We are in the city of Kherson, South of Ukraine, around 800 km from Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine)
Henry + 38 067 903 84 40
Julia + 38 067 903 84 30
P.O. Box 16,
mission "Christ is the Answer", Ukraine.
Ukraine is a state in Eastern Europe, bounded on the north by Belarus, on the northeast by the Russian Federation, on the west by Poland and Slovakia, and on the southwest by Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe (after Russia) - total area of 603,700 sq.km. It is divided in 24 regions (oblasts) and an Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The country has an access to the Black Sea and the Azov Sea and two mountain-sides: Carpathians in the West and Crimean Mountains in the South. The population is about 49,500 million people, it is Europe's fifth most populous nation with peoples like: Ukrainian, Russian, Byelorussian, Bulgarian, Polish, Moldavian/Romanian, Greek, Armenian, Gypsy, German, Georgian, Tatars,Crimean Tatars, Jews, Hungarian, Mordvinian. Ukraine is an undiscovered treasure - a fascinating and very beautiful country. Its people are hardworking, generous and very hospitable.
On August 24, 1991 Ukraine declared itself an independent state. Centuries of economic and political dependence on Moscow have left Ukraine (formerly a granary of USSR) with severe economic, ecological, transportation, communications, and energy problems. In addition, Ukraine's isolation from the Western world was exacerbated by a system of propaganda and censorship, which distorted the actual state of affaires in the republic. Despite the multitudes of problems, Ukraine is the most stable and peaceful state of all the former republics of USSR.
Ukraine is a key state, a spiritual bridge between east and west. Kiev (the capital) was where Russian Christianity was born more then 1,000 years ago. Ukraine has a strong Christian heritage, but suffering under Communism was severe. Millions of Christians were killed by collectivization or imprisoned and murdered in the gulags of Siberia. Evangelical Christians have emerged stronger and more numerous from 130 years of unrelenting persecution - Ukraine was the ex-USSR's "Bible Belt" with over half its Baptists and Pentecostals. The freedom of religion came only in 1990. The moral and ethical vacuum created by Communism has had devastating social consequences - deceit, fear, unwillingness to make decisions, and, with freedom, crime, drugs, murder, sexual promiscuity and pornography, have further degraded society. The older generation is disappointed in both Communist and present government, disoriented and incapable to adjust to the present circumstances, they search for peace and stability but cannot easily trust anybody, many times filling their vacuum with alcohol, TV soap operas, occult practices. Young people have no moral standards and borders, no Christian background, they live following the examples of the cinema and music stars, looking for the answers but many times ending up in drugs, early sex-life, alcohol, searching for money and better life at any cost. The spiritual hunger for something real, worth living for is great. We believe that the only way to raise the moral standard of this nation is by preaching the Gospel and living an exemplary life. Now, after the "Orange revolution", Ukraine is more than ever open for evangelism and this great opportunity we don't want to loose. In this part of the world the fear of evangelical believers and house meetings was imposed by the government in the time of communists. After the independence, the cults began to flourish and cost some scandals and criminal persecution, making people afraid of meetings that are different from what they are used to in the Orthodox churches. Here we find the big-tent meetings to be the most affective tool in preaching the Gospel.
The fall of the "Iron Curtain" opened a door to evangelize the former Soviet block countries. Ukraine was in turmoil of beginning a new independent life with enormous economic and spiritual problems. This country's need became a calling for brother Koen Wille, one of the elders of the Italian C.I.T.A team. Already before that, he and his wife had smuggled Bibles and brought humanitarian aid to Romania and Hungary. In September 1991 the big tent was brought to the country and then in May 1992 a small group of 9 adults and 5 children went out from Italy and a part of Portuguese team (12 adults and 4 kids) went out from Portugal to help them to establish the new Ukrainian team. The two groups joined in Uzgorod, it took about one month to arrive there with all the old vehicles and campers. For a short time they stayed with "Pilgrims to Jerusalem" and then went forward to begin their first campaign with the big tent in Kiev. On the way, somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains suddenly died one of the brothers, Kent. This was a very hard moment for the team, it looked like all the forces of the enemy tried to stop us going forward. This was only the beginning of fighting the battle of faith in this country that for so long has been a strong hold of Satan.
