Mission In Ukraine - Summer2015


Ukraine - outdoor ministry presentation

Strangely enough it was in Africa that my Ukraine connection originated.  In the summer of 2014 I was ministering at a Church of Christ in Jinja when two young ladies approached me after the church service. They were Miroslava and Leeza Yaroshenko who connected me with their father, a pastor in Ukraine.

 Ukraine outdoor ministry

On July 23nd I arrived in Kiev Ukraine where I was greeted by members of a Messianic Congregation  in the city of Berdychiv Ukraine.  I love the favor the Lord “Yahweh” has given me to minister across the broad river that is the Body of Christ.  What can i say about Ukraine?  Ukraine was amazing! Awesome people with a whole different set of problems then what they’re dealing with in Africa. Nevertheless the pottery message was just what the church in Ukraine needed to hear and see. For about two and half weeks I was in and around cities Berdychiv and Koresten, ministering a dozen times before turning my attention towards the East. Special thanks to Pastor Nikoli Yaroshenko who welcomed me into his wonderful family. I connected with lots of great people throughout Ukraine. Too many to mention, sweet loving people.

 With Pastor Sampson Boatri

I think it was July 29 that I was driven to Kiev train station to begin the second part of the Ukraine mission which would ultimately take me toward the war zone,  close to Russia. But first I would spend a week in the city of Zaporizhzhya (Zaporozhye in Russian), a large beautiful city on the Dnipro or Dnieper (sounds like “Nieper”) River.  I was greeted in Zaporizhzhya by a Ghana Africa transplant named Pastor Sampson Boatri who has been in Ukraine for thirty years.  His is an amazing story of God’s grace as Sampson is personally responsible for most of the Christian work that is going on in Zaporizhzhya Ukraine.  He was the spiritual pioneer during the dark days of the Soviet Union where Christians were persecuted. Nearly all the vibrant Christian churches in the city today trace their spiritual heritage back to this humble black man who prayed and wept for the city.  

 With Zaporozhye city pastors.

Also while in Zaporizhzhya I was invited by Pastor Vasily (above photo to my left hand) who hosted a ministerial meeting, which gave me opportunity to speak to a dozen pastors from all over that region.  Another wonderful connection came from Pastor Alfonso Sanchez who pastors an international church called “Church on the Rock”.  Alfonso, came from Peru to Ukraine during the reign of communism.  He came to study medicine at the  university.  He was an atheist at the time.   After the fall of communism, he received Christ as his savior and now pastors an international church that reaches out to the many international students who still come to Zaporizhzhya to study.  

 Ministering to the war refugees

Zaporizhzhya was an intense time that saw me ministering 12 times in the week I was there, three times on Sunday.  Special thanks to Theodore Sonin, who with his family hosted me in their home. 

With Theodore Sonin, my Zaporizhzhya host

Theodore also provided much of my translating and transportation needs while in Zaporizhzhya. On August 8, I left Zaporizhzhya to meet two young men who would carry me to the city of Mariupol, Ukraine famous for the current war that visited there not long ago.  Mariupol is Ukraine’s fifth largest city situated on the Sea of Azov which is adjacent to the Black Sea.  Mariupol is a beautiful port city, an industrial town with it own share of air-quality issues, yet still a beautiful city.  

 Preaching in Mariupol

I was invited to Mariupol by a man known around the world as Crocodile Gennadiy.  Just google “Gennadiy” and you’ll see the trailer of the movie that has been made about him and his work in Mariupol.  Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko is a tough guy yet a father to the fatherless and he has a large congregation there in the city; a church so large he had to divide it up into five different locations.  Believe it our not, I preached in all five including four different locations on Sunday. Gennadiy and his wife have personally adopted 32 street kids into their family,  most of whom are now part of his ministry. The two young men who drove me to Mariupol are both adopted street kids,  who are now clean from all their addictions and 100% on fire for God.

 With pastor Gennadiy (Crocodile) Mokhnenko (on the right)

Gennadiy is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. In addition to his pastor responsibilities Gennadiy is also a military chaplain for the Ukraine soldiers.  Several times a week Gennadiy visits the front-line soldiers, sharing the goodsnews and praying for them.   I was only in Mariupol three days and I can’t wait to return.  I hope to bring a team.


 YesHeIs Studio in Kiev, Ukraine

After leaving Mariupol  I ministered several more times within the Zaporizhzhya region before returning once more through Kiev.  At the Kiev train station I was picked up by Nikita and Oleg of Christian Vision, a World Wide Mission Organization which has a division in Kiev called “YesHeis”.  YesHeis  is doing a marvelous job using video and internet technology to share the gospel.  After  leading their morning devotion, I was taken to their video studio to record the pottery message.  Very devote and professional staff went right work setting up the studio for the video shoot which is now being broadcast all over Ukraine and Russia.  Special thanks to Christian Vision Director Oleg Matyukhov for making this important work possible.   


I left Kiev and returned once more to Koresten where I was picked up by Timothy Yaroshenko who coordinated my last week in Ukraine. 

Timothy and I become very good friends before long. I ministered several more times in the Koresten area which included the largest Baptist Church in the city. On August 19, Timothy and family drove me back to the Kiev Airport for my flight out.  I was leaving Ukraine after an amazing time in the Lord. God had blessed my trip and anointed my life to present a visual message that will long live within the hearts and minds of all who I was blessed to share it with. As I tell all the churches i visited with, “you may forget my name one day, but you will never forget what you saw”. May the Lord bless the seed that was sown into the good soil of the Ukrainian people, a church alive with the peace and joy in the shadows or war and recession. Good seed and good ground, an unstoppable combination!

On the State-side, big thanks to Ukrainian brother Alexei Basarab for the long hours on the phone and computer planning and coordinating the Ukrainian portion of the trip. Thanks to all the friends both old and new who in large and small ways financially made this trip doable.



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