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In the first century we read of the apostle Paul making tents. We have often added our reason for this – it was to pay his expenses! It is true that on three occasions Paul spoke of not being chargeable to the believers in both Corinth and Thessaloniki but on other occasions following his profession enabled him to reach others for Christ.
In recent years this has been a growing aspect of our work. Abe Samuel is using his medical knowledge as a witness in Ternopol, Ukraine, Roger Brind his educational knowledge in Terebovlya, Lutsk, Kyiv and Zaozerne in Ukraine and Dömös, Hungary and Mark and Rachel Bartlett and Roger their language skills in Czechia.
Some remarkable doors have opened as a result. In Czechia for example we saw the relationships we have made with local teachers developed this year and we had some great conversations. Our main topic was based on the life and writings of C S Lewis and that presented opportunities for discussions about faith and philosophy.
With the youth, the 17-year-old who came to Christ last year is a very bright witness and brought her mother and friends to the meetings. The whole group is very positive about the programmes we arranged, and we praise God for these developing contacts. Some have asked can they join us for the International Conference in Hungary next year.
Parents and grandparents were very happy with the programme the children’s programme devised by Mark and Rachel and a number contacted family and friends and suggested they should bring their children too and so numbers grew.
About 150 people attended during the week and are very positive about the programmes and are keen we should develop them further.
School links are a further opportunity for us to demonstrate the work of Christ in our lives. Professional links have been established between schools in Hungary, Ukraine and Wales.
The war in the East of Ukraine in the Lugansk and Donetsk Regions has brought great need. Both areas have with strong links to Wales. Lugansk is a twin city of Cardiff and it was the industrialist John Hughes from Merthyr Tydfil who established the steel works in a small village Donetsk in East Ukraine that became the great city it is today.
Paul and Sally Thomas and Roger and Susan Brind have links with the Lugansk through visits and contact with many young people who have fled the areas. The Philadelphia Trust is involved in channelling support to three Ukrainian Christian organizations. Two are involved in bringing aid to the area and the third supports the refugees start life over again in the West of Ukraine.
The Philadelphia Trust is involved in several Bible teaching and leadership training programmes. Some involve the Philadelphia Trust/GLO partnership while others have grown out of our core ministry developed over the 50 years of service of Roger and Susan Brind and the 20 years of service of Mark and Rachel Bartlett and Paul and Sally Thomas.
The International Conference (Camp)has been an annual feature since founded by Dieter Weidensdörfer, from Germany in 1991. It grew out of programmes that he and Roger had been involved in among youth and family groups during the communist era in Oranienburg, Brandenburg and Kirchberg, all in the former East Germany, (DDR).
In August this year 50 believers from 15 Countries came together for 2 weeks of bible study. Roger led the first week with studies in the early life of Abram and considered the challenges of this on our lives today. Mark Davies from GLO led week 2 and we considered lessons from the middle section of the Gospel of Luke.
During the communist period visits were made to support individual assemblies in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, DDR and Poland as well as the bible school in Jastzrebie in Poland. These visits were not without danger for both the travellers and their hosts. This itinerant ministry is still supported by Roger, Mark (Bartlett) and Paul. This year bible teaching visits have been made in Miskolc, Dömös and Budapest in Hungary, Kolosvár and Makfalva in Romania, Lutsk, Kyiv and Terebovlya in Ukraine.
The ministry in Bible Schools and other conferences has grown and most of this ministry is done in conjunction with GLO. In the last 12 months we have served in bible schools in Zaozerne, Ukraine, Český Těšín, Czechia, and Dömös, Hungary. In addition, Roger has continued serving in the annual elders and leaders retreat in Drăganului Valea, Romania.