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Chernivtsi, Ukraine

Who are you?

We are the East-Team. I am a part of it.
We start in the East of Europe, everywhere no one else wants to go.

My name is Jega and I moved to Berlin two years ago for the purpose of being trained and to plant churches in East Europe. Other then that I work at a tech company full time.
Leander, a friend from the Netherlands and Stefanie from Berlin join me for Chernivtsi as well as a wider team of friends. Most of them work full time, study and have family to take care of.

In Chernivtsi we reach out to everyone on the streets who can speak English.
We meet a lot of students and to my surprise there are students there that come from the south of India.  Wow, that was such a surpise because I am culturally very similar to them, and understand their language and connect with them easily. It was like a present from God. Hence I dream of going to India someday with some of them. But that would be another questionnaire.

So back to Chernivtsi, where we have reached out to young adults from the less central areas of town and started to read Bible with them.

What do you want to see?

I dream to start a group of people who are interested in hearing more about a God. Within the close team we have this desire to see the groups we startet being able to support themselves when we are not around. We wish to return to people who trust us and know us and join us on the other trips around their country. We long to return to disciples there.
We find, that many young people leave the Ukraine in order to make a living somewhere else. What does God think about their country and their perspective? What God would want to do for this country through people who trust Him fully? I can only imagine His answer but I am not a Ukrainian so I have to be careful not think to far and rather wait until I see that happening with my Ukrainian mentees. To be honest, even though we have been going to the Ukraine for some time, we are still finding out, where and what else to do there…

How did you get this Idea?

…so the ideas are still growing.
I started to hear about the Ukraine from God when I searched to be more serious in my discipleship. I asked God which countries would be relevant for my own growth as a church planter and disciple. God spoke about the Ukraine to me. And so I started to speak with people about Ukraine. I soon found an elderly couple from our wider Network in Europe who had roots and connections to Chernivtsi and as I had no understanding of the country nor a clue where exactly God wanted me to work in Ukraine, I went with them on some trips. From then on people joined me all the time and we started to get to know many locals who we revisit all the time…

What challenges do you expect?

...but not enough to build trust that carries thorough the time we are gone.
Since the journey to get there is long and the days are full once we are there, we are very exhausted at the end of the year and cannot keep up going over the last months of the year. That breaks our dynamic and it feels like starting again with some of the people when we return.

We have worked out a plan and if we would have more teams revisiting, when we cannot go, it could remedy some of our problems.

What are you going to do?

We are going to sit out Corona and not being totally devastated and disappointed. We will go there eventually and with all hopes up. We will concentrate on going there with our own disciples and friends from Germany and especially the Netherlands and stay in contact with the people there. We will continue to work out routines in our year that help us to go often enough to maintain and build up what we started. We hope that someday people trust us to always return.

We have been asking for the one person in each of the people groups we visit, who we can train and work closely together with and will continue to do so in the coming year.

published in March 2021