. Many do not have an opportunity to move around and take care of themselves. Many do not have the money to buy firewood to heat their homes.
Igor asked us to consider a possibility of providing monthly assistance to 10 old people and single mothers with children. Help is needed for food, medicine and for firewood in winter. We decided to provide assistance from our Emergency Relief Fund program. We know that Igor and his team not only render material assistance, and help in the practical needs of the elderly, but also testify about Christ to these old people who are very close to the transition to eternity.
Having moved to Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky and communicating with pastors of churches in the region, Igor saw how divided churches and ministers are. Every minister lives his own life and tries to solve problems in their churches all alone. Pastors and ministers lack communication. Igor asked us for partial financial assistance in holding a two-day meeting of pastors from that area of the Kiev region. Assistance was provided and preparation for this meeting began.
Again, we give the floor to Igor:
“Greetings to you, dear Brothers!
A few weeks ago, in Pereyaslav there was a pastoral conference for the ministers of the Pereyaslav region.
I would like to share those blessings that we experienced during these two days.
Due to the fact that in order to participate at the meeting the brothers were not only to travel long distance, but also to leave their work, ministry and families, we did realize that they should get something worthy at the meeting. This entailed an additional burden of responsibility.
43 people representing 23 churches managed to come to the meeting. Those are mainly ministers from the villages and from those places where such fellowship meetings of brothers are rare. Because such meetings of brothers were arranged so seldom, the taste of fellowship of brothers was lost. For some it was difficult to make a decision to leave home for 2 days. Some brothers no longer saw it necessary....
At the meeting were raised several topics for discussion and decision-making. To speak on those topics was invited an experienced and respected pastor - Vasiliy Davydyuk. He spoke with brothers on the topic of Unity, Dedication, and the Importance of Fasting in our lives. There were many examples visibly showing how these principles work in life. There were presentations of ministries, which are conducted by brothers in the villages. All who were present at the meeting prayed for these ministries.
During breaks, there was a good time to fellowship while having a tea or coffee together. Sisters prepared delicious lunches and dinner for brothers, which created a very good atmosphere for further fellowship.
One of the difficulties in the ministry is the fact that such motivational and supportive meetings are arranged VERY rarely. At such meetings, brothers see that someone "is in even worse situation than me" and on the other hand, they see who to look up to. Often brothers who are in ministry feel loneliness and the state that nobody needs what they do. Because of household problems and work load, brothers are not able to develop their ministries with more dedication. Such retreats are very helpful in "staying afloat" and keeping in the right direction.
Brothers also asked to support them in prayer for the following needs:
1. Understanding in developing of ministries.
2. Opportunities in developing of ministries.
3. Firmness in decision-making.
4. Building right relationship with the authorities.
I would like to express you a great gratitude on behalf of all the brothers present, for the opportunity to have such a conference!!!”
Igor's ministry is a good illustration of the projects and kind of people we want to support. It is important for us to find the right people, who we can learn to know, can influence and help each other.
We support him as a pastor - praying for the strengthening of the church in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky. We support the Day Center, hoping that God will continue His salvation work in the lives of children and their parents, and will add to the church daily such as should be saved. We support the ministry to elderly people, hoping for the grace of God towards them. We support meetings for pastors of the region, hoping that this will make church stronger and will support tired pastors.
Igor's health is weak and he needs our prayers. Igor does not have his own house, and we intercede for this need. We do not announce the cost of housing for him and his family, but if someone will have a desire to participate in financing this need, please contact us and we will provide you with additional information.
The staff team of the Light of Resurrection Mission sees ourselves as a small particle in His work here on earth. We are small, weak and tired people, but by the grace of God we are, what we are. We praise Him, because He uses us and we are happy to have all our prayer and financial partners together with us. Thank you! May the God of peace be with us all!
Your Servant In Ukraine,
If you are interested in helping DMI support any of these ministries please contact us.
Send your contribution to:
P.O. Box 69
Culloden, GA 31016
Thanks for your continues support and prayers for our ministry in Ukraine.
