Category Archives: Kiev

Relief for Refugees from Ukraine

Shalom in His grace. I appreciate the opportunity each month to tell you about the good work God is doing through Your Mission to the Jewish People. With the post-COVID reopening of the United States and so many other countries where Chosen People Ministries serves, there is more happening in our efforts to reach Jewish people with the gospel than I can describe.

As you know, we have initiated a three-part campaign called Foundations ’22, in which we are “going back to the basics” of personal evangelism, discipleship, and deeper training for Jewish believers and our Christian friends reaching their Jewish friends and family. This campaign has progressed rapidly as the opportunities now abound. We had a tremendous month of Passover outreach. Our presentations of Messiah in the Passover online and in person in churches across the nation enabled hundreds of Jewish people to hear the gospel and be introduced to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Yet with all this excitement, I still cannot escape the heartbreak of what is happening to the people of Ukraine, including hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who live there, as the countries of the former Soviet Union still have large numbers of Jewish people within their borders. The Ukrainians have suffered the attempted destruction of their country, without mercy on the part of Putin and his minions.

The tragedy of war fills me with sadness, and I am sure you feel the same way. We are doing all we can to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainians. It is especially terrible to watch as a generation of younger male leaders die defending their homes. Women and children are doing their best to get out of the country and escape to Poland and other nearby countries or eventually to Israel. This tragedy especially impacts children, as so many lost one or both parents or had to flee, leaving their father behind.

Mariupol, a city on the eastern border, was reduced from 450,000 people to less than 100,000, and most of their schools, apartments, and shopping areas were reduced to rubble. For years, we served a couple of Messianic congregations in this once-beautiful city, but now the Jewish believers have scattered. Yet, by God’s grace, many have found one another using WhatsApp, Telegram, and other social media tools. Along with Messianic Jews from other parts of Ukraine, they have regathered in western Ukraine in a safer city and have rebuilt a small community of believers. Some of the funds you have so sacrificially given enables them to survive, and our team also uses funds we provide to help non-believers as part of their ongoing outreach.

RELIEF IN JESUS’ NAME

We are focusing our ministries of relief and care on nations bordering Ukraine like Poland, Hungary, Romania, as well as on other European countries that have welcomed refugees. Much of our efforts are within Poland and Germany where a combined few million Ukrainian refugees have fled. We are working through our Chosen People Ministries staff and volunteers in these countries to support ministries in campgrounds, congregational facilities, and the homes of Christians. We are helping the refugees find safe housing and meeting some of their basic needs. We even brought in teams of Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking believers from Israel to help the refugees.

We are also assisting Ukrainian Jews wanting to move to Israel by renting some apartments in the Holy Land to temporarily house these new immigrants. During the last twenty-five years, God has done a wonderful work among Russian-speaking Jewish people. About 60 percent of the believers in Israel today speak Russian or Ukrainian as their primary language. Our staff in Israel have benefited from this movement of the Holy Spirit, and we have an abundance of Russian-speaking staff who can minister to these refugees.

So many of those moving to Israel are coming without husbands, sons, and brothers, as the men could not get out of Ukraine, where they are fighting the Russian invaders. Many of the men do not want to leave, choosing rather to stay and fight.

In the past, Chosen People Ministries has served the community of single mothers in Israel. Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus helping those on the margins of society, and the Scriptures strongly encourage believers to help widows and orphans specifically (James 1:27).

One of my favorite passages is in Matthew chapter 9, in which we see our beloved Messiah focusing on the physical and spiritual needs of those who did not receive a lot of help from the rest of society. Matthew wrote:

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matt 9:35–38, emphasis added)

We are trying, by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to follow the example of the Messiah Jesus and minister to those in need, especially those who others might not be able or willing to help.

REPORTS FROM THE FIELD

Since the beginning of the war, we have received daily updates from our staff on the ground in Europe and Israel. Most of the emails are from Boris Goldin, who is coordinating our Chosen People Ministries work in Ukraine, and Maxim Katz, who is based in Israel but is currently working extensively with our Chosen People Ministries team in Poland. Please pray for them!

We also thank God for our German partners, Beit Sar Shalom (House of the Prince of Peace) and their director, Vladimir Pikman, who along with his wife, Inna, became believers through the congregation we planted in Kiev during the early 1990s. The teams in Germany are working day and night to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of refugees entering Germany and have attracted dozens of displaced Ukrainian Jewish believers who are now attending their congregations across Germany.

The email below from Maxim to our Israel director, Michael Z., is one example of the needs described during the early days of the conflict that encouraged Your Mission to the Jewish People to take action!

Misha shalom,

In connection with the war in Ukraine, I would like to inform you of what we are doing. Miraculously, the Lord opened up possibilities that we could not even imagine. A few days ago, the Sochnut1 turned to Ostróda (the place where we hold camps2 in Poland) to request to accept Jews from Ukraine. Today they contacted us through them, and together, we are coordinating the arrival of a group of Jews to Ostróda. I contacted my friend from the transport company, and the bus went to the Polish border to pick up 15 families. These are Israelis and new immigrants. They will be able to fly to Israel only after March 10. Until that time, they will live in Ostróda.

