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“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

Second wind of city ministry

For many years, the leaders of the Mennonite Brethren Church in Zaporozhye have been looking for a large space for holding various events in a public and crowded place. Annual conferences for youth and adults, Christian get-togethers, children day camps would take place in small church premises that had a limited amount of time for activities. Some of the premises were located in hard-to-reach places, where it was not easy to get during the day. This affected not only the attendance of services, but also the ability to invite non-believers, for whom the first impression was important.

In the fall of 2021, God answered the prayers and a spacious premises near the regional administration and the central square of the city were purchased. Renovation work and preparations for the opening began soon.

Due to the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, the premises did not have time to acquire the desired appearance, but were ready to go. Ministers from the local Mennonite Brethren Church, along with the leaders of the "School Without Walls" and other brothers and sisters in Christ, united and turned the empty building into a humanitarian aid center for migrants. Furniture and equipment were brought in. Some of the rooms have been turned into offices, others have been made into distribution rooms for humanitarian aid. In the largest hall, they started to hold church services for families who were forced to leave their homes.

Thanks to its good location and cooperation with local authorities, the Reimer Center has become one of the most famous Christian humanitarian aid centers in the city, with 20-30 people visiting it daily.

Purpose of the unification

The ministers who remained in the city despite the threat of shelling saw a strong need for the formation of a Christian center that would make every effort to help people. By "help" they meant more than just food distribution. At a time when there is suffering and turmoil around, people are more open to God. By putting the goal of evangelism first, Mennonite ministers have created a wide platform for the sowing of God's word. Before the distribution of iCare food packages, the leaders of the "School Without Walls" address everyone with a short word, calling for repentance. While searching for clothes or shoes, non-believers listen to Christian music. And those who want to get a free haircut communicate directly with Christians, share stories and experiences. Sometimes, unbelievers come to the center as volunteers. They communicate with the ministers all day long and join the common prayers.

Live Communication Develops Faith

During the three months of the war, the ministers at the Reimer Center have built relationships of trust with many settlers. To maintain fellowship and further strengthen their faith, the leaders of the "School Without Walls" organize weekly meetings with everyone who wants to learn more about Christ. Meetings are held in a free format. They sing songs, share testimonies. Indispensable components of each meeting are Bible reading, a short sermon and discussion on the topic. Over the past month, ministers have brought up the theme of good and evil: how can a person overcome evil, is it possible to stop evil by force, if so, in what cases?

Non-believers are invited to these meetings every day and are assisted at the Reimer Center. Over the past month, more than 100 people have attended such discussion meetings, half of which have become regular participants.

Ministry Results

Over the entire period of operation of the Reimer Center for 100 days of the war (one of the 9 aid centers that currently provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians), 300 families were helped, 5,000 copies of Christian literature and more than 100 tons of food were distributed. The event for children, which took place on the first of June, attracted the attention of many children and teenagers. The leaders of the SWW are now at the stage of planning a new project for them.

Thanks to this work, the building, which Christians have been praying for for a long time, works for the benefit of all people of Zaporozhye and refugees from other regions. The ministers ask to pray for the protection of Zaporozhye, 30 kilometers from which Russian military find themselves. May God not allow shelling and destruction. May God stop the war.

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