Pastor Pat McCoy
The staff team of the Light of Resurrection Mission greets you in the year 2018!
In this letter, we would like to share our news, experiences and prayer needs.
The end and the beginning of each year is a special and exciting period for us.
We summarize our results of the past year and plan our activities for the new year.
The philosophy of our Ministry:
We do not want our activities to be focused solely on budgets and programs, but we want to be where God wants to see us, and we want to do what He calls us to do. Probably, there is no greater tragedy for any Christian than not being where they should be, and doing things that God does not call them to do. Our team members spend a lot of time analyzing their hearts and motives for their ministry activities.
One of the questions that we ask ourselves is “what place does our organization have in the dispensation of the Kingdom of God?” What impact do we make on the world around us, on the churches that we minister with, on the people we serve? We are afraid to find ourselves in a situation where our activities serve only ourselves. Then the organization exists just for its own existence and nothing more than that.
The process of such analysis is rather painful for all our staff members, since we have to honestly personally answer the questions about the true motivation of our hearts.
A significant number of our staff members have served in the Light of Resurrection Mission for many years. During this time we have been spiritually growing and forming together. Most of us survived the forced flight from Donetsk because of the war.
We are not as strong and energetic as we were 20 years ago. Some of us have already become grandmothers and grandfathers. Therefore, understanding the limitation of our life on earth, as assigned to each of us, and being at a mature age, we seek God and His guidance for ourselves as well as for the Light of Resurrection Mission more than ever. We want to do what is really important and not waste time on an empty fuss.
With age and spiritual experience, there comes an understanding that God absolutely controls what is happening to us and around us. We do understand that the Light of Resurrection is a small part of His work in Ukraine. We understand that it is His business, His Church, not ours. We understand that He and only He not only determined the future of each one of us but also the place of everyone in His work. Perhaps this seems obvious, but in the context of work of the Light of Resurrection Mission, it gives a special state of peace - we understand and declare that the Light of Resurrection will continue its ministry for the time He appointed for us. If one day comes a time when God will say - The Light of Resurrection has done its work and now I do not need it anymore - I think our team will accept it with understanding and gratitude to Him, for all the good years of our ministry. It seems that He has not yet said this, and gives us His grace to continue serving Him.
Understanding the absolute control of God over all processes gives us peace and contentment about our financial state. Starting each fiscal year, we do not have the slightest understanding about what our budget will look like for the year. It is interesting that when we act in the flesh, trying to solve problems of filling our budget with some aggressive or manipulative methods of fundraising, we are faced with the fact that it does not work and God confounds us for the wrong methods and gives us a great experience of humility. The experience of this year shows that God gives us exactly as much as we are able to bear. Nothing more nor less.
In light of the above, the reader may have a question: “what are the ambitions of the Light of Resurrection team?” Our answer is: to do our work well, even though this work often seems imperceptible and insignificant, and to be ready to leave on time, when it becomes clear that God wants it. In other words, our main ambition is to be the best in what God entrusted to us, and to do everything from the heart, as for the Lord, not for self, but in order to glorify Him. The second passion of our team is the passion for proclaiming the Gospel. We participate in many projects that can be called social, but we keep our firm position that the fullness of the transformation in people's lives is possible only through enlightening of a man`s soul with the light of the Gospel.
Our place in ministry in Ukraine:
These reflections led our team to the understanding of our place in His work. We aspire to be in places and with those people to whom others pay little attention. In working with churches, projects (ministries) and pastors, we first of all try to pay attention to those people and ministries that are located in small towns and villages. The amount of need in such places is huge. Mostly these are small church congregations, which, due to their small number and poverty, do not attract the attention of most large donors. In such places, humanly speaking, it is difficult to assume a significant growth of church congregations. But in these small towns and villages live the people who need the Gospel, and there is where ministry is needed for the poor pastors. We want to be with these congregations and pastors, help them in the implementation of their projects, and serve the poor and disadvantaged. Such people are our main ministry base. Because of their poverty and small size, such congregations cannot finance their projects by themselves, so we come to them and help them. We go where others do not go.
