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Overcoming Darkness: Irpin Seminary and TMAI Donors

Two thousand years ago on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jesus foretold the kinds of events that would occur in the last days. He spoke of famines, earthquakes, terrors from heaven, spiritual deception, persecution, and nations rising up against nations (Luke 21-7-24).

candleIrpin Biblical Seminary (IBS) in Ukraine has recently found itself inthe midst of some of these very conditions. The people of Ukraine have been confronted with war and the consequences have been devastating, with a death toll recently climbing above 7,000. One of the less publicized consequences of the war is the effect it has had on Ukraine’s energy supply.  Much of the country’s energy comes from its coal mines and natural gas fields which are located in the eastern part of the country.  But, since the fighting with Russia has been concentrated in these areas, Ukraine has lost access to much of its resources.  With half of the nation’s coal production being halted, massive electricity shortfalls have occurred throughout the country causing what has been called “an unprecedented energy crisis.”

JW teaching in Darkness

Dr. James White & Ukrainian students during a blackout

IBS faculty reported that in their city, the electricity would be turned off once, twice, or three times every day. During these times, students were forced to study by candlelight. Professors were required to teach in the dark without electronic aids. Far worse scenarios arise in winter, when electricity shortages mean no heat. If the pipes freeze, the whole heating system could be damaged.

IBS’s crisis made it clear that a generator was desperately needed in order to provide steady energy for the classrooms, kitchen, and dormitories where the students live. Though the seminary could not afford such an investment, generous friends and supporters of TMAI—many of you who receive and follow these updates—provided the necessary funds.  In all, $20,000 given to TMAI’s general fund was used to pay for the entire cost of the acquisition and installation of an industrial-grade generator!  As a result, the seminary now has a constant supply of electricity which means that pastoral training can go on uninterrupted.

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The Ukrainian faculty at Irpin write the following heartfelt message to you: “We’re so thankful to God that He put it in your hearts to sacrifice this sum on our behalf. This generator is critical in providing the necessary conditions of work, study, and life here in our country and at the seminary.”

These kinds of projects are unique to every school; and though the situations and contexts may vary from country to country, every trial provides an opportunity to bear witness to the gospel (cf. Luke 21:13). We rejoice in your partnership, which has been absolutely critical to the longevity and well-being of the training of indigenous pastors in Irpin, Ukraine, and throughout the world. We also rejoice for the men being trained in these regions, and pray that the Lord will use them mightily to radiate the gospel in the midst of a world suffering from a shortage of spiritual light. This is our mission until the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus—the true “light of the world.”