Updates from STORYLINE "Eastern Europe" and BLESS resources at work:
In January we trained three new regional coordinators in Ukraine to teach our Storyline course (an extended "Todd Talk" or Mission Rev) about the local church's role in cross-cultural missions. Each Storyline facilitator will be teaching/mobilizing in local churches 6 times this year for a total of 18 "Todd Talks" influencing 1,000 people about their role in God's global mission. The result will be around 300+ people funding missions work through Ukrainian churches, 30+ new short-term mission team participants, and 300+ people praying for the unreached.
At this gathering in Ukraine I was able to commit $10,000 in funding from BLESS to the Director of Foreign Missions for the Ukrainian Baptist Union towards the creation of a national mission's conference in Kiev in August 2020 that is anticipated to be attended by over 2,000+ Ukrainian pastors, youth pastors, and youth to inspire them towards missionary service.
The storytelling from current Ukrainian missionaries, Biblical teaching sessions, and inspiration from "Todd Talks" at this event will result in hundreds of commitments for people praying, giving, and going to the nations, especially to the 14 partnership locations where the Ukrainian Baptist Union already has long-term missionaries serving.
Some of these partnership locations are already serving unreached people groups in Nepal, India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan.
BLESS is mobilizing Ukrainians to places where Americans can't go, and Ukrainians can go to share Christ with those who have never heard the good news.
In January I met with Mani M., who is an Iranian living in Ukraine and uses social media video channels in Farsi language for evangelistic outreach to people in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
In January he was able to publicly baptize 20 Iranians in a secret location outside of Iran.
BLESS helped fund the expenses for his travel and for hosting these Iranians for baptism.
In February, our Russian Storyline coordinator taught our Great Commission ("Todd Talk") course in the Far North of Russia, almost in the arctic circle, on the Yamal Peninsula. In the church gatherings were Christian believers from the Nenet and Khanty tribes (similar to Eskimo people groups). This is his report:
"Kirby, peace be upon you. God blessed me on my trip to the Yamal Peninsula. My main purpose was to teach the Storyline course in the church to create urgency among the brothers to pay attention to the small nationalities (Nenet/Khanty) that live nearby. The course in the city of Salekhard was attended by 42 people from three churches. Several responses from students in the course:
"The seminar changed our understanding of the mission of God and our participation in it," as well as, “I will not go to bed until I pray for the 'people' living nearby.”
The course was attended not only by brothers from the church, but also by brothers from the Nenet and Khanty. Also, Khanty sisters are active missionaries among their people, and after the seminar they went to the village to share the gospel to their people. In the city of Salekhard, a regional meeting of presbyters from the churches of the Yamal-Nenets district took place. Eighteen people attended. I was given a lot of time to familiarize them with the vision of the Foreign Mission Committee for our denomination in Russia. I also presented them with one of the lessons from the Storyline course. As a result, I was invited to return to teach in these churches using Storyline.
Let’s pray that God would give us the strength, finances, and time to visit these churches, as they live among small nations, where there is no distinctive national church and the gospel (Bible) is not fully translated."