June, 2010
Partners with Ukraine,
After speaking to and spending time with Reach Out's 22 Ukrainian Eagle Leaders in May, I could introduce you to 22 courageous leaders of change.

Kiril and Courageous Change

One such leader is Kiril, from Good Change Church in Mariupol. After living a drug-addicted lifestyle, he came to Christ. In time, God called him to minister to teenagers like himself. His church asked him to become the youth leader of 25 volunteers and 125 kids, but they were satisfied with their big-program, superficial ministry.
When Kiril discovered Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry and went through the training, he desired to move the teenagers into a deeper relationship with Christ. This created serious conflict in the church. Half of the leaders left and most of the teenagers quit. With this collapse, people in the church criticized Kiril calling for him to resign.
To make matters much worse, Kiril discovered that he had contracted AIDS from previous drug use. Yet having AIDS and a shortened lifespan only increased his passion and urgency for change. He committed himself fully to Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry.
Realizing Kiril's willingness to give his life for their kids to know and follow Jesus, the church's attitude changed. Since then, Kiril has rebuilt the leadership team to 18 leaders. He disciples the 50 remaining kids, who have built relationships with non-believers. Forty kids have come to know Jesus. People have stopped calling for Kiril's resignation. Now in the hospital, he is on his last lap. What a courageous life-changer and what a legacy of life-change he leaves!

Courageous Change and Ruka Dopomogy

Change does not come easy! Like Kiril, Ruka Dopomogy (Reach Out in Ukrainian), has courageously changed over the years.
Beginning 16 years ago, we conducted large conferences and mentored a few youth leaders to encourage them in the early days of freedom after communism. Few acted on what we taught them. When Doug Landro arrived in 1997 he began mentoring youth leaders to implement Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry, producing two current Eagle Leaders -- Sergey Bogomazuk, and Ghenna Vakulenko. In 2000 Doug realized the need for additional change and created a Youth Ministry School offering 170 hours of instruction. Two Eagle Leaders emerged: Vova Bilik and Sasha Kulbich. However, "lone ranger" youth leaders struggled to implement Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry in their churches.

In 2004, Doug and our Ukrainian director, Igor Minenko, created dramatic change--from equipping one youth leader from many churches to equipping many youth leaders from one church. Instead of students going to the school, the school goes to their church -- six weekend sessions over twelve months. The church signs an agreement that all younger generation leaders -- pastor, youth leaders, parents and students -- will participate, then upon completion they will coach two other churches. Every younger generation leader in the church gets on board with Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry!

The Results of Courageous Change

 These changes have produced astounding results!
  • 19 churches coached
  • 15 churches in process
  • 60 churches complete training by December, 2010
  • 91% youth leadership increase
  • 313% youth ministry growth
  • 20 teens per church gave their lives to Christ this year
  • 1,210 teens have come to Christ since 2004
Currently Ruka Dopomogy's growing number of Eagle Leaders serves as a national team of Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry trainers. Many oversee youth ministry in their denominations. They represent 12 denominations and 16 regions of Ukraine, plus Belarus and Siberia.

Courageous change continues to increase across Ukraine! Your prayers and gifts stimulate that change!
Jesus is Lord,
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