Sharing God’s Word in Georgia

georgia-children“I am the pastor of a small church in the heart of Georgia, and I enjoy preaching to people on the streets of small towns and villages,” shares Pastor Kamkhadze. “I usually just set up a table of Bibles and New Testaments in a public place and people will approach the table to listen, ask questions, and sometimes argue. Some people take the Scripture, some say that they will start going to church, and sadly, some say that they will never go to church.

“Recently, I received copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories, so I started including them at my Scripture table. Soon, children started approaching me to ask for their own copies of the book. One day, my son, Lucas, who is eight years old, said, ‘Dad, I want to be an evangelist with you.’ I asked him what he was going to do, and he said he would preach to other children. Lucas was a great help! When children came to our table, Lucas would play with them and ask them questions about God.

“One day, some boys were walking by our table and they called Lucas an offensive name. He was angry and said he wanted to beat them up, so he and some of the other children who were at our table chased the other boys away. When they returned to the table, I told them that this is not what the Bible teaches, so they agreed that they wouldn’t fight with the other boys.

“A few weeks later, those same boys walked by our table again, but this time they asked if they could have copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories! They promised to read them, and they said they wanted to start behaving responsibly. I’m so grateful for how God’s Word is changing lives here in Georgia!”

You can help provide copies of God’s Word for motivated young Next Generation Christians like Lucas to distribute to their peers by giving online to our Scripture publishing and distribution efforts:

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September 2016 Prayer Requests

 

  1. DSC_4921Praise God that Pastor Dmitry (David) Shestakov and his family, who we helped flee to Ukraine after David suffered severe persecution in Uzbekistan, were relocated to the United States on August 30! This is a wonderful answer to prayer, as we have been advocating on behalf of the Shestakov family since 2012.
  2. Please pray that God would use our 2016-2017 School Without Walls (SWW) program, which launches this month, to prepare even more young Christian leaders for effective ministry throughout Eurasia and Israel.
  3. Pray that God would be at work in the hearts of the children who attended this year’s summer Bible camps and will now be participating in several follow-up events.
  4. Pray for SWW leaders and students in Belarus as they prepare for several upcoming Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) conferences.
  5. Pray for our ministry team in Russia’s North Caucasus as they continue expanding SWW outreach efforts and church planting in this volatile region.
  6. Praise God for a team of young people from ShareWord Global, one of our ministry partners, who recently visited 12 of our summer Bible camps in Moldova, where they distributed New Testaments to 900 at-risk children!
  7. Please pray that our containers of humanitarian aid goods for Ukraine would clear customs quickly so we can continue bringing these goods to those in need.
  8. Pray for the leaders of Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are seeking new ways to serve in their community and grow their small group ministry.
  9. Pray that God would provide new opportunities for our ministry team in Vladikavkaz, Russia to partner with local schools and universities so they can reach out to young people through preventative lectures.
  10. Please pray for our SWW coordinator and several SWW students in Uzbekistan who were recently interrogated by local authorities. Pray that God would protect them and give them courage.
  11. Pray for CWW in Chisinau, Moldova as they continue developing and expanding their youth ministry through sports outreach, youth clubs, and training seminars at local middle schools.
  12. Praise God for a very successful summer Bible camp in Dagestan, Russia, where many children heard the gospel for the very first time!
  13. Pray for a new Living Israel church that was recently planted in Safed, Israel, where there are currently no other churches.
  14. Please pray for several upcoming evangelistic events, including picnics, movie nights, and prayer meetings, that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus will be hosting.
  15. Pray for our SWW students in Armenia as they prepare for several upcoming evangelistic concerts in various cities.
  16. Pray for healing for Konstantin, one of our ministry workers in Ukraine, who recently injured his shoulder.
  17. Praise God for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia, through which we are preparing SWW students to reach the lost throughout the North Caucasus!
  18. Please pray that God would continue His work in the hearts of the non-Christian teenagers who participated in a special summer Bible camp in Pinsk, Belarus so that they may come to know Christ.
  19. Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he prepares young people at his church to lead their own youth ministry.
  20. Pray for safety for Erin and Rashid, our missionaries in Perm, Russia, as Rashid travels to Kiev, Ukraine for SWW meetings and Erin stays at home with their children.
  21. Please pray for SWW students at Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus as they continue serving at a local boarding school for orphans.
  22. Praise God for new believers who were recently baptized at Spiritual Renewal Church in Russia’s North Caucasus!
  23. Continue praying for peace in Ukraine so that those who are hurting can start to heal and move forward.
  24. Irina, the wife of the CWW pastor in Pinsk, Belarus, is starting an English as a Second Language ministry, so please pray that God would grant her wisdom.
  25. Pray for courage and safety for our brothers and sisters in Russia as they continue sharing the gospel, despite new laws that limit religious freedom.
  26. Praise God for a specially designed New Testament in the Romanian and Russian languages that we are distributing in Moldova!
  27. Please continue praying for Sasha, a SWW student from Bobruisk, Belarus, as he is currently serving in the army.
  28. Pray for several upcoming events in Russia, including a pastors’ conference in Yekaterinburg, a NGPLI conference in Perm, and a NGPLI forum in St. Petersburg.
  29. Pray for wisdom as we continue sharing the gospel in the midst of escalating religious persecution in Central Asia.
  30. Please pray for Dmitry, our partner pastor in Tolyatti, Russia, as his church plans evangelistic events to expand God’s Kingdom in their city.