How do we help?
The philosophy of our help is expressed in three components:
Personal care for the pastors, leaders of the ministries and for all who need our help. This is achieved through regular and quality visits, during which people have the opportunity to speak out in a safe atmosphere. As a result, we know people much deeper and are concerned about them, we pray for them, we know their circumstances, etc.
We strive to ensure that the Light of Resurrection Mission has the reputation of an organization that is open for contacts, meetings and interaction. We strive to ensure that all the members of our team are not detached from the realities of life, that they speak a language that people can understand, that they are simple and able to show compassion and help.
Cooperative identification and analysis of needs and problems. Together as we work on a project we ask questions and look for answers together. As a result, we minimize poor-quality or artificial projects. Holding meetings and conferences, e we discuss the needs and practical issues of ministries. It is a big mistake to try to influence without deep immersion in the lives of people we serve. Therefore, influence is possible only when we know situations and circumstances and when people trust and listen to us. One needs to "deserve" the right to influence.
Providing financial assistance and providing channels for access to other resources. In fact, in every sphere of Christian ministry or charity, there are people who specialize in one or another sphere. Someone works with orphans, someone works in the area of rehabilitation, someone helps the homeless, someone works with children with special needs, and someone does pastoral counseling. These people have knowledge and experience. We cannot be experts in all spheres, but we can connect people.
This corresponds with our broader philosophy - we are looking for cooperation and partnership with like-minded people in Ukraine and abroad - we believe in non-competitive partnerships between organizations, national and foreign donors, churches with the same goals and methods of work, and based on mutual trust and respect.
We look for such partners, for whom the expansion of Christian influence in society stands above the interests of their own organizations and we are ready to be such partners for others.
The map represents the work of the Light of Resurrection Mission in Ukraine:
The Light of Resurrection Mission 2018:
1. Administration: 4 staff members
2. Project Coordinators: 2 staff members
3. Prison and Rehabilitation Ministry: 9 Members
· Preaching the Gospel in 14 prisons in Eastern Ukraine
· Rehabilitation center for men, Makeyevka
· Rehabilitation center for men, Zaporozhye
· Rehabilitation Center for women, Zaporozhye
· Rehabilitation center for men, Mariupol
· Adaptation Center for women, Zaporozhye
(The total number of people who presently are in rehabilitation centers
of the Light of Resurrection Mission - 38 people)
· Preaching the Gospel in hospitals for people with tuberculosis and HIV, Zaporozhye
· Ministry to homeless people, Zaporozhye
4. Book ministry: 1 Staff Member
5. Support for pastors and ministers of rehabilitation centers: 31 people
6. Day centers for children from disadvantaged families:
· Kolo Druziv (Circle of Friends), Kiev - work with children with disabilities
· Baptist Church, Pereyaslav-Khmelnytsky, Kyiv region
· Reformed Church, Ivano-Frankivsk
· Baptist Church, Strumok, Odessa region
· Baptist Church, Pechanovka, Zhytomyr region
· Baptist Church, Lubar, Zhytomyr region
· Baptist Church, Rhea, Zhytomyr region
· Baptist Church, Mariupol, Donetsk region
· Evangelical Church, Zhitomir
· Baptist Church, Kovel, Volyn region
In total: 195 children and 13 staff members
7. Kids Sponsorship Program:
· Izmail, Odessa region
Total: 93 children
8. Ministry of Oleg and Anna Serbo, Kramatorsk:
· Rehabilitation Center for women - 8 people
· House for elderly women - 8 people
· House for girls orphans - 8 people
9. Ministry for refugees and children from crisis families:
- Izyum, Kharkiv region, 20+ people
10. Ministry to ministers (M2M):
- Care of young ministers, 20+ people
11. Ministry for women in crisis pregnancy (Pro-Life)
- Ivano-Frankivsk - 10+ people
12. Emergency Relief Fund, 50-100 people monthly:
Through this program, we provide not only individual assistance to the needy, but also medical help and help in the form of food to some rehabilitation centers and ministries for homeless people.
