Eastern Europe 2020 Update

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BMI has a strong ministry occurring in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. The ministry in this part of the world was begun by David and Sue Burnham in the late 1980s. In October 1990, a historic meeting took place in the Central Baptist Church of Moscow between David and Sue and Rev. Vasily Logvinenko, formerly the President of the USSR Baptist Union. “Will you help me train the pastors?” questioned Rev. Logvinenko as he poured out his heart to David. His invitation to BMI to come and train Christian leaders throughout the USSR opened doors for BMI for many decades to come.

From that meeting in Rev. Logvinenko’s office over 30 years ago, BMI has continued to offer ministry training throughout the former Soviet States. BMI is blessed to have our regional director of Eastern Europe, Dr. Vitaly Sorokun, who has been serving with BMI for over 20 years. Vitaly has a lovely wife named Anna, who tutors English in Ukraine.

Vitaly’s ministry is flourishing. Vitaly continues to pastor New Hope Church (which focuses on international students), teach at the local Kharkov Bible College, run special courses at the main Baptist training seminary near Kiev, and teach part-time as an associate professor of international public law at the National Law University of Ukraine.

After much discussion and prayer, Vitaly decided to accept the invitation to become the Director of the Foreign Missions Committee of the Baptist Union of Ukraine (UBU). UBU is the largest evangelical denomination in Ukraine, with over 2300 churches and 113,000 members. The Foreign Missions has sent out nearly 30 Ukrainian missionaries who are serving in 14 countries around the world with the unreached and the underprivileged. Vitaly has revitalized UBU’s missions program, creating systems of mobilization and providing care for the missionaries. In many respects, Vitaly serves as a pastor to the missionaries.

Due to the COVID pandemic, Vitaly has done very little travel since March. He has, however, been constantly holding video meetings and training sessions with our ministry partners in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Each of them has been involved in training leaders either individually or in their seminaries.

Vitaly conducted 3 large video training conferences on our curriculum, “Technology and the Family.” These 3 groups were for our key ministry partners in Russia, for the BMI regional directors and ministry partners in South Asia, SE Asia, and the Philippines, and for a group of 100 seminary students in Belarus at Minsk Theological Seminary. Vitaly also teaches the BMI curriculum at Irpin Biblical Seminary in Ukraine. 

BMI has developed an ongoing partnership with Minsk Theological Seminary. Our relationship with the school began when one of the professors, Sergey Drodz, attended our first Ukrainian Encountering Christ conference in Kharkov in 2012. Following this training, Vitaly made several trips to Minsk to teach various BMI courses. Sergey Drozd is now the school’s vice president and our key ministry partner for Belarus.

Perhaps Vitaly’s most important ministry involves the young men he intentionally mentors. Vitaly has beautifully modeled the BMI 3-phased mentorship process. Currently, Vitaly is mentoring 3 young men: Elvis, Yaroslav, and Lincoln.

BMI’s women’s director for Eastern Europe is Nadia Morokhovets. Nadia travels throughout Ukraine and Belarus to conduct specially tailored conferences for women.  She has a vivacious and caring personality and is a sought-after speaker and leader of women in that part of the world. This year Nadia has not only faced the challenge of COVID-19, but she was also diagnosed with cancer and has been undergoing treatment. We are happy to report that her prognosis looks very good! Early in the year, she conducted two women’s ministries training events in Ukraine, and now after her treatments,  she is already beginning to train women again on Zoom! She especially loves to teach Living With Your Emotions by Sue Burnham.