the inside story

God is at work!

While large parts of the building went up in flames, the library, which contains 23,000 titles, was completely untouched and did not even smell of smoke.
“We understand that a seminary is not a building, it is our students and staff.”

This was how Igor Yaremchuk, President of Irpin Bible Seminary summed up his ministry. This is a particularly poignant comment when we remember the damage caused when the seminary building took a direct hit from a Russian missile. 

During a recent visit an SGA team met with Igor and Benjamin Brinza, the seminary Vice President, who share a determination to continue with the vital ministry of the seminary. Benjamin described the damaged caused by the missile, highlighting how God had worked a miracle.  While large parts of the building went up in flames, the library, which contains 23,000 titles, was completely untouched and did not even smell of smoke. Benjamin compared it to the record of the three Hebrew men in the book of Daniel. Given that the heat from the fire would have been around 1000° c. the preservation of the library was truly a miracle from God!

Derek Maxwell [SGA General Director] on a recent visit with Seminary staff, Igor Yaremchuk and Benjamin Brinza

God preserved this important facility for a special work, so obvious now with 888 students enrolled. With several hundred students on-site and hundreds online, God is preparing another generation of Gospel workers. It is estimated that over 4000 are now enrolled in the seven seminaries across Ukraine. Praise God for those who are willing to be equipped for service and for the spiritual battles in this country engulfed in war.

However, this number of people and more will be required for Gospel ministry. The war has created much disruption – 200 pastors have emigrated to the west; 200 are displaced; 400 pastors and deacons are in the military; 300 churches in the occupied regions have been closed.

Pastor Oleg has planted a new church in Osokorki, Kiev

Prior to the invasion, SGA’s associated denomination required 250 new pastors every year to sustain the work in the churches. Now the need is even greater, so the seminaries are playing an important role in preparing a new generation of Gospel workers in this country where there are increased opportunities.

Reports from those serving in regions closer to the frontline tell how many churches are filled with new people. The churches lost many people due to the war, but have wonderfully gained numerous replacements. One church was left with only five elderly ladies. Everyone else had fled to safer places. Now there are 120 people gathering in that House of Prayer. Almost all are non -believers. Similar accounts could be repeated over and over. Gospel opportunities are increasing as people live through times of uncertainty.

Pray for SGA-sponsored missionary pastors who are faithfully serving in very challenging circumstances. Praise God that recently two more church-planting families have been added to our sponsorship programme.