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BIEMs of Light January 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • We had requested prayer for Ira, the sister of one of our missionaries in Central Asia. Ira had cancer, which required a hysterectomy. Surgeons successfully removed the tumor. However, in the process they also found her left tube was severely infected and about to burst. Praise our Lord that they operated in time to catch that. Thank you for praying!

  • Such a cause for praise! BIEM’s Igor Fomichov shares that, after 18 years of praying for the salvation of his parents, both of them have now placed their faith in Christ! His father is already with the Lord after having accepted Christ early in 2018, and before year’s end, his mother, too, repented. Hallelujah! Never stop praying for loved ones!

  • In Central Asia, a Christian woman needed an operation on her neck during the last week in December. The surgeons were amazed at how smoothly everything went, and she was able to talk quite soon afterward. “Peace” used that opportunity to share her faith in the hospital, where she led two women to Christ!

  • The year 2019 marks 38 years of God leading, guiding, and blessing the ministry of BIEM for His glory. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but we thank God for blessing in every one of those years. We also praise Him for you who stand with us!

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Literally all of BIEM’s missionaries have been involved in special evangelistic outreaches for Christmas and New Year. (In Eastern Europe, the Orthodox calendar places Christmas on January 7, so special services and follow-up are still happening.) Please pray for the salvation of souls!

  • Opportunities have opened up to conduct regular ministries in two orphanages in Ukraine. Finances are needed to conduct these outreaches on a regular basis. Please pray about this need so that in hearing the Gospel, these needy children will embrace Christ and gain a Heavenly Father.

  • In Yucay, Peru, missionary Juan Bautista Huillca Quispe also has a vision for evangelizing another nearby town called San Juan. He requests prayer for God’s guidance in that effort.

  • During our Winter Kiev Seminary session this month, plans will be laid for a special missions conference targeting Central Asia in connection with the Spring seminary session.  Please pray that God would enable and bless such a conference for our seminary students.

Challenger Update

Here is an excerpt from our most recent Challenger publication.

In October, BIEM’s newest secretary, Lauren, traveled to Ukraine with members of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Lebanon, Indiana. Here she shares impressions from that trip.

I can honestly say this trip has been the answer to a long-held dream. I went to Ukraine for the first time when I was twelve, and have dreamed of going back ever since.

While I loved many things about this trip — the Ukrainian countryside, traveling, and don’t get me started on the food!—as I look back over my pictures, the people stood out the most.

When I boarded the airplane for this trip, the only people I really knew were Sam and Amy, my coworkers from BIEM. I will admit I was nervous about spending a week and a half with strangers. But God removed that fear immediately. The Lord gave our motley crew great unity. I got to watch our group take care of each other by carrying bags, deciphering names of food, and sharing hair-doing skills.

Our group was made up of ten people from Indianapolis, a couple from Canada, and Sam and Amy. The youngest member of our group was Derek (age eleven). I was next youngest; everyone else was over fifty. One of the couples from Indy was also blind. While in Ukraine, we were accompanied by Eugene (BIEM’s Ukrainian director) and Igor, who served as our drivers. Church planter Lyosha was our interpreter.

Our main purpose for the trip was to participate in widows’ and orphans’ services in a number of the different churches BIEM supports. Some of the services were held in local orphanages or boarding-school facilities. We also had the opportunity to visit two of the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation centers run by BIEM personnel or local pastors. In the process, we did a lot of driving. We stayed in Bilogorodka, just west of Kyiv in the Second Baptist Church of Bilogorodka, pastored by BIEM’s Director for Ukraine, Eugene Buyko.

Our trip was punctuated by excellent meals, great conversations, and so much laughter. As I look at the pictures, I can almost hear the laughter. I know very little Russian and Ukrainian, but every once in a while I would get the jokes.

Since we spent most of the trip traveling hither and yon, we spent a lot of time in the two vans. Combine bad suspension, bumpy roads, and a fully European driver, and it makes for some exciting adventures. I rode in the blue van, driven by Igor Fomichov, one of BIEM’s church planters. Igor and our interpreter Lyosha (another church planter) shared many laughs throughout the trip. And anytime that Sam, Eugene, Igor, and Lyosha get together, laughter is sure to ensue.

And the people. The people are beautiful, from the impulsive hugs of little children to long, broken conversations in the van. We met widows who were so grateful for a simple bag of groceries. We met kids who were excited for gifts and love. I got to reconnect with the wives of several church planters, whom I have met over the past year, when they have visited the BIEM office.

