“I’m so glad I moved to this village. I get to minister mainly to unbelievers,” said Kostya (Constantine), a student at the new Center for Youth Ministry at TCI in Southern Ukraine. He recently moved to this village full of young people to plant an evangelical church where there wasn’t one before.
Sam Hughes, YMI’s Eurasia director, visited Kostya and saw the ministry first-hand. As they arrived in the village, Kostya pointed out every house on the street he now lives on. He can tell details about the lives of his neighbors, because of the time he has invested in getting to know them. One of his neighbors, Andrew, is an alcoholic. Rita recently visited the new church. Although he hasn’t been in this village very long, the relationships he has built with the people show his compassion and desire for them to know Jesus.
Soon after Sam arrived, a knock on the door of Kostya’s house revealed a half-drunk man asking for help. Kostya has been working with this man and recently led him to Christ, although he still struggles with alcoholism. Since he was hungry, Kostya sent him to get cleaned up and invited him to eat with them. Around midnight, Sam, Kostya, and this man sat around eating Ukrainian barbeque and talking about life, God, and many other things. After dinner, Kostya told Sam, “This man is like many of the people who will be at church tomorrow.”
The next day Sam preached about Jesus to twenty five people in the newly formed church–two of whom were visitors. The church has grown from 4 to twenty-five in only a few short months, mostly because of Kostya’s vision to invest in the lives of the people in this small Ukrainian village.
Sunday afternoon, Sam, Kostya, and ten other people (including five middle school students) spent time together and continued to build relationships. Clearly, Kostya is investing time into the young people of the village, as he spent over seven hours that Sunday with them. As Sam was leaving, he reminded Kostya of the impact he is having, and Kostya told Sam that the Philosophy of Youth Ministry class has been helping him as he plants this church and reaches out to those around him.
We know that many students like Kostya have taken YMI’s training and are impacting many young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s exciting to see how the principles learned in the classroom get put into practice on a daily basis in churches, villages, and towns all over the world.