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The Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans Report
The CEEB conferences developed over a period of time beginning with the regional conferences that followed the International Training for Elders and Responsible Ones that took place in Leipzig, Germany in the fall of 2017. Two conferences were held in the area comprising the CEEB countries, one in Thessaloniki, Greece representing the Balkan countries and the other in Krakow, Poland representing the countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Both prior to the conference and after the conference in Thessaloniki, a group of brothers had times of weekly prayer, fellowship, and coordination for the Balkan countries. Upon the conclusion of the regional conference in Thessaloniki, the decision was made through this fellowship to rotate a yearly regional conference to be held in different cities throughout the region.
The first of these was held in Tirana, Albania in November 2018 and the following year in Zagreb, Croatia. During the same period of time, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe continued to conduct their previous schedule of conferences. It was during the planning and preparation for the 2019 Balkan conference that the Pandemic began. In response to this new need, the brothers from all these areas joined together for the weekly call. Through the prayer, fellowship, and combining of resources, the saints were able to conduct two online conferences per year which became known as the CEEB (Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans) conference.
The most recent conference was held both live and online on the weekend of 23-25 September. Saints from 12 countries – Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, UK, US., and Romania – came together in person in the capital city of Romania, Bucharest, for a time of blending and enjoyment of Christ. The subject of this conference was “Taking the Way of Enjoying Christ as the Tree of Life”. In addition to the live participants, there were also over 300 zoom connections. The general feeling and atmosphere during the conference was that of a fresh, renewed beginning as the saints gathered together in person after such a long absence. We are so thankful to the Lord for His leading us to take this way. There is a sense that through the prayer, fellowship, blending and pooling of resources, all the countries encompassed in the CEEB region are experiencing the impact and receiving the supply. May the Lord continue to bless His recovery of this part of the earth!
General view related to the Ukrainian saints
There are around 300 saints from Ukraine who came to Poland, most of whom stayed for a while and then moved on to other countries. Eventually some settled down in Poland. On the one hand this is a test to our love toward God and the saints. As the Lord asks Peter in the Gospel of John 21, “…do you love Me?…shepherd (feed) my sheep (lambs). On the other hand this gives us a tremendous opportunity to fellowship and be blended and built up with saints from another country.
Additionally, the four cycles of gospel preaching and the three cycles of shepherding provided opportunities for saints from the whole world and locally to cooperate with Christ to preach the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 24:14). We have had more than 100 plus saints from abroad come and participate in the gospel and then continue to shepherd these new ones. We have contacted thousands of Ukrainian refugees and now we are still shepherding hundreds of new ones. Our goal is that all these new ones would enter into, and be established in the church life which is the reality of the kingdom of God.
Wrocław is the third largest city in Poland after Warsaw and Kraków. It is located in the southwestern part of the country. The official population before the war was 673,000 (some sources say up to one million). The metropolitan area has a population of 1.25 million. The university student population is over 130,000. In addition, after the war in Ukraine started, 300,000 refugees came to Wrocław. In Poland, the city of Wrocław has the second highest number of refugees. The statistics say that about 200,000 remain in the city.
As a result of all the cycles there are 11 remaining contacts (three brothers and eight sisters) from Ukraine that we can meet with every time we are there. Some of them met each other in our meetings and appointments and are continuing to visit and meet together in their homes with a local sister named Magda. This includes several children.
There are also a few Polish contacts who are open that the saints met during the cycles, as well as several Polish seeking ones in Wrocław that we have known and cared for previously. These ones have introduced us recently to their contacts who are also seeking. Altogether there are about 25 seeking Polish ones there whom we know. They are from different backgrounds and situations. Some of them want to take the way of the Lord’s recovery but are still coming out of the religious past.
One couple from Kraków would like to move to Wrocław, also one Polish family (who can partially communicate in Russian) received a burden to move to Wrocław and recently has started to consider this. They are hoping to move with others who would migrate there as well. This may take some time in order to plan and make the necessary arrangements.
The nearest church to Wrocław is in Opole, which is about one hour by car, so there is an opportunity for those living in Wrocław (both from Ukraine or Poland) to blend with the church there.
During the period of April to October 2022, out of all the recipients of invitations for fellowship that were distributed, approximately 360 people wanted to keep in touch. About 18 saints and four serving ones from Ukraine contacted and fed them. There were also some FTTM trainees and about seven saints from Poland who joined this activity at different times. Among those 360 who expressed their willingness to continue contact, around 45 are very burning and are willing to meet regularly and about 15 of them got baptized.
Since the beginning of the war, over 300 people from Ukraine have left us their details for further contact.
After the cycles of evangelizing and shepherding that included saints from dozens of countries, new believers are now being shepherded.
Three sisters from Ukraine recently migrated to Krakow, bringing the number of saints meeting in the church here to 20 people. We are continuing to maintain contact with 30 new people, four of whom have been baptized.
Currently, nine local saints are mainly involved in the shepherding and these ones are joined on the weekends by FTTM trainers from Warsaw.
An additional result of the cycles are meetings for new believers and young people’s meetings. From this academic year, regular student meetings also began in the building of the Krakow University of Technology.
