In the midst of the unrest in Ukraine, we remember how important trained Christian leaders are


Please share a prayer of encouragement for our friends in Ukraine in the Comments section below. They would sincerely appreciate your support. Thank you!


Meet one of those leaders, Constantine Prokhorov.

I was raised in a non-Christian home in Kazakhstan. While studying history in college, I came to Christ and felt called to pursue theology.

Constantine Prokhorov (OTS)
Constantine Prokhorov, Bachelor of Theology graduate from Odessa Theological Seminary

I trained at Odessa Theological Seminary (OTS) in Ukraine. Growing up under Communism gives you a genuine appreciation for the freedom to study theology. I remember how diligently my classmates and I studied those four years. I credit my alma mater and its professors for my success in ministry and teaching. Since graduating with my Bachelor of Theology degree in 1997, God led me and my family on an incredible journey back to Kazakhstan. There theological professors are in great demand. I taught at five different seminaries and earned my PhD.

Today I live in Russia with my wife and three children where I dedicate most of my time to teaching, preaching and writing. I have authored several books and articles and was awarded second prize for the “Golden Pen of Russia,” a Russian national literature award, in 2008. Through my ministry, the Kingdom is being multiplied. I give all the glory and praise to God for this talent He has given me. I am filled with deep appreciation and thankfulness for the staff, faculty and sponsors of OTS who have helped shape me into the minister and teacher I am today. Thank you and God bless!

We are checking in with our partner schools in Ukraine and getting updates from them regularly. Please join us in unceasing prayer for these schools and the Church. We also pray for our brother Taras Dyatlik, Overseas Council’s Regional Director for Eurasia, and his family. We pray they sense the Lord’s presence, and may He continue using them mightily to reach out to people during this difficult and complicated time in their region.

Your prayers are needed. Please leave a prayer for our friends in Ukraine in the Comments section below. Our partner schools will greatly appreciate the encouragement and prayers from around the world!

 

“…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7 

 

 

 

Abibatu Dreams of Transforming Communities in Sierra Leone

Abibatu-Bangura
Abibatu Bangura, Bachelor of Community Development student at The Evangelical College of Theology


Called.

Abibatu Bangura was born three years before civil war erupted in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She was the last child in a Christian family of 15 in the Limba tribe, a major ethnic group in the country. In her early years of school, her retired father was unable to provide for her education and general welfare, so her mother was passionate about doing so. But when her mother passed away, Abibatu had to relocate to stay with her aunt who supported her for a while until her business collapsed.

Trained.
Despite her great financial need, Abibatu took a leap of faith and enrolled at The Evangelical College of Theology (TECT) in Sierra Leone. Her pastor encouraged her to study Community Development with the purpose of ministering to her country’s wounds from the 11-year civil war. Today she’s a first year student in the program, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Abibatu is very thankful for the scholarship she received from Overseas Council. With all her financial ups and downs, she says it has taken away her stress about paying her school fees. “To God be the glory.”

Multiplied.
As a result of the civil war from 1991-2002, more than 50,000 people were killed, much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed and over two million people were displaced as refugees in neighboring countries. The country has made progress towards reconciliation since, but effects of the war continue to be felt including poverty and unemployment.

Lasting impacts of the war were the atrocities committed by the rebels, from murder and rape to mutilation and recruiting children as soldiers. Their trademark unbelievably was to hack off the hands or feet of their victims. In the face of this devastation, Abibatu says her passion is to become a Christian social worker that will transform communities from the ashes of war to grace using Jesus’ approach.

 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

                                – Isaiah 61:1-3

 

Ladan Courageously Endures Prison for Sharing the Bible

 

Courageously putting her own safety in jeopardy, Ladan has dedicated her life to sharing Christ with fellow Iranians. It was an honor to meet her in our Indianapolis headquarters last week. She is a graduate of Elam, our partner school training Christian leaders for the Church in Iran.

