Founder/Director, Center for Global LeadershipThere is a rushing wind of revival and awakening that has begun in the strategic nation of Ukraine. Recently, I traveled with my great friend and ministry partner, Pastor Olen Griffing, to train and mentor emerging leaders and encourage disciples of Yeshua in Odessa, Ukraine.Any casual attention given to cable news channels or the digital media will find numerous stories and articles about the stress under which the Ukrainian people are living these days. Having traveled there multiple times over the years, I couldn’t help but see the pressure etched on the faces of people on the streets of this normally tranquil and always beautiful city on the Black Sea. With political uncertainty all around them, and the threat of direct aggression from the East, people go about their lives wrapped in tension.Thankfully, though, there is another spirit that is evident in this great nation. In the congregations from different parts of the country that gathered for several days in Odessa, there is a refreshing and hopeful renewal taking place. The annual retreat for leaders and disciples, who have boldly and courageously identified with Yeshua as their Messiah, encouraged us and lifted our anticipation of the harvest we have been praying for in the nation of Ukraine.
In spite of the pressure and even persecution, there was a release of triumphant praise that filled the hall in every session with joy, shouting, clapping, and dancing. Both Pastor Olen and I remarked several times about the intensity of the praise.
Psalm 89:15 came to my mind during one of the worship times. “Blessed, [happy, fortunate, to be envied] are the people who know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.” There are only a few places in Scripture where the word is used that is here translated joyful sound: after the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, after the Passover when David returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and also in the book of Zephaniah where it is used of God singing over us! All of these are great examples of that joyful sound!
There’s just something about people who understand the true value and power of uninhibited praise and worship.
I believe that this release of triumphant praise ultimately guarantees a harvest of souls! The Apostle Paul said, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:4-5
I’m learning that people in every nation are hungry for a demonstration of the Spirit’s powerful work. Our words will no longer persuade men’s hearts. The Messianic believers in Ukraine are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and are demonstrating that power in their congregations. During the sessions in Odessa, there was a refreshing, prophetic wind released.
Our wonderful hosts for the conference were our great friends Valentin and Tatyana Sviontek. They have become like family to us, and the opportunity to stay in their home is a highlight of every trip to Odessa. We have also traveled to several other countries together to train leaders in the advance of the Gospel. God is using them in remarkable ways. Encircling them in the work in Odessa is a highly qualified team of associates, translators, technical staff, and servants with joyful hearts that took care of our every need and every detail to ensure a successful conference for each attendee. The worship teams from the different congregations were excellent, well prepared and truly anointed.
This trip we also had the opportunity and pleasure to spend quality time with other Messianic leaders and each team member spoke in a different congregation on the weekend. Valentin has done an excellent job bringing together other leaders who are experiencing real unity in the region. Several Evangelical and Charismatic leaders are also in that group. Right now there seems to be a warm circle of friends and colleagues being developed there.
I believe there is a great harvest of new believers and disciples that will soon be brought into the family of God by the Holy Spirit. The Scripture assures me of this in Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” I’ve traveled to over 40 nations training leaders and encouraging congregations and churches. God has blessed me with great friends in the nations of the world. Remembering their exuberant praise has brought me great joy and satisfaction on many occasions.
We are triumphant in Yeshua, and that is the kind of praise that is due Him! Overcoming pressure, persecution, and even tribulation, the Ukrainian believers are leading the way in this triumphant procession.
Dr. Rick Kingham is the founder and International Director of The Center for Global Leadership. A sought after speaker, trainer, coach and mentor, his passion is to raise up leaders for Holy Spirit movements in the nations. Rick and his wife, Tracey, live in Bedford, Texas.