In the south of Ukraine, stands a famous old city of approximately one and a half million people. It is generally dirty and run down, with rare moments of abject splendor and greatness. Most of its buildings are not kept up well and yet their beloved theater building is one of the grandest in all of Europe. Odessa is a port city and should be rolling in money, and yet corruption is rife and separates the haves from the have-nots by a great chasm and robs the city coffers.
The less densely populated, but geographically immense and diverse oblast (province) of Odessa has the lion’s share of churches. Many of these churches are extremely conservative and have a difficult time reaching out to the unbelievers around them. In the midst of this situation, there are occasional rays of light and hope.
Part of the strategy of the group with whom we work, is to have in every oblast of Ukraine a leader who will develop a network of church planters who will meet regularly for mutual encouragement, problem solving, and for the development of vision and strategy.
Last month (October 2017), Odessa had its first such meeting. The theme of the event was ministering as a family… partnering as a husband and wife. This is a milestone for this province and though it was a privilege to be a catalyst for this ministry and an honor to be a part of the inaugural meetings of this new group, we know we won’t always be there to see this ministry develop.
So when you pray… pray for the church planters of Odessa. Here are some of their requests:
1. Pray for God to prepare people to hear and respond to the Gospel.
2. Pray for strength to resist the pressure from old believers who would have them place a greater emphasis on traditions and rules, than on the Gospel of Grace.
3. Pray for God to supply their needs, especially in the area of building space (which we are told is even a problem for Orthodox churches in Odessa.)
Odessa is a world-renown city with many people who need to hear the good news that Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins and offers us forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. Join us in praying for the church planters and evangelists in this very southern and remote oblast of Ukraine.