Final Concert in Zhitomir

The grand finale of the Ukraine 2017 Texas Country Boys Road Tour has taken place! It happened in a overpacked theatre in the center square of Zhitomir. There was an energy of excitement in the air that could be sensed as people flooded into the theater as soon as the doors were opened. By concert time there were more people in the hall than were allowed and people were still streaming in. The hall director closed the doors and would not let anyone else in. Concert attendees who were turned away argued and pleaded to be let in.  MGI workers asked the director to at least let the overflow crowd stand outside the doors and listen. It is estimated that at least 200 people were turned away.

Backstage, before the concert, the band prayed with a man who came with a heavy heart because his son has cancer and was too ill to attend.  They encouraged him and gave him a Texas Country Boys t-shirt to take to his son as a gift from the band.

The Texas Country Boys gave the audience a truly amazing concert, adding extra music, throwing t-shirts into the crowd and giving their all on stage. Those who had to stand throughout the concert did not seem to mind and remained standing in the aisles and along the walls to listen intently to Michael Gott as he spoke. Despite people being turned away and not getting to hear the Gospel in the music and the message, 529 people who were in the audience recorded positive decisions.

The response to this tour was so positive that invitations to return as well as new invitations to cities where they’ve not been are already coming in. Stay tuned for the next chapter in the Texas Country Boys story!

Poltava Concert

On Wednesday, the Texas Country Boys traveled to the city of Poltava. About 800 of the city’s 150,000 residents filled the concert hall to hear them.  Their brand of music was received with broad applause and vocal gratitude as some even yelled out and stood to cheer.

Michael Gott referenced a current article from an international magazine when he spoke to the audience of all ages. It was evident that the message was one that sparked the interest of those who heard as they listened intently.

At the close of the concert The Texas Country Boys left the stage to greet the audience in the lobby.  Thankful people surrounded them to express gratitude for the free concert and get a photo. Meanwhile, in a private room, a team was counting, and recounting the decision forms that had been turned in.  442 positive decisions were collected in the city of Poltava. The tour bus pulled out afterward to make the 5 hour drive to Kiev so that the band could prepare for the final concert in Zhitomir. Please ask God for His blessing on The Texas Country Boys and Michael Gott as they finish the tour on Thursday.

(Editor’s Note: As of the time this is posted (10/26/17 – 11:30 am Central Time the Country Boys are in the middle of their final concert. Say a prayer for them right now as you read. Pray that this final concert will produce a great harvest of souls.)

Kharkiv Concert

Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine with a population of around 1,500,000 people. It is located less than 20 miles from the Russian border and has remained stalwart in its stand for Ukrainian autonomy. This huge population center has a small percentage of evangelicals with only a hand full of small Baptist churches.

The evangelistic concert effort in Kharkiv presented special challenges. The Texas Country Boys were met with opposition by Baptist leadership who were uneasy promoting their upbeat style of music. Despite the Baptist boycott, a number Christian young people came not just as observers but as volunteers. Since MGI had completed an English Language Evangelism Event just 2 months earlier, the majority of the concert attendees were former MGI students who had been contacted with a special invitation.

In spite of intrusive interruptions regarding parking problems during the presentation of the Gospel message, Michael Gott and his translator were able to remain poised and clearly share. 353 people recorded positive responses to Christ.

Monday Concert in Zaporizhia

Zaporizhia, population 750,000 was the site of back to back concerts for the Texas Country Boys and Michael Gott on Monday.  Both concerts were at or beyond capacity, and in both concerts the audience was comprised of a majority of unbelievers.

When the Texas Country Boys sang a song to honor the 4,000+ Ukrainian’s who have died defending the Eastern border in the armed conflict against Russian separatist aggression, some could be seen crying openly. Others raised their cell phones, lighters or flashlights to pay tribute.

