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Converge MidAtlantic Celebrate 17 Years of Partnership in Ukraine!

Dan Peterson 2017Our recent (October 13-21) trip to Ukraine, gave Sandi and I a first hand picture of all that God has and is doing from 17 years of District partnership in Ukraine!  With joy and much gratitude, we were able to truly celebrate,  17 years of meaningful and fruitful ministry partnership! 

Converge MidAtlantic has been involved in a ministry partnership with the Rivne Baptist Union and the churches of this Region of western Ukraine, for 17 years. This partnership has been strong in the past, and it continues with vitality and passion! 

Background -  Rivne is one of 25 states or regions throughout the country of Ukraine.  The Baptist Union of Ukraine has a ministry leadership structure in each of these Regions, much like our Districts across Converge.  The Rivne Baptist Union has 110 member churches, very similar to the 103 churches and church plants in Converge MidAtlantic. 

As we have developed this partnership with the Rivne Baptist Union and their mission of starting and strengthening churches, much like Converge's mission, our primary focus has been to build sister church relationships.  This involves one of our Converge MidAtlantic churches becoming a sister church with one Ukrainian church in the Rivne region.  These sistering relationships have involved prayer, staying connected, and often serving together in ministry, often in Ukraine in the Ukrainian sister church ministry setting!

Amazing Fruit from 17 Years of Partnership!

  • Over these 17 years, we have had meaningful sister church involvement in 22 Rivne Baptist union churches. Some of these sister church partnerships have been relatively short. Others have been long term; including 10 years, 12 years, 15 years and counting.  In every one of these 22 sister church connections, the Ukrainian sister church has been strengthened, resourced, and greatly encouraged!
  • Many of the sister church partnerships focused on children's camps in the early years; U. S. teams helping Ukrainian churches with their children's camps, sending large teams that would lead a week or 10 day summer camp program. Now, nearly every Ukrainian church is able to do these kids camps on their own. Reports from our recent trip indicated that some Ukrainian churches are now able to reach out to 300-400 children each summer through their own leadership, which in nearly every case, began with help from its U.S. partner. In one Ukrainian church experience, with some continued funding from its American sister church partner, the Ukrainian church is able to offer 7 camps this past summer for children and youth.
    In many of the Ukrainian churches, the children's camps have resulted in spiritual and numerical growth for the church. One pastor indicated that when our Converge sister church started working with them nearly 15 years ago, the church had 3-4 children in their Sunday School. Now the church has 70-75 children in Sunday School every week!  The growth is directly related to the impact of the children's camps which were initially launched by our American sister church.
  • One of the biggest things the Ukrainian pastors 

Tanya and Sandi  Ukraine 1  Dan and Ivan

As a result of Converge MidAtlantic's involvement in several 
  • orphanages and Christian foster homes in the Rivne region, numerous young Christian leaders have been raised up. Some are serving now as pastors, some are serving as missionaries in other countries, and at least two of these "foster home kids" have married, and bought a house, and are now opening their home to children that need a loving and caring home environment. Sandi and I saw this  foster home, now with 12 children, led by a couple that were in one of the orphanages and foster homes that we worked with 15 years ago!  How amazing!!
  • Of course, it's impossible to quantify the impact that Love Lift Ukraine has had on our own leaders and churches as we have faithfully served alongside our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. I know that for Sandi and I, our lives have been forever marked by God through the deep relationships that have been forged, and through seeing first hand, the work of the gospel advance through deep sacrifice, limited resources, yet through much spiritual power which we have witnessed there in Ukraine. We constantly hear similar stories from other American pastors and church leaders.
Opportunities for Ongoing Involvement
We are very grateful for these 17 years of ministry in Rivne and we see the ministry continuing, primarily through ongoing sister church partnerships that are focusing largely on English classes as a means of outreach for the Ukrainian churches. Our efforts are focused mostly on newer churches in the city of Rivne and larger cities across the Rivne region.  Any Converge MidAtlantic church or pastor that is interested in exploring the opportunity for mission engagement in Ukraine, is more than welcome to talk with us.  The Rivne Union leadership have given us info on more potential Ukrainian sister churches.  The "Macedonian call" to come over and help us, is still being sounded today!
  • and the Rivne District leadership shared, was that the continued faithful partnership with Converge MidAtlantic, has provided our Ukrainian churches, their pastors, and the Rivne leaders as a whole, with a great sense of encouragement year in and year out. They said repeatedly, that knowing U.S. pastors and churches were praying for them and were willing to stay connected, has meant so much to them.
One huge highlight from our Love Lift Ukraine summer trips, was seeing one team member from our First Baptist Church of Glenarden, answer God's call to become a full time Converge missionary in Ukraine. Tania Martin is now in her 8th year as a career missionary in Ukraine, and God is using her in a mighty way in the city of Rivne.  We saw first hand Tania's influence on non Christian teens and young adults in Rivne as she teaches English in a public high school and opens up her apartment to these kids for Bible study and spiritual conversations every week.
Sandi
   Ukraine 3
In addition 
to the 22 Ukrainian churches touched through our District involvement, 3 other Ukrainian churches in the Kiev region have been impacted by churches in our District! One of these sistering partnerships has been running consistently for 20 years as our Berean Church from Mansfield, OH continues on in meaningful ministry involvement!  What an awesome legacy and impact for Christ and His Kingdom! 
With gratitude and thanksgiving,
 
Dan Peterson, Executive Minister
Converge MidAtlantic 

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