CZECHIA & SLOVAKIA
Regarding the situation in Ukraine
At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Slovakia was one of the main countries through which the Ukrainians began to flee the war zone. Among them there were dozens of small and large groups of saints which were coming to Slovakia in coordination with the brothers in Ukraine. The saints in Košice, with a rich financial support from the saints from many different places, especially became the real “point of first contact”. This particularly applied to all the mothers with little children who were coming, many times in tears, as they left everything behind with a great uncertainty in front of them. The saints in the church in Košice, though small i n number, were ready to travel to the borders to pick up the saints. Even in the middle of the night they would help the saints find accommodation, and in many cases, offer their own beds. They also assisted in helping with further transportation, medical care, and other daily needs.
Most of the saints from Ukraine eventually continued their journey through Bratislava to Germany, or from Košice straight to Poland. Some of the saints even decided to return to Ukraine after some time.
In April the first group of saints forming a gospel team came to Slovakia. This group of 20 mainly Russian-speaking saints was joined by some of the local saints and worked together for two weeks especially in three localities: Bratislava, Košice, and Vienna, Austria. During this time a significant number of flyers, Bibles, and free books were distributed along with some packets for children.
From that time the number of refugees coming to Slovakia declined significantly. At this moment we are in contact with only two families staying in Slovakia. These are being shepherded by the local saints.
Regarding the situation of the saints in Slovakia and Czechia
Although during the pandemic the saints from Slovakia and Czechia were meeting every Lord’s day and also conducting corporate video trainings via Zoom, the first opportunity for them all to meet in person opened up during the Family Retreat in the Slovak Western Tatra mountains on August 14-20 2022. During this retreat approximately 70 saints including children gathered together. Throughout the day the saints presented a total of 10 lessons for children focused on eight great men in the Bible part two, and in the evenings and mornings the parents gathered for prayer and fellowship regarding the practical church life. Along with the saints from Slovakia and Czech Republic, there were also two families from Austria and one from Hungary. Praise the Lord for such an encouraging time of a new beginning for the saints!
Regarding a new locality in Slovakia
The saints in Slovakia also pray and labor together to establish a new locality in the middle of Slovakia in the city of Zilina. It seems to us that for nearly the last 20 years the Lord has this city in His heart. Throughout the years a lot of energy has been spent on this city, however the labor never brought the expected fruit. Now, due to a dear couple living in Zilina for several years, the fruit of their labor in love can begin to be seen. The saints are now in contact with another four families. With some they read the Basic Elements of the Christian Life, and with others the Bible, this is in addition to having regular childrens meetings in the homes. The saints from other localities in Slovakia are supporting this situation with much prayer and also by blending, which usually takes place during one of the Lord’s days in a given month.
We are cooperating with the Lord by our prayer regarding the following items:
- For the continual renewing and recovering of all the dear saints in Slovakia and Czechia.
- For the proper growth and development of the second generation.
- For the preaching of the Gospel and shepherding among the refugees and the local people and also for the Lord spreading into new localities and the support of the saints who work for the Lord in love.
In Hungary, there is one lampstand in the capital city, Budapest, where 15-20 saints are meeting. In the church meetings, there is usually translation between Hungarian and English. Until last year the church meetings were held in a flat owned by the Hungarian LSM Foundation. The neighbors’ complaining because of the singing in the meetings caused a couple to seek for a house to be purchased as their home and as a new place for the church meetings. After much prayer, a suitable house was found and purchased, and the church began to meet there on the Lord’s days. The prayer meeting remained on Zoom for a longer time but, since June, it has already been hosted in person in five homes. Praise the Lord for involving the homes in the church meetings!
Recently, a family migrated to Budapest from mainland China to be part of the Lord’s testimony in Hungary. As a result, another home has been opened for the church life. In addition, year by year, the Lord has brought a number of university students to join the church life in Budapest.
There are two more localities in Hungary where there are two or three believers who have been enjoying the ministry together regularly and also endeavoring to impart their appreciation into other believers.
There has been much prayer and fellowship in seeking increase. The focus is to propagate the Hungarian ministry publications in the following ways:
- Weekly distributions of the free ministry books provided by Rhema Literature Distributors at a major public transport stop.
- The recent launching of an upgraded online bookshop for the sale of the Hungarian ministry publications.
- A plan to make advertisements on social media to attract visitors to the new online bookshop.
- The burden to present the ministry publications to believers in Christianity.
- Ongoing fellowship for replacing the aforementioned LSM flat with a property that is more accessible to the public for local pickup of online orders and a place of informal fellowship with readers.
Please join us in praying for the propagation of the ministry through these endeavors and that the increased contact with people would result in the bearing of remaining fruit for the Lord’s testimony. We pray particularly that the Lord would add some strategic ones who could expand our capacity for both written and oral translation for the publication work and to facilitate meetings.
Gospel for refugees – Bucharest – April 2022
In response to the burden in the Body to bring the Gospel to the millions of Ukrainian refugees, approximately 25 saints from Taiwan, Ukraine and Moldova joined the local Romanian saints for two weeks of spreading the Word.
