The colorful stacking dolls, known widely as matryoshka or babushka, offer a vivid picture to illustrate the fruits of the first GTP trip to Ukraine and Moldova planned with our partner, Mission Eurasia. Through diligent coordination, the Mission Eurasia staff orchestrated a host of meetings to introduce GTP to God’s workers in Kyiv, Irpin, and Odessa, Ukraine, and in Chișinău, Moldova from 6-16 September 2021.
Even as smaller dolls nest inside each matryoshka or babushka, this field report celebrates the first fruits and impact of this trip. What we saw and witnessed is only the beginning of what God will bring forth! We did many activities which are chronicled in our trip reports, but here we highlight key items of interest in three areas for Eurasians and the whole world: (1) multiplication, (2) translation, and (3) collaboration.
To multiply the reach of this trip, Mission Eurasia gathered influential Christian workers in key settings. This included leading churches like Irpin Bible Church in Ukraine and Church Without Walls in Moldova where we had deep discussion on “The Way of Christian Giving.”
We also engaged pastors and seminary students on the topics like “Nurturing Generosity and Sustainability” in six influential settings: Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, Kiev Theological Seminary, Odessa Theological, Seminary, School Without Walls, Divitia Gratiae Christian University, and Moldova Bible Seminary.
Participants at these places said the teaching gave them a “new biblical perspective” to address issues like “dependency on financial support from overseas” and “practical help” to build trust by following standards and to grow givers locally for sustainability. For many, this was “the first time” they had any such instruction.
The visit was strategic. It aimed to address a huge need Mission Eurasia has identified, namely, resourcing God’s workers on topics linked to stewardship and self-sufficiency for the national church and ministries in Ukraine and Moldova. In response, Mission Eurasia gave participants free copies of Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen which they recently translated into Russian. Copies were distributed at each meeting to help attendees realize that talking about money is a deeply spiritual task.
Not only that, Mission Eurasia announced that GTP had freely provided the rights for three books to be translated into Russian, The Sower: Redefining the Ministry of Raising Kingdom Resources, The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes, and The Council: A Biblical Perspective on Board Governance. People were thrilled to learn about these books and to hear the translations are due to release by Christmas 2021.
Participants were excited to receive Spirituality of Fundraising. Their response was greater than gratitude. The book gave them hope. Many expressed deep pain. They feel outside support dictates unhealthy control of local ministry. They expressed a profound and unexpected eagerness to read Spirituality of Fundraising and the forthcoming books.
This trip marks the beginning of collaborative work between GTP and Mission Eurasia in the 14 countries they work: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. From here, we discussed delivering GTP trainings like Journey of Empowerment (JOE) with School Without Walls groups of young workers in each of these countries in the next 2-3 years. So exciting!
There are many other next steps we envision. We will take them with courage because God knit our hearts together on this trip. Despite the pandemic, He convened over 500 people in various settings. All glory to God. Against all odds, He brought GTP and Mission Eurasia together, protected our meetings, and worked in ways beyond what we could have ever asked or imagined.
If you are reading this, hear this in conclusion from our hearts to yours. God is at work in Ukraine and Moldova through GTP and Mission Eurasia. He’s bringing us together to multiply impact. He’s allowing resources to be translated to equip His servants. And He’s facilitating collaboration by the Holy Spirit. He wants local ministry to flourish. This is only the beginning. There’s more than meets the eye with this report and with each matryoshka or babushka doll. God has big plans, yet unseen, like the nesting dolls within.