And their stories. Over the course of the trip, we got to hear testimonies from several BIEM church planters and other Christians. From Vitaly Yurchenko surviving being in the affected zone on the day Chernobyl exploded, to Igor Fomichov’s dramatic transformation from a life of drugs and crime, I am so grateful for the grace of our Lord, who sees value in all people, the broken, the prideful, the scared, the disabled, and the criminal.

I have no pictures of one of my favorite parts of the trip. On Friday night, after a long day visiting the Philadelphia Rehab Center in Fastiv, plus the Velykоpolovetske orphanage (an hour away from Fastiv), and finishing with a widows’ service at the River of Life Baptist Church in Fastiv, we were finally heading back to Bilogorodka. It was probably 9:30 at night, and we had an hour and a half drive over fairly bad roads. I was sitting towards the front of the van, chatting with Lyosha and Igor, when Igor asked whether I can sing. Igor’s English is about equal to my level of my Russian — very limited. But many hymns have been translated into Russian. So we sang. We sang all the verses of all the hymns we could remember, and when they knew the songs, the Ukrainians joined in. We sang all the way back. There is something about worship that is beautiful in any language, even if you don’t understand what is being said.

I returned home with a renewed love for a country on the other side of the world, for a language I barely under- stand, and for people I call my brothers and sisters in Christ. Please pray for these families as they reach out to their communities to impact lives for Christ. Please pray for the continued influence of the connections made through the widows’ services. For many of the widows, it was their first time in church. While many of the widows we interacted with were older, a number were younger women, widowed by the conflict that continues in Eastern Ukraine. And please pray for us who went on the trip, that God would continue to teach us and mold our hearts through this experience.

Throughout the course of this trip, over 700 widows and orphans heard the Gospel and received help. Pastors of the churches involved report they have gained regular attenders from these meetings. May the Lord work in hearts to save souls and make them church members!

 

 

December Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/306188633

Dear Pastors and Friends,

Warm Christmas greetings from the Slobodians! 

This month's video features some of our Ukrainian church planters sharing blessings from the recent special services for widows and orphans that were held in several locations.  The widows enjoyed a meal prepared by the church along with a service where the Gospel was presented.  Each widow received a bag of groceries and those who did not have Bibles were given one.  The children were treated to a special children’s program featuring the Gospel and received a gift box with toys and supplies.  Both the widows and children heard testimonies from the American church group from Indiana that participated in this outreach,

Not only were these meetings a wonderful blessing, but also the news of this expression of Christian love spread throughout the communities which lifted up the testimony of the church.  In one location, the mayor attended, and in another location, a deputy, which is the Ukrainian version of a congressman, participated. 

May God bless you with a blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year!

Sam & Amy Slobodian

Prayer Request

Every summer, BIEM supports many camps in Ukraine, Russia, and other countries.

Please pray with us for many children to attend camps as well as much fruit to arise from God's Word going forth! The seeds planted during these camps continue to bear fruit for months and years to come. Read some stories about the continuing effect of summer camps in our most recent Challenger

If you are interested in supporting BIEM's work with summer camps, you can donate online, by phone at 317-718-1633, or by mail at P.O. Box 707 Danville IN, 46219. 

December Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

 

https://vimeo.com/247346680

 

Dear Pastor's and Friends,

Warm Christmas greetings from the Slobodians and all at BIEM! This month’s video update is a special treat as you will hear the choir from the Rock of Salvation Baptist Church in Kyiv, Ukraine while you view ministry pictures from this past year. This church is Ukraine's largest independent Baptist church and houses our seminary, which is a partnership between BIEM and the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches of Ukraine.

This particular choir has been a special blessing to all of us at BIEM over the years. They have often traveled with us all over Ukraine to provide music for evangelistic meetings, dedication services, ordinations and other special events. One time they traveled with us all the way to Belarus.  Please take the time to listen to this choir directed by Vitaly Grigor as they sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

May God bless each of you with a joyous Christmas and wonderful New Year!

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian

 

BIEMs of Light December 2017

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • We praise the Lord for yet another successful Bible Quest in Ukraine. In October, 20 different teams of young people studied all the parables of Jesus and joined in friendly competition against each other. Ultimately, everyone who participates benefits from godly fellowship and increased knowledge of God’s Word.

  • Although summer camps are long over, we rejoice for continuing fruit of both children and adults who have begun to attend local churches because of the camps!

  • In St. Petersburg, Russia, a born-again man from Kyrgyzstan has been using mp3 players (BIEM’s Hear It Now program) to witness to others who immigrated there from Central Asia!

  • Join us in praising God for two more solid, Bible-believing men in Latin America who have applied to BIEM for aid to plant churches. (We will share more details in a future newsletter.)

