Monday, 30 July 2012 19:58

Church-planting among Gypsies Featured

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A pastor from the Caucasus region writes...

Last year, the Lord blessed our ministry on four visits to the Carpathian region of Ukraine.  During one of these visits, I travelled with a group of ten ministers to visit a church in Podvinogradovo to hold a renewal of membership service.  The church is located in the middle of a Gypsy camp and is comprised entirely of Gypsies.  

We visited every family in this church, which has more than 400 members.  This year, we commemorated the 35th year since the Lord began His work among Gypsies in Ukraine.  After the service, 140 Gypsies were baptized.  What a marvelous sight it was to behold!  We praise the Lord for His work of salvation among this group of people.  The message of the Gospel is now spreading from the Gypsies of Ukraine to the Gypsies in Hungary [they are known there as Roma]!  By God’s will, we plan to ordain a few believers for ministry in Podvinogradovo and Uzhgorod, Ukraine.  

In the final week of August, I travelled with a fellow missionary to Uzbekistan to commemorate the 20th anniversary of a church in the city of Karshi.  In 1991, seven people from our church first travelled to Karshi to preach the Gospel.  At the time, there was not a single known believer in this town.  We just had an address of a married couple, Avel and Sveta, who were open to the Gospel.  They had previously visited our church in Russia and wanted Christians to come and share about Christ in their hometown.  We responded to their invitation.  

When we arrived, Avel and Sveta offered their apartment for us to use as a gathering place.  The Lord blessed those outreach services, and people came forward in repentance on the first day.  On the second day, we held an outdoor service.  Even more people responded to the invitation and we rejoiced in the Lord.  The following Sunday, Avel and Sveta were baptized.  Then on Monday, our missionary group was arrested and taken to a police station.  We were encouraged when the new believers and others who attended our church services came to the police station and told the officers that they would not leave until we were released!  Some time after midnight, the police finally let us free.  

The following week, authorities tried to interfere with our evangelism efforts.  They interrupted our services, conducted searches in the homes where we gathered, confiscated Christian literature, and threatened the people who attended our services and offered their apartments for church gatherings.  By that time, a local woman named Nina had come to the Lord.  She owned a decent-sized room that she offered as a meeting place.  Fellowships were held there regularly until church members constructed their own church building.   Much has changed in Uzbekistan since those early days.  Our brother Avel has gone to be with the Lord, and the church has baptized many more new believers.  Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!  During this trip to Uzbekistan, we also visited churches in the cities of Samarkand, Fergana, and Tashkent, holding church services and a conference for young people.  Afterwards, we safely returned to our home church in Rostov, Russia.

Last modified on Monday, 30 July 2012 20:10
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