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