Sasha and Ira Petrenko

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The Petrenkos serve as church planters in Goncharovsk, Ukraine, a town that is known primarily for the nearby military base. Their ministry includes various ways of meeting others and getting involved in the local community, such as Bible studies, cooking classes, and organizing a local floor hockey team. In the summertime, they team up with church planters in other cities and together they run summer camps for children and teens. Brother Peterenko, along with a couple other nearby BIEM church planters, is starting a new church in the nearby town of Smolen. This will be the fourth church planted by BIEM in the Chernihiv region.

2019

2018

Prayer Request

BIEM church planter Vitaly Bilyak and a team of dedicated children’s workers have launched a new orphanage ministry in Ternopil, Ukraine. They have made several trips to a nearby orphanage and established good rapport with the director. Now that a ministry team is in place, please pray for this monthly outreach to the nearly 150 needy orphans.

BIEMs of Light February 2019

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Our dear brother in Christ, Peter Rumachik, has gone to be with the Lord. We praise God for the life of this dedicated servant of God who was a blessing and example to all of us. He spent 18.5 years in Soviet prisons and labor camps because of his uncompromising faith in the Lord. The funeral was Feb. 2. Our next Challenger will share more about brother Peter.

  • The winter session of Kyiv Theological Seminary is now completed. Subjects included “Bibliology,” “Holiness,” “Exegesis,” “Hermeneutics,” and “Methods of Teaching.” We praise the Lord, both for God-fearing instructors and for eager students, who immediately begin applying in their personal ministries the things they learn in the Seminary.

  • As one of our missionaries in Central Asia recently wrote, “This past year has been one with smattered bouts of intense persecution for some of our national church-planting families, but as always followed by waves of blessings.” We praise God for those blessings, and for strengthening those whom this world has tried to intimidate into silence.

  • In Belarus, BIEM missionary Nikolai Ryzhuk expresses thanks for you, BIEM friends. After describing a special evangelistic service held in Brest for orphans (with 250 present, 85% unbelievers), Nikolai writes, “Praise the Lord that in the West there are sweet, kind, sacrificing, and loving people—YOU—who helped us to do this!” We echo his sentiment!

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • In Sepahua, Peru, missionary Wilber Huillca says, “I request prayer, that God will help and give us wisdom in reaching more young people with the Gospel of Christ.” He expresses thanks to the Lord for souls saved through their ministry in 2018 but yearns to see more!

  • BIEM church planter Vitaly Bilyak and a team of dedicated children’s workers have launched a new orphanage ministry in Ternopil, Ukraine. They have made several trips to a nearby orphanage and established good rapport with the director. Now that a ministry team is in place, please pray for this monthly outreach to the nearly 150 needy orphans.

  • For this May, a special missions conference focusing on Central Asia has been planned to coincide with the Spring session of Kyiv Theological Seminary. Please pray that God will bless this effort and call Ukrainians to ministry in Muslim lands.

  • Although it’s still winter, it’s not too early for BIEM’s missionaries to begin planning for summer camps. It’s also not too early to donate to the camp fund. The camping ministry always requires many thousands of dollars, but the camps always make a valuable spiritual impact on young lives. Please pray for finances, for the leaders, and for God to prepare the hearts of children and teens!

Lyosha and Alusia Savchuk

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The Savchuks both came to Christ through the ministry of the church in Desna, Ukraine. They received Bible training in Kyiv and now minister in the city of Chernigov, Ukraine.  Because of the thousands of university students in Chernigov, the Savchuks strive especially to meet and evangelize among the student population of their city. To this end, they offer Bible studies, English lessons, game nights, and a variety of other activities targeting the interests of university-level students. In the summer, they are also actively engaged in camp ministries for young people and children. Please pray for them as they also seek to establish a church in their area.

