Supporting indigenous missionaries
Our missionaries and their families are ambassadors of the Good News and they witness to the love of God in word and deed.
You are important for the missionaries!
For our missionaries it is an enormous encouragement to know that friends in Germany are part of their ministry and provide for them financially.
Since LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) was founded we have been supporting indigenous missionaries in their ministry. This principle still applies today in our programme "supporting missionaries personally". Our missionaries themselves come from the countries of Eastern Europe. So they know from an early age the language, the culture, the people and even the challenges. Our missionaries do not have to undergo a long and costly study of the language and then adjust to the culture. Moreover, their message is better understood by the local population.
Our missionaries are employed by our partner organisations and work in the many and varied areas of LICHT IM OSTEN's activities. You can be part of the programme "supporting indigenous missionaries" by praying for and regularly supporting a missionary financially.
New missionaries go through a candidate year. Several times a year we write about a new missionary in our LICHT IM OSTEN magazine. At the end of this year we assess whether the candidate can be accepted for this programme long-term and if sufficient regular support has been found for him.
So that you can also witness the way God uses a missionary in his ministry and through him blesses others, each missionary writes three or four newsletters a year in which he reports on his activities and shares his prayer requests. We translate these letters into German and would be glad to send them to you by post or e-mail.
Introducing our missionaries
Armenian-born Suren Arutjunjan (married to Gajane, two children) has been working as a preacher and missionary in Armenia since 1997. He lives with his family in Erevan, the capital of Armenia, and is at the moment extending the missionary work amongst Kurdish Yazidis throughout Armenia. Besides this he coordinates the work of the mission amongst Armeniens in the region of the city of Ararat, supports small groups there and is at the same time the Academic Dean of the Bible School there. In addition he is working on recording and producing an Armenian-language audio Bible.
Ivan Vylkov is Director of LIGHT IN THE BALKANS in Sofia, Bulgaria. His work involves coordinating the mission's activities, including evangelisation and church planting as well as overseeing social projects, literature work, visiting ministries (especially in homes for the elderly), the ministry amongst Roma, Turks and academics. Ivan Vylkov is also increasingly active in counselling, especially for those burdened by the occult.
Veli Mustafov has been the preacher of a Turkish-language church in the town of Sliven in the Nadezhda (Hope) district since 1997. The church is in an area where mainly Muslims live, which is a challenge in this context. In 2006 he was appointed Deacon and in 2013 ordained as Church Pastor. Since 2015 we have been supporting his ministry with LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) Bulgaria as part of our missionary programme. In addition to regular church activities, the relatives of church members who are not affiliated to the church have attracted his attention. He visits them at home, inviting them to church and telling them of Christ. The church met for years in a small, damp basement room. In mid 2017 they started building their own House of Prayer and are temporarily in other rented rooms. The church is growing and they are increasingly short of space.
Ivan Spassov is involved in nurturing and pastoring a church in Yambol. He supports several Roma churches in the districts of Savoy, Vesselinovo and Slati Voyevoda and a Turkish language church in Sliven. His work includes a children's ministry, literacy programmes, distributing relief aid, counselling, evangelisation, church services and concerts.
Henry Fischbein has been one of our missionaries since 1994 and his ministry involves preaching the Gospel to Russian-speaking Jews in Germany. Since 2001 he has been director of a Messianic Jewish charity and since 2004 pastor of a Messianic church in Stuttgart. His ministry has expanded to include counselling, children's work, support for senior citizens as well as holding workshops on various topics related to Messianic Jews. He himself is a Jew, which is why he is so passionate about preaching the Gospel to Jews.
Alexej Müller lives with his family in Narva and his main ministry is as Director of Eli, a Christian family radio station, and as presenter of its programmes. Here he is involved in both preparing and compiling Russian-language Christian radio programmes and taking part in live broadcasts. Distributing Christian literature, magazines and Bibles in Estonia is one of his main concerns. He regularly visits needy children and families in hostels, senior citizens in homes for the elderly, and instructs secondary school students in Narva in awareness training related to social topics (ethics classes). Alexej can get on well with the younger generation and takes part in the annual summer camps for children, teens and families in Estonia.
Alexander Katana teaches young people in state schools topics of current interest such as the consequences of alcohol abuse, drugs, human trafficking, domestic violence and other ethical problems. In doing so, every year he reaches 6,000 - 7,000 students. In addition, together with young people he organises many social projects. These include aid for the elderly and children as well as camps for young people and families, parents' evenings in schools, workshops for teachers and such like.
Vitali Pokidko began his missionary service in Moldova. He then heard God's call to plant a church in Siberia. Some years later he returned to Moldova. Today he is a pastor and missionary in Chisinau, the capital, and is responsible for developing the missionary work of LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) Moldova. He is also responsible for the staff and missionaries, coordinates ethics classes at state schools and organises children's camps. Together with his wife Christina he attends to the spiritual care of men and women. Since 2010 he has been in contact with local churches and pastors in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Alexander Pulev (married to Maria, one child) is a professional volleyball player and brings children and young people into contact with Christ in organised sports and tournaments. Since 2005 he has been holding training sessions combined with Bible study for young people with no connection to faith. Many of those who have accepted Christ have themselves become coaches in completely different kinds of sports, and their training sessions include sharing Christ with the young athletes. In the course of the years, Alexander's activities have expanded around this widely blessed ministry. At the moment he is working on equipping leaders for a similar ministry in Moldova and other countries. His wife supports him actively in the ministry with athletes, sports fans and their families.
