Ukraine Doctoral Program Celebrates Its First Graduate

 

Because of your support, Ukraine’s Dr. Roman Soloviy is the very first graduate to earn his Doctorate of Theology within the borders of the country!  This is a monumental event in Ukraine’s history because it means that the country will be growing its capacity to train future Christian leaders locally, thus providing greater access to training.

The lack of receiving an accredited theological degree from inside Ukraine has been a major problem for Christian leaders to receive proper training and education under Communist reign. Several years ago Overseas Council began working with the local Ukrainian church leaders and the government to allow for students to receive an official degree, approved by the government.  OC’s Regional Director for Euro-Asia, Taras Dyatlik, has led this project and has helped organize two cohorts of students to receive their degrees in Theology. Never before have faculty members in Ukraine have had this opportunity!

The aim of this faculty development project was to empower the Ukrainian Church by providing a path for faculty members of evangelical Ukrainian seminaries to gain higher education credentials in their own country. With this opportunity Christians in Ukraine would no longer have to leave their country to receive training. This new opportunity carries a lasting impact that will transform thousands where it is needed most.

Thanks to your support, we have helped tear down walls that have prevented access to theological training in Ukraine for many years.  Your support creates opportunities for Christian leaders all over the globe, like in Ukraine.

Thank you for your faithful support of our ministry!

He Heals the Brokenhearted and Binds Up Their Wounds

The tragic loss of a parent can greatly impact the path that a child chooses for their life. This was the case for Megono Zhimomi whose father was murdered when she was only five year of age. The Lord has shown in Magono’s life that He can turn tragedy into good.

“I held onto horrendous anger and hatred towards those who had killed my father,” said Megono. “As a young adult, I was encouraged by a mentor to lean into God, rather than be absorbed with revenge. After 15 years of holding onto revenge and hatred, I made a life-changing decision to give my heart to the Lord and became a new person in Jesus Christ.”

As Megono began growing in her relationship with Jesus,  she applied to Shalom Bible Seminary, in India to become more biblically sound. Since graduating in 2013, she has been working to impact her community as a teacher and a chaplain.

“Currently, I am serving in Timor-Leste (a small country south of Indonesia) and I have several responsibilities. I teach English to adults and children, I’m the school secretary, I sing on a local radio station, and I am the preacher for our women’s services,” said Megono, who also directs the community and children’s choirs when she has free time. “My students are predominantly non-Christian.  Jesus has given me a remarkable stage to share with others about the hope that Jesus brings.  My prayer is that God will use my life to reach these precious souls living in darkness. May we all faithfully do our part to multiply God’s Kingdom.”

Megono Zhimomi teaching students in English class.

Planting Seeds

O.C. partner school Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) has utilized a unique program to reach their most vulnerable students: Theological Education for Arab Christians at Home (T.E.A.C.H.). According to Elie Haddad, President of ABTS, “OC has been very influential in the maturity of ABTS. Their willingness to come alongside us and develop programs like T.E.A.C.H., where we were able to collaboratively build a whole curriculum in Arabic online has increased accessibility to critical information and teaching for our vulnerable students in a much- needed region.”

And You Will Be My Witnesses

The Holy Spirit is on the move around the globe!  In Moldova, University Divitia Gratiae student Terzi Vitalii has already planted seeds within his community while planning to have an even greater global impact.

“Our team organized a camp for refugee children in Lebanon. We reached out to people in the community to help get the site prepared and the response was amazing. We even had children in the community drop what they were doing to help out,” said Vitalii. With more than one million refugees that have entered the country of Lebanon in the last year, local leaders there have been overwhelmed with obstacles during this crisis.

“One of the most amazing things that happened during that project was seeing responses from local people who wanted to know why we were doing this,” continued Vitalii. Assembling a great number of volunteers in an area known to show little tolerance for Christianity was the first challenge overcome by this young Christian leader, but his greatest accomplishment was just ahead.

“When they asked why we were involved in all of this work for people we did not know, we simply told them that we are sharing the love of Christ,” said Vitalii. “Upon hearing this the volunteers simply smiled, embraced us,  and continued to work side by side with us.” Growing up the son of missionaries had a major influence on Vitalii’s life. He not only wants to live up to the example set by his parents, but he also wants to respond to the commandment given in Acts 1:8 by expanding ministry work beyond his own community.

Vitalii continued, “My prayer request would be for the Lord to continue to bless our youth ministry so that I might utilize tools like this Bible to expand to countries like Japan. Here in Moldova, over 90% of the citizens are Christian. However, in countries like Japan where only 1% of the population practice Christianity, we have amazing opportunities to expand His Kingdom.”

