It was three years ago when Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary in partnership with the Arabic Church in Kyiv launched a full-scale program with the view to training equipping missionaries for ministering in a Muslim context.
Though estimates of the Ukrainian Muslims vary, Ukraine is currently witnessing their rapid growth, with many more mosques currently being built, social and other projects launched.
Despite the fact that the number of migrants and students who come to Ukraine from Muslim countries is growing, we view it as another mission opportunity. However, trying to cultivate this new mission field, we have already encountered several problems.
The biggest problem is that representatives of traditional non-evangelical churches are mostly nominal believers, who understand Christianity in terms of cultural belonging rather than true confession of faith, and often have no idea about the personal relationship with God.
As a result, the new-coming Muslim migrants do not take Christians seriously. When they come to Ukraine, they think that all Ukrainians are Christians without understanding that what they often see is nominal Christianity which has nothing to do with real faith in Jesus. Therefore, the ultimate goal we are pursuing the most is to make real Christianity known to them.
The second challenge is that this is an absolutely new field for Ukrainian pastors, who are often interested in quick ministry results. However, ministering to the Muslim people is a long and difficult process. Ukrainian pastors are either unready for this, or simply ignore the need. There is no understanding that we can be a part of God’s mission in different ways. It seems it will take some time to understand the need.
Another problem we are facing in the ministry is that many Muslim believers consider Ukraine to be just a transit point on the way to developed European countries. Consequently, many of them do not stay here for long. On the other hand, those who convert here become missionaries in Muslim communities in Europe.
Anyway, it is a great joy for us that the graduates from the program are actively involved in ministry to the Muslim in three Islamic states of the Central Asia and Asia Minor which are not named here for security reasons. The rest minister to the fast-growing Muslim Population in different regions of Ukraine. So, prayers to support this UETS endeavor are appreciated!