 

Prayer Pray with us!

  • One of our missionary pastors in Russia is doing double-duty as both senior pastor and youth minister. Please pray that God will provide a young man with heart to accept the youth work. 

  • One of our leaders in the Central Asian ministry requests prayer for a soon-to-be-released Tajik language version of the film King of Glory. Pray for many speakers of Tajik to be curious enough to view this film and understand the need of their own souls.

  • Brother Andrey in another Central Asian country recently wrote us that many of the churches in his country were taking the week to pray and fast for the persecution of believers in Central Asia to subside, and that American churches would experience revival and not need persecution to wake us up. That’s a sobering thought! Let’s rally around those same prayer requests. 

  • Our container bound for Ukraine is due to arrive in the port city of Odessa on December 7. Please pray that it can be successfully dispatched to Kiev and that our brethren there can succeed in the huge task of clearing it through customs.

Challenger Update

Here is a story from our most recent Challenger publication.

When a sinner repents, Heaven rejoices. In our church, we too greatly rejoiced. Victor is a man for whom we have prayed a long time. He actively helped in building our church. He became the first person whose heart found peace in Christ after many years of wandering in darkness.

Victor came from the world, from a non-Christian family. All of Victor’s life passed without the Lord; therefore, when he repented that was a special event for us. Tears of joy welled in our eyes. We sang hymns of praise and thankfulness. The whole church got on their knees and gave praise to the Creator for this saved sinner.

However, while the church was rejoicing, the enemy of mankind’s souls was pre- paring a serious trial for Victor to shake his faith. When Victor’s wife learned he had repented, she began pressuring him psychologically. For two weeks she would not talk with her husband. Later she used words to pressure him at any opportunity. On Sunday mornings before worship service she would say, “Don’t forget to give away all the tithe to your church.” (That was as if to say, “Take all our money and give it to your church.”)

Friends and relatives wondered how it was possible he would no longer drink alcohol. They wondered if Victor had fallen into a cult.

It takes courage to openly declare you’ve become a follower of Christ, that you want to change your life, especially when everyone around you is far from God. There’s a risk everyone will turn away and say that you’ve lost your mind. But Victor had thought through his decision with regard to the Gospel and Christ. He openly said: “I am a believer. I no longer drink!” Thank God for his decision and courage. This was the first fruit of his repentance. 

For a long time, Victor has taken medicine for his heart and blood pressure. He has bottles of medicines standing on the windowsill in a certain order, so even with his eyes closed he can take the right one and make no mistake. One evening he came home after a hard day of work, and he took his pills, drank the necessary dose and...felt oddly. He lay down and all his body felt weightless. Victor thought he was dying. It turned out his daughter-in-law had unwittingly shuffled the medicines. As a result, he took ten times the normal dose of one medicine! When Viktor finally began to feel better, his concerned wife said tenderly: “Victor, go to your church. You will sing psalms. It will help you feel better.”

His wife’s new, softened attitude is a huge answer to prayer. Fellow church members in Ukraine were praying, and so were Americans Victor had met when they visited Bilogorodka to help with the church’s construction. People on both sides of the ocean prayed fervently.

There will be more trials in Victor’s future. We are praying, and we ask that you, dear brothers and sisters, please support Victor in prayer, that the Lord be with him in all his paths and give him peace of heart.

Thank you again to each of you who donated to BIEM’s church construction fund, which in turn led to Victor’s repentance. Saving sinners is the heart of ministry!

Urgent Prayer Request from Baptist International

Answer to Prayer:

What an answer to your prayers!  Our missionary Tim was facing such difficulties and trials while recently traveling to a Muslim country.  He was going there to train and encourage our national pastors and workers.  However, he was threatened and detained by authorities, then closely monitored by the police.  Shortly after our request for urgent prayer, things greatly improved and the trip became very beneficial. On his return trip no one harassed him, but problems with his ticket threatened to delay his flight home.  God overruled, and after several days flying and staying in airports, he arrived home very tired, but very happy.   Thank you for praying for his safety and a successful trip.  It worked!   Praise the Lord.

Original Prayer Request:

Our missionary Tim is in a Muslim country to train and encourage our national pastors and workers. He has been there before with no major problems from the authorities, but this time he is facing hostile treatment, making his trip very hard and physically exhausting. Tim says Satan is causing many problems and even the small community of believers are under attack. He has been dealing with everything from gossip to drunkenness. Much prayer is needed for the rest of this week and a safe trip home. Thank you!

