Winter 2009: Ukraine and Germany Report
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We arrived back from our mission trips to Ukraine and Germany on August 17. It was great to get back again after nearly a month’s absence from home. As we look back on our venture, we can only praise God for His goodness to us in protecting us and keeping us during this time. We also praise Him for the souls that were touched by our ministry. God has been good to us and to those we were able to minister to.

On July 19, Victor and I left Vancouver and arrived in L’viv, Ukraine, on July 20. Pastor Shevchuk met us at the airport and we left immediately for Ilnytsia. After five hours of travel, we arrived at the home of Pastor Michael and his wife, Oxana, where we had stayed before. Their home was a five-minute walk to the place where we were holding the meetings.

This year we held our meetings in a school auditorium and the people were housed in an empty orphanage across from the school. Meals were prepared in the orphanage kitchen, making this convenient for our camp meeting.

We had over 200 people at the camp meeting, with approximately 150 of them being guests. The Ilnytsia church was very active in these meetings by providing special music for the occasion. A lively band came to help open the meetings and advertise the meetings in the community. They played music outside on the grounds and called people in to hear what was going on.

The first evening was an introductory night with a good crowd. The following morning Pastor Gill preached at 9 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. After lunch, the people gathered in small groups to discuss what had been spoken about that morning. If anyone had questions they were able to ask them and get answers. The local pastors were in charge of the groups and helped by answering questions and keeping track of how things were progressing in the lives of those attending.

My contribution to the camp meeting was to run the children’s meetings. I had between twenty and thirty children each morning. I presented the Truth For Youth series and the children seemed to really enjoy it. We had two treasure hunts—something they had never experienced before. In the end, three of these children took their stand for Jesus.

Each evening, a different group got up and told of their search for meaning in life and what the Lord meant to them. The first evening we were asked to give our personal testimonies of how we had found the Lord.

It was very interesting to hear the people give their testimonies each night. All the pastors gave their stories and some of them were very touching—trials they had endured, the way that God led them, and how they had been able to attend our college in Russia, and now were able to help others find the truth. The Lord is very real to these people and they do not hesitate to express their appreciation for what He has done for them.

The people that came to the meetings were relatives or friends of church members in various districts of the Western Conference. They came from all walks of life. Some who came had a lot of baggage. We had a former Satanist in the group, a dope addict, and people who were struggling with alcohol and tobacco addictions. Some came from broken homes and abusive situations. We had about twenty deaf and mute people there with their deaf pastor and his wife.

There were some who had come just to please the one who had invited them. There were a number of guests that really hadn’t understood what it was all about and were rather surprised to find out that they would be required to attend religious meetings each day. But they all seemed to take it very well.

We were pleased to see the pastors take such a special interest in the people who came. One evening Pastor Shevchuk didn’t go to bed until 3 a.m. When we asked him about it he told us that he had been with the pastors and they had been praying for the people at the camp meeting. We often fasted and prayed with the pastors. Prayer meetings such as this were held on numerous occasions. Their dedication was very touching.

We were thrilled when a number of young ladies made the decision to join God’s remnant Church by baptism, This group included a former Satanist and a university student who was thrilled to be able to join God’s remnant Church.

About four days into the meetings, a young man who had been into drugs, women, and alcohol, saw his desires begin to change. He realized that the life he had been living was not pleasing to his Saviour and he was concerned about what would happen to him when he returned to his home turf. Would he be able to resist the temptations that would face him there?

In the end, twenty people took their stand to follow their Lord in baptism. Others were in the valley of decision and were really struggling.

The Ilnytsia church has a river running behind it, and this river was dammed up for the baptisms. What a joy it was to watch the baptism! The church members were there in full force with the band playing. Everyone gathered in the church to watch as the baptismal candidates were welcomed into fellowship and given flowers and books as gifts.

After this, Pastor Gill addressed the rest of the group and asked if there were any that yet would like to take their stand for Jesus and be baptized at another time. Twenty more came forward. One of these was the dope addict. How we rejoiced to see him give his life to Christ! You could just see the joy in his face that the battle had been won.

Pastor Gill’s translator for this series was a young English teacher who was married to one of the pastors working with us. She had invited her mother, who was visiting from Moscow, to come to this camp meeting with them. She had been very reluctant to come as she wasn’t all that pleased that her daughter had joined the Adventist Church. What a thrill it was to see her take her stand and testify how God had worked in her life through the meetings and the prayers of the pastors.

It seemed that the people were loathe to leave the church. They were there for Sabbath School from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. What singing and rejoicing! It was a wonderful experience.

Later that afternoon another young man came up to us and said, “I should have been in the group that was baptized. Would it be too late for me to be baptized even now? I do not want to wait.” So Pastor Shevchuk said that he would gladly do this for him. A group of us went down to the river and he was baptized.

That Saturday night was the closing of camp meeting. There was such a feeling of unity and love in that group. People were hugging each other and there were many tears of happiness. God had worked wonderfully, for which we want to praise His name!

From Ukraine, we flew to Frankfurt and took the train to Nürnberg. We stayed with Stan and Petra Sedlbauer and family. Arrangements had been made for Pastor Gill to have a series of revival meetings in their church.

Germany is very conservative. They do not respond well to altar calls in church. This is not something that happens in their churches. When we arrived, Pastor Gill asked the elders of the church if he could make a call during his meetings. Their response was, “If the Lord impresses you, go ahead.”

The first meeting was Friday evening. We had a good group come out. Then Sabbath morning, the church was full. When Pastor Gill made a call, three non-members came up as well as a number of members. He had four meetings on Sabbath and another on Sunday morning. When Pastor Gill made a last call, nearly the whole church came forward to renew and rededicate their lives to God. The church was very thankful for the meetings. They felt that they had all benefited from the services.

What a privilege to be in the service of God. We have seen how the Lord works and how He answers prayer. We have seen His hand turn the hearts of the people to Him.

Time is short. We need to do whatever we can to warn people of what is coming in the future. There is a work for each one of us. We need to ask the Lord to show us what our part is to finish the work of God on Earth. We need to be willing to be used by Him.
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