I packed my bag and caught a plane to Hungary and then on by car on to the Ukraine. I had been invited to speak at a conference in Uzhgorod along with Mike Davies from Church For The Nations, Slava Nod and Kevin Ball also joined the team. So having traveled from 3am and on arriving in the late afternoon in Uzhgorod we were informed we had an appointment at the sauna at 9pm that evening. This was to be an interesting time for Mike and Kevin who had never experienced an Ukrainian sauna before. They are so hot you can hardly breathe and just when you think you can take no more they start to beat you with a bunch of oak leaves! When this is finished you are encouraged to dive into the ice cold plunge pool. This sequence of events is then repeated several times during the two hours you spend there. Sounds like something from a Michael Palin trip; well it certainly felt like it. Having said that it was a great time of fellowship and fun with the pastor and overall quite relaxing, we all slept well that night.
The next day we met for lunch with an influential group of pastors from all round the Ukraine with each of us given time to share a little about ourselves and what God had put on our heart for the Ukraine. What a privilege it was to meet with these folks and hear what God is doing in their lives as well as being able to share what God was saying to us.
Mike spoke that evening at the conference on the role of the apostolic ministry in the church which was inspiring . The next morning my session at the conference was on evangelism and the Holy Spirit which I finished by looking at Ezekiel 47. The river flowing from the temple which gets deeper the further it goes and brings life and abundance everywhere it flows. This I linked with Jesus crying out in the temple, "if anyone is thirsty let him come to Me and drink". Slava, who was interpreting for me, was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and appeared to be completely drunk. This then started to flow over the congregation with an outpouring of joy and laughter and even the pastor who came onto the stage at this time got hit with a wave of joy. The same wave impacted me, so much so that I could no-longer stand and was flat out on the stage. How good God is to follow His word with signs following.
That evening we were invited to speak at another church and met with the pastors and leaders before the service for tea and cake. the pastor asked if I would speak on the Holy Spirit that evening. Well, I got about two thirds of the way through my word and again Slava was drunk in the Spirit and on the floor laughing. The pastor's daughter took over at this point to translate the rest of the message but she did not last too long before she started to be overwhelmed by the Spirit and I could not finish because I was hit by a wave of joy and started to laugh almost uncontrollably. Again the wave started to flow over the congregation and all around me people were laughing. Mike sought to take control at this point and started to minister to those with needs and the power of the Holy Spirit started to heal and set people free.
As we were leaving the meeting Mike's shadow hit a young man who had been taking drugs outside the church. He sobered up immediately and became fearful of what was happening to him. Mike and Kevin then shared the gospel with him and he gave his life to the Lord. At this time God spoke to me and told me to tell the young man that he would never be fatherless again to which he burst into tears and hugged me.
What an amazing weekend we had in the Ukraine; laughter, healings and supernatural conversions. If anywhere needs the power of the Holy Spirit to bring joy, healing and salvation at this time it's the Ukraine. God is so good!
Please continue to pray for this troubled nation.
by Tim Grant