We were also asked for help in finding a place for 200 children from the Beit Chabad orphanage in Odessa. They are now in Romania and are looking for a place for a week. They are ready to stay at a Christian place but have asked to use as little symbolism as possible and to help with kosher food. I spoke with Dorin and his brother in Romania who is ready to help. I gave his coordinates to Sochnut and they already spoke. I hope everything will work out.

Misha, I think if you let me fly to Poland . . . and serve on site, I think it will be a fruitful help and ministry.

Thanks,

Maxim

Your prayers and support are so important to us, and I pray the Lord will guide you to support these efforts to bring the love of the Messiah to those suffering the ravages of war. I am praying about the rebuilding of the Ukrainian Messianic community throughout the globe, and your gifts of support will help in these rebuilding efforts wherever they will take place…Ukraine, Israel, Poland, Germany, as the Lord leads and allows.

I will send further updates as the Lord enables.

Your brother in Messiah,

Mitch

P.S. I was able to see the crisis firsthand during a recent trip to Poland, and my heart is just broken. Again, your prayers and financial support enable us to do more to help both Jews and Gentiles suffering in what can only be described as a modern humanitarian disaster. Thank you for your love and partnership.

1 The Jewish Agency, which coordinates the aliyah of Jewish people around the globe

2 Camps for children from Israel and Holocaust survivors

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Pray for Ukraine

I am writing with an urgent plea for prayer for the people of Ukraine, including many who are Jewish and who Chosen People Ministries currently serves.

Unfortunately, Russia and Ukraine have entered into a regrettable time of war. This conflict may have devastating effects on the people we love and to whom we minister as well as on their families, their friends, and their congregations.

Since the 1990s, 1.5 million Jewish people from the former Soviet Union have emigrated to Israel from their countries of origin. We have also seen an incredible movement of the Holy Spirit that has impacted the Jewish people and has opened ministry opportunities in Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.

Over the years, our staff team has provided leadership to a network of Messianic congregations in multiple cities in Ukraine. The first congregation in Kyiv, Beit El-Gibor, planted by Chosen People Ministries, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

Through these congregations, we work with youth, children in orphanages, families, prisoners, substance-abuse victims, and elderly people, including Holocaust survivors. Presently, we also have more than two dozen Ukrainian- and Russian-born missionaries on our staff serving across the globe.

Many Chosen People Ministries staff members still have family in Ukraine. They also have many friends and ministry leaders there with whom they have worked over many years.

Our hearts break for those now in the midst of the tragedy of war, which we hope and pray will be short-lived.

In addition to praying for God’s wisdom upon Ukrainian leadership and for protection for all people—especially in targeted areas—please join us in praying specifically for the Lord’s safeguarding of the roughly 200,000 Jewish people in Ukraine and for the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is also Jewish and subject to the violence of war.

Please also continue to pray for peace in Ukraine, safety for those we have been serving, and that God’s hand of mercy will permeate the region.

We have just established a relief fund for Jewish victims of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

We will use a portion of the funds to help with food, housing, and transportation for those fleeing to the western part of Ukraine. We even hope to help some of these precious war-torn souls find their way to Israel. The needs abound, especially among the elderly, those who have young children, and others who cannot access their limited bank accounts.

We are especially heartbroken and burdened for those who are part of the small Messianic congregations we have been helping in eastern Ukraine. They need our prayers and support immediately!

If the conflict ends quickly, whatever we do not use from this fund will help our ministries among aging Holocaust survivors in Israel.

Thank you so much for your sacrifice, prayers, and generosity.

Most of all, please join us in praying for this tragic situation TODAY.

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Special Report from Kiev

Shalom dear friend in the Messiah,

I recently returned from a trip to Kiev, where I participated in the European section meeting of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism. This group has existed for thirty years, and was initiated by Jewish mission leaders involved with the Lausanne Consultation on World Evangelism. The meetings for the European group were held in Kiev April, 28 – May 2, 2014.

There were many reasons for the event to be held in Kiev, not the least of which is because there has been a growing, authentic and indigenous Messianic Jewish movement in Ukraine – centered in Kiev – which began in 1989 at the beginning of Perestroika. The conference statement is well worth reading, and reflects the sentiments of the attendees.

The history of the Jewish people of Ukraine is significant. Ukraine was part of the Pale of Settlement, where Jews were allowed to live, and included land that is now part of Russia, Poland, Romania, Belarus as well as today’s Ukraine. The borders were quite fluid for many years, and so many Jewish people’s “country of origin” frequently changed. However, the borders stabilized after 1945 and the formation of the Soviet Union. The area has always been important to Jewish evangelism, as more than ten million Jewish people lived in the region before World War II.

Fifty-plus years later, the Soviet Union would become the Former Soviet Union and countries that were once part of it would again assert their independence and individuality. This is most assuredly what is taking place now as the Ukrainians, especially in the Western and more European part of Ukraine, seek continued independence from Russia. The conflict between various parts of Ukraine and Russia is at the heart of current conflict. Although the conflict appears to be purely political and nationalistic, there is a spiritual aspect to the situation as well.