Now, after 13 years in Ukraine, we have the privilege to witness an enormous transformation in this nation. God has raised His Church and many souls have found salvation. During this time we had campaigns in more than 40 cities and a big number of towns and villages. In some places we suffered much opposition from authorities, especially the first years of ministry, but every difficulty gave the opportunity to see the victory of our Lord. Today, Ukraine has the highest church growth rate in Europe - 9, 2%, there are more than 150 churches in Kiev, one of them is the biggest in Europe, but still there are about 20 000 small towns and villages that have no evangelical church.
These are four principles of inconceivable importance: That missions are the chief end of the Church. That the chief end of the ministry is to guide the Church in this work and equip her for it. That the chief end of the preaching to a congregation ought to be to train it to help to fulfill her destiny. And the chief end of every minister in this connection ought to be fit himself thoroughly for this work. - Andrew Murray
"Christ is the Answer" - Ukraine is a mobile evangelical ministry, one of more than 10 teams working in different parts of the world preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. C.I.T.A has found the tent campaigns to be the most effective way to reach as many people as possible. The tent is a neutral place for Christians and non-Christians because we don't represent a certain denomination. The non-Christians feel attracted by curiosity and, since there are no doors, they can come and go when they want. They feel comfortable because they are not labeled as Christians by their friends and neighbors if they only come to listen to the meetings. The tent campaigns usually stay about one and a half months in each city because it seems to be an amount of time need in order to understand what a step to follow Jesus would mean for them. In general we have found out that the more days people listen before making a decision, the more permanent the result. Many times they don't make the decision until the last days of campaign, or afterwards, when they start to attend the local churches. We don't believe there needs to be famous evangelists or special charismatic preachers in order to see the results. The number of genuine conversions seems to depend more on the dedication of the team, making friends with new believers or visitors, ministering to their needs, and answering their questions.
C.I.T.A doesn't ask for any financial support from the members or that they should have a certain school degree. It is important, however, that they have a sincere desire to serve the Lord, compassion for the lost and a desire to live in harmony with people that have different opinions, race, tastes, past, etc. Here the motto is plainly and unaffectedly - training disciplined soldiers for Christ. The disciples are encouraged to a deeper walk with God and to have a personal conviction of what they believe, based on reading the Word and seeking the Lord in prayer. We live by faith, believing that when the Lord's work is done, He will provide us with everything necessary to do it. The kind of people who join us vary from strong Christians who know what it means to be a missionary, to people who are still new in the Lord and really have no idea of what it means. Many times the group serves as a rehabilitation program for those who come from life of drugs and crime or as a refuge place for teenagers that have no parents or big problems in their families.
We live in small tents and containers; there are separate containers for married couples, kitchen, shower, electric and musical equipment. We use trucks and trailers to move from city to city. In each town we go we set up a big or small tent for evening meetings. There is also a lot of practical work to be done, so each member takes turns to care of washing the dishes, guarding the camp, doing the laundry, cooking, etc. Any talents and skills are fully used for maintaining the camp and in expressing the message of the Gospel on the streets and in the big tent in the evening. We are really many ministries in one, as we have mechanics, carpenters, electricians, and office workers, those who minister in music, drama, working with children, and all the other talents that are needed to maintain the camp on daily basis.
There is a different way we work in summer and winter time. The winters in Ukraine are pretty cold (until -25 C) and in this time the evangelism with the big tent is impossible. For this reason in winter we rent a house for about 6 months and the work continues in two directions: evangelism on the streets, hospitals, schools, outreaches to the remote villages and the practical work of repairing the vehicles, fixing the material for the next tent campaigns, cutting wood to heat the house, Bible and language studies, etc. The advantages of living such a simple lifestyle are many, although it is sometimes difficult for those who are used to more comforts.
