Celebrating 20 years in Odessa, Ukraine

By Nic Lesmeister
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Posted in on May 24th, 2017

Tabatha and I just returned from Odessa, Ukraine, where 20 years ago the MJBI officially launched our very first school.

Valentin and Tatyana Sviontek hosted a large 20-year anniversary conference to celebrate. We were joined by Dr. Wayne and Bonnie Wilks, and Pastor Olen and Syble Griffing. It was a special time to be with these heroes who pioneered this great ministry in the Former Soviet Union!

There were hundreds of people at the three day conference, and many of them were MJBI students and graduates. Since 1996, over 400 students have gone through the two-year, MJBI program in Odessa. Of the 214 who successfully graduated, over 50 are now serving in leadership roles full time or part time in congregations all over the world.

Graduates from this MJBI school have gone into ministry in Kazakhstan, France, Belarus, Spain, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Poland, Canada and America. It was amazing to hear their stories and see how God has been using them to expand the Kingdom!

But it was on the 2nd night of the conference that something truly special took place. 

As we neared the end of worship in the evening session, many of the 50 or so children and young people in attendance drew toward the altar.

I noticed children visibly weeping with their hands raised to Yeshua. A sweet, loving presence of the Lord began filling the room.

Before I knew it, many were on their knees, and others standing with tears running down their faces. All of them were crying out to the Lord for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit.

Tabatha and I were asked to go into the middle of the crowd of young people for them to lay their hands on us and pray for us.

Immediately the tears started flowing down our faces. The five-year-old daughter of MJBI’s very first admitted student, Roman Sviontek, was standing next to me weeping and praying over Tabatha and me. We opened our hearts wide to receive these pure prayers of blessing from this rising generation of Jewish believers and leaders.

In Russian, the young people surrounding us began declaring, “We welcome you to Ukraine!” as they prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill us to lead a new revival in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Wow. It was powerful!

In Joel 2, the Bible says:

Then you will know that I am among my people Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and there is no other. I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.

We witnessed these prophetic Scriptures coming to life in Odessa that evening.

I believe there is another major revival swelling in Eastern Europe, specifically in Jewish ministry. And it is the young people from these Messianic congregations who will lead the revival. 

This new generation of leaders need your continued support. Your financial partnership will allow us to deepen our ministry in Eastern Europe as the Lord prepares the ground for another outpouring of His love and power.

Would you prayerfully consider how you can partner with us to accomplish this great task? We cannot do it without you, and these powerful testimonies are uniquely woven into your heritage from the seeds you’ve sown in MJBI’s ministry.

We are living in incredible times! What Tabatha and I experienced in Odessa was one of the most impactful moments of our lives.

Thank you for partnering with us to see the Kingdom of God come in Jewish communities around the world.

The best is truly yet to come, friends!


Nic Lesmeister
President and CEO


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