In Iran, it is illegal to pass out Bibles or share your faith. Less than 1 percent of the 77 million people of Iran have heard the story of Jesus and even fewer have ever seen a Bible. But Ladan longs to see the Word of God available to every Iranian. “It is very painful to think that most of the people of your country do not have the opportunity to know about Jesus.”

Watch her powerful story to see a glimpse of the courageous Iranian Church and the hunger of the Iranian people for the Word of God.

 

“When I think about them, I think about how thirsty and how hungry they are for this book, the Bible. If each of them had this book, I think they could change the whole world, not just Iran. The people of Iran are waiting for the truth, thirsting for the truth, and through His Word, their thirst can be quenched.”

                                -Ladan

 

Source: Elam.com

God uses Kivutha as a Governor in Kenya

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Kivutha Kibwana, Master of Missions graduate from Africa International University


God has taken me on many exciting adventures in my life. I know He has prepared me to be an activist for Him.

Before attending AIU, I had the privilege of earning my Master of Law and Doctorate of Law in the United States. The Lord brought me back to my home country where I became the adviser to the President of Kenya. But the adventure did not end there. A few years ago, I felt the Lord calling me to learn about Islamic people and how to minister to them. In turn, the Lord led me to AIU where I studied Missions (emphasis in Islam).

Since graduating in 2012, God has opened many miraculous doors for me to witness for Him. Through the providence of God, I was recently elected as the first governor of Makueni County, Kenya. I am humbled by this opportunity to serve God and my people. There is much work to do politically and constitutionally. Please pray for me. I will need divine wisdom as I advocate and lead the people of Makueni.

 

“Thank you and God bless! I strive to work for my people and to keep God at the center of all I do.” 

                               - Kivutha

 

Tassadit Teaches Others God’s Life-Changing Word

Tassadit_ABTS
Tassadit, Master of Divinity student at Arab Baptist Theological Seminary


My relationship with Christ started when I was very young. At the age of 12, something beautiful happened.
One night as I was sound asleep, a bright and magnificent light appeared to me. It was not an ordinary light. There was something different about its splendor. The most incredible part about this light was that Jesus appeared in the midst of it! That dream truly transformed me. I started faithfully attending church and praying more. Over time, I genuinely fell in love with Jesus. I had normal ups and downs through my teen years but always had the assurance Jesus would never forsake me.

Several years after my dream, I began feeling the Lord calling me to be a missionary. He led me to ABTS where I am studying for my Master of Divinity degree. My first year there stretched me in many ways. Being from Algeria, I only knew one language, French. I started my studies at ABTS not being able to communicate with anyone. It has been miraculous how the Lord has helped me to quickly pick up the local language!

Since being at ABTS, I have been actively involved in the Women’s Missionary Society. My main role is witnessing to and working with local homeless children. I pray earnestly that one day God will find a center for these children where they can live and learn more about Him. After completing my degree, I plan to study for my doctorate. One of my dreams is to work among university students as a missionary and professor. I thank God for ABTS and how this experience has been life-changing.

 

“Attending ABTS has been a life-changing experience for me. God is using it to show me who I really am, and with His help, who I can become.”

                                – Tassadit

Hadje Dreams of Ministering to Muslims in Asia

Hadje Sadje, Masters of Transformational Urban Leadership graduate from Asian Theological Seminary
Hadje Sadje, Master of Transformational Urban Leadership student at Asian Theological Seminary

 

My parents raised me in the Muslim faith. My father would teach us children from the Quran about Allah’s love and justice. I remember when I was 16 years old on my way home from the Mosque one day, I came across a simple message on a doorpost that read, ‘Jesus died for you.’ That phrase touched my heart. I didn’t understand what it meant, but God planted a seed that day.