December Video Update

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/197418629

This month's video update is from the outskirts of Moscow where BIEM church planter Pavel Rumachik established a drug and alcohol rehab center as a ministry of the church planted in Nahabino, Russia. Early in their ministry, so many drug addicts and alcoholics were reached that a pressing need developed for a program and a place to help these new believers who were struggling with addictions. They began right in their church building with a program that featured Bible Study, personal counseling, and physical labor. Eventually, they moved to the building in the video, which was largely built by the men in the program. This video features Pavel Rumachik speaking about this very successful ministry, which led to several other centers being established in other areas.

  

 

Challenger Update

Here is a story from our recent Challenger publication.

When it comes to building churches, a major concern in most of the world is justifying the cost of a facility that’s used only a few hours per week. So, there are great advantages to buildings that are usable for more than worship services. Three of BIEM’s current construction projects are examples of buildings that multi-task for their congregations. Since most of you won’t have an opportunity to visit them, let us take you on a brief “tour” via this article.

Bilogorodka, Ukraine

In the early planning stage of this church building, a question arose concerning a basement. Should the building have one? Building from the ground up would be cheaper, but would skipping a basement be shortsighted? Because Bilogorodka is near the capital of Kyiv, discussions led to the realization that, with lodging facilities in a basement level, this location could fill various needs, including:

• Lodging for seminary students.

• Guest quarters for attendees of conferences.

• Pastors’ meetings.

To accommodate such specific goals, the plans were revised to include a full basement with eight bedrooms, restrooms with showers, and a meeting area, plus more rooms and restroom facilities on the second and third levels. The design included a kitchen and eating area. The result was a multi-purpose church building that could house 30–40 people. Long before the building was complete, the downstairs quarters were made available for seminary students, who were thrilled. These new surroundings provided a huge upgrade from the crowded housing situation they had previously endured. Since then, the building has housed mission teams, Christian refugees in transit from the war zone, and pastors who gathered for annual meetings.

Ternopil, Ukraine

Due to the downtown location of this church, the cost of a stand-alone building was far out of reach. The solution, by God’s gracious provision, was to purchase the first floor of an apartment building. (This is an area most typically used for stores, shops, and other businesses in Ukraine.) The first floor that BIEM helped the congregation to buy includes two separate entrances besides the main church entrance. This large downstairs area makes possible multiple uses that dovetail with the church’s outreach to the community.  For instance, church leaders immediately designated basement space to receive and store BIEM’s container shipments of humanitarian aid and ministry equipment. (We’ve already sent one shipment.) BIEM missionary Vitaly Bilyak plans to use another room in the basement as a youth ministry center. A separate entrance from the street leads to two separate rooms, one on the left; another on the right. As the church grows, these will be ideal for developing ministries such as a day-care center, food-pantry, or clinic. Any of these would enhance the ministry of the church and provide opportunities for evangelism.

Shakhovskaya, Russia

Since this community of over 200,000 people has had no Gospel witness (the believers there travel by train to reach the nearest church), this church-building project is the answer to the prayers of pastors and other Christians who have been praying for this city. A second prayer was that God would provide a church planter to shepherd this work. The church-planter God provided brought a big challenge. Brother Andrei, the experienced church-planter called to this work, has a huge family with thirteen children. Where are you going to find a home for so many people? Since blueprints for the building had yet to be created, the solution was to make a good portion of this church building a large parsonage adequate for this family.

Approaching completion

Amazingly, God provided a donor who offered a matching-fund gift large enough to push all three projects to the point of being able to hold services. As these three projects near completion, the last step is to finalize their interiors, including church furnishings and seating. Praise God! And as if that were not blessing enough, BIEM has now received another matching-fund offer of up to $40,000 to match whatever other donors will give toward Church Construction. Thus, if gifts from friends of BIEM add up to $40,000, then those funds will automatically double to $80,000 — enough to furnish these three buildings, plus provide a badly needed roof for the Soroon Women’s Shelter in Central Asia. Dear friend, if you would like to make a special year-end gift for Gospel ministry, this matching-gift offer will maximize your donation’s impact. To finish these jobs, simply designate your gift of any size “Church Construction.” May God bless these constructions, and may He save many souls in their communities!

Slobodian Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Friends,

Warm Christmas greetings from the Slobodians! As we celebrate this special time of year in commemoration of God’s great gift of His son, we wish each of you a joyous Christmas and blessed New Year.

As a family we have much to be thankful for.  Looking over the past year we see that God has answered the prayers you have directed towards our family needs.  Amy has fully recovered from her heart surgery one year ago and our grandson Shane Harvey has recovered from the serious concerns connected with the liquid build up around his brain we had mentioned a year ago without needing brain surgery.  