Blending of the local churches – Cluj-Napoca – June 2022
After two long years of Pandemic, approximately 40 saints from eight localities came together to enjoy the Lord in Cluj-Napoca, in central Romania. While the online meetings continue to supply the localities, they cannot replace the sweetness of the in-person meetings.
Video-Training – online – August 2022
The July semiannual training on the Crystallization-Study of 1&2 Kings took place online and over 50 Romanian-speaking saints participated. There was a fresh appreciation among the saints that God’s economy is unveiled and transmitted through typology and carried out through His chosen on the Earth.
CEEB Conference – Bucharest – September 2022
Saints from 12 countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, UK, US., and Romania) came together in person in the capital city of Romania, Bucharest, for a time of blending and enjoyment of Christ. The subject of this Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans regional Conference was “Taking the Way of Enjoying Christ as the Tree of Life”. In addition to the live participants, there were also over 300 zoom connections. The saints from so many countries were supplied and strengthened to go on together in His recovery.
CROATIA & SERBIA
In Croatia there are four churches with around 50 saints plus 12 children; these churches are in the cities of Hvar, Pula, Split, and Zagreb. Recently, another family has been added to the church in Pula. We are looking to the Lord for the strengthening of the church in Split since one responsible brother recently migrated to Munich, Germany. In Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, there are many young people, some young families, and students; the oldest brother is 34, and the oldest sister is 40. The lampstand in Serbia is in the city of Novi Sad where 10 saints plus 12 children are gathering.
We would like to start the translation of the Recovery Version into Serbo-Croatian language in the near future. In addition, the distribution of the free literature in all the former countries of Yugoslavia is going on very well, and there are many contacts to reap, but the workers are few.
The saints in Croatia and Serbia are always using the opportunities for blending, for example the University Student conferences and trainings, the EYPC, recently the first Lord’s table in Lisbon, and the CEEB conferences. In spite of all these opportunities, we still feel that we need much more blending and praise the Lord for the burdened saints who usually visit us during summer time.
The translation of Brothers Nee and Lee’s ministry into the Albanian language started in the early 90’s. From 1992 to 1997 a church was raised up in the capital of Tirana with many local university students. At one point we had as many as 50 local believers meeting together on Lord’s days and breaking bread. In 1997 there was a major civil unrest that impacted the entire country. Many able, young people left the country to seek better opportunities abroad. Soon afterwards the saints stopped meeting as the church in Tirana.
In 2012 a couple moved to Tirana from the United States and started meeting in their home. One family that remained from the 90’s joined them. In December 2020 the complete set of Rhema books was translated, printed and shipped to Tirana. We received the books with great joy.
Currently, there are about five families meeting regularly on the Lord’s day. Weekly there are brothers’ and sisters’ meetings where we gather together in threes and fours to read and enjoy the Rhema books. We also take advantage of the many conferences hosted by Amana trust.
Our next step is to raise up more local brothers so that we can have a solid base to have the Lord’s testimony and retake the ground. We enjoy blending and are always so happy when saints from abroad come to visit. Please continue to stand with us as the Lord leads us forward.
Praise the Lord for His move in the Balkans and the building up of His organic Body through the blending!
Thanks to the prayers in the Body and the online advertisement, Rhema Bulgaria has been receiving many orders. These orders include some from several denominations and seeking saints who have the burden to distribute the books and read them together in their groups.
The Bulgarian translation team continues to labor on the seven feasts and new publications, including the Life Study of the Bible. Within the last couple of months, another 20 new publications were printed and became available through the LSM Bulgarian website and several local bookstores, adding up to a total of 33 publications.
In the last few months another three saints, a young couple and a single sister, moved from London to Sofia in order to work full-time and strengthen the Lord’s testimony in the capital of Bulgaria.
Recently, 26 saints traveled from Sofia to Bucharest for the CEEB conference, and blended with saints from the Balkan peninsula and other regions.
The church in Sofia has received 1,400 English Bibles, 7,000 Rhema books (in Bulgarian) and 10,000 Mystery of Human Life tracts. The saints endeavor to go out every Lord’s Day to distribute the Bible and preach the gospel with a view to build up a living for the spreading of the truths of the ministry and of the gospel of the kingdom, individually as well as corporately.
After a two year hiatus due to the Pandemic, the saints in Greece were delighted to once again participate in the European Young People’s Conference in Poland this summer. Altogether, 12 young people and eight serving ones attended, some of which were for the first time. All the saints thoroughly enjoyed the conference, and as a result, three saints were baptized soon afterwards.
Additionally, the brothers and sisters have endeavored to attend several of the recent conferences such as the Spring CEEB via Zoom, the Chinese-speaking conference in Paris in person and via Zoom, and the fall CEEB conference by Zoom and in person. We have all been encouraged and supplied through the Lord’s up-to-date speaking.
One final encouraging item is that every Tuesday a group of saints have been going to some university campuses in Athens to distribute the English Recovery Version. May the Lord continue to draw His young seekers to the saints.
Please continue to pray with us for the Lord to increase in life and numbers in Greece!