ROMANIA - UKRAINE
A turn of events that we could never have guessed.
When many of you began supporting Adi and Ema Ban in their important contribution to Romanian society years ago, you probably wouldn’t have guessed what big things the Lord would do with your sincere sacrifices, placed in His hands.
Almost 20 years ago, when Adi and Ema offered a premarital seminar in their church, they were met with many requests for “more.” More input. More wisdom. More discipleship.
Quality books on Biblical marriage had been censored from society by Communist powers during the previous decades.
The wisdom of an entire generation sharing what the Lord revealed to them on Christian living topics through His Word is missing from their culture, and the level of common Biblical wisdom reflects it.
When struggles arose, there were precious few places to turn.
When Adi and Ema Ban first recognized the need for discipleship for newlyweds in post-communist Romania, there was a lot of work to do. Men and women didn’t really know how to be in godly relationships with each other.
Adi and Ema Ban
Adi and Ema met the need by creating one “Young Couples’ Fellowship” group, and then later, by popular demand, another.
The groups meet every other week to fellowship, discuss what they’ve read from the Bible and study books and pray for one another.
Meanwhile, they teamed up with American authors and marriage counselors, Dave and Claudia Arp, founders of Marriage Alive and 10 Great Dates, to contribute to and author books on important Christian living topics in Romanian.
Year after year, the couples grew in the Lord and learned how to be Biblical wives and husbands. As the years marched by, they needed to learn how to parent Biblically.
This group is unique and powerful in a post-communist context, where the leftover habits of fear and mistrust prevent vulnerability and honest sharing.
Breaking these habits with the truth of God’s Word is the work Adi and Ema Ban’s supporters have been part of!
Without support, they wouldn’t have been able to make the contribution to the church in Romania that they were uniquely positioned to make.
Now, those thriving Young Couples’ Fellowship families are making their own investment in God’s kingdom!
For 15 years, Ilya’s father commuted 21 miles to shepherd 10 believers.
Ilya grew up in the city of Bakhmut about 21 miles NW of Mironovsk, Ukraine. While he was growing up, his parents (the father was an ordained deacon at the time) faithfully commuted to Mironovsk to serve the small church of 10 people.
Ilya watched as there was little response to the church’s outreaches. For about 15 years, the church remained 10 people. But they remained faithful. And ready.
It took something drastic to prepare hearts to respond to the good news.
After Mironovsk came under heavy fire from the Separatist’s Army helped by Russia, the church experienced exponential growth.
In 2019, the growth has continued, and some 200 people attend the church regularly!
The Mironovsk church was full when Adi visited for the first time.
Ilya helps his father with the shepherding, and also travels to Kiev for seminary classes several times a year for two weeks at a time. This month his church will ordain him a deacon.
Ilya reported to Adi and Ema recently that he conducted two street evangelism outreaches, where they shared the Gospel and invited children and youth to outreach events.
Ilya leading worship.
Ten from unbelieving, low-income families came and heard about the Lord!
Together, several young families from Adi and Ema’s Young Couples Fellowship group are supporting Pastor Ilya.
They are able to do so because their marriages aren’t in crisis. Their children are thriving under Biblical leadership. And they desire to be part of sharing the Good News with the suffering.
The support from Adi and Ema’s young couples is making a huge difference for Ilya and his wife, Karina. They are expecting a baby soon!
Because of the help and faithfulness of the families in Romania, Ilya’s church was also able to prepare a room where the youth outreaches could take place.
God provides $500 USD for Mironovsk Christmas outreach faster than you could drink a cup of coffee.
In mid-December, Adi received a request from Ilya, asking for prayer. They were planning to have an indoor camp for children from the church and from the community during Christmas time.
They had been able to raise around $200 USD to fund the event, but were short about $500 USD.
Adi promised to pray about it and check back in a couple days.
Less than 10 minutes later, Adi received a phone call from a dear brother from his city, Oradea.
Adi almost couldn’t believe what he had to say!
“The Lord has placed on our hearts to set aside some money for any need you see fit in Donbas!” He had set aside $400USD.
Adi and Ema praised the Lord they were able to provide another 100 USD “due to ITMI’s faithfulness and care for the missions.”
Ilya reported that around 50 children came daily, and some parents stayed to watch their children play, learn Christmas carols, go caroling, learn the story of Jesus’ birth and memorize scripture verses.
The funds they received made it possible for them to offer a meal each day and some small gifts.
At the end of the camp, the families came to see a Christmas program with carols, Bible verses and a short message.
To Adi and Ema, Ilya writes, “For some parents it was the first time they had an opportunity to hear the Good News, and we are grateful you were able to help us in this ministry.”
Ilya asks for prayer, “That...I would be most effective in serving Him [as a deacon], that many more new children could come to our youth meetings and receive Christ and that the war would end.”
This is the rippling impact you make when you support ITMI partners in doing the work of God’s kingdom that they are uniquely positioned to do.
Because of your faithful support of Adi and Ema, an entire group of families is equipped and enabled to fund the spreading of the Good News in places like Eastern Ukraine.
But the work isn’t done.
Many Ukrainians are searching for hope in the midst of hardship. There are faithful believers in their midst who are working faithfully to demonstrate and declare the good news.
Their reach could be multiplied with our help!
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