Shane’s older brother Noah who had the heart transplant still needs your prayers.   Though he seems to be fine his doctors at the Children’s hospital have grown increasingly concerned about some of his lab tests that are a regular part of his life.  Though they continue to run tests, as of yet they have not found out why the test results are so troubling.  Please pray that they can find the cause of all this and that it is something that can be treated.   Meanwhile he is not in pain or discomfort and is in fact a happy little boy even though his life is not normal with all the trips to the hospital and the feeding tube he is connected to most of the time.

We are also rejoicing in the recent announcement our daughter Sharon and husband Ashton Brandyberry made that they are expecting their first child the end of March.  This will be our 9th grandchild!

This past year also brought some special ministry blessings. The 2500 children and youth attending our camps this summer was a record and the nearly 500 salvation decisions was rewarding for all those who labored and gave for this ministry.  It was also a blessing to see the return of students this year from the war zone in the East at our training sessions in Kiev.  The seven building projects started last year made significant progress over the past year and each one is complete or close to completion. 

As this year draws to a close there are some needs which need prayer.  Please pray for our brethren in Russia who need wisdom and strength as they deal with the new anti-missionary legislation that has been passed.  Authorities in Eastern Ukraine have also recently made statements against “non-traditional religious organizations“ which generally means anything other than Russian or Ukrainian Orthodox religions.   Pray as well for brother Peter Rumachik as he continues trying to resolve the delay to getting gas to the new church building in Shahovskaya, Russia.  Please pray that they may soon be able to switch from the expensive electric they are now using to the more economical gas.   

Thank-you for the prayers and support you send our way.  We thank the Lord for your heart for His missionary work.  May God bless you all!

The Slobodians

BIEMs of Light December 2016

 

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Tolik, son of BIEM missionary Nikolai Ryzhuk, underwent back surgery in Moldova in the last week of November. So far, recovery seems to be going well. Tolik was up and walking two days later. Praise the Lord for a Christian surgeon and for this report.
     
  • BIEM praises the Lord for the provision of a $40,000 matching-funds program to push several building projects to some final stages of completion, including needed interior furnishings! Please pray with us that the $40,000 needed comes in.

  • Pastor Andy Counterman, who is BIEM’s Field Director for Latin America, reports exciting progress among the young church planters there. Starting new churches is no breeze. Humanly speaking, it involves much time and energy. But God is blessing. One church is up to 55 people. Another up to 60. Another church planter is reaching native tribes in the jungles… May the Lord continue to bless the ministries of young men on fire for God!
     
  • In Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, BIEM’s Bruce Tuttle speaks of his 10 Bible students and says he is  “delighted with the developments that are noticeable in their fervor and Christian leadership character.” Such words remind us of the Apostle Paul’s pleasure at Timothy’s eager desire to grow in the Word and ministry. Praise God for such young men!

PrayerPray with us!

  • Currently Igor Balashov and an evangelistic team are visiting churches in Siberia in places where “there are many fish, but few fishermen.” In all our prayers for buildings, programs, and resources, may we never forget simply to pray for the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and save souls through the preaching of His Word! (Igor sends thanks for prayers, too!)
     
  • In the past, we have referred to the puppet ministry of the church in Chervona Sloboda, Ukraine. Vitaly Yurchenko writes, “Please pray about upcoming presentations, as we have many scheduled for different places. Christmas is coming, and various churches and orphanages invite us. Pray for these outreaches.”
     
  • In Goncharovsk, Ukraine, missionary Alexander Petrenko has organized a floor hockey club for schoolboys. In addition to the playing their sport, he has Bible lessons with them. He requests prayer for these young men to understand and embrace the Gospel.
     
  • In Shahovskaya, Russia, Pastor Rumachik reports a bureaucratic delay that prevents hooking up a natural gas line to the new church building. This situation forces the believers to continue warming the building with electric space heaters, which is expensive. Please pray for a quick resolution to this delay.

 

October Video Update

WATCH THIS VIDEO ON VIMEO BY EITHER CLICKING ON THE FOLLOWING LINK OR BY COPYING AND PASTING IT IN YOUR BROWSER:

https://vimeo.com/188805094

Dear Pastor and Friends,

This month's video update is from Shahovskaya, Russia, a community of over 200,000 about 2 hours from Moscow.  Shahovskaya is along one of the commuter train routes serving Moscow, and so many people commute this long distance to work a high paying job in the capital city.  This video features church planter brother Andrei Udinseva who was recruited for this ministry by Pastor Peter Rumachik, the spearhead of this church planting project.  

Challenger Update

Here is a story from our recent Challenger publication.

