Twenty-five years ago outreach worker Elizabeth Terini (born and raised in the Former Soviet Union) and Avi Snyder (one of our U.S. branch leaders) sensed an urgent call to bring the gospel to Jews and Gentiles in Odessa. It was one of those Holy Spirit moments — our leadership council had no idea what God had in mind, or how long the door would be open for ministry, but it seemed clear that He was calling the shots so we sent the Snyder family and Elizabeth off with much prayer.

We had no idea Odessa would become the launch pad for the gospel to go out to Jewish people throughout Russia, Ukraine, then Germany and Hungary. The hearts of our Odessa team still beat so passionately for the Lord; they have endured through many hardships in a country that is unstable and war torn. But their stability is Jesus, the Rock of Ages! And the team purposed to celebrate their 25th year of ministry with a two-week evangelistic campaign. Avi (now our European director) reports,

“The campaign got off to a strong start on Monday, August 15.  Seven people, one of whom is Jewish, prayed to receive the Lord! Pray for them to grow in the faith.

“Leonid Vasserman has assembled a team of about 50 campaigners.  A third are staff; the rest are volunteers from two of the congregations he’s established in Odessa. Five volunteers came from a Hebrew/Russian speaking congregation in Haifa whose leader (originally from Tashkent) trained with us in Odessa in the early nineties.  Then he returned to Tashkent to start his own work until he moved to Israel.

“About 20 campaigners from Leonid’s congregations make up a special youth team, led by Leonid’s son, Sasha, who is one of our outreach workers. Their music/worship quality is professional caliber.  They spent six hours on the ‘main drag’ of Derebosovskaya, where they conducted games, performed music and mime, and preached the Word to large crowds.

The first day ended well; in addition to the seven people who came to faith, 107 Jewish unbelievers and 166 Gentiles gave their contact information to hear more about Jesus.”

Please keep our Odessa campaigners in your prayers, especially Sasha and his team (what a blessing to see the second generation of this team carrying on the work!). Stay tuned for more news, and next time, photos!

If you haven’t already, check out more RealTime stories here.