Author Archives: Caleb

In a Time of Chaos Students Learn to Make Order in Ukraine

Things are Chaotic in Ukraine. The war in Eastern Ukraine has destroyed much of the infastructure as well as many lives! In other parts of the country people are worried and wondering if there will ever be peace.

The new government in Kyiv is already not trusted by many Ukrainians and the economy is on verge of collapse with a currency that continues to drop in value.

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Participants in Extreme Institute 14

“What is the church to do in these chaotic times?”

This was the question we asked our students during this summers’ Extreme Instistitute!

Training and Practice Together

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Studying the letter to Titus

The purpose of the Extreme Institute is to provide training for our students in a non-formal way that combines Biblical teaching with practical application. We like to focus on helping our students learn valuable skills in evangelism, missions and church leadership.  While we have often taken our students outside of the country, we thought that with all the tragic events in Ukraine in the past ten months that it would be appropriate to stay with-in the country.

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Pulling up tents to move to the next village

Mikhael Suprun (pastor and CMI director of developement) organized a five day teaching/ministry expedition for our students in the Central Ukraine region of Cherkassy. Students met up in the city of Uman, where they were able to visit historic Sofia Park and also to fellowship with a group of Korean missionaries who work in Ukrianian schools.

From Chaos to Order

From Uman they traveld about 20 miles North to the town of Mankivka, where they set up tents in the church yard and spent two nights there. Every morning and evening the students intensely studied the book of Titus. The main theme of the book is found in Titus 1:5 where Paul tells Timothy:

“I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained in order.”

This topic was very appropriate given all that is going on in Ukraine! The students dug in deep with many questions and some great conversations. We disscussed everything from why it’s important to have order in the church to the vital significance of keeping the gospel truth at the core of everything the church does.

From Learning in a Classroom to Living it in Real Life!

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Anatoliy sharing the gospel outside a wedding

We planned for several opportunities for our students to practice what they were learning in real life. In the town of Manikova they were able to spend time walking the streets and sharing the gospel. One group of students spent over an hour talking with several members of Ukraine’s Self Defense force. They clearly shared the gospel message with them and left with with Ukrainian New Testaments. Another group came across a wedding party and shared the gospel with them!

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Bogdan preaching in the village of Kishintsi

The final three days of Extreme Institute were spent in the village of Kishintsi. Here students studied God’s Word together with local believers. Then on Sunday morning they conducted the worship service, including three sermons, special music and testimonies. The local church members received great encouragement and gladly invited them back any time!

Commited to Serve the Church

One of the most important results from a project like this is the individual commitment of each student to serve faithfully in his own church. As we wrapped up our 5 day teaching and training adventure you could sense that the students had been changed by the teaching and the experience. They were each going back to their local churches better prepared and more motivated than ever to teach, serve, and preach the Gospel!

CMI Main Office Moves to Kyiv

We are happy to announce that the CMI’s main office has moved from Odessa to Kyiv! This move is part of a broader partnership agreement between the Church Ministries Institute and the Kyiv Theological Seminary.

On July 4, a truck filled with furniture, files, computers, equipment, and books made the 500 kilometer trip north from Odessa to Kyiv. Several volunteers helped to unload its contents into our newly renovated office on the first floor of the Kyiv Theological Seminary building.
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In addition to operating our main office out of the KTS building in Kyiv, we will be offering second level classes at the KTS campus this year as well. We believe that this move will make it easier for a greater number of students to come to our second level classes, due to KTS’ central location, broader contacts with churches, and beautiful dormitory facilities.

Our new partnership with KTS will also allow the CMI to cut down our costs considerably , and to share the excellent administrative resources available at KTS, including a large library.

We are excited about what this partnership agreement will mean for the future of the CMI. We are already in talks about offering complementary academic programs. KTS is interested in helping with our local church Bible schools, and helping to promote our distance program. KTS will also provide a wide range of quality bachelor and master programs for our students who would like to seek advanced training after their graduation from our first and second levels. We are also in the initial stages of planning a new program designed specifically for youth leaders.

What will happen to our old office in Odessa? While a small part of the facility will still be used for our CMI distance program, we are excited to be renting the rest of the facility out to a Christian organization for the next two years. They plan to use it for an evangelistic children’s center and a new Baptist church plant.

We appreciate your prayers for Rick Ferrari, interim CMI director, as he leads us through this transition, along with Vladimir Nikolaev (CMI vice president and academic dean) and the rest of our administrative team. Rick has relocated his family to Kyiv, and is eager to see you in Kyiv!

