Finding Peace at Christmas

Tonight is Christmas Eve in Ukraine.  The temperature in Kyiv has dropped to a frigid -17C (2F) with a RealFeel of -31C (-24F).  Families snuggled together for Christmas Eve and the traditional 12 dishes consisting of fish, mushrooms, and dried fruit.  As they exchange toasts for happiness, success, and all that is good, George is on a train heading east.

From Monday through Wednesday, fifty people are expected to gather from villages very close to the frontline of war.  These villages were at one point under the occupation of Russia’s proxy forces but have since been liberated by the Ukrainian forces.  The sting of war is fresh.

They gather to find peace – not particularly the peace that results in a ceasing of mortar fire but rather peace in their souls that comes from healing and reconciliation.  George and first-time facilitator, Victoria, are leading the workshop “Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict.”  In the workshop, participants meet Jesus who entered our cold and cruel world to take away our sin and pain and replace it with life – life to the abundance.

Pray for George and Victoria as they lead the three-day workshop and serve as God’s agents to bring healing to deep family and ethnic issues.   We covet your prayers as this important ministry is often under fierce attack by Satan who wants to thwart God’s mission.

May the God of peace bring healing to Ukraine and all corners of the world in which He entered as a baby nearly 2000 years ago.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Unexpected Kingdom Change

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

One of the most important things we train church leaders to do in the Timothy Leadership Training Institute is to identify “Kingdom Change” that needs to take place in their lives, families, congregations and communities. “Kingdom Change” is that change which takes place when God’s reign – God’s Kingdom – is more fully realized in these different spheres of our lives. It’s what we pray for when we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

While we identify the changes that we anticipate God will bring because of the activities we plan to do, we realize that God, in his sovereignty, may and often does bring about results that we didn’t think of. When participants report on their plans, therefore, we ask them to also tell us about any “unexpected Kingdom changes” that took place as they carried out their activities.

Recently we were privileged to continue our training with a group of churches living and ministering under very difficult conditions near the front lines of the war between Russia and Ukraine. As my group of trainees reported on their plans, I learned of a wonderful “unexpected Kingdom Change” that came about from my plan to train these brothers and sisters.

We first visited New Life Church in Dobropollya the first week of November, 2015. 24 people from 5 different churches finished our first course, Caring for God’s People. Among them were a young man who was a recovering alcoholic with a difficult past. His name is Mikhail. The other was a young woman named Olga. She was divorced, also a recovering alcoholic and new to the church. They met for the first time at the training.

Mikhail told me how he didn’t think much about Olga at the time, but at the end of April, 2016, when we gather for the second training, he noticed how she reported on the plan she had made the previous November. He says that he thought, “Wow, she’s really serious about this.” And he decided to try to get to know her better.

When we returned to do the third training this past November, I was surprised by a wonderfully “unexpected Kingdom change”. That summer Mikhail and Olga were married in that church. During our training they also announced that they were expecting their first child together! Maybe if it’s a boy they will name him Timothy. J

May your Kingdom come and your will be done in Mikhail’s and Olga’s lives and in their new family, in New Life Church, in Dobropollye, in Ukraine and throughout the world!

Amen

Pray for Reconciliation Workshop

The leaders coming from USA, Wales and Rwanda
The leaders coming from USA, Wales and Rwanda

Please be in prayer for the reconciliation workshop and training taking place in Ukraine Oct 11-21.  God has used this workshop, “Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict,” to powerfully bring healing and reconciliation to people living in Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and just recently countries of the former Soviet Union.  We envision God continuing His work of healing and reconciliation here in Ukraine.  It is our prayer that through this process God would enable Ukraine to rise above the oppression and suffering of centuries to thrive as a nation.

Taken from the website for this workshop: “The varied and creative workshop Healing the Wounds of Ethnic Conflict (HWEC) includes interactive teaching on God’s character; Jesus as our pain bearer; the power of forgiveness and repentance, the role of the church, and a healed identity. There are also practical and group activities. After experiencing the workshop, participants will be trained to conduct their own workshop.”

* Pray for openness of the participants to bring their wounds to the cross and receive God’s healing

* Pray for the participants to take this workshop and the training their receive back to their communities

* Pray for wisdom and insight for the leaders of the workshop and training: George, Joseph from Rwanda, and Rhiannon Lloyd from Wales

* Pray for the translators that they would accurately and seamlessly convey the words and message of the presentors

* Pray against any schemes of Satan to interfere

* Pray that the Church in Ukraine would become agents of healing and reconciliation across the country, into Russia and to other countries of the former Soviet Union

For God. With You. In Ukraine