For most of you that have followed our blog, you know the story and what God did in Ukraine. The Baptist Standard is also telling our story. Here is a link to a great article that is running in this week’s digital edition.
It is hard to believe it has been one week since we departed Ukraine and headed home. By now most of us are over the jet lag and are back into our daily routines of work, family, & church.
The work continues however in Ukraine. Please pray for the churches in the cities where we sang. They are the ones who will follow up with each card that was turned in. It is a huge task. Pray that the Ukrainian believers will find people receptive and open to taking the next steps of faith. Pray that all these that made a decision will get plugged into a local church.
As an example of the work ahead I would like to share this story from Jan Gott. She emailed me earlier this week and I asked if we could share it here.
I took one of the NO decision cards in Zhitomir to follow-up myself. We have a course there this summer, and I just felt “strangely led” – have never done that before. The girl – Irina – had written a note in English that said, “I’m just so tired in my heart, but you all came and brought hope.” So – I knew that this person spoke English. She had given her cell number for the contact information. On Monday before we flew out – I called Irina. I explained that I read her card and wanted to connect with her. I invited her to our course in July at Christmas church and said I had saved her number in my phone and would call her again. Then she explained that she is a refugee from Donetsk. Her husband was killed last winter, and that life is very difficult for her now. She has just started attending Christmas church with a friend, and that is how she knew about our concert. I will be with Irina again this summer, and I believe that her NO will become a YES for Christ. I just wonder how many more there are like Irina in our decision cards?? God is faithful, and He knows. I have now sent Irina’s information to Ksusha. There is a weekly English course at Christmas Church for our students, so I will make sure that Irina has an invitation to that course, too.
Pray for all the Irina’s, those that attended our concerts but did not indicate a decision for Christ. Pray for all those 7,793 people who did put a check as an indication of a decision for Christ. Pray that God’s people in Ukraine will reach out to these and that they will become strong followers of Christ.
Once again, thank you for your prayer support during our mission. From time to time we will post things here as matters of information on the Singing Men and our future trips. This site will remain up and active so visit it anytime. You might even find encouragement in scrolling way to the first posts that tell of our previous trips to Ukraine.
Today was travel day home to Texas. Many are back to their own cities and several of us are almost there. I’m getting to spend several hours in Atlanta today. For today our name could be The Sleepy Men of Texas. But that will be short lived as rest will come.
I did not get this done before leaving so while I’m sitting here waiting on my final flight to home I thought I would just post a simple recap of the numbers for the week. This also gives all of our team a centralized location to reference this as needed.
Once again when publishing these numbers we do not boast in ourselves. We give all the credit and glory to God.
Over our 12 concerts we sang to over 14,000 people. We have records of over 7,700 indicating a decision to become a more sincere follower of Jesus Christ.
Here is the nightly breakdown.
Mission Ukraine 2015
Concerts 1 & 2 Zhitomyr – Attendance 1,750 Decisions 1,037
Concert 3 Berdichev – Attendance 1,200 Decisions 516
Concerts 4 & 5 Rivne – Attendance 1,300 Decisions 731
Concerts 6 & 7 L’viv – Attendance. 2,100 Decisions 1,042
Concert 8 Lutsk – Attendance 1,500 Decisions 970
Concerts 9 & 10 Ivano Frankivsk – Attendance. 2,000 Decisions 1,134
Concert 11 Kiev – Attendance 3,300 Decisions 1,658
Concert 12 Bila Tserkva- Attendance 1,200 Decisions 705
Decisions total 7,793
Attendance total 14,350
Praising God for a bountiful harvest and for all that He has done in Ukraine!
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. (Isaiah 12:4-5 NIV)
For over two years this trip was planned, prepared for, and prayed for. The chapters of the Singing Men of Texas have rehearsed, memorized and sung the music for well over a year. Mission Partners were recruited, signed up and registered. Michael and Jan Gott and their daughter Amy Pannell have worked sacrifically over the past two years making plans and preparations. The Treasurers for each chapter served as the recruiters among the Singing Men chapters and handled finances and registrations for over two years.
In the mean time a war broke out in the country of Ukraine. In January 2014 many of us wondered what will all the protests do for this trip. As the months wore on and the conflict grew in the east we wondered if this trip would even happen. The river boats closed down. That original plan was scrapped and another plan was birthed.
For two years we trusted God. We knew we were called to come to this wonderful but desperate country. All along God had a plan. He always has a plan. God knew the cities we needed to come to. If we had done the river cruise we would not have come to western Ukraine and these cities. God knew exactly where we needed to be. He ordered our steps.
Night after night every pastor has told us how much it meant to them and their people that we came to Ukraine during a time such as this. There is great unrest and uncertainty in this country. Ukraine needs a word of hope. We came to deliver that word of hope. That word is: Jesus Christ loves you, he died to pay the penalty for your sin, and Jesus desires to have a personal relationship with you. We find hope in Jesus alone.
God has done an incredible work through the ministry of the Singing Men of Texas. He didn’t need us. He could have used some one else. We are blessed and grateful that he used us.
Tonight’s final concert is done and we are on the way back to Kiev. The people of Belaya Tserkva were a gracious and enthusiastic audience of about 1,200. 705 of them responded positively to the Gospel. Praise be to God!
To the glory of God over 14,000 attended the 12 concerts. We have records that indicate 7,793 people responded to the message of the Gospel over the past 10 days.
Now the real work begins for the many churches where we have been. Pray for these cities and churches that all of these will be discipled and followed up with. Pray that all of these that indicated a decision will find a New Testament Church and walk with God.
For those reading this back in Texas and all around the world, we say thank you for your important role. We have no doubt that there were thousands who prayed for us everyday. God heard your prayers. We all share in what God has done.
In previous trips Michael has taught us that we often reap a harvest we did not plant. This mission has seen a great harvest. We have also planted seeds and watered other seeds. Pray that the work done over the past ten days will continue to take root and grow. Our prayer every night has been, “May God bless Ukraine.”
We now start the journey home. Most of the team will depart the hotel at 3 AM for the airport. Pray for saftey as we travel. We all come back to families that will greet us with lots of hugs and kisses. For many of us we will be back in our churches this Sunday, doing what God has called us to do – leading many of you in worship of our Almighty God. We all come back to the normalcy and routine of life, though a part of our hearts will remain here with these sweet people of Ukraine.
I’m finding it hard to wrap this up and find a way to sum it all up. I don’t think I really can put in words what we have seen God do here and in our own lives as well. Thank you for praying and following us. Thank you for all the encouraging comments you have left here to become part of a permanent record of this mission. (We will be posting a few more times in the coming days to say thanks and recognize many key people and to give a better recap)
To finish this up all I can say is the last part of the passage quoted at the beginning of this article.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.
We are loading the buses one final time to head to our final concert in Belaya Tserkva.
The day off has done wonders for our spirits. We had a great devotional time and lunch here Kiev.
Pray for us to finish strong and for God to be glorified once again through our singing.
As you awake and start your day in Texas, here is Micheal Gott’s final devotional message to us this morning.
This evening the entire team came to Dom Evangeline Church for a time of thanksgiving and fellowship. The local pastor, Michael and our four directors all shared.
The team is now enjoying a sweet fellowship time over some delicious finger foods prepared by this great church.
Today many team members went on bus tours and shopped. Others took the time to rest. We have one more concert tomorrow a short drive south of Kiev.
Yesterday during our time here at the church we sang Spirit Of the Living God for the pastors of the church. Of course I videoed it.