Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Central Asia

This has been a BUSY month!

  • April 2 I returned from a week in London (via Debrecen, Hungary).
  • April 5 I was on a train headed to Kalush, Ukraine to coach our church for the weekend.
  • April 7 I was on a bus to Lviv where I spent the night with new ministry friends.
  • April 8 I was back on a train headed to Kyiv.
  • April 10 Doug and I met a small team of Americans here for a Vision trip.
  • April 11 we drove all day to Ternopol where we visited our ministry partner Ternopol Mission Institute.
  • April 12 we drove all day to Uzhgorod- arriving about 10 pm.
  • April 13 we toured areas of Uzhgorod where ITeams is engaged in a "Transformation" Project with our lead church.  Later that day we were back on the overnight train to Kyiv.
  • April 15 we flew to the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan where we met with a multi-national team of Christian workers- many of them Ukrainians, most of them in their 20's. They are fantastic young people working in a beautiful but challenging environment.
  • April 18 we flew back to Ukraine via an all day layover in Istanbul where I spent some time with some fellow Mississippians.
  • April 20 Doug and I were back on the overnight train to Uzhgorod.

I have been sleeping and keeping a low profile ever since!

This weekend I'll preach at our Spring Regional Re:Fresh Youth/Youth Leaders Conference.

Next week a World Race team arrives for the month.

Some thoughts about our trip:  

One of my personal goals for coming to Ukraine was to assist Ukrainian believers carry out the Great Commission; ie, to help churches here catch and implement a vision for doing missions at home and abroad.   Actually, a lot of  workers here are working toward that end and that's the primary goal of International Teams-Ukraine (a separate but related entity- I work for ITeams-US).  In partnership with Ternopol Mission Institute, IT-Ukraine and TMI have sent about 80 Ukrainian believers to the Nations.  They are in Africa, India, Central Asia and here in Ukraine.  It's relatively unheard of!  No one else is sending Ukrainians abroad like TMI and most of them are supported by Ukrainians and not US dollars!

So while in Central Asia we met with some of those workers.  Most of them are Ukrainians but some are "native" workers from the various "Stans" that have come to TMI for training and then returned home.  At an average age of 25 years old, they are planting and pastoring fellowships and making disciples while living in often difficult settings.  They are constantly under spiritual attack and sometimes in danger of physical attack as well living in predominately Muslim areas.  They are heroes of the faith.  Pray for them and for the truth to be made known throughout Central Asia and the Caucasus.


Vickie (Clinton's sister) said...

I am praying for them... and for you... God bless...

BethinUkraine said...

Awesome. Exhausting, but awesome. Especially the note about the missionaries at the end!