Jacob's Life Testimony and Kyiv UBF mission report
I was born in Ukraine in 1975. At that time Ukraine was the part of Soviet Union. In May I went to a demonstration and cried out with others: “Glory to labor! Glory to communist party”. Later I joined the communist pioneer party, and later the Komsomol party. Yet, it was the way to nowhere. They could not give any truth or meaning of life. When I was in the high school Soviet Union disappeared. What I remember I that time it’s emptiness in my heart. I was looking for something to fill my heart but it didn’t worked. I looked for the truth in the physics and entered the Kyiv National University to study physics, but found that most of physicists were unhappy people and didn’t know the truth by themselves. I was looking for truth in music and learned to play guitar, but most song were about the emptiness and disappointment in the life. I was looking the truth in the martial arts and mastered karate but it was also empty. I lived in darkness. The other problem was my sins. I lived under sin of lust, pride and loneliness. I wanted to live pure life, but in reality lived dirty. I had no real friend. But on the other hand I was very proud because studied in university, knew karate and was like aрtletyc. It was a very hard, complicated and dark life.
Then I was a freshmen in 1993 I was invited to Bible Study by some missionaries from Korea. At that time I had never read Bible and had never seen Koreans before so it seemed to be interested. Unexpectedly I found truth in the Bible. On the 1st 1:1 Bible study I accepted Jesus through John 1:9: “The true light, that gives light to every man was coming into the world”. Also very unexpectedly I found in the church true love and fellowship I had never seen before in this world.
I started to study Bible. God’s word worked in my heart and I confessed my sins in Easter Bible Conference in 1994. Soon after this I decided to follow Jesus and become a shepherd. I began to live in brother’s common life, to visit Daily Bread meeting and later to study Bible with others. At that time I had no money, no free time but it was a good time in my life. At that time God also powerfully worked in my heart to help God’s word was rooting in it. I received Biblical name “Jacob”, because of my character was much the same with the Old Testament Jacob who was very humanly ambitious.
At 2001 God blessed me to create family with shs. Joan of Arc. I was ready to create family by faith, she was ready too, so God blessed me by beautiful family. An year later I finished my Ph.D. courses and received Ph.D. in physics.
The next 10 years my family spent in pioneering mission in Kharkiv - the second biggest city in Ukraine. During this time my family received training in wilderness. God worked in our hearts and changed our value system. Wa learned that true success is not a big church with many sheeps, but it’s to keep you faithfulness to God and take care for 1 sheep. At that time God blessed us by a daughter. By that time we had been praying for children during 10 years so it was God’s answer for persistent prayer.
The last 3 years I have been serving in Kyiv. Like Old Testament Jacob, who was blessed materially after 14 years working for love and 6 years working for his business, God blessed me by good job as Software Developer in big International Company, so my family was able to buy apartment and car. Now I pray to study Bible diligently and grow as a good Bible teacher for Ukrainians.
Part 2. God’s work in Kyiv UBF ministry
Kyiv UBF ministry started when missionary Peter’s Kim family arrived in Kyiv in 1991. Later some other missionaries joined the mission. At that time Ukraine just received independent and was poor and criminal. It was difficult to survive. Mrs. Peter testified that ones he payed half-year rent payment for the flat, yet after one month was drove out from the flat by the owner. Yet the missionaries had rented the hall and started to invite students. They didn’t have missionary experience, they didn’t know language well, yet they accepted God’s calling and obeyed. This year we are going to celebrate 25 years of Kyiv UBF. Looking back for this mission I found few things.
First, this was God’s word oriented mission: missionaries really loved God’s word. They constantly studied it. They provided 1:1 Bible study, Daily Bread meeting and testimony sharing meeting. They believed that God’s word has a power in itself to work and change student’s lives. Many come and went, yet gradually God’s word started to work in student’s hears and led them to faith in Jesus and repentance.
Second, it was prayer-oriented mission. Every time we got together we prayed: on the SWS, on the testimony sharing meeting, on the Daily Bread meeting and so on. During one period sisters from common life decided to gather before Daily Bread meetings for a prayer, sacrificing such a praсious morning sleep. And it was very heart-moving decision. God heard our prayer and started to raise disciples.
Third, God used brothers and sisters common life to raise Jesus’ disciples. Through common life God taught students to accept one another, to love and to serve others. It was a good practice. Almost everyone who created family church or went as a missionary had passed through common life.
Four, we learned to have faith in God. At that time most of sheeps were poor students from countryside. Yet, I remember ms. Peter Kim constantly teached us: “Have faith in God”. Through our trainings we learnt to believe in God. We started to pray for Ukraine to be a kingdom of priest and holy nation. We got the vision to become a good shepherd for Ukrainian students. We would never could do this without the faith.
Now 3 missionaries are working in Kyiv: Peter and Sarrah Kim and Hanna Saliuk. There are 10 family charges and some brothers and sisters are growing as Jesus disciple. Among them br. Veniamin and s. Natasha. We have 50-60 SWS attendants. During last 25 years God have been sent 5 missionaries: 3 in USA (Anastasia, Ruth and Natasha) and Point and Rebecca in Turkey.
Our key verse up to 2031 years is Ex.19:4-6: “... you will be from me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.
Main direction in the Kyiv mission for now:
- Disciples ministry through various clubs. Some years ago we found that traditional inviting style in dormitories was difficult because of access systems. So to invite students we organized various Clubs: English Club, Genesis Fest, Mafia, IT Club. The most effective now is English Club, many students come through it and we started to provide SWS for the youth. We pray for them to start Bible Study diligently and grow as disciples of Jesus;
- Co-working with other Christian ministries. We want to be opened to cowork with others. So during last 1-2 year some lideкs from our chuкch participated at conferences organized by other christian missions or invite them to our church to learn from them and to have fellowship.
- Children Fellowship. God blessed us by more than 20 children. We pray to organize for them good Fellowship to raise them in God;
- Leadership transfer. We are working now to transfer leadership from the missionaries to the native shepherds. We have 3 elders (Abraham Vlad, Jonathan and Jacob - we call them “Trinity”) who study Bible and read SWS messages and missionary Peter Kim support them with Bible Study.
There is continuous military conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Two years ago Ukraine people casted down dictator president and took a course to democathy. When Russia occupied Crimea and some territories in the East of Ukraine. We pray for the peace in our land.
One world: Ukraine - kingdom of priests and holy nation.