We received the message days prior to our departure for Ukraine. It was a plea for help. The request was accompanied by images of rubble and destruction. It came from a small church of 20 members in Novolugansk. Novolugansk is right on the fighting line between Ukraine and the Russian separatists’ region of Lugansk. Our planning was already done, our routes and places to visit were already scheduled…
The Bans share the silver lining in a tough situation they faced in 2017.
Dr. Joseph C. Aldrich is quoted as saying something some might find surprising. Aldrich highlights one of the “weapons” at the church’s disposal for evangelism in Lifestyle Evangelism. Is it training? It is it a certain tract or method? Is it passion? Is it an effusive and charasmatic personality? Caring for orphans and widows? To be sure, these have great value, and are important parts of sharing the Good News, but Aldrich makes a different claim.
Things were different before the war broke out in Mironovsk, Ukraine. For 15 years prior to the streets being filled with crumbling structures, a small church of 14 ministered faithfully to their city. For 15 years, there was very little response to the Good News. Then, everything changed.
“Honestly, though, I did not expect to hear Mrs. Lili’s words when she looked me in the eye and said…” ITMI’s Ema Ban was chatting with some Little House of Treasures Preschool mothers when the story unfolded.
Though we had less than a month, we gathered the funds needed for our trip and ITMI graciously partnered with us, and we were grateful to the Lord for His provision. Then a swine flu broke out in Ukraine, and we were strongly advised not to go by the Ministry of Health.
“Why do the men sit on one side and the women on the other?”
Years ago, ITMI’s founder, Bill Bathman and his travel companion, Don Christiansen were in a Romanian church. This particular group of believers held long-standing traditions that had gotten them through the persecution of the Communism and the scarcity of the aftermath that followed.
But after the Iron Curtain came down, Don wondered why they sat the way they did. Was it to keep everyone from being distracted? Was it their sense of modesty and propriety?
Last May we shared a story and some photos about Steve and Adi’s travels in Ukraine. You may have been wondering, “Ukraine? Where did that come from?” Here’s how it happened.
The couple in front of ITMI’s Adi and Ema Ban was the second couple to make the same request. It was 2014. Their Pre-Marital Seminar was wrapping up.
It was early Saturday morning. ITMI Director, Steve Evers was in Oradea, Romania, the home town of ITMI Romanian partners, Adi and Ema Ban, located just 8 miles from Romania’s Hungarian border. It started out as a quick trip to Oradea’s Union Square…