Lili Paraschivescu has for many years been living in Oltenia, in Romania's poor south, where she is passionate about sharing the Gospel. In the summer months she holds summer camps for children and young people together with a team of young workers, and in the winter months preaches the Gospel in hospitals, children's homes and homes for the ederly. Lili organises women's meetings and visits children in a Roma district. Through her ministry a small village church has been established there. Lili visits people at home, sharing her faith in Jesus Christ with them, giving practical help to cope with every-day life and providing them with the necessary relief items such as clothing or articles for the home.
Pavel Davidiuk, Kiev - Director of LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) Ukraine
Sergei Guz has been cooperating closely with LICHT IM OSTEN since 1996 and has been a missionary in our missionaries' programme since 2012. For many years he was head of the "Union of Missionary Evangelical Christian Churches", an association of churches in the Volga and Ural-Region, until he returned to Ukraine to begin a new ministry here. He is married and has been living in Kiev with his wife Lilia since 2015. In Kiev he has begun to plant a new church, looks after refugees from the eastern Ukraine and works as a counsellor for soldiers who often return traumatised from crisis areas.
Yuri Lysenko, since 2013 one of our missionaries, lives with his wife in the village of Putilovichi in Ukraine. A few years ago he himself became a Christian through the Christian Tent Ministry. His work includes preaching the Gospel in an area dominated by occultism. The people prefer to turn to idols and magicians, are very superstitious and uphold heathen rituals and traditions. Together with his wife he prays that God may open the hearts of the people in and around his village for the Gospel, despite the enormous influence of evil powers. In addition to having a regular ministry for children, they are in contact with alcohol and drug addicts, being to them light and a witness to God's love.
Ludmila Maximenko is a professional actress and director. She became a Christian through the work of LICHT IM OSTEN and has been working since 1993 for LICHT IM OSTEN Ukraine in Kiev. She gives acting courses for children and together they record radio programmes for children. She is editor of countless radio productions and in addition directs the recording of radio plays and audio books produced in the Mission's own recording studio. These are very popular with the blind, among others.
Takhir Talipov is a Tatar. In 1992 he began his missionary work, completely on his own, spreading the Gospel among his people in Tatarstan. He built a Christian community step by step. His special focus is on prayer. Prayer meetings were held so as to pray consistently and constantly for a missionary spirit in the church, and the church grew and several more churches were founded. In 2008 Takhir Talipov started working in Crimea. Very many Muslim Tatars live there. Takhir and his family witnessed to the people they encountered by building caring neighbourly relationships and sharing the joyful message of Jesus Christ in their preaching and visiting ministries. Since Russia's annexation of Crimea, this ministry is no longer possible.
Today, Takhir travels to various countries to serve the Tatars living there with the Gospel. He is now living with his wife Anna in Kherson (Ukraine). His work includes: planting churches and training national leaders with the aim of reaching Muslim nations with the Gospel.
Viktor Tanziura is director for LICHT IM OSTEN's evangelistic outreach in Ukraine. His main task is to organise and lead diverse outreach events. During the summer months he travels together with several mission teams to various places throughout Ukraine, sharing the Gospel with people in a large tent. In the autumn and winter he visits Belarus and Russia for evangelistic events. He organises the outreach teams, holds workshops, plans and coordinates the dates for each of the events and applies to local authorities for the necessary permits. He is motivated by his love of the people and his wish to preach the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus.
Alexei Tolochants has his domicile in Kiev, but lives out of a suitcase rather than at a fixed address. Since 2007 he has been working as our missionary in Ukraine, in Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Israel and Germany, directing and developing an international institute for counselling. He has long seen the enormous need for counsellors in churches of the Slavic-language world and is eager to equip and prepare Christians for counselling ministries.
Mikhail Vlassenko is pastor of a church in Poltava and greatly cares about working with small groups. Mikhail leads one of the four Christian Tent Ministries outreach teams in the Ukraine, supports destitute families and assists the handicapped and their families. Since the military conflict began in the east of the country he also attends to the needs of refugees from the south-east Ukraine. His heartfelt concern is to start more small groups in and around his town, bringing people into the church and giving them a spiritual home.
C.C. has been an evangelist and preacher since the nineties. From 2001 he worked in a multi-cultural church for seven years, firstly as deacon and then as church elder, and in 2007 graduated in theology from the Bible Institute of the Baptist Union. In 2010 he became a LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST) missionary and since 2013 has been responsible for the Mission in Kazakhstan, being involved in producing evangelistic brochures which acknowledge Kazakh traditions. He seeks and maintains contact to Kazakh-speaking churches in the whole of Kazakhstan, serving as a mentor for their staff.