Missionaries

Vitaly and Katerina Bilyak

Vitaly and Katerina Bilyak are Ukrainian national missionaries to the western part of Ukraine in the city of Ternopil. They have three children, Karina, David, and Mark.

Vitaly's Testimony

My parents are Christians of deep faith. From childhood I have known much about God, but as I grew up, the idea of being a Christian pleased me less. I preferred to live according to my own pleasures. I enjoyed being with my own friends. In time I began to lead a double life. On one hand I wanted to be a good son; but on the other a “hip” friend.

At first everything worked out the way I wanted, but in time it became harder to live the double life. Everyone knew that I had a Christian family. I never hid this and was not ashamed of it. I was never in the “Octobrists” or the “Young Pioneers” [Communist clubs for school children]. And because of that I experienced various gibes and mockery. But when I went to church, I could not feel like a genuine Christian. What’s more, as time passed, I grew farther apart from my friends and from the church.

Besides that, I began to see that I could not be a good person on my own. The more I desired not to sin, the less successful I was at this. Our pastor almost always ended with an invitation to repentance. I began to feel the crucial importance of this. But I could not imagine life without my unchristian friends. In order to not hear the pastor’s invitation, I began to slip out of church services 15-20 minutes before the end of his sermons. For a short time this “solved” the problem. But God continued to knock at my heart. And one time I opened it to Him. In 1992 I was baptized. Christ was victorious. Now, looking back, I see that the Lord was drawing me to Himself. “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).

Vitaly's Call to Preach

In 1993 I went into the army. I ended up serving much of my duty in the south of Ternopilskaya oblast near the town of Skala-Podolskaya (Borschovsky region). When I was permitted, I went several times to worship services in the city of Kamenets-Podolsky, which was 60 km away (Khmelnitskaya oblast).

All my time in the army I tried to find there (in that general region) evangelical [non-Russian Orthodox] Christians. Here are results of my almost year-and-a-half long searches. In Skala-Podolskaya (population 5000 as of 2003) there were no believers; in the city of Borschov (population 12000) there were 3-5 Pentecostals who visited the small Pentecostal church in the village of Mushkativka, which consisted 80% of grandmothers of retirement age.

And then God showed me the need for Baptist churches in Ternopilskaya oblast. When I returned home, I said, “If I become a missionary, then it will be in Ternopilskaya oblast.”

But life went on. I took part in the work in my own church, I fulfilled various ministries: was involved in the Christian library ministry, sang in the choir, preached, and was later the youth leader in the church. My last ministry was to be responsible for the youth in independent churches of the western region. At various times the Lord reminded me about Ternopil oblast, but at that time I was not able to do it.

During this time I became a dentist and got married on July 14, 2001, to a wonderful, humble girl named Katya.

I also completed my studies in the Kyiv Theological Seminary.

Since we did not own our own place, and time was passing, I decided to go to England to earn some money. Beginning about that time, God began especially to speak to me through the reading of the Bible, various sermons, conferences, and seminars. A fearful thought occurred to me: “While I am earning money in England, many sinners in Ternopil oblast will go to Hell!”

That is when God specifically called us to the full-time Christian ministry of church planting in Ternopilskaya oblast. After that decision, we began to gather information about Ternopilskaya oblast. Everything that we learned strengthened us even more for this direction.

 

Under the Bilyaks' guidance, a church has grown up in the city of Ternopil.  The congregation is actively engaged in evangelism, youth ministries, runs a Christian rehabilitation center, and now owns their own building! Praise God!

 

The Bilyaks' reports

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2011

Igor and Alexandra Fomichov

The Fomichovs

The Fomichovs

Igor Fomichov was one of the first converts of BIEM's church-planting outreach in the military town of Desna, Ukraine (on the edge of the Chernobyl region). As he grew in the Lord, Igor felt the Lord's calling to preach. In time he attended BIEM's Seminary in Kyiv and graduated with a fervent desire to be used of the Lord

Igor and his wife Alexandra originally served with BIEM in the military town of Goncharivske, some 20 miles farther north. But when the position of pastor opened in Desna and the church invited him, Igor felt this was God's call for him to minister in the area where he formerly lived. He and Alexandra moved to Desna, where they continue to minister in that church. 

