Brother Mike, an avid outdoorsman, has taken off on a 150-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. He has hiked the trail or sections of it many times. This hike is for raising funds and awareness of the needs of a group of teenage orphans in the city of Kramatorks, Ukraine. The shelter DMI is assisting currently has 14 girls in residence. The local church began this shelter to help these girls become active in society after they graduate from our equivalent of High School. At 15 or 16 the girls finish school, and the state orphanages release the girls with no help to further their education or find a job.
This shelter provides all the necessities for the girls and helps them to either further their education in one of the universities or develop a skill in a trade school. The goal is to provide a safe place so they can become self-sufficient.
Here is Brother Mike’s schedule.
(A.T.- Appalachian Trail)
Drive to Mt Harbor B&B
(between Roan Mt, TN & Elk Park, NC)
(A.T. mile marker 393.1)
Begin hike - campsite: (A.T. mile marker 409.8)
(Notice the greeting on the right that he received as he began his hike. But this did not stop him.)
Resupply @ Hampton, TN (Mile marker 421.0)
Continue on to Watauga Lake Shelter
Mile marker 428.7
Goal is Iron Mt Shelter w/spring
(Mile marker 442.5)
(The picture on the left was sent the first day before arriving at his campsite for the night. What a beautiful view of God’s creation.)
On Sunday, June 11, he was at Damascus, VA. This puts him a little ahead of schedule.
TN-VA State line (Mile marker 465).
Resupply at Damascus & stay at Dave's Place- in Mt Rogers Outfitters.
Goal is Buzzard Rock (Mile marker 489.7).
Goal is Old Orchard Shelter (Mile marker 509).
Goal is Campsite (Mile marker 526).
Goal is Atkins, VA (Relax Inn) (Mile marker 543.8).
Shuttle back to Mt Harbor B&B & come home
These pictures came in today, somewhere between Damascus and Atkins, VA.
By his note today he may finish tomorrow night. If that is the case, he has really traveled fast and furious. Maybe we will start calling him “Speedy”.
Thankful for his effort to raise funds for the shelter. The funds he has raised will be such a great blessing for all of these girls in the shelter.
This picture is of the girls and their counselors who stay in the home with them, providing guidance and encouragement as they pursue their education.
We are very thankful for Pastor Oleg and his wife, Anna,
and their love for these needy young people.
We want to thank all who have donated for this need. It’s not too late if you want to add your support. All contributions are appreciated and will be used for the purpose you designate.
Discipling Ministries International
P. O. Box 69
Culloden, GA 31016-0069
Just mark your check “Girls’ Shelter”
May God bless you.
Elder Pat McCoy
Leaving the Pastor's conference on Saturday afternoon, we began our travels to the city of Izyum where we would worship on Sunday morning. Pastor Slavic welcomed us. After singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Nothing But the Blood, Elder Pat McCoy preached to a crowd of around 70. Following the worship service, we enjoyed a meal in which a member of the church was celebrating her 90th birthday.
For the past few days, both Elder Pat McCoy and Elder Dean Robbins have been travelling throughout Ukraine. During their first few days, they were blessed to be able to be part of a pastoral conference. They reported a wonderful day yesterday at the Pastor's conference in the city of Kharkiv. Here are some of their own thoughts on the conference; "We dealt with subjects such as "The Pastor and His Family"'; "Dealing with Stress and Conflict." Today we deal with the issue of "Time Management." What a joy it is to share discussions of these issues with our Ukrainian Brothers. God has blessed us with two days of study and fellowship in Ukraine. We met for two days with 47 brothers who are serving the Lord as pastors or leaders in rehab centers, homeless centers, etc. God is moving in a powerful way using these brothers to reach the unchurched and needy." Please continue to keep Pat McCoy and Dean Robbins in your prayers.
DMI Supporters and friends,
As we closed the year 2016 we were uplifted by the support you, our faithful partners, provided to help the people of Ukraine and Haiti. In fact, by the end of January 2017 we had received funds to help us with several projects.
The DMI board was praying for donations to come in so we could
provide assistance in the following areas.
Build a church in Ivashky, Kharkiv Oblast- ($10,000)
Addition to orphan teen girls shelter- ($8,000)
Support Pastor Vasily Derkach- ($6,000)
Complete LOR annual budget - ($21,000)
Food for Haitian orphanage - (28,600 / $21,000 remaining)
All of this aid came in besides the regular monthly support from many of you. We need the monthly support to meet our regular ministry needs. Our monthly support enables us to provide the assistance Brother Sasha needs to carry out the ministry of DMI in Ukraine. He is traveling all over Central and Western Ukraine checking on the various projects we are involved in. He keeps us informed on the different ministries and what is needed to support pastors and churches. Praise God for all His provision to help so many people in the world.