Your support of Overseas Council provides opportunities to Christian leaders like Terzi Vitalii who are planting seeds of hope in their community, and around the world.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

The Movement of Christ in Africa: The Call of the Holy Spirit Inspires Community Impact from Ugandan Leader

Fred Kyobe 4“I am Fred Kyobe, a Ugandan student currently undertaking Bachelors of Theology coursework at Kampala Evangelical School of Theology (KEST). I came to know the Lord while I lived in the home of my grandparents, the late Simeon and Eva Nsibambi.

Though I knew of the Lord, I did not understand Him. I could not understand how this all knowing being that I could not see or hear could truly effect my life. My doubt in Him allowed me to stray from Him in my youth. I learned that no matter how many times you turn from Him, God always makes himself known.

My life changed while working as a journalist at the New Vision newspaper where I reported on pop culture, scandal, and world events. What I saw with my own eyes and the stories I heard as a journalist shocked me and shook me to my core. It was then that I felt the Holy Spirit calling to me. Seeing so many frightening things about the world made me wonder, “How can I make any difference in all of this chaos?” It was then that I felt led to serve God by trying to have an impact on one person at a time.

My realization of how God wanted me to live led me to enroll at KEST. I am working in youth ministry with primary and high schools, along with hostel ministry work. Much of this work involves holding Bible studies with students and equipping them with life skills. Through my classwork at KEST, I am receiving the necessary skills and knowledge to do God’s work and I have discovered that if young people in our society are won for Christ and equipped with the necessary skills to reach out to their peers, the future of the church will be secure.”

Thank you for helping KEST train Christian leaders for Kingdom Work!

A Trip to the United States Provides Perspective

Visiting Scholars Project Allows Christian Leaders from Africa and India to Dig Deep at Asbury Theological Seminary 

The opportunity to study abroad affords a scholar the opportunity to broaden their perspective through experiencing different cultures and points of view in a distant land. This year two scholars had such an opportunity Jessy and Nupunga 3because of an amazing partnership between Overseas Council and Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

This partnership gave birth to the Visiting Scholar project which brought Dr. Jessy Jaison and Dr. Nupanga Weanazana Wa Weanazana to the United States to spend time for advanced research residencies at the Asbury Theological Seminary campus.

Dr. Jaison, of the New India Bible Seminary in Kerala, India is the director of research and quality enhancement as well as professor of practical theology. She made the trip to the US with her husband, Dr. Jaison Thomas who is the principal of the seminary. Dr. Jaison’s research interests are in practical theology and pastoral formation and is working on a book for evangelical seminary leadership in Asia on the Integration of Theological Education, addressing 10 vital dimensions.

Dr. Nupanga Weanazana Wa Weanazana, originally from Democratic Republic of Congo but serving now in Central African Republic, is leading the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology. While at Asbury, Dr. Nupanga has written an article on King Saul in the book of Chronicles which has been sent for peer review. He is now working on Nehemiah 9 and his final project is to write a textbook on the Introduction to the Old Testament.

We’re so thankful for your generosity to the ministry of Overseas Council and to the leaders we support, like Dr. Nupunga and Dr. Jaison, who are both playing pivotal roles within their regions of the world. Your support is helping seminary and church leaders become more effective at sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Thank you for being a blessing to so many lives!

Ethiopian Graduate Engineers Inroads for Christ in Africa

Sara Abdella Final BorderAmid mass protests and violence in Ethiopia, the word of God and the Holy Spirit continue to guide and inspire Christian leaders to multiply His Kingdom.

“Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology has blessed my life in so many ways, and in turn has allowed me to extend Gods blessings to all in my community,” said Sara Abdella, who is seeking to graduate with a Masters degree in Theology in 2018.

Years prior, Abdella graduated university with a degree in electrical and computer engineering. Abdella set aside a secure & promising business career because she felt an overwhelming call to ministry from the Holy Spirit.

“After completing my degree, I was compelled to serve. I went to work for Evangelical Students’ and Graduates’ Union of Ethiopia and served there for four years in various capacities,” said Abdella.

“Seeking a change of pace and even more opportunities to serve His Kingdom,” continued Abdella, “God placed it upon my heart to go back to school for theological training so that I can teach and train others, and to help mold the minds of the next generation of Christian leaders.”

Since that day, Abdella has completed a post graduate degree in Biblical and Theological Studies (PGD) and she is now studying for her Master’s degree.

“During the course of one year studying at EGST, I have learned new and more impactful ways of thinking and talking about God, which has enabled me to confidently share my faith with all God places in my path,” said Abdella.

“It’s incredible where God will lead you if you let Him! Thank you for giving to EGST to help students like me fulfill their calling.”    

~Sara Abdella

Digging Deeper Roots for Christ in Northern India

Sundeep 3Consistent attacks from Hindu extremists have placed Christians in a hostile environment in Northern India. Persecution has also come through local politics as some Indian states have implemented laws, such as the “Religious Freedom Bill,” against the conversion to Christianity. However, the Church continues to grow stronger despite opposition.

