This is an art reproduction utilizing Ukraianian painted eggs.
In my research of churches that we might attend in Kiev, I bookmarked three possible churches in Google maps.
Unfortunately, all three were a 2½ hour walk from our hotel. Back to research.
It was hard to find a Protestant Church in Poland since it was heavily Catholic. It is even harder in the Orthodox world of Ukraine.
Yes! I found one only a 5 minute walk away. It is called Putʹ Khrystyyansʹka Misiya: Kimnaty Ztsilennya Ukrayiny. It had good reviews.
I looked out of our hotel window before we left. There are security guards everywhere and they are searching bags. We made sure that we had our passports. They were blocking all the intersections leading to the main square. We didn’t know what was going on but we felt both safe and scared at the same time.
An inquiry resulted in learning that it was a big Orthodox gathering to celebrate the anniversary of the king baptizing the country of Ukraine in 988-989. Today marks a big day in the history of Ukraine. Crowds are targets for foul play throughout the world.
When we arrived at a conference room in a hotel, the church looked nothing like the photos on Google so I feel sure in retrospect that we stumbled on a different congregation. However, we were warmly received and ushered to our seats.
We were seated next some other confused visitors. The congregation of approximately fifty stood and Ekekiel 37:7-10 was read. And immediately, they started speaking in tongues. Our co-visitors made a quick exit. Rob and I don’t have that gift. There was a lot of yelling but there was no one in attendance who could translate. I felt sorry for those of us who were not speaking in tongues.
After about five minutes, one woman leader spoke in English. Whenever she said Hallelujah, the congregation said, “Praise the Lord”. And when she said, “Praise the Lord”, the congregation said, “Hallelujah”. We got the hang of it.
Next, there was a commercial on the big screen inviting the congregation to World Evangelism Conference, Wembley Stadium, UK 8/8-8/10. I wondered what the odds were of anybody here attending the conference.
Next there was a digital testimony from a woman named Bernadeth who had had multiple sclerosis. She went to The Healing School in Toronto and this was basically an infomercial for The Healing School. Pastor Chris had performed the healing and was interviewing her. I later learned that he is one of the “top ten pastors” in the world.
We sang “There is no God like Jehovah” in English. The band had a piano player that enriched the music greatly.
Another man who was also a worship leader spoke in English and French.
For increased wisdom. When you leave, the expected result is that you are different than when you came. Prayers don’t have to be long to be heard. God hears us when we pray.
The sermon was given by a regional director who had founded over 200 churches worldwide mostly in SE Asia, Nigeria, and West Africa. This denomination called Christ Embassy has over 13 million followers.
He spoke in English and it was translated into Russian.
Scripture John 1:1-44
Lazarus had died. Jesus knew him and his family very well. Mary and Martha were his sisters.
We pray for things healing, finances, etc. We want immediate results. We are not sure what to do. We need answers. We pray and fast but no answer comes. We expect Jesus to come and rescue us.
Mary and Martha had seen Jesus do lots of miracles. They sent a message to Jesus whom you love is sick.
Later, they sent another message. Lazarus is dead. They had expected a miracle but things got worse. He is dead and buried.
If you had come on time, this would not have happened. Can you relate to this? Don’t we say this when God doesn’t answer in the way that we want him.
Jesus said that He is the Resurrection and the Life. To the Jewish mind, this didn’t make sense. He is claiming to be God.
Jesus asked to be shown where Lazarus was. They rubbed it in by saying that he was too late.
Jesus went to the stink and he goes into the stink today.
Here is how he prayed:
- Thank you.
- God always hears.
God ALWAYS hears you. God of the Bible is the same God today. The dead comes to life. God is never late. God has heard you and the miracle will take place. God answers immediately even if we don’t see it.
End of the Service
All visitors were asked to stand. There were 5 of us. We were told to remain standing as the congregation wanted to welcome us. Many people came over to shake our hands and hug us and thanked us for attending.
What happened next was new for us: we were all asked to go with several of the church members and fill out visitor cards. That much we had done before but not as a small group. The first questions were obvious of name, address, etc. Next we were asked:
- Are you born again?
- Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?
- Do you speak in tongues?
- Prayer requests?
The answers are yes, of course, and no. Prayer requests from the group were career, marriage and family. We were asked if we receive the Rhapsody in Realities. Apparently, it is a daily devotional by their denomination. Somehow I think that we are now on the mailing list.
Once they found out that we were staying in Kiev until Thursday, they invited us to their midweek service. Rob told them that we were busy.
Rob and I realize that our Sunday worship services will be less and less familiar, the further that we are from home. No matter the style, we can all gather around the One name of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for giving the church to the world and throughout the world.