Before the start of the second concert, a woman shared with an MGI worker that she had come to the concert with a very heavy heart. In fact, she had been so desperate that she had been contemplating ending her own life. The prayer team prayed for her by name during the concert.  We rejoice in knowing that she was in the right place at the right time to hear the right message shared at the very point of her personal need.

When Micheal Gott spoke he started with a question , “Who can you trust?”, which is a poignant subject in the current uncertain Ukrainian political climate. As Michael shared a clear and simple Gospel message, crowds in both concerts sat spellbound. When given the opportunity to place their trust in Jesus Christ a combined total of 1021 concert attendees responded with a “yes” on their forms to indicate their desire to trust in Jesus.

Sunday Concerts Update

Traveling to the city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea required the Texas Country Boys to travel within 15 miles of the front line of battle in the armed conflict against Russian separatist aggression. The tour bus passed through multiple military blockades and security checkpoints. Members of the band and MGI staff witnessed military equipment, camouflaged buildings and even fighting trenches as they passed through the outlying areas of the militarized zone.

Because this port city of a half million people is home to one of the world’s largest steel manufacturing plants it has been repeatedly targeted by Russian Federation backed troops.  Separatists took the city in early 2017 but the brave and greatly outnumbered Ukrainian forces were able to reclaim control and drive the front line several miles East of the city where it remains today. The residents of Mariupol live under the dark cloud of impending violence and war at their front doors.

Sunday began with morning worship at the local Baptist host Church.  The Texas Country Boys sang several hymns and worship songs in an impromptu acoustic mini concert of sorts. Michael Gott preached a powerful sermon in which he explained the importance and purpose of the concert tour to the less than enthusiastic host church. Several people responded publicly to the altar call and a change of attitude among the church body could be sensed.

Two back to back concerts followed in a hall with a 1200 person capacity. The matinee was overly crowded with people standing in the aisles and against the outer walls both in the lower section and the balcony. During both concerts the prayer room backstage was filled with the sounds of fervent prayers being lifted for the salvation of the lost by local church members as well as members of the MGI staff.

After the last response form had been counted, an amazing 988 positive responses had come in! The local host church pastors were extremely enthusiastic after having seen the concert and sensed the responsiveness of the audience.

As the tour bus traveled back down the roads near the front lines and left the city, the exhausted passengers rejoiced to have been a part of such an amazing day of harvest for God’s kingdom.

Concerts 3,4 & 5 updates

(Amy Pannell sent me two updates today. With it being Sunday I am just now getting a chance to post them to the blog. I’ve combined it into one post. Keep praying for the Texas Country Boys. God is working!)

The third concert in the Ukrainian road tour of the Texas Country Boys took them to Kamianske, a city slightly off the beaten path that a quarter of a million people call home.

The people were markedly attentive each time Michael Gott came onto the stage and shared. They were also obviously taken with the upbeat and positive tone of the County and Western sound of the band.

Of all the host churches, this group of believers seemed to internalize the concept of bringing lost friends to the concert. About one half of the audience was made up of church members while the other half were the lost friends who had been invited by Christian friends.

When Michael Gott invited the crowd of people packed into the 1200 seat theater to respond to what they had just heard, 421 people registered positive responses.


After hours of travel on roads that only allowed for minimal speeds, the Texas Country Boys prepared for two concerts on Saturday. The first was outside of Dnipro at a military training base where up-to a thousand Ukrainian troops were expected for a 10 am concert. Sadly, the soldiers were sent to the front lines under the cover of darkness just 6 hours before they were to attend the concert.

When the director of operations learned of the sudden deployment she quickly sprang into action and got the word out to the military families and town residents that the concert would now be open to everyone. This presented a rare opportunity for them to attend a concert that their small town would normally never get to host. Civilians of all ages came along with military training officers who had not been part of the deployment.