The Ukrainian Christians – Baptists, Pentecostals and those who identify with the mainline churches – have been deeply involved in the political struggle, hoping as well that an independent Ukraine would be best for the spiritual atmosphere of the country’s people. This is understandable, as the Russian Orthodox Church has been a very controlling presence in Russia and throughout the Former Soviet Union for many years.

The Christians in the Ukraine believe they now have greater freedoms than others in the Former Soviet Union, and part of their political struggle stems from a desire to maintain this freedom of religion. The fierce and early fighting took place in what is known as Maidan Square, the very heart both symbolically and physically of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.  Many born-again believers found extraordinary opportunities to minister in the midst of the conflict.  As a result of the fighting many Ukranians came to the Lord.

Many Jewish people believe that Ukraine is an anti-Semitic country. Certainly this is true historically; however, after meeting some of the believers in Kiev, I can honestly say that these believers have renounced this history of anti-Semitism and assured me that they love the Jewish people, affirm the state of Israel and work hard to make the Gospel known among their Jewish friends and loved ones. This was deeply encouraging to me.

Our Israel Director, Michael Zinn, who grew up in the Western Ukrainian city of Lvov gives us an overview of the events and interviews Yuri, one of the key leaders of the prayer tent movement in Maidan:

Michael Zinn: An Overview of Recent Events in the Ukraine

Michael and Yuri: God’s Work Through the Prayer Tent Ministries

It was eye-opening to visit Maidan Square last week and see for myself some of what transpired. I know a picture is worth at least a thousand words and so you can see for yourself the pictures of the barricades, tents, tires, para-military groups, nationalist allies and more!

My hope is that you will pray for Ukraine and especially for our brothers and sisters who have been so involved in helping, praying, serving food and leading many to Jesus in the midst of the conflict. Messianic Jews from Ukraine were in the trenches as well, sharing the love of Jesus with their fellow Ukrainian citizens.

Chosen People Ministries has had a ministry in the Ukraine for many years. It started in the midst of what I call the “Russian Jewish Jesus Movement,” which I date from the fall of the Soviet Union until today. Tens of thousands of Russian, Ukrainians and other Jews living in the Former Soviet Union have come to faith in the Messiah Jesus. In fact, at our LCJE European gathering, about a third of the participants or more spoke Russian or Ukrainian as their first languages. This is miraculous when you consider that the citizens of the Former Soviet Union were once forced to renounce all religious faith, and Jews especially were not allowed to worship in communities.

It is incredible to see what God has done. In fact, twenty-five years ago, Chosen People Ministries may have had a missionary or two that spoke Russian… but today we have 25-30 Russian speakers on our staff, serving around the globe from Russia and Ukraine to Israel, Australia, the United States and Germany!

Vladimir Pikman, who became a believer through our early ministries among the Jewish people in Kiev, tells the story of the founding of our work in front of the building in Maidan where our ministries began (now damaged by fire):

Vladimir Pikman: My Testimony and the Birth of Chosen People Ministries in Kiev

I was also able to speak briefly about the work of those dedicated disciples who are the fruit of God’s work through Chosen People Ministries in Kiev. There are a number of fine Messianic Jewish congregations in Kiev and Ukraine and quite a few mission agencies that are laboring in various cities throughout Ukraine, bringing the Good News of Messiah Jesus to Jewish Ukrainians and to Gentiles as well.

Mitch Glaser: Appeal for Prayer for Ukrainian Jewish Evangelism

Remember to pray for Ukraine, as we all have many brothers and sisters there who are enduring hardship and trying to being the Gospel to their people in trying times. There are still hundreds of thousands of Jewish people in Ukraine, and we are asking God to help us increase our ministry to win our kinsmen to the Savior.

We do have one Messianic congregation in Harkov, led by Sasha Sareda, a Ukrainian Baptist pastor called to serve among the Jewish people. We support Sasha and would appreciate your prayers.

As time goes by it becomes clearer and clearer that we will need to expand our work in Kiev. If you have interest in working in Ukraine with Chosen People Ministries or supporting this ministry, please take a moment to e-mail me so that we can talk about your involvement personally.

I hope you will enjoy the videos – and please pray about supporting our efforts among Russian-speaking Jewish people today!

Make an online donation now!

Please type Ministry to Russian and Ukrainian Jews
in the Special Designation box

Your brother in the Messiah,

Mitch

 


Remnant and Renewal: The New Russian Messianic Movement

Who are the Jewish people of the former Soviet Union and what is their relationship to the Gospel?

Remnant and Renewal: The New Russian Messianic Movement tells the story of the Russian-speaking Jewish people, and the sometimes heartbreaking, often heroic tales of those who have sought to bring the Gospel to them throughout their troubled history.

Remnant and Renewal: $13.95

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Filed under Anti-Semitism, Israel, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Kiev, Messianic Jewish