The Savchuks' reports

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2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

Sergei and Vika Skripnik

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For some years, Sergei and Vika Skripnik have served as church planters among villages in western Ukraine. In addition, Vika has organized and led children’s Sunday school classes and Bible classes for public school children. Both have been involved as leaders in Christian summer camps, both in their own area and in other regions of Ukraine. Gospel ministry in villages, where local religious traditions are strong, is not always easy. But the Skripniks have been blessed of God to see souls come to Christ and lives changed for His glory. Brother Sergei also plays an important role in the training of BIEM national church planters and workers. He serves as the assistant director of Kiev Theological Seminary, the school that BIEM operates in partnership with the Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches of Ukraine.

For more information on the Skripniks and their ministry, please contact our office.

Mikhail and Natalia Titarenko

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The Titarenkos relocated from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, to the town of Fedorivka. This town had experienced a sudden population increase when some people who were evacuated from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 were resettled here. But because there was no Gospel witness in Fedorivka, the Titarenkos went there to plant a new church. 

For more information about the Titarenkos and their ministry, please contact our office.

Bruce Tuttle

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Bruce Tuttle is called to the field of Ukraine, where he lives and administrates the Pastors Training Institute of Ukraine, formerly known as International Baptist Bible College in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine. Bruce served as pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Reading, Pennsylvania, for almost 30 years before receiving his call to missionary work. He and his wife Natalie (now with the Lord) have 4 children: Micah, Matthew, Julia, and Jeffery. Natalie went home to the Lord on June 13, 2013.  

 

Bruce Tuttle's Reports

2018

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

Pavel and Alla Usach

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Pavel Usach is a dedicated Ukrainian believer whose ministry particularly focuses on evangelistic outreaches for children and youth. In addition to ministering in their own church in the town of Zdolbuniv, Ukraine, he and his wife minister in local orphanages and summer camp ministries. Also, he is the originator and main coordinator of an annual competition called Bible Quest, which draws teams of Christian teens and young adults from churches all over Ukraine. The teams competing in the Bible Quest prepare by studying a given book of the Bible in advance and in intricate detail. Then, during the Quest, teams make their way to different stations scattered throughout a forest and must apply this Bible knowledge to fulfill various challenges. Over and over, these Bible Quests have served to deep youths’ knowledge of the Scriptures, to provide a chance to meet and fellowship with other Christian young people, and ultimately to deepen their Christian walk. 

For more information about the Usachs and their ministry, please contact our office.

January 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/312795760

Dear Pastors and Friends, 

Greetings to you all!   This month's video update comes from Russia and features church planter Pavel Rumachik.  Brother Pavel planted one of our first churches in Russia in Nahabino which is in the Moscow region.   


This effort has had some amazing results.  The first person saved was the area's biggest drug dealer. Deeply burdened by all those he got addicted, he began to bring all kinds of drug addicts, drug dealers, and mafia type people to church to hear the Gospel.  Many were saved and within 2 years the church was more than half made up of recovering drug addicts. This led to the church establishing a drug and alcohol rehab center which over the years has developed into 10 centers.  

The many who have been saved come from all different levels of Russian society.  The scourge of drugs affects both the poor and the rich, the educated and non-educated, women as well as men. One of those saved was a famous athlete so this ministry has become well known and has been covered by local media and led to opportunities to speak to teens in public schools.  Today there are over 50 families who are faithfully serving in Moscow area churches where one or both parents have been saved through this Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation ministry.  Praise God for His wonderful saving grace!

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian


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

BIEMs of Light December 2018

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • We requested prayer for a container shipment to Ukraine. Praise God, it arrived safely. Although customs agents checked and triple-checked the contents (probably due to increased international tensions in that region), everything was received!

  • In Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, BIEM’s Bruce Tuttle praises God that classes are going so wonderfully at the Pastors Training Institute. He writes, “Day after day, the men arrive at classes . . . and they are cheerful, respectful, and seem to retain an enthusiasm for learning. These fellows have been a delight to know and to teach!”

  • Our missionaries in one Muslim nation invited 70 locals with whom they’ve become acquainted to gather for a Harvest celebration, which is a holiday usually celebrated by churches in Eastern Europe. These locals listened with interest to the Christians’ emphasis on praising and thanking God. Not only did no one express hostility, but afterward some asked questions about Christianity. “The Lord touched hearts, and people began to think about the Lord and their own souls.”