In 2014-2015 when the war broke out in Donetsk Region there were so many people fleeing the war areas and resettling in Central and Western Ukraine. Your assistance helped several refugee families begin their lives anew. It is so good to go back and visit these families who received our support and see their progress. They now have homes to live in and have found jobs or started their own businesses. One family we assisted with funds to purchase tulip bulbs in 2015 has built a second greenhouse and now plants bulbs in both and sells the tulips each spring. They are doing well.
Now we have another request. The Malov family has been involved in ministry in Ukraine all their lives and has been a great help to DMI. Sasha, whom some of you know, works tirelessly throughout the country traveling sometimes 1,500 to 2,000 miles a week in his visits to churches and rehab centers to pray with them, encourage them and find their needs.
His brother, Andrey, is one of the main leaders of Light of Resurrection. This is the Christian organization we have supported since 1993. They were in Makeeyevka and had to flee the country in 2014. They have re-established in Zhitomir, Central Ukraine. Andrey still travels back to the occupied area to check on churches and pastors who are still in those regions under rebel control.
Their father, Valentin, will be 71 in May. He lives in the occupied area and for some time there were thoughts that he needs to move out of there. He did not like that idea, but with the latest developments in the region and a true border being established traveling into the occupied areas is becoming more complicated. Also, his health is not good and there are no close family members left there, so he is ready to move to Zhitomir area. He wants to live close to Andrey and Tanya.
Brother Valentin has been a deacon in his church for many years. He was a great help to us several years ago when he helped organize two medical clinics for us in different villages. He loves the Lord and is a very faithful, serving Christian.
The Malov family house in Yenakiyevo is worth nothing. The real estate market is down and many houses remain empty since many people have left the town.
If he is able to sell the house it may bring $1,000-$2,000, and that would be a miracle.
This will be a hard move for him to leave the house that has been the family home for so many years.
Andrey has found a good, small apartment in very good condition – worth $26,500, which is a very reasonable price for Zhitomir. DMI would like to help the Malov family purchase the home for their refugee father and help him move from the occupied area to live near his family, continuing to minister to God’s people for as long as he is able.
DMI would ask you to be in prayer for him as he makes this transition while he still is able to leave the occupied area. Pray for him to be able to settle into a new place.
If you would be able to help us financially to serve this faithful man that would be appreciated also.
Continue to pray for the Lord’s work in Ukraine. Pray for Dean Robbins and me as we travel back next Wednesday. We will be leading our first pastor’s conference since 2013. We are excited about this conference with a new group of pastors. Pray that God will guide us as we labor together with them. Pray that we can help and encourage them. Many of these men are new pastors the Lord has raised up. Again, thank each of you for your prayers and support of this ministry.
In the Master’s service,
Elder Pat McCoy
If you would like to make any contribution to this ministry, please consider donating online by clicking the button below.
LOR Mission: Zaporozhye, Ukraine
The Prison Ministry Department includes 7 staff members of the Mission and more than 40 volunteers. In 2014, the majority of the staff members moved to the city of Zaporozhye (Eastern Ukraine), where most of our ministries are concentrated for the moment. Two of our staff members returned to the occupied territory, resuming the rehabilitation ministry and evangelization in prisons. All the ministries of our Department intersect with each other and stem from one another. A final stage of the ministry cycle is the rehabilitation program for former prisoners. After this rehabilitation program the participants of the program are involved in the ministry to others.
Staff members of the Prison Ministry Department, Zaporozhye.
By preaching and various assistance in prisons and tuberculosis dispensaries, we identify those who respond to the call of Christ. When they get discharged from hospital or released from prison, we transfer them to one of the four rehabilitation centers, where we continue to work with them for 6 to 8 months. After the completion of the rehabilitation program, we commit our graduates to the care of the local churches and continue our cooperation with them in the ministry.
Serving In Tuberculosis Hospitals
We have three constant team members and few assistants from local churches of Zaporozhye. During one day, we visit six hospital departments of the Zaporozhye regional tuberculosis hospital, with 500-600 people in them. Not everyone is ready to listen to the Word of God, but about 300 people receive us with joy. For some of them, meeting us is the only joy in the gloomy hospital rooms filled with fear and feeling of death.
