Ukraine Mission Trip 2019: Daily Report #4

    06.11.19 | Ukraine Mission Trip Daily Reports (2019) by John Griffin

    I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.   I Corinthians 9: 22-23 NASB

    Dear Prayer Warriors,

    The Apostle Paul was so intent on doing whatever it took so that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be spread.  He became the slave of all so that more could be won to our Lord who had no comprehension of His eternal love.  His words here in I Cor. 9 truly remind us that we are to be consistent and determined to reach people for Christ.  We must strive to build witnessing relationships with people no matter their situation.  It matters what we do with Jesus.  Amen!

    Our team had a wonderful fourth day of ministry here in Ukraine.  God gave us another beautiful day weather-wise and an even more beautiful day of seeing His handiwork in lives both young and old.

    VBS Camp, Day 2

    Today, was our second day of our VBS camp here in Zhytomyr.  We give praise to the Lord for bringing 47 children including 10 new children and sweet twin girls as well as 5 moms today.  Our team is so delighted in the Lord that these young lives are encountering Jesus through these special days of VBS.  Slava Bog!  As with each day in VBS, the children have a time of singing, story-time, crafts and recreation…and don’t forget snacks too!  HA!

    Our team led the children in singing “Bog Dahv Nahm Dehn”, “Alleu” and a new song, “Bogh Dobreyh” (God is So Good).   Today’s lesson was about Adam and Eve and how their disobedience to God brought sin into the world and caused separation from Him.  Our leaders shared that even though we are sinners, God still wanted a relationship with us…He sent His only Son, Jesus…born of a virgin, grew just like all of us but never ever sinned…He healed the sick, raised the dead, taught people about the kingdom of God through stories…like The Prodigal Son.

    What a blessing it was to have our missionaries bring to life this powerful parable of the father’s love for his wayward son who left him to live a sinful and destructive life.  Praise God that our Father in heaven opened His arms and welcomed us home when we were living in the “pig pen” of our sin and rebellion.   We praise Him that He so loved us that He sent His Son to pay for our sin so that we could live eternally with Him! 

    Today’s craft time reflected God’s love through Jesus as the children made a picture that represented the Roman Road salvation plan with accompanying scriptures.  The children then glued a wooden cross onto card stock paper to teach them the great price Jesus paid for their sins.  How awesome it is that these children are being exposed to the love of Jesus and His message through VBS.  Tomorrow, the children will be learning John 3: 16…pray that God’s Spirit will speak to their hearts.

     How You Can Pray!

    • Please pray for the Lord to bring more children tomorrow (Wednesday).
    • Please pray for God’s Spirit to guide our leaders and the children whom He is preparing to hear the plan of salvation.
    • Pray for the moms who will attend VBS tomorrow and who have not yet repented…pray for receptive hearts to Christ.
    • Pray that Satan will not have any opportunity to distract the children from hearing and understanding the message of salvation as it is presented tomorrow. 
    • Pray for great weather so that recreation activities can continue outside.

     Pictures from VBS Camp, Day 2

     Villages of Marianivka and Bykivka

    As with yesterday, our Walking/Invite Team, (made up of Mark, Will, Byron, myself and our two interpreters, Marina and Julia, and our fun driver Dennis!)  Here’s a short video of Dennis…he’s so full of Jesus and a little bit crazy…loves driving over bumpy village roads…Ugh…plus has 9 children!!  Woohoo!

    Dennis (pronounced ”Denise”)

    These villages are about an hour away from Zhytomyr and while I was enjoying a little nap on the way, I felt something on my face…here’s a pic of this little guy who gave me a rude awakening on my finger…

    You guessed it…he’s not a Beeliever!  Sorry, it’s late!

    Our team arrived in Bykivka and met Pastor Ivan (John) with whom we worked last year.  What a joy it was to be with this dear brother in Christ again who has been serving here for the past 2 years.  Pastor John is preaching in two village churches which are 60 kilometers apart from each other…which makes Sundays challenging but he is such a faithful servant.

    Here’s a picture of Bykivka Baptist Church which has 16 faithful members.

    If you have time, please watch this video of Pastor Ivan sharing.  I believe it will bless you to hear what God has done and is doing in his church.

    Pastor Ivan shared that since our being with him last year and holding an Evangelistic Service in the village, that God has given his members a more openness to reaching out to people.  Slava Bog for the ways He is doing a work in and through these faithful followers of Christ. 

