“And on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18-19.
As I am writing this, Dawn and I are finishing a trip to Macedonia, Ukraine and Hungary. This is our first journey into Europe since the lock-downs began in March of 2020. We’ve been reconnecting with many of our partners and getting a feel for how things are going in the countries we’ve visited. What we found has been so encouraging! One thing has become very clear: You can shut down the entire world, but you cannot stop the Kingdom of God. Sitting across the dinner table from Pastors Sergei and Anna Franchuk in Poltava, Ukraine, I asked them how the pandemic affected their church. Their answer represents all the testimonies we’ve heard.
Sergei and Anna said, “About three months after the lock-down began, we realized that God has been preparing us for this for a long time. We didn’t realize it till we were in the middle of it. But we were able to easily move to online groups, discipleship, prayer, and we continued to stay connected with our elderly. Our main concern was that our older members used old phones that could not connect online, so our leadership prayed for how we could communicate with them. Then a miracle happened. All of our older members received new phones, and they learned quickly how to connect, join groups and participate! We would take food to their apartments and they would lower a rope from the balcony. We attached the food bag, and they pulled up the food. They could not leave their apartments but God gave us a way to connect. Even more, we continued to reach new people and grow as a church!” We were able to connect with leaders from seven churches, several businesses, and other organizations. Every church became stronger during the pandemic, the businesses thrived, and their influence in their cities expanded. Ekklesia stepped up and God’s favor was witnessed everywhere.
Jesus prophesied in Matthew 16:18 that, “I will build my ekklesia and the gates of hell shall not stand against it.” Dawn and I are deeply convicted by what we’ve witnessed and we are determined to be part of it. What about you? May the challenges you face ignite the Kingdom of God within you!