August 2016 Prayer Requests

13710553_909540709191439_474738610599724257_o1. Praise God for a team of 10 young people from ShareWord Global (formerly The Gideons International in Canada) who recently helped us share the gospel with more than 1,000 at-risk children at 12 of our summer Bible camps in Moldova!
2. Pray that God would provide opportunities for our brothers and sisters in Russia to continue sharing the gospel, even in the midst of the challenges posed by new anti-terrorism laws.
3. Please pray that God would be at work in the hearts of children throughout the former Soviet Union/Eurasia during this last month of our summer Bible camp season.
4. Pray that God would grant wisdom to the leaders of Church Without Walls (CWW) in Pinsk, Belarus as they continue developing their ministry strategy.
5. Pray for Andrei, one of our ministry workers in Ukraine, as he participates in the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Indonesia on August 3-10.
6. Praise God for providing new leaders for our ministry center in Vladikavkaz, Russia who are committed to expanding School Without Walls (SWW) throughout the volatile Northern Caucasus and the Transcaucasian region!
7. Please pray for our ministry workers in Moldova as they prepare to open three new SWW locations this fall.
8. Pray for Aram, our SWW coordinator in Armenia, as he continues visiting sick people in his community.
9. Pray that our containers of humanitarian aid for Ukraine would clear customs quickly so that we can continue bringing desperately needed clothing, food, wheelchairs, and other goods to those in need.
10. Praise God for a kids’ club that SWW graduates are leading in several different villages in Perm, Russia!
11. Please pray for several upcoming events, including camps, movie nights, outreaches to orphans, picnics, and prayer meetings, that Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus is planning.
12. Pray for a new youth center that we are opening in Haifa, Israel in partnership with the Living Israel congregation.
13. Pray for a group of new SWW students in Russia as they prepare for an upcoming bike trip that SWW leaders are organizing.
14. Praise God that 63 orphans heard the gospel during a recent summer Bible camp hosted by CWW in Pinsk, Belarus!
15. Please pray for our ministry workers throughout Central Asia as they continue sharing the gospel, even in the midst of escalating religious persecution.
16. Pray that God would grow evangelical churches in Russia’s Northern Caucasus and provide new opportunities for our SWW students in the region to reach young people by partnering with local schools and universities.
17. Pray for Denis, our Next Generation Professional Leaders Initiative (NGPLI) director, as he prepares for an upcoming NGPLI conference in St. Petersburg, Russia. Please also pray for his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
18. Please pray that God would provide for the needs of God’s Family Church in Minsk, Belarus and b less the ministry efforts of the church’s SWW students.
13719612_909874929158017_8310969992513100023_o19. Praise God that thousands of at-risk children in Belarus, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan recently received copies of 101 Favorite Bible Stories, which we designed in partnership with Christian Aid Ministries!
20. Pray for Aleksandr, one of our ministry workers in Russia, as he will be presenting NGPLI at an upcoming conference in Krasnoyarsk.
21. Please continue praying for the leadership of CWW in Pinsk, Belarus, as they are still struggling to register with the government.
22. Pray for our ministry workers and SWW students in Armenia as they prepare for two big Christian concerts that will take place in Gyumri and Ijevan at the end of the month.
23. Praise God for new believers who were recently baptized in Vladikavkaz, Russia and are now joining in our ministry efforts!
24. Pray for Sasha, a SWW student in Bobruisk, Belarus, who was recently drafted by the army.
25. Please pray for SWW students in Israel as they continue sharing the gospel with Russian-speaking immigrants.
26. Pray for our ministry workers in Ukraine as they present NGPLI, as well as several of our other ministry initiatives, at the International Missionary Forum in Kiev on August 26-27.
27. Pray for Pavel, our director in Russia, as he prepares for an upcoming trip to Canada, where he will meet with several of our ministry partners.
28. Please pray for the members of Reconciliation Church in Bobruisk, Belarus, as many of them are struggling to find work.
29. Praise God for new SWW groups that will be starting in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia’s Northern Caucasus this fall!
30. Please continue praying that God would bring about an end to the conflict in Ukraine.
31. Pray for the launch of our 2016-2017 SWW program, which will start in September.