In addition, once a week, we visit a TB dispensary outside the city. Hopeless patients who do not have a chance of recovery are sent there. We go into every hospital room, tell people about God, give out the New Testaments and Christian literature. The majority of patients are people who are below the poverty line. Many of them are former prisoners, alcoholics and drug addicts, abandoned by all. These people cannot afford to buy even bare essentials. Therefore, apart from preaching the Gospel, we want to show people in practice the kindness and care of God, helping them to supply their vital needs (medicine, hygiene products, food, glasses, and clothes).
Hard everyday life in hospital rooms leads people to the deepest depressions. We try to enliven their lives, we congratulate them on their birthday, celebrate together Christian fests, fellowship with them on different topics, bring them to the church services. In two hospital rooms, we have put DVD players, so everybody can come to watch Christian movies and programs. At Christmas, we congratulated the patients and medical workers, told them about the meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ, gave them gifts.
Over the past three months, four people came to Christ. Out of those who came to Christ before, two people died and three were discharged from hospital, one of them was sent to Mangush for rehabilitation.
We visit the children's department: with children from two to eight years old we play games and make them feel loved, and with the older children we talk on biblical themes. For Christmas, we brought them a theater performance.
By Brother Sasha:
We live in amazing times, times of upheavals. Times when it is very difficult to maintain confidence and equanimity. It seems like the whole world has gone mad. Events and upheavals follow each other with kaleidoscopic swiftness. Tragedies occur constantly and the memory of them lasts until something else happens.
The world does not look safe. Terrorist attacks, upheavals in different countries, natural disasters, crime and violence cover every continent. It is impossible to hide anywhere.
We conduct our ministry in Ukraine among frustrated, frightened and often embittered people. The shocks of the past few years resound. It seems like the entire nation is struck with fear and pain. Some people withdraw into themselves, trying to limit their contacts with the real world. Some people withdraw into alcohol and drugs. Other people, falling into despair seeing corruption, social injustice and devastation, look for a better life for themselves and for their children and begin to immigrate. It is difficult, very difficult to see any prospect of further life in Ukraine.
It is also difficult to be in ministry because only a person who is consoled by the Lord can comfort other people. However, the minister is not a robot without emotions, the minister himself can experience pain, despair, and uncertainty about the future. I know God, I know His promises, but being human, I experience feelings similar to those people whom I serve. There are times when dark despondency comes to my heart. Discouragement because of the imperfection of this world. Pain from so much grief around. Despair because our possibilities and resources are limited to help everyone we would like to help. Sometimes there is a desire to lock yourself in your own world, in your home, in your family and not let someone else's pain into your life.
But the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter for a reason. He condemns the heart, but also provides comfort. He recalls the meaning of life. He talks about the realities, realities of an earthly and eternal prospect. He enables us to focus internally on true biblical values. He strengthens my inner man and gives me strength to continue my path. And not just continue, but also to find joy in life and in ministry.
He comforts through the Word of God, for example, through this passage from the book of Revelation, chapter 22:11-13 (11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (13) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Many times in my life, His Word calms my troubled soul and gives me peace. Is there injustice around? God says, you be just. Is there unrighteousness around? God says, you put on the righteousness of Christ and live this righteousness. Is there devastation around? God says, you build it up, because God is the Creator of all new things and He gave His children strength and ability to restore things around them. He gave us the ministry of reconciliation - the ministry of reconciliation with God. The ministry of restoration of relationships destroyed by sin.
I am thankful to God that He blessed me with many good friends here on earth. For a long time, being the head of LOR and conducting pastoral ministry, I struggled to find people with whom I could openly share my experiences, problems, and the struggle against sin. Basically, I had to solve my spiritual experiences on my own. Often God spoke to me through books, sometimes He sent the right people at the right time, so that even one short conversation could affect the state of my heart.
Today, I am glad that God has blessed me with several close friends with whom I can pray and share my experiences, be open to them and search for God together with them.
I thank God for the team of our LOR ministry. I am grateful to Him for the gifts and abilities of the brothers - for the heart and wisdom of Vadim Chubukin. For the dedication and vigor of Andrey Malov. For the experience of Konstantin Antonyuk. For the wisdom of Andrey Murzin. For the spiritual depth of Igor Semenov.
God especially blessed me, because He brought these and many other friends and co-workers into my life. During the first three months of this year, God gave us a special grace for fellowship and reasoning. It's been three years since Ukraine was plunged into conflict. Nobody expected that this time would last so long. When all LOR team left Makiyivka, everyone thought they were leaving for 2-3 weeks, no more. It is now clear that this conflict and the division of the country will be here for a long time.
