I was able to make a trip to Kiev in the Ukraine with two friends, Slava and Dave, to speak at a small leaders’ conference. It was great to spend time with this hungry group of leaders and their families. The conference centre was about two hours outside of Kiev in the Ukrainian countryside. Once we left the main roads some of the pot holes were enormous and some roads were more pot holes than roads. They have a saying in the Ukraine that when the snow melts the roads do as well which seemed very true. The little Ukrainian car we were traveling in was about the size of a Ford Fiesta and was packed solid with five adults and two children plus all our luggage and a guitar. Not surprisingly this lead to an interesting journey on these roads although I did manage to sleep for much of it which was a blessing in so many ways.
At the conference Slava ministered on prayer, Dave spoke on small groups and fatherhood as a model for ministry. I had been asked to speak on different ministry styles, what is evangelism and developing a strategy for evangelism. It was amazing how these diverse subjects gelled together and brought a unified whole. The conference finished with a time of prophecy and ministry to the leaders and their wives.
Afterwards the pastor’s wife commented on how it was such a blessing to see different ministry gifts functioning together in unity and so equipping those attending through word and deed. Of course, this is what Ephesians 4 tells us the ministries are there for!
There was also time to relax with and share with the guys on a more social level as we went for a Ukrainian sauna together. Returning to Kiev on Saturday afternoon there were just five of us in the car so it was a far more comfortable journey. That evening we were taken to a traditional Ukrainian buffet which was great. I dined on Chicken Kiev in Kiev, the best I have ever tasted.
Sunday was a very busy day. In the morning, we ministered in the network’s main church in Kiev. Slava preached and we all ministered to people who responded to words of knowledge. Legs grew, a lady no longer needed her walking stick and left the meeting with it tucked under her arm. Many testified to God’s healing touch. We had a short break for a drink and cake then we were back on the road out into the countryside to a village church plant about two hours outside of Kiev. The moment we arrived I could tell this was something special. Although it appeared quite traditional with all the ladies wearing head scarves there was a hunger for more of God in this village despite persecution from the Orthodox church and priest. After a short time of worship during which we all really sensed the presence of God, Slava and Dave shared testimony and brought words of encouragement. I then preached on lifting up your eyes to see where God is working and doing whatever He commands you to do. As I finished I sensed God was already at work and asked if anyone had experienced healing during the word. A number testified that they had and almost everyone else wanted a touch from God. In such a small room with so many responding the only way to get to everyone was to set up a prayer tunnel at the door with everyone passing through it as they went into another room. Wow! God moved greatly as more people were healed, filled with the Spirit and set free from oppression. As we were closing the formal part of the meeting three people gave their lives to Jesus. One told us, ‘it's my first time here but I just love being in this atmosphere. I want what you have’. The meeting carried on for another hour informally with people excitedly sharing what God had done for them while others encouraged by their testimonies sought to be ministered to. The evening finished with a wonderful meal in a house close by with all local produce on the table. What a privilege it was to minister there. I'm expecting great things to continue in this village. Please pray for them.
Since returning home we have had many testimonies of all that God did during this trip. One young man who had tried to hang himself just a few days before we ministered in his village got saved after the meeting and it's been reported to us that he has been transformed and now has hope for his future and has become very positive in his outlook on life. Praise God!
by Tim Grant