The Fomichovs have two children, a daughter named Anna and a son, Daniel. Please pray for the Fomichovs as they lead this congregation in evangelism and discipleship.  

 

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Praying for South American Pastors

OUR HISTORY IN PERU:

About ten years ago several pastors were actively teaching in the Bible College and Seminary in Trujillo, Peru. I had the privilege of being able to participate in this process. It was then that I met three of the five present advisers we use to get national trained men into the BIEM pipeline. I was invited to become a board member of BIEM soon after this Peruvian teaching opportunity. This sparked the expansion of BIEM into the S.A. field. Prior to this, BIEM was busy in Eastern Europe.

After presenting the idea and getting board approval, the process was presented, revised, given to the advisors in the field (now five in Peru) and fashioned as a prototype for this area of the world. Several mandates were incorporated:

  • There must be local approval of any candidate;
  • The advisers would not have the ability to make the final choice of candidates, but would defer to the board;
  • Candidates must be a graduate of a recognized school in the targeted country (hopefully, expanding from Peru to other SA countries);
  • Funding would be for a two year block for a church starter who would continue to pastor the church and continued support for the church starter who felt gifted in this position (upon review and approval).

Accountability would be in three tiers:

  • The missionaries and teachers on the ground in the target country;
  • Trips to the field by BIEM board member(s); and
  • By BIEM itself with financial accountability to all who contribute. We pray that the program in SA will prove to be accountable and accepted by all who come under the burden to accelerate the gospel in this very open field.

This is the real advantage of the program: a national pastor/church-starter can be fully underwritten for about 500 dollars per month. They know the language, the country, the diet, the laws, etc. There is no language school, cross-cultural adjustments, and, they minister where their homes and families are. This is a win, win, win situation.

OUR PRESENT SUCCESSES:

BIEM started with five candidates. Of that group, one man, Segundo Rodriguez, is in church starting and evangelism as well as a teacher of his own countrymen. He came to BIEM fully supported. The second man Joel Gamboa ministers in Trujillo in a drug-infested area of the city. He is a graduate of the seminary in Trujillo and was driving a taxi to feed his family. The third man is Luis Escobar. He is a graduate of the school in Trujillo and is starting a church in Tarapoto, a high jungle city of 68,000 souls in central Peru. The fourth man is David Toribio, ministering in the south-eastern city of Puerto Maldonado near the borders of both Brazil and Bolivia. Here, David wants to start a Baptist Church with a 10 believer core. The fifth man is Parcemon Jiminez. JP is pastoring in a Baptist church in Zarumilla, Peru. He is another graduate of the seminary in Trujillo and, like the other men comes highly recommended by his peers. Future goals include expanding the influence of his ministry into Ecuador, specifically, the city of Machala. We already have the next man in BIEM’s pipeline for support. His name is Ruben Quispe in the Cusco-Calca area of central Peru. Ruben wanted to be a Doctor before God called him into the ministry. He also trained in Trujillo and has taught in the Bible college in Urubamba (the second school that we consider men).

OUR PRESENT GOALS:

In August, BIEM will again have a presence in Peru. This will be a trip to gather more men for the future underwriting program. Also, there will be an onsite evaluation of three of the existing works. Time will be spent in Trujillo and Urubamba interviewing and gathering solid recommendations.

OUR FUTURE VISION:

As churches and individuals get a burden for SA, BIEM stands ready to provide an accountable avenue for church expansion using graduates who are native to their land. The cost benefits are obvious as are the cultural benefits. This endeavor compliments the work of other men and mission boards and is in cooperation with several other Baptist groups for the stated ends. The target is needy, the men are trained and recommended by both peers and missionaries, the cost is very reasonable, and the goal is achievable.