Nevertheless, in all that has happened there are some good moments as well. Before the conflict started, the ministry of LOR was mainly concentrated in Eastern Ukraine. Now God has blessed us to serve throughout Ukraine. It is no exaggeration to say that our ministry has multiplied and expanded. Yes, we left in Makeyevka a beautiful mission building, church, and clinic. But in return, God gave us many more opportunities and now we preach the good news of His death and Resurrection to far more people than it was before the war started. Now, I understand that it was God's plan to disperse us throughout Ukraine, and His plan to give us many more opportunities to serve. Glory to Him for His ways that are past finding out.
Each week another journey begins. Meetings with the pastors of Eastern Ukraine. Visiting lonely and sick people. Meetings with refugees who have relocated from the occupied areas of Western Ukraine and much more. I know that on this trip, I will also face a lot of pain and tears. A lot of disappointments, anger and resentment. On the road, I take His Word with me, Word that can comfort both my heart and the hearts of those I will serve. Revelation, chapter 22:
(3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Dear Brothers and sisters,
As we draw to the end of 2016 I wish to express a note of thanks from the DMI board and our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Haiti. God continues to pour out His blessings on people around the world and your contributions to DMI have enabled us to do more and more in the building up and support of the Kingdom of the Lord.
Through the year, we have sent out several notices of various needs, some of which have been urgent needs. Your response to the requests has been tremendous. Let me give you a summary of assistance given to Ukraine and Haiti.
During the summer there was an urgent need to help support the children at the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Food seemed to be running short. As a result of the request we made to you we have received nearly $30,000. The food cost is $400 a week. At this point we have covered food costs through January of 2018. We were also able to send $5,000 for aid for the community after the hurricane went through the country. So at this point we have plenty to cover food for most of the coming year. This will be a great relief for Pastor Enock. Thank you for your aid to Haiti!
This year many of you also have continued to support our ministry in Ukraine. Our main support last year was for Brother Sasha, our mission director. He and his family are cared for solely by our aid. He spends much of his time each week traveling throughout Ukraine visiting several churches and pastors to receive updates on their respective ministries. To give you an example of a normal week, he may travel 1500 to 1700 miles. DMI provides $3,000 a month to cover his living expenses and travel. God has blessed us to be able to support him the past two years. His support will be our main concern for 2017.
At present, they travel back and forth between the two regions. Their families reside in Ukraine. They needed homes of their own. DMI was able to give each of them $5,000 to complete the purchase of two homes. Each of them expressed much gratitude for the aid we provided. Refugees continue to come into Ukraine from the occupied area. Through the year DMI provided $6,700 in aid for families re-settling in Ukraine.
They are provided shelter, food, clothes and job training. Through the year many girls have been helped to be able to function in society. They go to school and are trained in various jobs. The center then helps them find jobs so they can be on their own. While visiting this center in November, we were able to give them $1,000. The girls sang for us and one girl recited a poem. What a joy to see the love of Christ that is shown to these girls. Their greatest need was and is for someone to care.
Two other projects were aided this past year. Both were churches in the “gray zone”. This is the area between Ukraine and the Donetsk Peoples Republic. There is still shelling and mortar attacks there on a regular basis. One home we visited was on the road leading up to the front line where the Ukraine army and tank division are located. We assisted these churches with $500 each.
Let me close with some information on our projects for 2017. Our first obligation for the year will still be the support of Brother Sasha and his family since he is the one with “boots on the ground” carrying on the ministry for DMI. Here are some other areas of ministry we hope to be involved with:
(1) Church building in Vypovzky village. It is a new church plant where we visited a home Bible study (Pastor Igor Lysykh). The land for the construction is has been generously donated by a local Christian business woman and member of the church. The amount needed is $10,000.00 out of an overall project cost of $20,000.00. The Church will raise the balance of $10,000.
(2) Dining room, kitchen and showers – an expansion of the rehab center in Kramatorsk (Pastor Oleg and Sister Anna Serbo). The rehab center is in very small and crowded house where 8 patients and 1-2 people on the staff are staying daily. The amount needed is $8,000.00, out of an overall budget of $10,000.00
(3) Monthly support for Pastor Vasily Derkach (Pictured Above), in Western Ukraine- He is a retried and disabled pastor refugee. The amount needed is $500.00 per month. (Pictured Above)
If you are interested and able to help in these projects, please contact us or send your contribution to:
Discipling Ministries International (DMI).