The new laws and pushback have not deterred students like Sandeep who attend New Theological College. “I grew up in a region of northern India where there were no Christians. Hindu was, and still is, the prominent religion. I heard about the gospel from an evangelist who visited our rural, poor village.

When I heard the Good News, the Holy Spirit gave me a burning desire to follow Jesus. After accepting Christ, I wanted to learn more about the Bible and how to share it with others.”

This past year has been even more challenging for students like Sandeep as villages were devastated by landslides and flooding. Many lost their lives, while others lost their homes. “I am grateful my family made it out of town without being hurt,” said Sandeep. “However, we lost everything. Our home was washed away, and it has been difficult to rebuild. We are grateful to still have life and each other!”

Your support of students like Sandeep, who continue to push through adversity in order to see that Christ continues to move in India, is so critical. Please continue to pray for this ministry, empower Christian leaders though a gift to the Multiply Fund, and share how OC is helping to train pastors around the world!

“I am eternally grateful to be a scholarship recipient. Without your support, I wouldn’t have the training to teach my people about Jesus!”  

Odessa Graduate’s Faith Provides Hope in Uganda

Galina Matzak FrameMy friend Anna and I felt called to minister to the people of Africa. We teamed up together after graduation and moved to Uganda, one of the poorest countries in Africa. It has been an incredible, life-changing journey!

Although we share a mud hut with rats and have no running water or electricity, we are happy and content because we’re working for the Lord.

With donations to the Multiply Fund, many students like Galina now have the ability to turn their calling into kingdom multiplying opportunities. Through theological training and skilled application, pastors and Christian leaders around the world are now taking advantage of these opportunities to change the world.

On a daily basis, we are feeding, clothing, caring for and loving these little ones. Another malady that plagues our kids is malaria. During rainy season, we have contracted it, but the children who get it suffer even more.

Please pray for these children and for Anna and I to have strength to continue ministering to them and showing them Jesus’ love.

“After studying at Odessa Theological Seminary, I became a missionary in Africa. Since then, God has continually showed me that this is absolutely the best option for my life.”

Odessa Theological Seminary (OTS)  is a Baptist theological institution of higher learning that trains Christians to be effective missionaries. OTS is a strong believer in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20. They strive to equip each student with the skills and knowledge necessary for evangelizing and winning souls for the Kingdom.

A group of the Ugandan children ministered to by Galina.
A group of Ugandan children ministered to by Galina.

OTS students, faculty, and staff are actively involved in serving their community. OTS’ 325 students participate in short-term mission trips, local church ministries and other outreach programs. Through a holistic theological approach, OTS is training pastors, evangelists, and Christian leaders for the awesome work of multiplying God’s Kingdom. 

OTS is in the process of creating a Center for Pastoral Research to enhance its master’s programs. The center will be equipped with the resources to help students write superb theses, publish high-quality scholarly articles and adequately prepare them for doctoral research. In an effort to continue expanding its educational offerings, OTS is working on a new Master’s in Christian Education program as well.

Thank you for helping OTS train Christian leaders for Kingdom work!

From Brazil to Romania: How One Christian Leader Wants to Stretch His Arms Around the World

Carlos Schulz FrameThis fall, I start my final year of studies for my master’s degree. I have learned many things from my time at WOL both in the classroom and in the mission field. I have enjoyed ministering to the underprivileged in northeastern Brazil and find great fulfillment in assisting my pastor in biblical exposition, counseling and education.

In July, my family and I will temporarily relocate to Romania to help establish a church there. The city we’re moving to is the largest Muslim community in the country. Please pray for Heavenly wisdom as we share the gospel with Romania.

After graduation, we will permanently move to Romania to further help the church in Constanta and to facilitate leadership training as well. I believe it’s critical to train others in the church to be more effective soul winners!

Please remember my classmates, my family and me in your prayers, that we each will faithfully serve the Lord wherever He leads.

Word of Life Seminary (WOL), is located in southeastern Brazil, 40 miles north of São Paulo. Within a radius of 200 miles from the school lives 40% of the population of the country. Opportunities for ministry in the region are plentiful.

WOL was founded as the educational arm of Word of Life Fellowship in Brazil. From a humble beginning with a student body of 11, the school has grown to become the largest independent Bible school in Brazil. The alumni serve in every state of the federation in addition to 21 different countries around the world.Currently, WOL has a total of 150 students enrolled in the Master of Theology and Master of Ministry programs. Its projected enrollment for this coming school year is 690 students. WOL is grateful to God for His faithfulness in continuing to expand its reach throughout Brazil and around the world.

Thank you for investing in this institution and for helping train Christian leaders!