 

Every summer, BIEM sponsors Christian camps in Eastern Europe. This year, your donations helped the Baptist church in Lutsk, Ukraine, to try a first: a camp for kids with disabilities. Due to the unique needs of each child, families wanting to send a special-needs camper also sent one parent. BIEM missionary Valia Yankovska shares her impressions:

I constantly thank God that I can have a role in the lives of young people through ministry in the church. Once again, with the help of the whole BIEM team, we’ve been able to hold an evangelistic

camp, this time for special-needs children and their parents. We prepared diligently, and we were concerned, because this was a first for us.

We held the camp 25 miles from Lutsk. We stayed in a two-story building with rooms for four, six, or eight people. On the first floor we held Bible studies and craft time. We ran the games outside and in the large hall where we had Bible lessons for adults.

We had two puppet shows. One of those presentations was written and performed by mothers of the kids, and that was interesting. At the end, someone needed to summarize the show’s meaning and tie it to the Bible lesson, which Ludmila did. Later she told how hard her heart was beating, but then how “easy it was on her soul” when she’d finished She’s only recently begun to read the Bible. For her, praying before meals was new. She found the Bible to be a wise and interesting book; indeed it holds answers for all her questions. She asked how people can fully obey the Lord and also pursue their own plans and personal life? We spent a lot of time in conversation.

Of course, leaders were busy with the children. To our surprise, all the children were obedient. I’m amazed by their openness, their smiles, and friendliness. Age-wise, some are no longer children, but mentally they are young. Our No. 1 rule is to talk to them normally, without pity, as if to ordinary kids.

These special-needs children were so active in games. They read the Bible aloud, they sang, and they performed all exercises during morning calisthenics. This was exhilarating and instructional for all the children. They tried their hardest, even though it didn’t always work out.

One boy, Victor, always ran to games and calisthenics. Some exercises were hard for him, but he asked his mom to help. His mother, Tanya, was delighted with her son’s camp experience. In camp, he opened up and laughed and was cheerful. At home he was reserved, grumpy, and fearful. How surprised she was when he joined in relay races and even knew how to be a good loser. She cried from joy that you revealed secret sides of her son, and that her boy felt what it’s like to be a needed part of a team, to be like everyone else. When there was a call to repentance, this boy lowered his head and prayed. His mom prayed, too.

Andrei, 15, had a reputation of hurting people. Other kids feared being in the same room with him, even when his mother stood beside him. On the first day, he learned the difference between a winner and a loser, and he tried with all his might to be among the winners. One time he lost at a game. He cried like a little child. But later he realized such things happen and that the first step toward victory is to be victorious over one’s self. He began to obey his mother and leaders. He enjoyed helping and encouraging littler ones. By camp’s end, he was a “kind and gentle bear.”

Some children misbehaved, and they deserved punishment. But Maksim (a leader) volunteered to take the punishment in their place, so he was swatted with stinging nettles. Afterward Maksim explained that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me to take our guilt on Himself so that we can have eternal life with God in Heaven. Andrei absorbed this lesson, and he prayed for forgiveness and salvation. His mother, Elena, works at a school. She has no spare time for training her son. Now, at the end of camp, she seriously wants to fellowship with us. She has seen God at work in her family, and that only He can help her cope with her son.

Luba and her granddaughter Inna, 16, had never been in a camp. (After Luba’s daughter gave birth to a disfigured daughter, the daughter’s husband left them. Luba’s daughter cried for a long while; then she gave Inna to her mother before she, too, departed to start a new life without the disabled daughter.) Luba has raised and schooled her granddaughter at home. Luba told how it hurts that Inna has no friends. When Inna was an infant, it hurt to take her outside. Everyone stared, and children laughed at Inna. Physically, she’s 16, but her mental age is half that, so she has no friends.

Luba said, “When we were invited to church, I was afraid to go. But then I saw and felt the friendliness, understanding, and support. Inna really looks forward to church. At home, she repeats the lessons to her grandfather. And I received Jesus into my heart as my Savior. I’m thankful to those who have given me the chance to be in this camp with my granddaughter. I want to read the Bible, to study it, and wish for my granddaughter to receive salvation, too. It’s sad for me to think about Grandfather and I passing away and Inna having no one to live with. After all, no one needs an ill child, and the retirement home probably wouldn’t accept her. But for now we live in God’s joy, and I ask for the Lord’s mercy concerning the salvation of Grandpa and my granddaughter.”

Inna reads the Bible, and in this way she uplifts herself. It’s a little hard to understand her words, but she reads confidently. In camp she read verses to all of us — and she was happy.

