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.
“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
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.
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!
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!
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!