  • In Bogotá, Colombia, William Suarez praises God, both for new people attending services and for those who have recently put their trust in Christ. New believers are requesting to be baptized. Along with this praise, William says the church has a good problem: They are outgrowing their meeting place! So this is also a need for prayer.

Prayer Pray with us!

  • The Republic of Georgia held its national election on November 29. Although BIEM doesn’t comment on politics, please pray that the changes and unrest there will lead to opportunities for our missionaries to share Christ, the eternal King.

  • All of the churches associated with BIEM are planning special Christmas and New Year services with an evangelistic thrust. Please pray for the unsaved to accept the invitations, and for them to understand clearly the Gospel message.

  • The sister of Luda S. (one of our missionaries in Central Asia) has been diagnosed with cancer and needs surgery. Please pray for a successful outcome to that operation.

  • Tensions have recently increased between Ukraine and Russia. As a result, Ukraine has declared martial law. Please pray for peace. Also pray for Ukrainian citizens to turn to God during these uncertain times.  

November 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/301878908

Dear Pastors and Friends, 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Slobodians! 

This month's video comes from Ternopil, Ukraine and features church planter Vitaly Bilyak. We were there recently with a group from our home church along with a couple from Canada. We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with the church established there. For such festive occasions Ukrainians often wear their embroidered shirts called "Vyshyvankas." Our whole group joined in this tradition. 

Believers in Ukraine do not all celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day. Rather each church picks a Sunday in the Fall to have their special Thanksgiving service. It was a great blessing for us to be able to thank the Lord together with these dear saints. 

May God bless you with a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

In Christ, 

Sam & Amy Slobodian

BIEMs of Light November 2018

Praises Rejoice with us!

  • Not all children who attended summer camp have started attending Sunday schools and churches—but some have! Praise the Lord for each decision made and for continuing opportunities to influence the younger generation for the Lord!  Some of our church planters report gaining families who are now regularly attending as a result of this past summer’s camps.

  • In Belarus, the father of a girl who accepted Christ in a past summer camp had been cruel to his own daughter to make her stop attending church. But she clung to Christ and the church. When he fell off a roof and was injured, he was humbled to the point of asking believers to pray for him. He’s recovered now—and he’s lifted the ban on church!

  • In Western Ukraine, a Bible Quest competition was held for teams of young believers. After studying the Book of Judges in-depth, teams had to go from station to station in a forest to do various assignments. Thus, youth applied their understanding of Judges while fellowshipping with others in a fun way. The young people declared the event had a positive impact on them!

  • In the Republic of Georgia, BIEM’s Micah Tuttle meets with a group of young adults every Sunday for Bible study with an emphasis on Christian leadership. Some have requested a second weekly class. Praise God for raising up serious young leaders!

Prayer Pray with us!

  • The container we shipped to Ukraine is now at sea, due to arrive in the port of Odessa on Nov. 22. Please pray for God’s enabling hand on Vitaly Bilyak, Eugene Buyko, and our other men as they take on the daunting task of clearing this humanitarian aid through Customs.

  • In the Lugansk war zone area of eastern Ukraine, churches and believers need your prayers. Russian-backed rebels have confiscated non-Russian Orthodox churches. Meeting to worship in private homes in groups larger than five is banned, with violators facing huge fines. Local believers fear that area could return to Soviet-style persecution. Please pray for these brethren facing great difficulties.

  • When BIEM missionary Igor Fomichov recently visited the U.S., folks gave toward a vehicle to replace his problematic 1998 car (with 310,000 miles). It would be a great help to the ministry to upgrade to a vehicle with 7 seats.   $6,500 is still needed in order to do this.

  • In October, the special services for orphans and widows began in Ukraine. These services demonstrate the love of Christ by sharing the Gospel and material goods. Please pray that God will use these continuing special services to touch hearts. Praise God for the finances He has provided for this project. So far, we have received $13,545, well over our $12,000 goal.