Feb 9, 2021
By Bill Arvan
For years, READ has traveled to host an annual ministry summit in the month of March for its key ministry partners in Eastern Europe. Two days devoted to prayer, worship, reporting, and vision casting, as well as eating and enjoying a sauna together, have helped cultivate a genuine one-mindedness with READ’s international ministry partners. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned all that on its head.
Thanks to the new technology that we all have come to either love or hate (or maybe a bit of both at times), ZOOM made it possible for READ’s staff to gather not only with our usual partners in and around Ukraine but also with our dearly loved ministry colleagues in Central Asia - this was a first. Over the two days of November 17-18, READ’s USA-based staff and board members joined virtually with more than 20 of our ministry brothers and sisters from ten different schools, a number of ministry organizations, and five countries across Eurasia.
In the providence and grace of God, READ’s 2020 ministry summit was bigger and better than ever! Some of the highlights and key takeaways include:
· Valery Antonyuk, President of the Baptist Union of Ukraine, shared his insights from Revelation 15:3-4 on the sovereignty of our Lord God, King of the Nations.
· Leonid Mikhovich, President of the Baptist Union in Belarus and Rector of the MinskTheological Seminary (one of READ’s partner training ministries), blessed us with thoughts from Hebrews 12 on the example of Christ in times of suffering.
· Steve Eckert introduced himself (for the first time) to many of our international partners. As our new Executive Director, Steve’s vision for READ’s equipping of the Eurasian church for increased effectiveness in Gospel ministry was very well received and reassuring to our international ministry network.
Sure, shashlik (shish kebabs) and sauna are always enjoyed! But in 2020, having our annual summit viaZOOM allowed for greater and more diverse participation, as well as a shared vision and commitment to the strategic role READ plays in the progress of the Gospel and expansion of God’s Kingdom across Eurasia. As always, our Father knows best!
Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!