New Journey Church supports missionaries across the world to spread a passion for the glory of God! Missionaries are supported financially and through prayer in Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, Florida, Mexico, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Poland, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Japan. Due to sensitive political unrest in particular regions of the world, exact locations and missionary names are not published for the safety of the missionaries and the effectiveness of their ministry.
How did our Ukraine ministry start?
In 1995 we were offered the opportunity to financially sponsor humanitarian aid food bags to Ukraine because of the economic hardships they were suffering. These bags were supplied from governmental food commodity items and were shipped on governmental containers to Ukraine for distribution. Our church decided to participate in this program and was informed when the bags were received in April 1995. We continued sending these care packages twice a year until 2006 when the container was only offered in the spring.
Adopting a sister church
The summer of 1995 the Minnesota Baptist Conference informed its members of a sister church relationship program where a church could adopt a sister church in Ukraine and specifically work with that church to mentor its membership. We decided to check it out and were thrilled in January of 1996 to officially adopt Hutori as our official sister church. In April of 1996 we sent pictures of our church and its membership to Hutori with Pastor Tim Hvidsen of Alvarado Baptist Church (Minnesota) who was going to Ukraine to visit their sister church.
Hutori is a small village located about 7 kilometers southwest of Cherkasi which is on the Dniper River about a 2 1/2 hour drive south of Kiev. In 1997 it had a population of 5000 residents which was housed in multi-generational homes. It has a large chemical plant and a maximum security prison which also houses 5000 men. The people are very welcoming, loving, and hospitable. They are hard workers and have been known to work without pay (when there wasn’t any to be had) just to keep busy. They are intelligent and have some great business ideas. Unfortunately, economic hardships haven’t allowed them to develop most of them.
The Hutori Baptist Church
Hutori Baptist Church has been around about 100 years. Much of that time was as an “underground church” meeting in various homes because of the communist and governmental persecution that Christian churches experienced. After 1990 the church established itself in a building on one of the main streets in Hutori. With a small amount of financial help from our church they have expanded this facility to over double its original size adding on Sunday school rooms, a church resource library, a board meeting room, a garage and storage facility, and best of all more room for parishioners. The church was started by the Ustenko family and has continued to be pastored by the Ustenko family for four generations. The current pastor is Vascilly Ustenko. There are about 60 families attending on a regular basis. It has grown and planted 8 daughter churches in the Cherkasi area. It also provides services for the local prison chapel as well as assists in the prison rehabilitation center.