Ukraine’s Crisis Brings Unique Opportunities to Share the Gospel

We continue to see reports of Ukrainians on edge, as the military prepares for war with Russian invaders. How should we respond to the Ukrainian crisis?

Anatoliy Cherepinskiy, a Ukrainian church planter and Church Ministries Institute alumni, describes how he and his team are finding creative ways to use this crisis to share the Gospel, and to build bridges with the residents of a village where they are planting a church in Southern Ukraine.

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Here is a recent not from Anatoliy describing the unique opportunity he has taken advantage of to share the Gospel in the midst of this crisis.

“I would like to share with you how we again have clearly seen the hand of God. In the village of Limaniy, we visited the husband of our sister (in Christ), and he sincerely repented. On April 1st we buried him. People from the village listened to the sermons and our singing. There was no alcohol on the table, and people responded very well to us. Praise God!

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Ukrainian military units were stationed seven kilometers from the village. We brought them milk and groceries, and learned that they were in need of showers. Throughout the week we brought them with us to our church building in groups of 8-12, where they warmed up in our sauna. Along the way, we got acquainted, shared the Gospel with them, and handed them Gospels. We socialized with them in the church building, fed them, and prayed with them. We also drove them to the regional center, where they purchased stove pipes and other items.

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In all, about 90 soldiers and officers heard the Gospel in detail, and saw our ministry to them in practice. They were so very thankful. In the village, we often heard good reports about our church. People also remembered how we cared for the electricians who lived with us in the church building after the ice storm, and other occasions.

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We rejoice that the Lord is using us in sowing the Word of God, with the help of your support and prayers for us. Glory to Our Great God!”

Thank You for Your Support in 2013

Dear friends we want to thank you for your support and prayers for the Church Ministries Institute in 2013! This year we trained about 250 students in 15 churches and three languages. We also conducted over a dozen seminars on evangelism and discipleship in 3 different countries.

As we look towards 2014 we are excited to start the year off with a course on Church planting that will be taught by Vladimir Nickolaev in January at our center in Odessa.

We are also looking forward to getting our new distance education up and running in 2014. Please be in prayer for Misha Nunyayev as he heads up our new distances education program. This will give many church leaders who are unable to get to a school access to solid theological training.

Finally in 2014 we are planning two missions trips for our students. One trip will be to Western Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains and the other trip will be up to Perm, Russia where a group of churches has asked us to help them set up a “missions school”.

Before 2013 comes to a close please consider giving a year end donation to help us train church leaders in Ukraine. These gifts make a big difference as we plan for the 2014.

You can find instructions for year end giving here. 

Here’s what’s been happening at the CMI

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This Fall we held our CMI annual conference in Kiev, Ukraine. We gathered our Bible school directors, administrators and teachers together for 3 days. Each Bible school director gave a report on their schools and we also heard from several pastors from Canada also joined us for this time.

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Right after our annual conference we hosted an accreditation team at our center in Odessa. They approved us for candidate status for accreditation. This is a great step in the right direction as we seek to have our 2nd level program fully accredited!

God is at Work in Nickolaev Schools

Did you know that most of the training that happens in the CMI doesn’t happen at our center in Odessa but rather in local churches and regional centers all over Ukraine and Moldova?

One of our largest and most active centers is in the city of Nickolaev, Ukraine, just about 1.5 hours from Odessa.  Below is a report from Vitaly Danko who has served as a teacher in the CMI for a number of years now. I’m sure his report will encourage you as it did us!

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Currently the CMI has over 20 active schools like this one in Nickolaev. Each one is based in a local church setting and focused on training local leadership. Your support enables the CMI to provide the structure and resources these schools need to continue every year.

Graduates and faculty at Grace of God Church in Nicolaev 2013

Graduates and faculty at Grace of God Church in Nicolaev 2013

Grace of God Church in the city of Nikolaev is preparing workers for God’s harvest field. The church has been given a task and God is accomplishing it through men and women who are serving in our church. One of the best methods we have to prepare people for ministry is the CMI Bible school at Grace of God Church. We are activily training about 35 people and 13 people have already completed the training program and now are puting into practice the knowledge they recieved by serving in the local church.

In our Bible school we prepare ministers who are willing to dedicate their lives to the service of God and the Church of Jesus Christ.