13. Winter Help:
- Assistance to churches in the so-called gray zone,
Eastern Ukraine, 500-800 people, 15 church congregation.
The map represents the work of the Light of Resurrection Mission in Ukraine:
We are grateful to God for the finances He trusts us, and for the opportunity to serve such a large number of people. Our prayer is that God through the power of His Gospel would touch unsaved people and would give strength for serving to those pastors and ministers whom we provide help. As always, we profess our dependence on Him and ask for prayers for all the staff members of the Light of Resurrection Mission, both for those who work in the fields, and for those who do an important and inconspicuous office work.
Your Servant In Ukraine,
Here is the story of Vika. Hers is a very sad, but not uncommon story. The story was written and sent to us by Oleg and Anna Serbo. Vika is living at the House of Mercy Shelter for teenage girls in the city of Kramatorsk. This shelter was started several years ago by this wonderful couple, Oleg and Anna Serbo. Vika was taken in by this couple and now has a very important role in the ministry of this shelter. Please pray for this family as they minister to the needs of these girls in Kramatorsk. They are a strong, committed Christian couple. Last year DMI helped them add some needed rooms to the shelter for the girls.
Vika was born on April 30, 1998, in the city of Snezhnoe, Donetsk region. She was a happy, fidgety child, no different from any other kids, but her life abruptly changed at an early age, and her childhood suddenly ended. Victoria`s mother, even though she was a medical doctor, started drinking and soon became an alcoholic. One day, while drunk, she stabbed her husband (Vika’s father) with a knife. At the age of just 8 years old, Vika lost both parents in just one day. Her loving Dad was sent to a hospital with severe wounds, and her Mom was put in prison. Vika was then placed in an orphanage in the Donbass Region. Her Dad was never able to fully recover from the injury and died when Vika was 10 years old. Their last picture together is a treasure for Vika. Her Dad was the only person in her life who really loved her.
In 2014, because of the war in the Donbass Region, children from local orphanages were moved to other orphanages in safer places. Vika was moved to the orphanage of Svyatogorsk, called "The Emerald City". There she met believers from the city of Kramatorsk, who regularly serve in this orphanage.
Vika was a very sincere, modest and serious girl. She was focused on her studies and loved reading. But when she was 16, she fell in love for the first time in her life with a young man from the same orphanage. He told her he loved her and promised her they would one day get married and he will never leave her. For the first time after her Dad died, Vika opened her heart to a man. But when he learned that Victoria got pregnant, he immediately left her and even ran away to live in another city. He came back later but has never shown any serious desire to build a family with Vika.
She was only 16, all alone, and expecting a baby. When it was time for her to give birth, she was brought to the hospital in the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region (Ukraine Territory), where she met our family (Oleg and Anna). At that time, we had just started our ministry to orphans. The delivery was very hard, but the prayers of the church were heard, and God blessed Vika. He gave her strength and patience to give birth to her beautiful, healthy daughter Xenia. After the delivery, Vika and her baby lived with our family. Vika quickly adapted to the family. She showed herself to be a very modest, obedient girl, and, to our amazement, a very good, caring and sacrificial mother, despite her young age. Together with us, she attended services of our local church in the city of Slavyansk, Donetsk region.
At that time repair work was carried out in the house that was earlier purchased to become a home for orphans. At the end of the repair, the House of Mercy (shelter) was opened, and Vika and her daughter moved together with the other orphan girls. While living in the house for orphans, Vika began to attend a local church of Golgotha in Kramatorsk, where she was converted to God.
Now Vika is an integral part of the House of Mercy. She is a very responsible person; we can always rely on her and her help. Her modesty, obedience and her calm and balanced character affect others very favorably. She has a very good relationship with the other girls residing at the House of Mercy. During all these years, God protected, helped and blessed Vika, and we trust that He will continue to lead her. We are very grateful to the Lord for her. Please, join us in prayers for the future of Vika and her daughter Xenia.