This past May, I had the privilege of again visiting the SGA-sponsored Irpen Biblical Seminary to participate in their graduation ceremony. It was a meaningful day for not only me, but also for our president emeritus Bob Provost, who accompanied me to Ukraine for the celebration, and who had been involved with Irpen since its inception. It was a special day because it once again demonstrated the result of your prayers and faithful support through SGA. These graduates will now go forth to gather the waiting harvest of souls that God has raised up, and to make eternal differences in many lives.
As I watched the students accepting their diplomas and listened to the joyful messages from the speakers, I remembered a similar visit to Irpen that I had made 14 years ago. It struck me that the students I observed back then were now in place as church leaders! They had used the tools given to them in their studies to evangelize, and to grow churches in the places where God had sent them. Your prayers and generous support had yielded eternal fruit! And that made this day all the more memorable and moving.
Being founded back in the early 1990s, Irpen Biblical Seminary is a young school compared to other evangelical seminaries around the world. But the impact this school is having for the sake of the Gospel goes beyond its years. I am thankful that more than 90% of graduates enter full or part-time ministry all across the former Soviet Union and beyond. They are planting new churches and sharing the Gospel through evangelistic events or one-on-
“I trust that you are encouraged by this
progress—and will continue to pray and
faithful partner in the days ahead”
They are serving as Christian Education workers and worship leaders. They are serving as Bible teachers and youth pastors. And considering it all together, it reminds me that this is why SGA exists—to serve the faithful evangelical churches that Christ is building across Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and even in Israel. And there is yet another reality to ponder.
As men, women, and children are won to Christ in previously unreached regions, and new churches are established to disciple them, these congregations will not grow apart from having enough biblically trained young pastors to preach the Gospel and effectively teach biblical truth. Considering that the vast majority of cities, towns, and villages across the former Soviet Union do not have a Bible-preaching church or permanent Christian witness, we have much work remaining to do. I trust that you are encouraged by this progress—and will continue to pray and faithful partner in the days ahead. Thank you forall that you do for the glory of Christ!
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