P. O. Box 69
Culloden, GA 31016
(Once again, thank you from the DMI board and all the brothers and sisters in Ukraine.)
- Elder Pat McCoy, Chairman -
We spent day 7 in meeting with different ministry organizations. We met first with a Baptist Mission who are doing a great work in what is called the “Gray Zone.” The UN and Unicef are just a couple of the agencies that are using this organization to bring supplies to war zone. They deliver food packages and provide medical care to those who are impacted by the war. We were told of one of the volunteers was taken captive by the Separatist in the early days of the conflict. His car was stolen and he was beaten terribly. These are some of the danger that face these brave people; whose desire is to show the love of Christ to those who are in need. Check out their web page for further information. The web address is… www.aidcenter.org.ua
After meeting with this agency, we then met with the staff of LOR. This is the Ukrainian mission that DMI has been associated with for over 20 years. Most of the Staff of LOR had to relocate to the city of Zaporizhzhya after the war started. There we met with Vadim Churbukin, his wife Irena and several others. Here they continue to sponsor 2 rehab ministries in the city. They have 4 other rehab centers located in other villages. We met and had lunch with the rehab center for women. We heard the testimony of these ladies who expressed their praise and gratitude to God for intervening in their lives. DMI has been greatly blessed over the years to have helped support not only the Rehabilitation ministries, but also the Prison ministries of LOR [Light of Resurrection] Mission. Day 7 ended with a 500 km [311 miles; 7 hour] ride back to Kiev. We rejoiced in the goodness of the LORD as we traveled home.
We saw our mission team travel west to the city of Zhitomir to visit with Pastor Andre Malov and wife Tanya. Andre is part of the LOR Staff. He covers the western part of the Ukraine for LOR; checking on the needs of pastors, churches and different Rehabilitation ministries. There at Andre’s home, we had the great blessing to visit with an old friend, Pastor Vasiliy Derkach, wife Olga and their family. One of the first churches that DMI helped was Pastor Vasiliy’s church in the city of Ugledar in 1993. DMI helped to raise funds for the building of their church. It was a great reunion between Pastor Vasiliy and Pastor Pat McCoy. Please pray for this dear man and his wife. Pastor Vasiliy has MS and his wife Olga is battling a debilitating disease as well. Her testimony though was very moving. Despite their health problems, she praised God for His goodness to them both. No matter what happens, she proclaimed to us… “God is good.” What a great couple of days we had meeting with our Brothers and Sisters at LOR and also Pastor Vasiliy. Please keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers.
Our time is fast approaching to leave for home. We miss our families and will be glad to be back home. But we will miss our families here in the Ukraine. Thank you to all who have helped in the support of this ministry over the years. Through God’s grace and the kindness of many of you, DMI has been able to help meet the needs of many people here. There are still many needs that we feel burdened to meet. If you would like to help or receive more information about this ministry, please check out our web page: www.disciplingministries.org. If you feel led to give a contribution, please know that it will be graciously accepted and will go to help with the ministry of the gospel in the Ukraine
Today our mission team visited the church in Slovyansk where we worshipped together with our Ukrainian Brothers and Sisters. What a wonderful experience! Thoughts of Ephesians 4 –where Paul writes of the oneness we have in Christ became a reality. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” became real for us; especially when we sang together the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” After being treated to a wonderful lunch at the church [imagine that at a Baptist Church!!], we visited in the afternoon a Women’s Rehabilitation Center and a home for orphan young women who had to leave the State Orphanages. Pastor Oleg and His wife Anna are the leaders of these amazing ministries. These two are amazing people whom God is using to help so many people. We finished our day by traveling to the church at Kramastorsk. There we met with the brothers of the church including the two pastors of the church. They told of their ministry to refugees and their support for both the Women’s Rehab center and the orphanage ministry for young women. The church also is helping its poorer members to pay for the heating of their homes. This city is in a depressed state due to the war. Unemployment is high. Please pray for the ministries in these cities. They are doing so much work with people with so few financial resources.
We have a lot of traveling to do tomorrow. Please keep our team in you prayers.