Despite the disappointment of the unexpected troop movement, the Texas Country Boys gave 100% to the audience. Michael Gott, realizing that there is no evangelical church of any kind in the nearby community explained in clear detail how to become a follower of Jesus Christ. The top three rows of the balcony were filled with preteens and teens. Although this concert was not originally planned for them, they came and they heard! Almost everyone who attended took a copy of the New Testament before they left.

The second concert was in Central Baptist Church in Dnipro, the church that burned in 2010 just before the Singing Men of Texas were scheduled to sing there. The advertisement for this event was done by direct email contact to students of MGI English Language Evangelism Events. Once again, sensing that this group needed to hear the message presented in a different way than other concert attendees, Michael Gott spoke very directly to the students about their decision to follow Christ Jesus. At the close of the concert 154 students said “yes” to Jesus for a total of 355 positive responses for the day’s two concerts.

CRISIS INTENSIFIES IN BATTERED UKRAINE

12405.jpg

(Michael Gott has asked us to post this article to help us all understand the situation in Ukraine. Thank you for praying for the people of Ukraine. Let’s be faithful to continue to pray for them as well as the Country Boys team as they enter their second half of the tour. Their schedule and lack of internet at times as prohibited as many posts. As they come, we will continue to post them.)

 

The Ukrainian crisis has now gone on over four years with no end in sight, but the evident reality is that recovery will be even harder and take longer. The word “crisis” is the one word that is appropriate.

Never has this nation needed faithful friends like today. The entire Eastern part of Ukraine has been impacted and so much destroyed by the bitter conflict. Thousands of lives have been lost—almost every city has lost someone or even many. It will be, say experts, decades before the region will have fully rebuilt and be operational in a normal way. But the stubborn heartbreak is that nothing in the rebuilding of the infrastructure can start until the dangerous fighting ceases. There is no real sign of that, so the Ukrainian crisis continues unabated.

One Christian spokesman said, “The tragedy is that even Christian aid organizations have grown weary. Some have begun even to totally withdraw—a result of ministry fatigue. It’s a sad reality.”

Beyond that, there are scarred lives that are even more difficult to rebuild and put back together. The war-torn people of Ukraine need spiritual hope and practical help. The supply of both is running short with pledges and promises not being fully met. “What is happening now,” said a Baptist leader, “touches only a small fraction of the people in Eastern Ukraine.” Michael Gott said, “The perfect word is brokenhearted. These people are seeing a rise, a very big rise, in the shortages in the smaller villages. There is a spirit of hopelessness.”

Gott shared his further thoughts, “This is a time of heartbreak as I said, so it’s a period when we could see the message of Christ going out as never before. These people are reachable and it’s a point of sharing the love of God and the gospel of the Lord who loves as never before. When we suggested coming to them with the Texas Country Boys, it was instant acceptance! I’ve seldom seen a more ready response. They said, ‘OK! That’s it—we will work out the details, you just come to us, the door is open.’”

“We know,” said the veteran evangelist, “that we are walking into a danger zone, and there is even some risk—but we are all gung-ho! But, yes, it’s something, but we can do more. Pray for the Ukrainians and for support and aid to come their way. We are not being political, but pray that the American government will honor its promises to them. They need serious help in that way.”

The Texas Country Boys join Michael Gott October 16-27. Michael Bridges said, “It’s the real thing. Oh, we are honored to be involved. When the Apostle Paul spoke of it being beautiful when people on their feet walk in to bring good news from God, we want that to be, the Texas Country Boys along with Michael.”

Evangelist Gott said in summary, “When mission teams and people like those in MGI (Michael Gott International), with a calling and visible compassion, come out of love, people cannot help but say, ‘We are not forgotten. There are people who care.’ And then when mission people say—‘Jesus gave us a desire to care. We wouldn’t be here if He had not given us a heart of love for you—now hear the good news,’ people cannot help but listen!”

Gott concluded, “Eastern Ukrainian people refuse to leave their homes in the war zone; now when some come with love for these embattled people, it speaks volumes. We have earned a hearing and that’s vital. That’s when effective evangelism happens.”