Ukraine Mission Trip 2019: Daily Report #7
Days 7, 8, and 9:
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on Him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 8-13 ESV
Jesus Christ, the Living Word, brings us life and is our life. Amen? Because of His great love, we are no longer slaves to sin. Praise God…He has set us free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8) Through Jesus Christ, the promise and guarantee of salvation is given to all who call upon Him in repentance and faith. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, He brings His presence and peace to sinners like us who confess Him as Lord.
On Friday (Day 7), your Ukraine Missionaries, once again, witnessed His miracle of salvation like you and I have received. As we shared in our last update our team was just a few hours away from having our Friday evening evangelistic service in downtown Zhytomyr. The “TV Center” Music Hall is a great venue in which our team could be used of God to share His gospel through music, testimony and preaching of the Word.
We are so grateful to God for Pastor Vasily’s faith and vision for reaching people with the gospel. His heart and calling by the Lord cause Him to be driven to tell as many people as possible about Jesus’ saving love. We love you, Pastor Vasily and Jane!
As we shared in the last update, earlier Friday, our team had the joy of passing out invitations to people in various high pedestrian areas in downtown Zhytomyr. We love inviting people to our service because of the divine encounter that those who attend the service can have with Jesus Christ. In addition to our inviting people in Zhytomyr, Pastor Vasily rented two buses to bring people from the Villages of Bilkivtsi and Studenystia (Pastor Vasily’s first two church plants). What a joy it was to see some of our brothers and sisters in Christ who came from these villages. It is a blessing to see the fruit of Pastor Vasily’s labor in these thriving self-supporting churches. Both churches now have their own pastor whom God raised up through Pastor Vasily’s ministry. Slava Bog!
When our service started at 7 pm we were so delighted that the Lord had brought approximately 125 people to hear of Jesus and His love. As our team of 7 and our 4 interpreters (Jane, Julia, Marina and Pasha-who have wonderful voices) exalted Jesus, we could sense He was already moving in hearts. Our team has sung a lot, taught a lot, preached a lot and testified a lot this week. And though we were tired from a full week of ministry and even with voices that were also fatigued, God’s Spirit sang through us and strengthened us for His own glory. How blessed we were to invite the congregation to sing with us since the words were projected on the screen. Though most did not know our worship songs, we believe that the Lord used the words (in Cyrillic) to communicate His message to them.
We also were blessed by those in attendance as they sang with us “Prayer for Ukraine”. This national song that has been sung for many years is a cry to God for His healing and blessing of Ukraine. People are very touched when we sing this song but we were also touched by their passion as they sang this prayer. With the war with Russia in the Eastern Region and with many who have lost a loved one due to the war, their hearts rang out for God to bless their country. Here is a video of us singing their song with them.
“Prayer for Ukraine”
During this Friday evening service, Hannah Stagg gave her personal testimony of God’s saving love in her life. We were so blessed as we watched the audience listen to her as she spoke every word of praise to God in Russian. We wish you all could have seen the attentiveness and engagement of the audience as Hannah shared. Thank you, Hannah. God powerfully used you.
Hannah’s Testimony (in Russian)
On this final evangelistic service, I shared the message, “The Storm and the Savior” from Matthew 8: 23-27 that I had been preaching all week. The reality for all of us who have repented and surrendered to Christ by faith is that more than calming a raging storm that the disciples encountered, He rescued you and me from an eternal “storm” by His redeeming and sacrificial love. We are so pleased to share with you that as a result of His continual offer of forgiveness and salvation to those who will receive Him through repentance and faith, that 20 plus people indicated this most important decision. Slava Bog! In addition to these 20 adults, 5 children indicated a decision for Jesus through the salvation bracelet presentation that our team shared with them after our service. Oh what a glorious Day 7!
After a wonderful night’s rest, our team stayed in their host homes on Saturday morning. (We sure needed a great time to relax) Please thank the Lord for Mama Lida and Papa Vasily who hosted Byron, Mark and Will...and thank Him for Pastor Vasily and Jane as they hosted Rhonda, Hannah, Shari and me. These sweet families are gifts from God…and can they cook?…oh wow! Douzhe Smahchah!! (very delicious)!
On Saturday afternoon, our team gathered for a baptism service at a river and campground near Zhytomyr. We, along with Compass Church, friends and family members of the 11 people being baptized met at a river in a campground near Zhytomyr. It was such a beautiful day.
Words cannot describe the great joy of witnessing these 11 brothers and sisters in Christ who made the most important decision of their life…of repenting and following Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Slava Bog!
There were many special moments during this service which included our team leading in worship, 2 baptism messages that Pastor Vasily and I shared and being able to assist him in baptizing these 11 children of God…one of which was his 15 year old son, Illiya.
Additionally, it was so glorious when prior to the baptism, that the mother of one of the young men being baptized, knelt down on her knees and invited Jesus to be her Savior and Lord! Slava Bog for eternally saving the son and his mother!
Following this time of hearing God’s Word, all those in attendance walked down to the river to celebrate the resurrection power of Jesus that He had performed in the lives of these 11 children of God. One of those being baptized was Maxime. Maxime is wheelchair bound and his friend Dema, a deacon, (who you will see in the Baptism Video) is his physical therapist. God has used Dema in Maxime’s life through his care and witness of Christ’s love. Truly, it was a heart-moving moment to witness the work of God in Maxime’s life and all of the other 10 brothers and sisters in Christ.