Some advantages are:
1. new disciples do not come with the idea of raising their status;
2. we have the possibility to receive many guests;
3. our lives become an open book before the eyes of the people in each city;
4. our lives become a challenge and it speaks to peoples' hearts even more than the nightly messages;
5. the mission is a neutral ground where the believers from different denominations can be united in reaching the lost;
In each city, we visit, pastors from various churches are recognized as spiritual authority and the team leaders will work in submission and harmony with them. Churches of different evangelical denominations are invited to participate in the campaign. Pastors are given the opportunity to preach during the month or two of nightly meetings. The young people of each congregation participating in the campaign are often stimulated when they see the dedication of the disciples. This usually produces a renewal and a revival in the local church, because the youth get new ideas of how they can be useful in evangelism and in ministering in their own churches.
In general, "Christ is the Answer" is a missionary school where any individual that has a fervent heart for the Lord and people will find a place for service. Here we learn to live by faith, trusting God for the impossible. A travelling life-style such as this provides the possibility to concentrate our time and energy to preaching the Gospel.
The history of missions is a colorful history of "unlikely heroes" - characterized by obedience rather than ability.
- to reach as many people as possible with the Gospel, showing the love of God in a practical way;
- to reach as many as possible little villages where there are very few believers or no churches at all;
- to encourage the local believers to join forces in wining the lost, that they can learn to share the Gospel in a practical way and also to help the young people of the church to get that vision;
- to help the local church to equip missionaries to the other parts of Ukraine or former Soviet Union;
- to prepare and sent disciples from our team to other C.I.T.A teams; to enlarge the tent ministry in other countries as well;
- to have a permanent winter base + center to help teenagers with different problems.
OUR DAILY WORK
Daily Routine (except for Sunday)
6:45 - Wake up;
7:15 - Formation;
8:00 - Breakfast;
9:00 - Group meeting with worship and Bible study;
10:00 - Street evangelism, practical work;
13:00 - Lunch and rest;
15:00 - Street evangelism, band practice, drama practice, or other preparations for the nightly meetings;
19:00 - Meeting under the big tent, children meeting under the small tent;
21:30 - Supper;
23:00 - Bedtime.
On Sundays we divide into small groups and visit the churches in the area.
On Mondays we rest.
We reach people by:
- big tent meetings;
- small tent meetings in villages and towns;
- feeding the poor;
- children and youth meetings in the tent, schools and colleges where films and drama had proved to be an affective method of evangelism;
- women's meetings;
- evangelism in the hospitals, prisons;
- street meetings in the markets, parks, squares and other populated places;
- evangelism "two by two" - two team members go into the neighborhoods and share the Gospel with individuals;
- outreaches for 1-2 weeks to the towns and villages were the local brothers need help in establishing new churches and\or strengthening the small communities.
LEADER OF THE TEAM
Henry Pina Diaz is from Venezuela. Year 1985, disappointed with his life, he left his job, family and friends and went out of the country with the desire to travel and visit Moscow Komsomol Youth Festival. Traveling through Europe, he stopped in Rome. There he lived on the street singing, playing guitar to gain some money. In that time the C.I.T.A big tent was there and one of the sisters invited him to come to the meeting. God made a miracle, Henry's life was transformed and for 20 years he has been serving the Lord, first in Italy, then in Portugal and now in Ukraine. His wife Julia is from Ukraine. In the year 1993 the big tent was in her home city. There she got saved and joined the ministry. Their daughter Aura is 9, she dreams to be a teacher for a poor Indian children or a farmer to provide the food for the team.
"Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way.
Pour out your soul for them in prayer victorious, And all you spendest Jesus will repay."
WE NEED :
- new disciples, you can be one of them, or you can come and participate in the work for a short time;
- to repair the vehicles and to renew our equipment;
- a house to return to each winter, this would save us the time and money we spend in renting and maintaining a new place each year, also to use it as a center to help teenagers with different problems and vagabonds;
- 3-4 new containers or campers for the growing team;
- finances on regular bases to keep going;
PRAY WITH US:
- for the open doors to preach the Gospel and wisdom to know where to go;
- for Ukraine to be a motherland of many missionaries;
- for the possibility to send outreaches to Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet block countries;
- for the possibility to prepare and send missionaries from Ukraine to other countries or C.I.T.A teams.