    After a time of prayer, Mark and Dennis headed out to invite people in this village as well as my team…comprised of Marina, me, Daniel (Ivan’s son) and Daryna (an 8 year old outgoing young girl).  Pastor Ivan then drove Byron, Will and Julia to Marianivka to invite people for our 3:30 pm service.  Our teams had a blessed time going door to door and in small markets and down dusty farm roads to invite people to attend our services.  Here are Daniel and Daryna:

    I have to share this story because it just shows how God desires for us to “be all things to all men that we might by all means save some”.  As our team was getting close to having to return to the church for lunch, Daryna led us another way back.  She purposefully wanted us to go to her house so we could invite her father to the service.  She kept saying (through Marina) how she and her mother (who is a believer) keep asking him to come to church but he never wants to…he likes to hunt and works a lot.  Of course, we loved the fact that Daryna had desperately wanted us to invite her father…I love her sincere and simple faith.  God has amazing plans for this young child.  So we went to her house and met her father who was busy working but took time to greet us.  He was nice but I sensed he wasn’t open to coming to the service.  As we left, I prayed and thought to myself, “Lord, if I lived in this village, I would love to become this man’s friend and try to reach him.”  Well when we got back to the church, I shared with Pastor Ivan about Daryna’s father and that we had invited him to the service.  Pastor Ivan then began to share how the Lord prompted him about reaching out to Daryna’s father.  He spoke of how he went to meet him to establish a connection with him (I apologize that his name escapes me at this moment).  Pastor Ivan discovered that Daryna’s father liked to hunt and so he decided to make him a hunting knife for his birthday.  This act of kindness really impacted Daryna’s father to the point that he was telling other people in the village.   Though this man has not come to church yet, he did come to an outdoor BBQ picnic that the church hosted.  Daryna’s father did tell Pastor Ivan that if he ever committe to coming to church, that he would be faithful.  Brothers and sisters, let us pray for this father!  I believe God is working in him and using Pastor Ivan, his wife and his daughter Daryna to bring him to salvation. 

    The other important story you must not miss is this video from Pastor Ivan about the miracle God performed in Daryna’s life and in the life of her mother, Svete.  Please, please watch it.  You will be richly blessed by the Lord!

    To continue on: Following lunch, our Walking/Invite Teams and our VBS team joined up in the village of Marianivka (9 kilometers from Bykivka) to prepare for our 3:30 pm service at the House of Culture/Club.  This village of about 1500 people has a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church only.  Pastor Vasily who is the Regional Evangelistic Director of the Zhytomyr Baptist Association had been talking and praying with Pastor Ivan about planting a church in Marianivka.  Their prayer was that God would use our Mission Team today for the glory of God and for souls and a new church plant to be birthed.

    It is important to note that whenever our team goes to a village for an evangelistic service, we usually rent and meet in a club/community center or House of Culture (same thing).   When Pastor Ivan went to find out if the facility could be rented, Mayor Alexander spoke with him about all we were doing.    When he found out that our service was going to be free (this is what this culture has come to expect, especially because the Orthodox church charges people to pray away evil spirits, do funerals, etc…very sad) he told Pastor Ivan that the village would not charge us for use of their House of Culture.  Slava Bog!  Not only this, but Mayor Alexander made sure that our flyers and posters were placed in all government buildings and prominent places in the village.  God is so good! 

    I did have the opportunity to sit down and meet with Mayor Alexander along with Pastor Ivan and a precious lady who is a believer and who works with the Mayor.  I thanked Mayor Alexander for his generosity and for all he had done for us to be in his village for the service.  In the midst of our time with the Mayor, Pastor Ivan spoke with him about having a Prayer Breakfast in this village soon.  Pastor Vasily has been instrumental in leading a call to prayer with city officials in Zhytomyr.  In fact, he and about other pastors recently had their first prayer breakfast with the Mayor of Zhytomyr and other city officials.  Their second Prayer Breakfast is next Tuesday, June 18.  Slava Bog!   Well, Pastor Ivan and Mayor Alexander continued their discussion and in July they will have their first Prayer Breakfast.   Glory to God!  God answers prayers with more praying and more prayers!   Let us be faithful to be a people and servants of God who fervently call upon the Lord and seek His face.  We need a revival and a spiritual awakening in America!  Amen!

    After this time with Mayor Alexander, our team gathered and prayed for our service and for God’s anointing.  We thank the Lord for the 75 plus people he brought to the service at 3:30 pm!   Our team glorified God as they sang our songs of praise to the Lord in Ukrainian and Russian.   Shari was so greatly used of God as she gave her testimony of God’s saving grace as a young girl.  Praise the Lord for her parents, Johnny and Betty, who loved her and led her to faith in Christ!