Day 6 of our trip took us to the village of Toretsk. This place is in the so-called “Gray Zone.” It is called that because it is close to the front lines of the war in the East. This village was under Separatist control until the Ukrainian Army seized control and drove the Separatist back to the current front lines. There we met with Pastor Maxim and his wife Lena. Maxim told us that he was chosen to be the pastor by the church even though he did not want to be a pastor. But soon he was ordained and took the leadership of the church. It is a church of about 80 members. We met with Pastor Maxim and several of the deacons and their wives. Not only are they enduring the constant threat of artillery shells exploding near them, but also the city is in much economic distress. Despite these problems, the church is still ministering to the people of the area. They have a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry and there are 4 locations in the area where they have home Bible Study groups meeting. We went to see one of the homes where they have such a Bible Study meeting. It was a home that was slightly damaged recently by an exploding shell. What a display of faithfulness by Pastor Maxim! Please pray for him that God will continue to protect him and the church from the present danger of the war.
After enjoying a delicious meal at a home of a church member, we then drove for a number of hours to the city of Zaporizhzhya. We will stay there for the night and then meet the LOR staff tomorrow. Continue to keep us and the church in the Ukraine in your prayers. Dos Vedanya!
[Pictures: Church at Toretsk; Pastor Maxim & wife Lena; Church meeting]
It is difficult put into words what we have experienced today. God has blessed us to see the wonders of His grace and mercy. Our mission team visited a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry in the city of Kharkov. There, we heard the testimonies of men who were in bondage to their addictions. Here, 12 men live together in a rented house under the leadership of several Pastors. The men study God’s word and work together to overcome their addiction problems. We have witnessed the reality of the passage of Scripture found in John 8 where Jesus said, “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (verses 31, 32). Several gave their testimonies of how the truth had set them free from their addictions. One man told of the many years of heroin use. He told us how God had used the ministry of Pastor Dennis and Pastor Sergei to help him beat his addiction. The men sang several songs and the joy on their faces as they sang was so touching to see.
This rehab ministry is under the leadership of Pastors Dennis and Sergei and the church in the city of Kharkov. Both Pastor Dennis and Pastor Sergei, along with their church in the Lughansk region, left their homes when the war broke out in the eastern part of the Ukraine. Since re-establishing their lives in the city of Kharkov, they return occasionally to their former city in the war-torn east where a new church has been planted and a Rehab ministry started. Pastor Dennis has a great heart for this ministry to those addicted to drugs as he himself as once addicted to drugs. Please continue to pray for these brothers and their families as they continue to minister to the people in the Ukraine. Praise be to God for His love, mercy and grace!
At the end of another day, our mission team has experienced more blessings from the Lord. We began our day of ministry at a village not far from the Russian border. There we met with Pastor Vadim and his family. Pastor Vadim has a similar testimony as many of the other pastors we have met during our travels in the Ukraine. He is a former drug addict who also spent two separate terms in prison for a total of some 15 years. It was the last time in prison that the Lord opened the prison doors of his heart. After his release from prison, Vadim went back to his home village. There he began to minister to his mother who was gravely sick. Others from the village then began to come to him seeking spiritual help. Soon Vadim was ordained and became a pastor to the people of the village.
The church in the village is new. There were 30 to 40 people present for a specially called meeting. Seven are members. There were 18 people who are with the Rehabilitation center; 5 women and 13 men. We also met with a refugee family that recently left the Lugansk area in Eastern Ukraine because of the fighting near their home. There was also a lady there who gave a testimony of how in Soviet times the government persecuted her family. They did so because they were Baptists. In an effort to end the line of her father, the authorities shot and killed her grandfather who was a pastor and who refused to deny his faith. Her father was sent to a Siberian prison camp where he was subsequently executed. Several of her brothers were murdered. Other men of the family changed their name to survive. Today, the family name continues on with her sons who took their mother’s maiden name. She praised God for His goodness to her and her family.
After eating lunch with the village church, we then visited with Pastor Sergei and Pastor Anatoly at the church in Kharkov. This church housed many refugees when the war broke out in the east. After 2 years, they still minister to these people by giving them food packages. During the past two years, some 70 tons of food have been dispersed and some 7000 refugees have been helped by this church. When the refugee crises occurred, many donated funds to DMI to help meet the needs of the people who had to leave their homes because of the fighting. This church in Kharkov received most of the funds that were donated.
Our day of ministry ended with meeting Pastor Dennis and Pastor Sergei. The Board members for DMI voted to help these Brothers with the purchase of an apartment for each of them. Due to the outpouring of donations, we were able to give each $5000 towards the purchase of a home. These Brothers are doing a great work both in Kharkov and in the city in Lugansk where they had to leave because of the fighting. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. Our Lord has been good to us these past days. We look forward to worshipping Him tomorrow with more of our Ukrainian Brothers and Sisters.
[The pictures are of the church in the village; Pastor Pat McCoy and the lady whose family was persecuted; and the refugee family from Lugansk]