Missionaries from the Eastern Europe Territory
Officers serve abroad to fulfill the Great Commission.
by Galina Drozdovsky –
Captains Vitali and Inna Ciriac, the first missionaries from the Eastern Europe Territory, have served in the Czech Republic since 2004.
The Salvation Army in the Eastern Europe Territory unites five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Romania. Yet only 15 years ago, nobody in these countries could have imagined that some day they would not only have their own soldiers and officers, but also missionaries presented as a “gift” to the international Salvation Army from our territory.
Missionary officers from Eastern Europe Territory share the good news in other parts of the world and fulfill the Great Commission of God, given to us in Matthew 28:19: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Czech Republic—Captains Ciriac
Moldavian Captains Vitali and Inna Ciriac, the first missionaries from the Eastern Europe Territory, went to the Czech Republic in 2004 to spread God’s Word and serve that nation. They now serve in the town of Krnov—a small, quiet place on the border with Poland. The fellowship center where they run programs actively welcomes elderly people and youth, children, and their parents.
At the center elderly people are served delicious and inexpensive food; men can do some work as well as socialize; and women with young children can share their experiences and most pressing problems. There are many Gypsies in the town, and the center also holds a special program for Gypsy children.
The work of The Salvation Army in the Czech Republic differs from that in the Eastern Europe Territory. For us, this means that, over time, The Salvation Army in the Eastern Europe Territory will be enriched through the experience its officers have gained in the Czech Republic.
Captain Elena Drugush is also from Moldova. She has been serving as an assistant in the Puly Youth Center in the Taiwan Region since April 2005. Her ministry is dedicated to serving difficult teenagers and she is also gradually gaining experience in supporting socially needy people.
Elena, who already speaks English and Russian, is learning the local dialect so she can communicate to the young people directly without an interpreter. Elena also speaks English and Russian.
Elena left her mother at home in Moldova to answer the calling she heard: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” Elena’s experience is an invaluable investment for future service in her own territory.
Captains Andrei and Olga Inuitochkin are also Moldavian officers. They started their service in “Project Warsaw” (Poland) in August 2005 as coordinating officers in charge of the project on the ground level under the direction of Colonel Vibeke Krommenhoek.
This project is retired General John Larsson’s response to the request of a group of people to help establish The Salvation Army in Poland. In 2004 International Headquarters asked Dutch officers Colonels Dick and Vibeke Krommenhoek to go to Warsaw with the specific purpose of investigating the situation there. This was done, and “Project Warsaw” was born. Its aim for the next two years is the following: “To establish roots into Polish culture—roots which have their origin in Salvation Army values, in order for Polish Salvationists to implement the work financed by Polish resources. We hope to lay a firm foundation for soul saving, bringing up holy people, and ministering to suffering humanity.”
Captains Inuitochkin conduct Sunday worship meetings, Bible studies, prayer meetings, recruits’ classes called “The First Steps with the Salvation Army,” classes for leaders, and seminars. People give their hearts to Jesus! The project is functioning and developing, and the first fruit of their work are four new soldiers.
United Kingdom—Captains Kuznetsov
In August 2005, Captains Edward and Olga Kuznetsov left Russia for their overseas service in the United KingdomTerritory. Since February 2006 they have assisted the ministry for Russian-speaking people at the Thornton Heath Corps.
Lessons learned, letters home
Enriching each other with knowledge, gifts, and experience that we have obtained in our service to God is the power of The Salvation Army. Using a new angle on developing our programs, different approaches to solving our problems, and applying experience that we have acquired allows us to be more effective officers. What we learn when working in local churches is very helpful and more useful than any school or theoretical course. Relationships with people, faithfulness to the doctrines of The Salvation Army, and personal dedication are the treasures that we have gained from the years of oversea service in The Salvation Army.
Officers working in the Eastern Europe Territory headquarters receive letters from missionary officers. They write that, despite some language difficulties, different traditions, worldviews, and cultural differences, there is one thing in common—everywhere people are looking for God; they need love and support, and they want to see real examples from the lives of other true Christians. They learn to listen to and hear the Word and serve others so that the light of the good news comes to all countries and all peoples are enlightened. The Lord richly blesses everyone who responds to his Great Commission. Let our prayers support God’s servants in their noble mission!