The God of Wonders in Ukraine!

By Bonnie Saul Wilks
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Posted in Featured ArticlesNewsletter, Uncategorized, on April 23, 2014

My first visit to Myaki, Ukraine, seemed like I was on the set of a “Fiddler on the Roof” play. Its mud-brick houses and thatched roofs seemed surreal and shot me back a hundred years. Myaki’s roads are unpaved and her people frozen in time just like the Ukrainian ground in winter. Small but significant, God chose this tiny Soviet hamlet as the birthplace of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute.

Myaki means “lighthouse” in Russian; and this small, rustic fishing village became a spiritual lighthouse for the country. It holds an historic and hallowed place in the hearts of Russian believers as the birthplace of revival in Former Soviet Union (FSU). God used this Russian-born Baptist pastor, Ivan Voronaev, who was greatly impacted by God in Manhattan in 1919.

Buying a one-way ticket, he returned with his family to the FSU where he established the first Pentecostal church in the Soviet Union in 1922. Eventually Voronaev was arrested, imprisoned, and according to legend eaten by dogs in a Siberian Communist prison in 1943; but his churches survived incredible persecution. They became a major religious force in the FSU by 1993. To this day, Soviet believers fondly remember Voronaev and the spiritual fire that ignited revival in Myaki and eventually burned across the Soviet states.

In the 1980s, many Russian believers returned to Myaki to pray for fresh revival and relief from the spiritual oppression. Some Russians prophesied that Communism would fall soon, and there would be freedom to worship and evangelize. Again God used this seemingly insignificant fishing village as a place to encourage and prepare the Soviet people for the next phase.

In the 1990′s Communism fell. Gospel teams rushed in with the Good News. Thousands upon thousands came to salvation. Many of these were Jewish people. Refreshing winds of revival swept through the FSU, just as the believers prophesied in Myaki during the 1980′s.

In 1996 God sent Wayne, Julia and me, along with the Sviontek family, to live in Myaki and pioneer the first MJBI. We didn’t learn of its spiritual significance until after we had settled there. Although we endured many physical hardships and often felt dark spiritual forces trying to stop us, our hearts grew strong in Myaki. It was important for us to begin in that prophetic place!

Now the sleeping giant of a totalitarian government threatens again the freedoms of the people of Ukraine. As Russian tanks rolled through Crimea a few weeks ago, fear gripped the hearts of many, especially those who remember the old regime. Let us join the peoples of the Land of the North in faith that their government will not slip into the hands of godless men. We don’t know the outcome, but we know that faith has flourished under Communism. It will continue to grow strong, no matter who rules.

We must continue to look to the Captain of the Hosts of Heaven as the battle rages. His name is Wonderful as Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 9:6, and He works wonders among us. In Judges 13:17-20, Manoah asked the Angel of the LORD who appeared to him about his unborn child, what His name was. The Angel replied, “It is wonderful.” Then He performed a wonder in the fire, and Sampson’s parents fell on their faces in worship, realizing the Lord Himself had been with them.

As we cry out for intervention in Ukraine, let us remember the prophetic destiny upon this country and its strong history with revival. May God raise up many Voronaevs through the MJBI and the Church who will burn brightly in the darkness. Let us pray that He whose name is Wonderful will be revealed in wondrous deeds throughout the land. The days are uncertain and the outcome cloudy, but He is strong. May the Wonderful God of wonders be seen and exalted in Ukraine!

For Zion’s sake,

Bonnie Saul Wilks