Street Evangelism in Zaporozhye

rsz_img_1509 School Without Walls (SWW) leaders, in partnership with New Life Church and the Gideons International in Canada, recently held an evangelistic outreach event in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. They focused their outreach efforts on the Stometrovka, an area with a large flow of people. Many homeless people can be found in this area, along with a pharmacy, where drugs are openly sold. In fact, there is usually a large crowd of drug addicts, many of whom are young people, outside of this pharmacy.

rsz_img_1448In order to reach out to these addicts, as well as other unreached people, more than 20 SWW leaders, New Life Church leaders, and volunteers from the Gideons set up a tent with cool drinks, sweets, and Christian literature right next to the pharmacy. During this one-day outreach event, they distributed more than 5,000 copies of Christian literature! Many children also eagerly accepted copies of a children’s magazine and looked at the colorful pictures together.

rsz_img_1400Along with the tent, SWW leaders also set up an art exhibit, which included several beautiful, high-quality paintings. Many people stopped to look at them, and the young Christians talked with them about the biblical themes depicted in the artwork. After discussing the paintings, some people asked for prayer and were even open to praying out loud with the young believers! Many people who received copies of the New Testament could not hold back their tears of gratitude and joy. We estimate that about 10,000 people were touched by God’s love through this strategic outreach event!

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Hope for Natalia

Untitled design (16)Natalia and her 13-year-old son Vlad used to live in a small town called Kirovsk in the Lugansk region in eastern Ukraine, but after the war began, they were forced to move to Kiev. In order to survive, Natalia learned how to do manicures, which she is able to do right in her apartment. In order to attract clients, she has to keep her prices low, and she usually has to work all day just to be able to pay rent and buy food.

“A lot of the time, I would feel dead tired from all of my responsibilities,” shares Natalia. “Some days I even thought about committing suicide, but I knew that I couldn’t abandon my son. One day, Lily, one my clients who is a Christian, noticed that I seemed sad, so she asked me how I was doing. After coming to Kiev, I hadn’t really made any friends, so I started pouring my heart out to Lily. I wanted so badly to just talk to someone about everyday life, and not about manicures!

“Soon after, Lily told me about God’s Design Church, which was helping internally displaced people from eastern Ukraine. I decided to visit the church, where I was given food and clothing. The Christians also prayed with me and gave me a Bible. When I lived in Kirovsk, I had a Bible, but I almost never read it. But now, the Bible is the only book in my apartment. I have bookmarked Psalm 23, which says, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.’ I also was led to this verse: ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

“I felt like the shadow of death that had hung over me for weeks was immediately dispelled! I reread these words, and my eyes were filled with tears of happiness. The darkness began to dissipate. When my son asked what was happening to me, I told him that I knew we weren’t alone, because there is a God who cares for us. Now, I often read the Bible with him.

“A while later, I repented and committed my life to Christ, and now I am preparing to be baptized. My life is still not easy, but now I have a light that leads me. The church gave me a Bible, this Bible opened my heart to God, and God has given me life.”

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Teachers’ Holiday

IMG_0014 (2)In schools in the war zone in eastern Ukraine, teachers have long ceased to be just teachers. They are also safety instructors and therapists for students and their families. During the past two years, these hardworking teachers haven’t had any time to themselves–and so, our School Without Walls (SWW) students decided to give them a real holiday.