    Following the beautiful and powerful song “Jesus Only Jesus” led by Mark and Will Young and our team, I was humbled to be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through a message from Matthew 8: 23-27.  Praise God that He came to rescue us eternally and to give us peace in the storm of sin that we once found ourselves. 

    When the invitation was given for people to repent and turn to Jesus Christ, 30 people indicated that they had asked Jesus to be their Savior and Lord!  Slava Bog!

    In addition to these, 30 children indicated that they had repented when our team took them outside after the service and walked them through the Salvation Bracelet presentation.  Thank You, Lord Jesus!

    You will also want to know that Pastor Ivan invited those in attendance to a Bible Study that he will begin next Wednesday.  Ultimately, his prayer and our prayer is that a Baptist Church will be birthed through all God did tonight.  Oh, and Pastor Vasily shared that to their knowledge, this was the first evangelical outreach service held in this House of Culture.  Amen!!  And after the service, the Mayor, who was in attendance, said that he wants all the people in the village to become believers in Jesus Christ!  Though we don’t know Mayor Alexander’s spiritual condition, we pray that through Pastor Ivan’s ministry that he will come to salvation if he has not already done so!  Slava Bog!

    After our service, our team quickly drove back to Bykivka for our 6:00 pm service at the Club/House of Culture.   What a blessing it is have a young man, Eugene, to set up the sound equipment at every location this week.  Eugene is a faithful servant at Compass Church and has taken time off from work to be with us this week!  And it gives our heart great joy to see the two portable sound systems that we are using from Compass Church that God provided through Calvary and faithful people who have given of their tithes and offerings.  I will say it again, “when we give to God, people get saved.”  Amen!

    Prior to our service starting, Pastor Vasily shared that we would need to shorten the music portion of the service because people have to go out to the fields to herd/walk their cows back to their house.  These cows feed in the pastures around the village!   We definitely did not want to see people leaving early and miss repenting and coming to Christ. 

    It was a beautiful time of worship as our team sang and magnified Jesus.  His sweet presence was so evident.  He truly inhabits the praises of His people!

    Tonight’s sermon was led by Mark Young and without question God used him as he preached and shared the story that Jesus gave about The Prodigal Son.  To God be the glory for the way He spoke through Mark.  When Pastor Vasily gave the invitation and led people in the sinner’s prayer, 15 people indicated that they had repented of their sins.  Slava Bog, Slava Bog!  God is so awesome!   And once again, our team also shared the salvation bracelet presentation to the children following the service.  We praise him for the 30 children who indicated that they had repented and asked Jesus to be their Savior and Lord.  

    Folks, please pray for these new born again lives.  Pray for Pastor Ivan who invited people tonight to come to his church this Sunday.  We are thankful for this dear brother in Christ who has such a zeal for Him and for His kingdom’s work!   Pray for his church in Bykivka and for the new bible study he will be starting in Marianivka on Wednesday. 

    God is at work in Ukraine.  Thank you for journeying with us through prayer and intercession.   Wednesday is going to be another full day and we cannot wait to share with you all God did.  We will be in a new village, Ozerne, near Zhytomyr tomorrow night…please pray for God’s Spirit to once again touch many lives with His saving love.

    Finally, please pray for our brother in Christ, Tommy Goth.  Tommy is in a hospital in Houston for a kidney biopsy.  Tommy was supposed to have had the biopsy today but was not well enough for it.  Prayerfully, his doctor and the specialists will be able to do so on Wednesday.  Please lift up Tommy and Sherry who are claiming God’s Word and trusting in Him for healing.  We love you, Tommy and Sherry.  Together, God’s people are calling on Jehovah Rapha, the Great Physician and Healer for your healing.  Great is His faithfulness!

    Thank you all again for your earnest prayers for Tommy and Sherry and for our Ukraine missionaries.  You are blessing us beyond all you can comprehend.  We love you and look forward to sharing another update from the mission field here in Ukraine.  May you have a great day in Christ and may Jesus shine through you as you live His mission.

    У любові Христової (In Christ’s Love)


    “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” Jesus (John 17: 20 NLT)


     Your Ukraine Missionaries,

    Mary Brieden (Stateside), Sherry and Tommy Goth (Stateside), Emily Templeton (Stateside), John Griffin, Shari Griffin, Rhonda Mack, Hannah Stagg, Byron Young, Mark Young, Will Young