– In Sync –
Ukraine Pastoral Couples Conference, May 16-26, 2019
One of the highlights of the the week was getting to know this wonderful group of church planters. We were greatly impressed by the wide diversity of ministries that they were involved with throughout the country (sports outreach, orphan care, prayer for healing, drug rehabilitation, children’s outreach, leadership training, local schools, single moms, prison ministry, handicap children’s camps, street evangelism…). Although their work varied greatly, they all shared a great love of Jesus and a deep commitment to making disciples.
“We live in a small town near Luhansk (one of the conflict zones in eastern Ukraine). We moved there as missionaries to start a church and right away began to build good relationships with city officials, community leaders and neighbors. For eight years we worked to evangelize, but we struggled and saw little fruit. We never gave up hope.
Then, in 2015 our town was overrun by Russia. For three months throughout the summer, Ukrainian and Russian troops fought each other lobbing shells at each other with our small town right in the middle of it. Everyone was extremely scared.” Read more…
God worked through us in sync!
There is something amazing that happens when a team comes together and each member is able to give their best to accomplish a shared goal. They are in sync! Think great sports teams, a sweet sounding symphony or the launch of the space shuttle. When a ministry team is in sync – God is able to accomplish His divine purposes and bless others through the unique giftedness and personalities of the team members working together under His leadership.
Our Ukrainian partners, Alex and Iryna, worked hard to invite, organize and host the conference and the staff at Sun Valley did a great job serving the group well.
Bob encouraged the participants by sharing one of his “five smooth stones”, key principles he’s learned from 45 years of ministry. Then, he dug into the book of Colossians with thoughtful insights and practical application.
David made us laugh as he taught on the differences between how men and women think and helped us recommit to improving our communication skills.
Each morning, Ruslan and Natalya, and Ruslan and Larisa led us with some beautiful times of worship using their gifts as song writers and musicians.
Vickie opened her heart each morning and shared some of her challenges in trusting God through the difficulties of life and ministry.
Beth taught on some of the key principles that have helped guide them as parents. She emphasized pursuing our children in love through the different seasons of their lives. Her message was a warm and affirming encouragement to the value of our families.
Diana and I led some interactive sessions on our true identity in Christ, developing a shared vision in marriage and the joy of praying together.
You are a special part of our team too!
We truly believe that it is your prayers and support that help make such a rewarding week of encouraging, equipping and engaging these faithful ministry leaders possible. You are a tremendous encouragement to us and to each of the participants. Thank you for blessing them! Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they return to proclaim the transforming message of Jesus Christ and make disciples.
A few comments of what God taught the participants:
“God reminded me that it is important to always have a close relationship with Him, to trust Him, to remain constantly in His holiness and peace, not to sin.”
“God can and wants to use us. Together we can achieve more for the glory of God.”
“We have the power of God to influence the world.”
“That He is near and ready to heal my heart and my relationship.”
Please continue to pray for us as we prepare for our next conferences in Belarus and Moldova. We are also seeking the Lord for His leading as we start planning for 2020. With all our love and appreciation,
And the Shepherds’ Support Board:
Steve and Connie Troxel,
David and Beth Butler,
Jack and Nancy Shirley,
Sid and Zane Williams
Our next training conferences
August – Belarus and Moldova. October – Cuba.