Projects and Missionaires in Europe/Middle East
Recent Stories from Europe/Middle East

AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE

The 24th Annual National Conference of the Ukrainian Church of God was held in October in Svyatogorsk. With an emphasis on the health of pastoral marriages, much time in the seminars was dedicated to maintaining healthy relationships. Additional time was given to enjoy the mountain scenery and the nearby ancient monastery. The evening services encouraged the delegates to continue the good work of evangelism and discipleship—reminding that some plant, others water, but it is God who gives the increase.

Plenty of celebration ensued in reaction to God’s increase. During the past year, the Churches of God in Ukraine received 14 new churches into its fellowship—seven of the churches were independent churches from the Kiev region; seven additional churches were newly organized church plants, mostly in Eastern Ukraine along the war front. Despite losing four congregations (mostly due to displaced members from the warzone), the Churches of God in Ukraine reported a net growth of 10 congregations. Over 500 people were saved, and some 379 were baptized in water during the past year through the ministries of the Church of God in Ukraine.

Also emphasized during the conference was the development of chaplaincy and humanitarian aid ministries with new ministers/groups meeting the ever-increasing challenges presented by the ongoing military conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Acknowledgement was given to the donors and sponsors from Europe and the United States whose support has tremendously helped the church’s ministry to the needy in the conflict area.

Tom Rosson
Regional Superintendent-Eastern Europe and CIS
President – CIS/ETS
Moscow

Project #061-0004

COMFORTED BY THE WORD OF GOD

Middle East Map

Amidst the multiple disasters that have drawn our attention recently, we are reminded yet of another tragedy taking place.

In a Mideast nation, adversities have increasingly worsened with no relief in sight, mainly due to the strict rules of the country’s leadership. One pastor was imprisoned, falsely accused to trying to overthrow the president. Another pastor was confined, as Christians are considered “terrorists.”

Attacks continually take place, with individuals killed and others wounded. An undertow of fear is prevalent, making it difficult to evangelize. If suspected of evangelizing, one is taken to the police station and exorbitant money must be paid for release. Yet, the church survives.

Because obtaining a visa is becoming a problem, it is difficult for workers to get into the country, and a harvest awaits.

The people are comforted by the Word of God: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” (Isaiah 5:17).

Project #132-5116

AMSTERDAM—SL2C UPDATE

Although Amsterdam, as a Send Light to the Cities designate, has experienced obstacles which did not allow it to move forward quickly, every effort is strategically directed. Not having a strong presence initially in the Netherlands has hindered as there are only five total congregations. However, a new church plant was recently begun in the city. Purchasing or leasing a building is not easy, because of extremely high real estate costs. The search continues to acquire property in the city.

Amsterdam

Special attention is being given to finding a building that can eventually serve as a self-supporting and self-sustaining property—by subleasing to other tenants so lease expenses can be shared, or possibly even eliminated. The goal is to survive without outside assistance no later than three years after the project begins, but, ideally, even sooner.

Innovative and creative approaches to church planting must be found … a seeker friendly environment is more likely to attract interest, with a building having the capacity of accommodating 200 to 500 people.

John and Shakila Olsen are pastoring a daughter church under Senior Pastor Bishop John Lataster, who is also the World Missions representative in the Netherlands. These individuals affirm they are ready to Send the Light as soon as funding is released. In the meantime, the School of Discipleship is scheduled to begin January 2018.

Stephen Darnell is the field director, who is overseeing the project.

Project #102-9435-001

UPDATE FROM THE O’DOWDS

Missionaries to Europe, Tom and Kuulei O’Dowd, participate in a wide range of ministry. Their desire is to do the work of the Lord, no matter what circumstances they may personally face.

Earlier in the year, Kuulei’s elder brother passed away due to a strange stomach cancer. Not completely over the loss, Kuulei lost her father in August—a sudden stroke. During their darkest hours, prayers and letters grounded them in God’s great grace. The O’Dowds continue to share the Good News of the Resurrection in their time of sorrow.

MALTA, GREECE, AND AUSTRIA

O'Dowds with students

Traveling first to St. Paul’s Bay in Malta, Tom and Kuulei interacted with students there from ETS (Iraq, Egypt, and Germany). After preaching and uplifting the Church of God in Athens, Greece, the O’Dowds visited Vienna, Austria, where they enjoyed the spiritual and educational investment they had previously made with the students. Tom and Kuulei feel they can now learn as much from the young ministers as they ever taught them.

ALBANIA

The O’Dowds have a vibrant and exciting vision for the Church of God in Albania! Powered by the Holy Spirit and dynamic leadership, the work is growing tremendously. They will be teaching in Tirana’s Bible school next February.

ASIA

While working mainly in Europe, the O’Dowds are heading to Asia to visit five countries: Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey, and Singapore. Since they had lived in Asia for 15 years (and have not been back in seven years), it will be a special “homecoming” for them, especially to see old friends.

Give to this project, #061-0002.

A LOT GOING ON

Missionaries in Romania, Michael and Mihaela Gravitt, have a lot going on with family and church of late. Among the activities has been the children’s church hiking trips, camping trips, cookouts with small groups, VBS outreach in a poor village, Mihaela’s brother visiting from Canada, and the fact the associate pastor was on vacation for two weeks during this busy time!Romania Gravitts

But, there is big news … three people will be water baptized. None of this, however, would’ve been possible without support. Michael is grateful for the prayers, the giving, and basically helping to keep them in Romania. Because of that support, more souls are going to heaven, and more missions-minded people are reaching the lost. When the Gravitts see the children they are able to reach and the church they are able to support, the realization comes that donors are as much a part as they are, and they could not do what they do without them.

Because of the “I Dream of a Church” campaign and City Church of Chattanooga, they have finally been able to purchase a parsonage for their family to stay in! For the first 6-1/2 years, they lived in an extremely hot 380 sq. ft. top-floor apartment. Next, they lived with a church in their house for approximately 3-1/2 years. Finally, they now have a place to stay with their family and are able to focus their money and time on the church and the ministry.

Project #065-0957

THE EYES OF GOD

Middle East Map

Latin America is sending career missionaries around the world—a missions field that has turned into a missions force. One such couple from the Church of God in Argentina now ministers in a Middle East country.

Praying for the political situation in the country where they are located is only part of the urgent task that remains to establish disciples of Jesus Christ who can continue the extension of the kingdom of God in the region. In the natural perspective, it looks negative, but if one sees with the eyes of God, a small cloud can be seen in the distance—a great harvest of souls coming to the knowledge of our Redeemer!

The missionaries were blessed to recently pray and minister to some women and children who have escaped war. How heartbreaking for them to witness what people are suffering from having to leave their homes because of war; especially, to see the children, and humanly not be able to help enough!

Most of the individuals with whom God has allowed them to share, to reach, and to baptize, stand firm in the way of God. Amidst many dangers and threats, the local church continues to advance. New believers are often preparing to be water- baptized.

Believing God is in control of history, with His help, the missionaries will continue to share the love of Jesus Christ.

Project # 102-7075-001