In 1970 I was commended to the Lord by my home assembly in London for His work amongst Eastern Europeans, both in their own countries and elsewhere. At that time, and until about 1990, Eastern Europe was under communist domination, so I resided in London and the Lord enabled me to make a number of visits annually to assemblies in various Eastern European countries. After my marriage to Margaret in 1981, the Lord has enabled us to continue this ministry together until today.
During the last nine months, six journeys have been made to Eastern Europe, visiting assemblies for ministry of the Word, for gospel preaching, and encouraging the believers in their witness and outreach.
Poland is a republic with a population of about 40 million, and a strong Roman Catholic background. There are a number of assemblies which we visit regularly for ministry, some in the center and north, and others in the south of the country.
Last year, the Lord enabled two smaller assemblies in the Warsaw area to come together and purchase suitable premises in the Ursus suburb. I visited the new assembly there at the end of April, when the meeting hall was full for the ministry of the Word, and the same was true for another meeting outside Warsaw, on the next evening. Mlawa is an assembly about 80 miles northwest from Warsaw, with about 50 believers in fellowship. Darek Laskowski is an elder in the assembly and a full-time worker. His ministry as evangelist and Bible teacher is being blessed, and the Lord is adding to His Church. Several have been saved since last autumn and have now been baptized. This summer the assembly had well-attended young peoples meetings in the west of Mlawa. Praise God for the salvation of precious souls through the assembly and outreach preaching points, and please pray for the spread of the gospel in this area.
Later we visited the Turkaniks in Jastrzebie, Southern Poland. Our brother had arranged the Saturday Bible Studies in which I ministered on the letter of James; these meetings were held in Bukowno. We also visited three other assemblies. He has had a teaching and written ministry for many years, and with Tonia, continues the work of distributing Bible teaching literature.
Slovakia is a republic with a population of about five million, with a number of assemblies, which we have visited regularly. Bratislava is the capital city, with an assembly since early in the last century. There are about 70 believers in fellowship, with a good family spirit and teaching ministry and a spiritual work among young people. We were there this year for the Easter Meetings, which were well attended by believers of all ages from various assemblies, and with visitors also from Serbia and the Czech Republic. The dual theme of the weekend was: "The Rapture of the Church, and the Coming of the Lord in Glory." The Friday evening prayer meeting was held in the local assembly, while on Saturday a larger hall was hired for the three sessions. I shared in the ministry with Slovak brethren. The meetings concluded on the Lords Day in the local assembly with further ministry after the Breaking of Bread. All present were clearly reminded that "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:8) and were challenged to live in anticipation, "looking for that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). We enjoyed warm fellowship in believers homes after the conference. Please pray for the Lords blessing on His Word.
The Czech Republic has a population of about 10 million. I visited assemblies in Brno and Prague-Sporilov for conferences in November 2008 and was encouraged at the attendance and the interest in the Word, particularly in the Prague meeting.
In Northern Serbia there is a group of assemblies with which we have had fellowship for many years. We visited them again for 12 days in June for ministry and for the gospel. There was good interest in the Word in all the meetings, and particularly so on the two Lords Days in Padina and Jabuka. We stayed with the Rybars in Backi Petrovac, and enjoyed warm fellowship in their home and with others also. Samuel and his son John regularly visit these assemblies, and are responsible for the gospel literature work. The teaching and gospel magazine, Word of Truth, is published quarterly in Slovak, Serbian, and Croatian and the distribution in Slovakia is increasing. Please pray for the Lords blessing on His Word, both spoken and written, and for the furtherance of the gospel.
Bulgaria is a republic in the southeast of Europe with a population of about seven and a half million. Sofia is the capital, and we have enjoyed fellowship with an assembly there for many years, and make regular visits. In July, I was there for eight days, and ministered on five nights in the assembly. There was good interest in the Word, and on the Lords Day the meeting room was full with local believers and friends and other believers from outside Sofia. The Breaking of Bread was followed by ministry, then an informal lunch together, and finally a gospel message which was received with good attention.
On Saturday a sister was baptized in a pool in the nearby hills. About 25 were present, including her husband, who regularly attends the meetings, and after the baptism, I gave a relevant message from Acts 8.
Christo Rassovsky is one of the three elders, and is also editor of the quarterly teaching and gospel magazine Spiritual Word, which is widely distributed in the country, together with an excellent gospel calendar. Gospels of John in an attractive format are also used for personal witness. Please pray with us for the Lords blessing on His Word, for the salvation of the lost, and the building up of believers, as they, with us, work and watch for His coming.