Thank you, friends of BIEM, for caring and for giving to make many, many camps possible. Your love is touching lives for Christ!

Urgent Prayer Request

An Answer to Prayer:

God has answered prayers for our national worker Barnabas, who suffered injury after his truck slid on ice and rolled over 3 times.  His vehicle was totaled.  Less than 3 weeks later, he is joyfully reporting he is feeling “fully recovered.”  He wants people to know how grateful he is to God and how thankful he is for amazing prayer partners.

 

Original Prayer Request:

Our coworker Barnabas lost control of his car when he drove over a patch of ice. Injuries from their accident resulted in the left side of his body being in pain. He is unable to get treatment at the local hospital because there is no electricity in the area. Please pray that Barnabas will be able to receive the medical attention he needs.

 

October BIEMs of Light

Praises Rejoice with us!

 

  • At last, the new church in Bilogorodka, Ukraine, has begun holding services. The first service filled the church because it was a special Harvest celebration service. Many guests from other churches attended, including an entire choir. The next week 22 people attended. May God bless and grow this brand-new ministry!
     
  • Last month we requested prayer that tensions in east Ukraine’s war zone wouldn’t hinder students from attending the Fall session of the seminary in Kyiv. Praise God, after no students from that region for over a year, some students from the East resumed attending. There were 6 students from the East this current session.
     
  • Good news from the Republic of Georgia: over 100 people attended an evangelism event, and God blessed with salvation decisions! Plus, students from India who attend the medical university in Tbilisi have discovered the international church. Nine of these have trusted Christ!
     
  • Praise God that Brother Andrei, a Russian church planter recruited by Pastor Peter Rumachik for the new work in Shahovskaya, Russia has arrived and begun his ministry. This was no small task since they moved from faraway Siberia and have 13 children.
     

PrayerPray with us!

  • Tolik, one of the sons of missionary-pastor Nikolai Ryzhuk in Drogichin, Belarus, is experiencing serious recurring back problems that now prohibit him from working. Doctors have performed surgery on it before, and now he may face another surgery. Please pray.
     
  • In Peru, missionary Wilber Huillca Quispe is especially concerned for the indigenous people groups who live in the jungle. He and others have initiated ministry among some of these groups. Please pray for the salvation of souls.
     
  • Please pray for the family of Pastor Almond in Central Asia. His son Samar accidentally electrocuted himself at home and died. However, Samar had recently repented of sin and put his faith in Christ, which has provided many opportunities to share the Gospel.
     
  • Because floor hockey requires little equipment, it’s gaining popularity in Ukraine. Some of our church planters see potential for evangelism through floor hockey teams. They plan to try it, first in Gongarovsk and if successful in Desna. Please pray that God will guide and bless if this is a worthwhile means of touching others with the Gospel. 

September Video Update


Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:


https://vimeo.com/183288244


Dear Pastor and Friends,

Warm greetings from the Slobodians!  

This months video update features Igor Fomichov, our national missionary in the military city of Desna, Ukraine.  This military base community has been drastically affected by the war going on in Eastern Ukraine.  Many soldiers from Desna have been deployed there along with tanks and other military equipment.  Though exact numbers are secret, it is no secret that there have been many lives lost and casualties suffered.  Please pray for the Fomichov family and this church in Desna as they serve the Lord in this community which is going through difficult times.

 

Slobodian Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Friends,

 Greetings from the Slobodians! We are glad to update you on how God is using the prayers and support you invest in this ministry. Praise God for how He answers prayer and blesses these efforts. For example, our brethren in Belarus have reaped a harvest of souls through evangelistic meetings they recently conducted despite some of the key participants being involved in a serious car accident. However, they are being subjected to recent pressure from the authorities that have been raising issues concerning their legal status. Please pray for wisdom for Nikolai and his brother Valerie as they deal with this situation. Pray as well for the baptismal service for 8 of these new converts which provides yet another opportunity to preach the Gospel to the lost. 

Thank-you for praying for Amy, Steve and I as we participated in Ukrainian summer camps in July.  The first camp was in Bilogorodka, Ukraine and was held on the grounds of the church being built. Even though the building is not complete, it was ready enough for this event. The neighborhood was canvassed and many invitations were printed and handed out.  None of us had any idea of what to expect. Praise God that 80 children and youth attended, most from walking distance from this new church! Many parents attended the closing ceremony and expressed gratefulness for the camp and listened attentively to the Gospel that was presented.  This turned out to be a very good advertisement for the new church in this growing community.