Two weeks after hosting a Time to Live event for 350 high school students from 14 different schools in eastern Ukraine, SWW students hosted a Time to Live Teacher’s Day for 150 teachers from the town of Avdeyevka at the same recreation center in Kurakhove! For an entire day, these dedicated teachers got to enjoy rest and relaxation in the midst of nature. They played games, danced, made crafts, swam in the river, and simply enjoyed the peaceful outdoor atmosphere.

IMG_0142In addition to these activities, the teachers also listened to a lecture on practical love for students, taught by Alexander Bondarchuk, an award-winning public school teacher in Ukraine, who is also a Christian and a foster parent. Andrei Bloschuka, a local pastor, musician, and poet, also shared God’s love through music.

Many of the teachers could not hold back their tears of gratitude for this opportunity to rest and enjoy a break, as well as spend time with their friends and colleagues from other front line cities, for the first time in two years.

 

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Sergey’s Transformation

Sergey, before and after his transformation

School Without Walls students first met Sergey when ministering to homeless men and women in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. He was always very quiet and patient while waiting in line to receive his food. He also never tried to run ahead of anyone to get the clothes that our students distributed.

“When I first started helping in this ministry, I immediately felt God calling me to talk with Sergey, but it took me a while to work up the courage to actually do it,” shares Anastasia, one of our SWW students. “When I finally did talk with him, I realized that he had a pleasant voice, beautiful blue eyes, and a kind smile. At first I couldn’t understand how he had become homeless; but after he shared his story with me, I realized that it was very similar to many others that I had heard.

“He had been living in an apartment illegally, and after he was kicked out, he started drinking, because he believed that his life had lost its meaning. He was once a very successful musician, and he even started several musical groups. He traveled all over Ukraine, teaching many young musicians how to play guitar and sing, but now he was waiting in line for food. Every time we visited he would listen to the sermons very attentively, but he always sat by himself.

“Sergey also told me that he used to go to church and read the Bible very regularly, but then sin overpowered him, and he eventually left the church after becoming an alcoholic. At the end of our conversation, he asked me for Scripture, so I gave him the Gospel of Luke and said that I would pray for him. A week later, he decided to repent of his sins! It was hard to believe that he had truly repented, but when he prayed with us, he wholeheartedly asked God to forgive him with tears in his eyes. He also promised to keep reading Scripture, and even agreed to start attending a Bible study group.

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Sergey (r), with Pastor Alexander Rakhuba (l), brother of Mission Eurasia President Sergey Rakhuba

“The very next week, we made another visit to the park to feed the homeless men and women, and a man came up to us and started talking as if he knew us. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t figure out how I knew him. ‘I am Sergey, and I confessed my sins last week,’ he said. Then, I realized that it really was him. After only a week, I couldn’t even recognize him! He had cut his hair, cleaned himself, got new clothes, and he had found the meaning of life again! He asked us for a Bible and told us about how his life had changed after His relationship with God was restored. He was miraculously freed from his addiction to alcohol, and he was looking for a job!

“We couldn’t hold back our tears as Sergey talked with us, because we could see God’s goodness and mercy in his life. Today he attends church and a Bible study group! We believe that God will continue to grow his faith, and soon he will be able to serve other people who are struggling with alcoholism. Praise God!”

 

Give to support the training and equipping of Next Generation leaders in Eurasia–like Anastasia–who are impacting their nations for Christ and making disciples of the nations. 

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Vitaly and The Jesus Storybook Bible

Untitled design (14)Two years ago, Vitaly and his family were forced to flee to Cherkassy from their home in eastern Ukraine. Before that, they lived in Donetsk, where Vitaly worked as a teacher at the Donetsk Technical University. Fortunately, he was able to find a job teaching at a local technical college in Cherkassy. However, as the conflict in Donetsk grew worse, the economic situation in Cherkassy also grew worse. Because of this, Vitaly’s son Dmitry could not find work and the family struggled financially. Young Next Generation Christian leaders from a local church provided food packs for Vitaly and his family through the ‘I Care’ Refugee Assistance program. We also gave Vitaly a Bible, and we gave his grandson a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible.

At first, Vitaly was not very interested in the Bible, but he did read The Jesus Storybook Bible with his grandson. After a while, his grandson started to ask him questions about the Bible, but Vitaly couldn’t answer them. It was then that he started reading the Bible for the first time in his life, and he even started attending a local church. After hearing the gospel and reading the Bible every Sunday, Vitaly finally accepted Jesus as his personal Savior! Now, he continues to read the Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible with his family.

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