Baptizing Ukraine Refugee

New Doors Opening For BCM Germany

By: Jeanette Windle

BCM Germany has experienced much change and growth in recent years. With less than three percent of Germany’s population identifying as Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ, an emphasis has been church-planting, including Bibelgemeinde Nordrhön (Bible Church of the North Rhine) in central Germany (see “God’s Choice for BCM Germany,” BCM World, September 2015). BCM Germany teams are now church planting in new areas of East Bavaria and the Hessen/Thuringia region just east of the Soviet-era demarcation line, resulting in four new church plants.

Today, the BCM Germany team includes twelve full-time missionaries and many volunteers under leadership of field director Oskar Wentland. Along with church planting, they carry out a variety of camp ministry, family counseling, children’s ministry training (ISMT), Bible clubs for special needs adults, and a Christian foster parent network. This year, the first camps for foster kids and foster parents were maxed out within two days of opening registration. One unique ministry is the production of flannelgraph for BCM’s Footsteps of Faith curriculum in numerous languages across Europe. A BCM missionary couple from Central America is also pastoring a Spanish church plant.

BCM Germany Team

But the BCM Germany team would never have expected their fastest-growing ministry would not be German at all. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, an early target was Mariupol, where BCM personnel have worked long-term with a Christian orphanage. A harrowing land journey evacuated the orphans to Germany, where the BCM team helped arrange sanctuary through the Blue Cross (see “Keeping the Faith in War-Torn Ukraine,” BCM World, November 2022).

Over following months, tens, then hundreds of thousands more Ukrainian refugees, most of them women and children, poured into Germany. BCM Germany missionaries and volunteers joined with other German Christians to offer shelter, food supplies, clothing, help with government forms and enrolling children in school. Among them was Dasha Blaszhkun, whose mother was led to Christ through a BCM Ukraine missionary and went on to become a BCM ministry leader (see “Signing New Life in Ukraine,” BCM World, May 2024). Already in Germany as a BCM volunteer, Dasha became a top translator for Ukrainian outreach.

An immediate need was shelter. BCM Germany learned of a Christian camp facility that wasn’t being used, which they were able to convert into a refugee center. It was soon overflowing. Among the refugees were two BCM Ukraine missionary women, Ludmilla and Natasha, who started a prayer meeting in the camp. BCM’s church plant in the city started a Sunday afternoon worship service in Ukrainian. Attendance eventually topped 120, and in 2023 a separate Ukrainian church was started.

The work wasn’t easy. With few volunteers and an unending flow of refugees, team members were often exhausted, and refugees were not always cooperative. Some resented their children being exposed to the Christian faith at the camp. One woman especially, who arrived with a small daughter and teen son, was extremely aggressive, constantly lying, and causing trouble in the camp. She was angry when other refugees who were Christian openly prayed, sang worship songs, and shared Christ. She made it clear she didn’t want her children invited to Bible clubs or Christian youth activities.

Aid for Ukraine Refugees

BCM Germany Ukraine House Church

Finally, the woman was creating so many problems the BCM team was advised they should kick her out of the program. They chose instead to give the woman a second chance. Well aware of the trouble she’d caused, the woman asked them, “Why are you doing this? Why aren’t you kicking me out?”

“We want to show you the kind of love God has for you,” they explained.

Change didn’t happen overnight, but a short time later, the woman approached BCM Germany team members about visiting the Ukrainian church service. She asked for a Bible and began reading it with her children. It wasn’t long before she gave her life to Christ and was baptized. People were stunned to see her entire appearance transformed as the angry attitude gave way to a smile that radiated the joy of the Lord.

After six months, a government program provided long-term apartment housing for the camp refugees. But the BCM Germany team continues working with them. Along with the Ukrainian church plant, they have started Ukrainian youth ministry and Bible clubs. In summer 2023, BCM Germany sponsored the first Ukrainian youth camp, held in the same facility that had previously housed refugees and led by Dasia Blaszhkun.

Dasia shares, “When I was a little girl in Ukraine and my mom was doing BCM missionary work there, I never dreamed I’d be standing in front of a camp of Ukrainian young people in Germany teaching them how to make godly life decisions from the Bible or translating from German and English into Ukrainian for Bible teachers and government agencies.”

With many Ukrainian refugees accepting Christ, the next goal for Dasia and teammates is to start a discipleship program and Bible Institute school for Ukrainians in Germany.

“Pray with us that God would raise up more German evangelical church personnel to help with the task,” BCM Germany director Oskar Wentland requests. “And for a new generation of German young people to commit themselves to attending Bible college and becoming missionaries, both with BCM Germany and other Christian organizations as God leads.”

ISMT Training Germany

BCM Germany Church Plant

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