The other camp was a youth camp conducted by the church in Ternopil, Ukraine that was held in the Carpathian Mountains. What a beautiful setting for the 40 city teenagers who attended mostly from un-churched homes.  Praise God many made salvation decisions, which was one of the goals of this camp.  Another goal was that this effort would open the doors to reaching the parents and other family members of the youth who attended.  God answered this prayer as well as a good number of the parents of these youth have signed up to attend the churches family camp which is coming up soon. Please pray that whole families would be saved and added to the church.  

 In Desna, Ukraine our church planter Igor Fomichov received a phone call from a couple that had just received one of the handouts church members were distributing for their upcoming camp. The wife recognized Igor’s name on the flyer since years ago (before Igor was saved) they were part of his drug-dealing crowd. She had heard Igor had gotten religion, dramatically changed and was even a pastor! As it turns out their lives were so ruined by drugs that several drug & alcohol re-hab centers could not help them as they narrowly survived one overdose after another. They had given up and were sitting at their kitchen table discussing how to end their lives when they received the flyer and made the phone call. They begged Igor to meet with them right away.   That resulted in them eagerly receiving the Gospel and turning to Christ! Praise God! Please pray for this couple, Lena and Lyova as they are now attending church and rebuilding their lives for the glory of God.

 Please pray for our brethren in Russia as they must deal with the new anti-religious legislation that has been put into law there. They tell us that it is too early to know exactly how these new statutes will affect them but it is a real possibility that Christians there may once again have to decide between obeying God or Caesar. We plan to meet with them once the effects of this legislation become clearer. May God keep blessing each of you!

The Slobodians

August Video Update


 

Watch this video on Vimeo by either clicking on the following link or by copying and pasting it in your browser:

https://vimeo.com/179084016

 

Dear Pastors and Friends,
 
Warm greetings from the Slobodians!  Amy and I have recently returned from Ukraine where we were able to participate in a couple of camps, one in Bilogordka on the outskirts of Kiev, the other in Western Ukraine where the church in Ternopil conducted a wilderness camp for youth in the Carpathian mountains.  Both camps attracted a large number of youth from non-churched homes and had encouraging results you can read about in our current prayer letter.

This month's video update is from Desna, Ukraine and features Lyosha Savchuk who was saved in this ministry and is now planting a church in Chernihiv, Ukraine.  Brother Losha who speaks fluent English shares how the container shipments we send of humanitarian aid and church planting equipment are used to open hearts to the Gospel.  Praise God for the warm hearts and generous spirits of God's people in American that make this outreach possible.

BIEMs of Light August 2016

 

 August 2016

Praises Rejoice with us!

 

  • Pastor Samuel, who has been leading a growing group of believers in a predominantly Muslim area, rejoices that they can participate in the Great Commission. The church has been committed to discipleship and now sees good results, especially in college-age members who have gone on to serve as leaders of home-churches in various countries.
     
  • Praise the Lord’s protection through a cup of tea! One BIEM missionary couple serves in a mountainous region of Central Asia. After a female physician examined the wife, the doctor desired to become friends and invited her to tea. The husbanded regretted this delay—until on the drive home they discovered a rockslide had just occurred on their road!
     
  • In Peru, missionary Wilber Huillca Quispe visits jungle villages with the Gospel. Recently a couple in a village of the Yaminahua tribe donated a plot of ground with a thatched-roof structure to be used for Christian meetings. Praise God for their heartfelt gift to God’s work!
     
  • The church plant in Bilogorodka went ahead and conducted a camp on the church grounds even though the building is not complete. The neighborhood was canvassed, and our workers were thrilled with 80 campers from the community! Many parents attended the closing event.  Praise God for such wonderful results! This will open doors to homes and hearts of the community.

PrayerPray with us!

  • Although at this point details concerning interpretation and enforcement remain unclear, reports suggest Russia’s new anti-terrorism law could also be used as a tool against believers. Please pray for Russian believers and for their witness to increase, not decrease, for God’s glory.
     
  • Our first Central Asia home-church construction project is in progress. Pastor Barnabas owns a little plot of land next to his home, and the foundation for a small church building is already laid. Pray the building will be completed soon and allow believers a safe place to meet and worship.
     
  • Final summer camps are taking place this month, and we are rejoicing in large numbers of campers and many salvation decisions. Please continue to pray for God to work in lives, both of campers who have already been to camp and for young people soon to be in camp. Praise God for supplying the finances needed and a heartfelt word of thanks to each who gave for this need.
     
  • Elaine Smith, a pastor’s wife and the mother of a BIEM missionary, has been undergoing serious health issues. Praise God, physicians have located some blood clots and believe they can treat serious swelling she also has. Please pray for healing as she undergoes treatment.