Several years had passed when I found myself at the age of 24 deeply grieving over the ending of my parents’ marriage. I ran away to Manila, hoping to escape the pain and misery. That didn’t happen, so my hopelessness and intense need for peace drove me to fast for an entire month. One night during my fasting, I had a dream. A very compelling voice spoke to me and said, ‘This is the One you should worship.’ Startled, I woke up crying, realizing I had just encountered the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. That dream changed my life. Since then, I have grown in my faith and have been called by God to serve as a missionary among my underprivileged Muslim brethren. I know God has a great work for me to do among my people.

By God’s providence, I am attending ATS, pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Transformational Urban Leadership. Already God has called me to do practical work in the ministry. Currently I am pastoring the Sambahang Kristyano Church in Antipolo City, Philippines. I am also involved in Muslim ministry and advocating for the rights of the urban poor in my community.

After graduation in 2015, I plan to pursue a PhD. I want to be extensively trained in ministry, so I can more effectively reach Muslims and share the Good News with them.

 

“I am very grateful to ATS for equipping me with a sound biblical and theological foundation. ATS is being used by God to broaden my framework and vision for Muslim ministry.”
                        – Hadje

 

William Shares the Good News with His Guatamalan Community

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William Quiñónez , Bachelor of Theology graduate from Central American Theological Seminary

 

God is good! I have been blessed to serve the New Jerusalem Church as youth pastor for nearly 10 years now. I know it sounds unbelievable, but about 70% of our church members are under the age of 30. I have ministered to over 200 young people while serving as youth pastor. These young people are awesome! Our youth group regularly participates in church-organized outreach programs and activities geared to minister to our community and local schools. It’s great to see them working for the Lord!

In 2007, through an alliance with local businesses and government agencies, the church opened a community center. Like many parts of the world, there is much poverty, crime and drugs in our area. The purpose of the center is to provide vocational training to children, youth and adults. Our goal is to offer an alternative lifestyle that keeps young people out of gangs, delinquency and drugs.

In addition to my work as youth pastor, a truly life-changing experience has been to serve as chaplain in a local high security prison for gang members. Direct contact with the inmates is not allowed, so I minister to them through a wire mesh opening above their jail cells. On a recent visit to the jail, the mother of an inmate was visiting as well. The inmate introduced me to his mother and said, ‘Mom, I want you to meet Pastor William. He is helping me to change.’ Praise the Lord! It is not me but Christ who lives in me who is reaching these souls for His Kingdom!

 

“I am thankful to God and CATS for giving me the theological, biblical and administrative tools that allow me to develop these ministries.” 

                                – William

 

Konstantina Shares God’s Love with the Roma Children of Bulgaria

Konstantina Miteva, Master of Divinity graduate from Trivelius Institute (pictured with a group of Roma children)
Konstantina Miteva, Master of Divinity graduate from Trivelius Institute (pictured with a group of Roma children)

 

Since graduating from TI, I have been accepted into a PhD program at New Bulgarian University. I am doing research in the field of Contextual Missiology. I am enjoying not only the academic aspect of my course work but the hands-on portion as well.

My current ministry is with a group of Roma (Gypsy) churches in Southeast Bulgaria. I am working as a church leader and children’s director. Generally the majority of Roma children have very challenging and stressful childhoods. It is difficult for their parents to provide for their needs, and those whose parents have been fortunate enough to find work abroad are left without parental supervision. These children have been rejected by society, and many of them do not have homes. Because of their plight, most of them do not understand love. It is my commitment to care for and to deeply love each one so they may learn what love really is. In turn, I pray their little hearts will be open and receive Christ as their Savior.

 

“Please remember these children. Their social or economic status matters not to God. He loves them and desires each one to commit their lives to Him.”

                                – Konstantina

 

Lasarus is Changing Lives for the Kingdom in Namibia

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Lasarus Ngube, Bachelor of Theology graduate from Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary

 

My time at NETS was a blessing! I learned so much and am very appreciative to the staff and faculty for instilling in me sound biblical teachings.

