//SPECIAL REPORT: INTERNATIONAL RHEMA
<<Barry and Adrianne Jensen, ’90 and ’92 RBTC Graduates
Not that long ago Ukraine was solidly entrenched in communism. However, the stark grey buildings lining the streets—so common throughout Eastern Europe—did not reflect the burning unrest in Ukrainian hearts.
Under the totalitarian rule of the Soviet Union, people were used to being told what to do and how to think. But as glasnost (political openness) swept across Eastern Europe, the people of Ukraine joined the revolt and united their voices against communism.
In December of 1991 the unthinkable happened—the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended. Since that time, of all the former Soviet bloc countries, Ukraine is among the most progressive. Ukrainians voice their thoughts and opinions far more than their neighbors.
Against this backdrop Barry and Adrianne Jensen began ministering in Ukraine in 2001. At the time, these ’90 and ’92 RHEMA graduates were living in Estonia, working side-by-side with Russian pastors preaching the message of faith and raising up strong, faithful local church workers.
“Barry always thought he would be second in command,” says Adrianne. “We never thought we would have a ministry of our own.” But after working in the helps ministry for 20 years, Barry sensed God dealing with him for he and Adrianne to step out in their own ministry. They dreamed of setting captives free—not those incarcerated and kept far from society, but those whose hearts were chained and tormented by fear, despair, and hopelessness. Looking southward beyond the comforts of the Baltic nations, they saw Ukraine—a country of 46 million people that was wide open for harvest.
“We felt a real pull to Ukraine,” says Adrianne. “The culture really pulled us but also the fact that there were no RHEMA graduates there. There was a lot of harvest to grab.”
Barry and Adrianne settled in Sevastopol, a naval citadel overlooking the Black Sea. They began an independent Bible school in 2002 and offered the same first-year curriculum that RHEMA USA offers. In 2008 the school came under the RHEMA umbrella and began operating as RHEMA Ukraine, becoming the first RHEMA campus among Russian-speaking nations.
Like most European countries, Ukraine is not a mobile society. It’s not common for people to quit their jobs and relocate to a different city to go to school—especially a Bible school. To fulfill the RHEMA mandate to “go teach My people faith,” it was therefore necessary to go to the people. Two extension campuses were opened in 2009—one in the capital city of Kiev and another in the city of Sumy, located near the Russian border about 350 miles from Moscow.
To make it more convenient for people to attend, classes meet on weekends. But instead of graduating in two years, students need four years to complete the curriculum. Currently there are 240 students registered in the three campuses, and RHEMA Sevastopol is set to hold its first graduation this month [May 2011].
Gideon Publishing Company
A major emphasis of the Jensens’ ministry in Eastern Europe has been translating Faith Library books into the Russian language. Barry worked with Jim Kaseman Ministries and the Association of Faith Churches and Ministers (AFCM) beginning in 1991 on the Russian Faith Library Project. He helped distribute Kenneth E. Hagin books throughout the former Soviet Union—sometimes just by handing out copies on street corners in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk, and other cities.
Shortly after AFCM began the Russian Faith Library Project, a report came out showing that Kenneth E. Hagin was the number one Christian author in the Soviet Union. “He still holds that title,” says Barry. “We have positive reports from all over the nation about people who read the books. Many Christians in that region have gotten their spiritual foundation from Brother Hagin.”
After AFCM finished this project, Barry continued receiving calls from Russian publishing houses about printing more books. In partnership with a Ukrainian graduate, he stepped out in faith and began Gideon Publishing Company in 2005. To date, 15 Faith Library Publications books have been translated and printed in Russian, with another 15 books in the works.
Several graduates from the Jensens’ Bible school help with the translating. “Having been in our classes, they know the spirit of the message,” says Barry, “and they’re doing a phenomenal job.”
RHEMA Bible Church Ukraine
Along with the Bible schools, the Jensens began RHEMA Bible Church Ukraine in 2008. Starting in their home, they used the boys’ bedroom for children’s church and piled up to 35 adults in their living room for services over the course of a year. The church then moved into a lecture hall adjacent to Sevastopol’s central fire station. The only problem with that facility was, it had no heat.
“We realized we needed to move out of there when our praise and worship team led worship fully dressed in their winter coats, scarves, and gloves. When they sang, we could see their frosty breath!” Barry laughingly says. Now the church meets in a heated, rented facility and has recently expanded to two Sunday services to accommodate the growing congregation.
The lives of many of the leaders working in support roles at RBC Ukraine were changed while attending the Jensens’ Bible school. One couple in particular are shining examples of how the Word of God can entirely transform lives. Jenya and Katya were on a path leading to destruction. Jenya was saved while in prison, and after his release from the penitentiary, he and Katya attended the very first year of the Jensens’ Bible school.
“There were many times,” says Barry, “when tears rolled down their cheeks as we were teaching. They were so excited to hear how God had set them free from their past. And it was exciting for us to see the light of God’s Word dawning on them.”
While attending classes, Jenya was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Jenya put his trust in the Great Physician. And while sitting in class, without anyone laying hands on him, he received God’s healing Word in his heart. When he returned to the doctor, his lungs were totally clear! Jenya and Katya thank God for the impact RHEMA has had on their lives!
For 2011, the Jensens are looking at opening RHEMA campuses in four more cities. And over the next five years, they would like to have many more campuses throughout Ukraine. Although more than half of the population doesn’t believe that God exists, Ukrainians are very open to the Gospel. And RHEMA Ukraine is poised to raise up men and women who will demonstrate the love and power of God to a nation steeped in atheism. Ukraine is truly ripe for harvest!
Snatching Victory From Defeat
//Kenneth W. Hagin
Have you ever noticed in the Word of God that some of the greatest victories came out of what looked like utter defeat? That’s what God in His almighty power can do!
But do you know what made the difference in these situations? What the people believed! It was their faith in God that determined whether their outcome was victory or defeat.
Very often in our own lives, it can seem as if the enemy has triumphed. Sometimes all the circumstances look like the devil’s got everything going his way, and we’ve got nothing going our way. But God’s plan for us is victory, and we don’t have to let the enemy win. We can snatch victory out of defeat!
Jesus—our Redeemer—faced what appeared to be utter defeat. He stood falsely accused and was sentenced to death. When His body was taken down from that cross and put in the grave, it was a dark day. All hope seemed lost. This was Jesus Christ, the Anointed One Who healed and delivered people everywhere He went.
This was the same Jesus Who stood on a boat on the Sea of Galilee and commanded, “Peace, be still!” and the winds and waves obeyed Him. This was the same Jesus who stood among the tombs and cast devils out of the Gadarene demoniac. Even devils feared Him!
Now He was apparently defeated, and the Kingdom He preached about establishing seemed an impossibility.
But God had a plan! On that third day, He snatched victory from what looked like utter defeat as Jesus Christ rose from the grave and ascended on High to sit and reign in glory at the Father’s right hand. There was no defeat for Jesus! And there is no defeat for us!
Oh, sometimes our situation might look like defeat. It might even smell like defeat! But we can rejoice, knowing there is no real defeat for us as long as we remain in Christ. The Bible says, “Thanks be to God Who always causes us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14). The Greater One living inside us will put us over in every dark circumstance. If we’ll just look to Him, He’ll show us His victory plan and provide a way of escape.
Friend, let’s not just hold on in life. Let’s take what God said belongs to us! Let’s possess our inheritance in Christ! It doesn’t matter what we’re facing. God is able to cause us to snatch victory from defeat. God’s victory belongs to us!