Other Baptism Videos:
After their baptism, Pastor Vasily led the 11 believers in the beautiful ordinance and expression of worship, The Lord’s Supper. The Spirit of Christ was so evident during this special moment as these new Christ followers participated in this holy remembrance of His sacrificial death for them.
When this sweet time by the river concluded, the approximately 80 plus people in attendance had a family picnic at the campground. There was douzhe smahchnah food, games and also a spontaneous great time of worship. It was a beautiful time and reminder that one day every tongue, tribe and nation will gather around the Lord’s Banquet table and forever worship Him. How Great is our God!!
Today is Day 9 and it has been another amazing day of God displaying and inhabiting the praises of His people. Today, also celebrates Pentecost Day in Ukraine. We know that Pentecost (meaning 50) was the number of days after Christ’s resurrection when the Holy Spirit breathed on the disciples and the birth of the Church was born. It was an overwhelming blessing to once again worship our Savior with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Compass Church. The presence and the power of the Holy Spirit was incredibly evident. The Father made Himself known as we all lifted our hearts of praise to Him and as we prayed together and hear His Word.
This once musty old and dirty old building is now adorned as a beautiful House of Prayer and Worship to our Father. It so reminds us of how God transforms our sinful and dirty hearts into temples of praise through His grace and mercy. Slava Bog! As people gathered at Compass there was a joyful roar of greeting and hugging one another with His love. What a joyful sound!
We were all ready to begin lifting our voices to God. But as the Compass worship team began the service with a song of praise, Pastor Vasily immediately had them stop. It was such a surprising moment. You see, there was a father of one of the girls that was baptized on Saturday who was under such great conviction, that he wanted to repent and give His life to Jesus. He didn’t want to wait another second! Oh how sweet Jesus is and how amazing to witness the power of His love as this man opened his heart to Him and became a child of God! Slava Bog!
Here is a video of this new brother in Christ:
“Oh what a Savior, isn’t He wonderful. Sing Alleluia, Christ is risen!” Even now, this song, “O Come to the Altar” comes to my heart when reflecting on this new brother in Christ surrendering His life to Jesus! Amen!
There were other special moments during the worship service as their small children’s choir sang, as we were led in praise by the Compass worship team, as our Ukraine team also led God’s people in worship. I was so humbled to be able to preach a message on Pentecost and how Jesus promised His disciples of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Please take time to read John 14: 25-29 and Acts 2…for on this day where the disciples were gathered…the Holy Spirit came like a mighty rushing wind and swept over their hearts and not only indwelt them but He also filled them. Praise God for the birth of the church and for the 3000 plus souls He added to His kingdom that day. For over 2000 years, His Spirit has been drawing people to Him in salvation and He has birthed innumerable local body of believers throughout the world. This, dear Prayer Warriors, is the power of God! And we know that the message of the cross is the power of God! This is why we preach Jesus and Him crucified…this is why we spread His love in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth…people need Jesus! Amen!
There were 5 questions that I posed to the congregation with regards to walking with Christ and being filled with His Spirit on a daily basis.
1. Does your life reflect a changed heart by Jesus Christ?
When Christ is our life, you and I will consistently offer our lives to Christ as holy offerings for His glory. Romans 12: 1
2. Does God’s Word have authority over Your Life?
“The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.” - D.L. Moody
The Holy Spirit will renew our hearts and minds when we are immersing ourselves in God’s Word! Memorize huge amounts of God’s Word! Allow Him to transform you. Romans 12: 2
3. Do you spend time with the Father in prayer?
“Every man or woman whose life has counted for the church and the Kingdom of God has been a person of prayer. You cannot afford to be too busy to pray. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.” Billy Graham
God is waiting and wanting to move with great power in our lives and in our church if only we will seek and call upon Him through the gift He gave us…prayer! Jer. 33: 3
4. Do you share Jesus Christ with people?
How long has it been since you shared Jesus Christ with someone?
“Why do you get to choose who hears the gospel of Jesus Christ” Gordon Fort
You and I are to be His witnesses because people are perishing without Jesus…God’s Spirit invites us to join Him in reaching people for Christ. You and I have been empowered by God to go. John 17: 20
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message."
Beloved, right now, Jesus is praying for you and at the same time He is also praying for those who will believe in Him through your faithful witness. When you hear of someone dying, do you ever wonder if they knew Jesus? Even that thought I believe comes from the Holy Spirit to cause us to be urgent in sharing His message with the lost. You and I are to be His witnesses because people are perishing without Jesus…God’s Spirit invites us to join Him in reaching people for Christ. You and I have been empowered by God to go. Acts 1: 8 Khodimo: Let’s go!
It was a glorious service not because of any one person, Pastor Vasily or the music or any other thing, it was glorious because of the power and presence of Jesus and His Spirit that inhabited us all. We encountered the Lord as we know all of you did thousands of miles away…but we are all in awe of the fact that one day we will all gather together around His throne in never-ceasing praise to the only One worthy…the Lamb of God! Slava Bog!
Here are several videos from the worship service at Compass:
In closing, I just want to share another special moment. Following the service, a mother with a special needs child, Veleria (sp?) asked us to pray for her son. Oh my, how precious this time was as Byron and all of us prayed over this young boy whom God loves and who has a wonderful plan for His life. Here is that special time of prayer for this sweet gift from God!
Please pray for this mom and her two sweet sons!
So today is Monday (Day 10) and we are about to head to Kiev and prepare to leave for the USA tomorrow. We love you and thank you with all our hearts for your constant prayers during our time here. May you have a blessed day in Jesus as you faithfully live His mission. There is someone who is longing and ready for you to share His good news today! Slava Bog!
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