Since graduating in March, God has led me to be the chaplain of the Anglican Students’ Federation (ASF). This ministry is geared towards enhancing the spiritual lives of students at secular universities. As chaplain, I work with the other members of ASF to hold prayer services, Bible studies, church services and other spiritually-enriching activities. ASF has a presence at five different institutions in Namibia. I do my best to visit each campus once a week. It is truly wonderful being a part of such a great organization!

My dream is to one day be a school chaplain because I love working with young people. I pray someday God will bring my dream to fruition! In the meantime, I am enjoying applying my biblical skills and knowledge to my work here at ASF.

 

“Thank you to my sponsors for making my education possible! Because of you, many young lives in Namibia will be changed. May God richly bless you!”

                                – Lasarus

 

 

God called Jo-Marrie at the lowest point of her life

Called.

Jo-Marrie was Called by God | Overseas Council
Jo-Marrie was Called by God | Overseas Council

Jo-Marrie Fortuin became a Christian when she was 17 years old. “I will always remember that year because it was the most difficult time of my life. God met me at the lowest point of my life. I became very ill. I was in and out of the hospital, seeing many different doctors, but none of them could identify the problem. Hospital bills were piling up.” Thankfully, she says, she grew up in a Christian home, so she and her family prayed earnestly for a breakthrough from the Lord. “I was getting worse by the day, and doctors had lost hope. I started doubting God and questioning Him. Finally in His goodness, He enabled a doctor to make the right diagnosis. The problem was connected to my inner organs. I had to undergo a major operation which really scared me as a young person, but it was very successful.”

Following her operation, Jo-Marrie’s church had a visitor from South Africa. As the woman preached, Jo-Marrie was very touched by her message. “It made me think of the time I was in the hospital. I realized that our lives are so short on earth, and God wants to use us to do His work while we are here. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would not have had a successful operation.” That evening, she decided to give her life completely to the Lord, follow Him and do what He wants her to do.

She credits her Christian parents for her faith and how they raised her. “My parents always encouraged me and taught me the Word of God. The fact that they always put God first and trusted Him for everything in their lives had such a big impact on me. After my conversion, they continued to share the Word of God with me, and that made me grow even stronger in the Lord.”

Trained.
With a great passion to serve God, Jo-Marrie decided to study theology. “I love sharing the Gospel with young people and would really love to see more young people giving their lives to the Lord.” She has already earned a Certificate in Evangelism and Christian Counseling. She is now in her final year at the Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS).

“Being at a Bible school is the most wonderful experience one could ask for, to study God’s Word in depth and be equipped for ministry. But being at a Bible school is not all about information but also transformation. Being part of the NETS community helps me to grow in my character and in my Christian walk with the Lord.”

“One of the subjects I love is ‘Contextual Theology.’ It helps me grow in the knowledge of African cultures and contexts which is of utmost importance for African leaders. It shows me whether I hold to or challenge traditional African religions and beliefs. I believe in the inspired and infallible Word of God and don’t want to compromise it in order to fit the context.”

Multiplied.
Equipped to serve, Jo-Marrie is a member of the Evangelical Mission Church. She serves as a deaconess on the church council and will be inducted as an elder soon. She teaches confirmation classes and recently started a youth group. She also has a great passion for music, so she’s a member of the worship team. “Since being at NETS, my ministry has become much more effective because I have been given a good foundation for teaching the Bible.”

After graduating, Jo-Marrie’s church will appoint her to be involved with youth work and other pastoral and leadership roles. She wants to use her Christian Counseling certificate to serve the Lord with her counseling gifts. “Many of our young people contract HIV/AIDS. Others drink too much alcohol, and the suicide rate among teenagers is very high. They need good role models and Bible teaching. Challenges, trials and hardships will always be there while we are on this earth, but I always remind myself that ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength.’ We are always to seek the Lord’s face in whatever we are facing. And when everything is going well with us, we should give glory to God, for He is good all the time.”