What has the school given its students? The students themselves tellu that it has changed their understanding of God, opened new perspectives in life and ministry and helped them to be living stones upon which is being built a spiritual house and a holy priesthood.

The vision of the school is not learning for the sake of knowledge, but rather acquisition of knowledge in order to effectively serve God and the church of Jesus Christ.

I would like to talk about some of the graduates of the school who are serving God with diligence, bringing up the younger generation of ministers. Sasha Grab ministered as youth leader for about eight years, God then moved his heart and he passed on that ministry to his classmate Vitaly Chernozubov, and he decided to more intensively preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to serve God as an evangelist, reaching people through the Word of God for salvation.

A number of other graduates are active in ministry to children. They serve as Sunday school teachers and teach in boarding schools for orphans. This includes Sergei Vasilenko and Nina Brailov, who graduated from our Bible school at age 76 and continues to actively work in our church!

Through all of this we can certainly see God’s blessings. Grace of God Church is thankful to the Lord for the CMI, for each employee and teacher for the great job they are doing in Nikolaev and in every parrt of Ukraine.

-Vitaly Danko
Bible school director/Teacher

CMI Students Help Plant a Church in Russia

Theory without practice doesn’t do anyone good, that’s why it’s important to get out of the classroom and apply our knowledge to real life situations.

This is exactly what a group of our CMI students did last month as they crossed the border from Ukraine into Russia to help plant a church in a different country and a different culture.

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Our team next to the sign before entering the town of Vereshagino

Transformation church near the city of Perm invited our students to come and help them do outreach in the town of Vereshagino, which is located about 100 miles outside of Perm, Russia.

Our CMI team met up in Kharkov and then crossed the Russian border by car. Everyone was thankful for God’s protection as we traveled over 30 hours one way covering more than 2,200 km!

It's 11pm and we finally made it!

It’s 11pm and we finally made it!

We were all glad when we finally rolled into the church around 11pm on Saturday evening. Our Russian brothers in Christ greeted us with some delicious Russian pelmeni!   We knew that the next week would be full of ministry and new experiences as we anticipated what God was about to do.

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Our students ministered in two churches on the outskirts of Perm on Sunday morning, then Sunday evening we drove 100 miles out to the town of Vereshagino. We set up camp near a small lake about 15 mins from town.

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Each morning for two hours we went through part of the Good Soil seminar which focuses on training believers to better communicate the Gospel to unbelievers.  In the afternoons we headed in to town where we put to practice what we had learned that morning by talking with the locals and sharing Christ’s love with them.

We also conducted games for the kids.

Transformation Church from Perm led games in the park for kids with a Bible story afterwards. Russia law does not allow for religious teaching of children 14 and under without the written permission of their parents. Thus we had to turn away the younger children who didn’t have their parents with them.

We decided to volunteer and do some work in the park

We wanted to do something to show the town God’s love for them, so in addition to personally talking with many people and sharing the gospel our students got busy and helped clean up the local park. This proved to be a great way to strengthen our testimony and gain the respect of the people.

Please pray for the town of Vereshagino! We just received word from one of the pastors of the church in Perm. He said they are traveling weekly to Vereshagino where they now have 13 new contacts as a result of the work our students did last month.

Pray also for our students who were on this trip. Several of them are thinking about missions. Pray that God would raise up a few missionaries from young men and women in Ukraine who can serve in places like Vereshagino!

Check out a few more pictures on our Facebook page!

John Taylor speaking at the opening of a new Bible School at Hope for People.

2 New Bible Schools in 1 Week!

This week in Odessa we have two new Bible schools starting. This past Tuesday the first Bible school started at Hope for People Church. We were surprised to have or over 20 students show up for the first course. Pray for Kirill who is the new director for this Bible school and for the 20 plus students who have already started the course Old Testament Survey.

John Taylor speaking at the opening of a new Bible School at Hope for People.

John Taylor speaking at the opening of a new Bible School at Hope for People.

Tomorrow another Bible school will start at Holy Trinity church, also in Odessa. We appreciate your prayers for Pastor Sergey who will be the director of this school. It’s exciting to have these new schools start but it’s also a lot of work and they need your prayers.

Here is how you can pray:

1. Pray that the teachers would be well prepared and would accurately teach God’s Word.
2. Pray that the students would have hearts ready to learn.
3. Pray for endurance for each student to make it to the end of the course.

Check out the CMI Facebook page for a few more photos.