Simferopol Baptist Church came into existence
June 1994, the Lord called our family to work with the deaf people in
Simferopol, Ukraine. Our deputation began in October of that year.
Praise the Lord we finished deputation in 18 months and on May 6, 1996 we arrived in Simferopol, Ukraine.
Upon our arrival, several deaf met us at the train station and asked
when we would begin a church. I told them that we would have church in
our home the following Sunday. Praise the Lord that twelve deaf
people came to our home that next Sunday. The deaf people were so
excited to have a church in which to learn about God and worship
the deaf had no Bibles and no Biblical foundation from which
we could build an understanding of sin or the need of
salvation. When I would mention Noah and Ark, Jonah
and the whale, or Paul, the deaf would sit with blank
expressions on their faces. They had no idea what we
were talking about. The first time I asked who knew for sure
that when they died they would go to heaven, they all raised
their hands. When I asked who knew for sure that when
they died they would go to hell, again, they all raised
their hands. Praise the Lord that a church in America had
donated Betty Lupkin's flannel graph and we began telling
picture stories to the deaf. I did not give an
invitation for four months as we began teaching the
fundamentals of the faith. At the first invitation, 17
deaf men and women came forward to be saved.
Within three months, we had outgrown our living room
(averaging around 20 deaf each Sunday). Praise the
Lord, that He led us to a building where we could meet
weekly. It was at the former KGB House of Culture. The
church continued to grow and by the first anniversary, we
had 90 for that special day. Slava Kratko (now the pastor
of the deaf church) was a first time visitor on that day. In November 1997, after 18 months of meeting at the KGB House of Culture, we were told we could no longer meet there.
was an existing Russian Baptist Union church in town that
was building a new building. We asked several times to
purchase their old building but we were informed that it had
already been sold. After much prayer and waiting, we
asked if we could rent the building for a couple of months
until we could find a location; which they agreed. We
continued to ask God for that particular building and on January 2, 1998, the pastor called to say that the other
people no longer wanted the building... that it could be
ours for $50,000 (picture on left). We made a couple
of phone calls and came up with enough money for the
deposit. Plans were made for Judy and I to take an
early furlough to raise the remaining funds that summer.
Praise the Lord, the money was raised quickly!
The Lord continued
to bless mightily at Simferopol Baptist Church. As
a result of the many deaf that were saved, hearing
people were also being invited to the church. Also
in January 1998, the first hearing service
started in the evening. Presently, the deaf meet
in the morning (Sunday School at 9:00 and Worship
Service at 10:00). The hearing church meets in the
afternoon (Choir practice at 1:00, Sunday School at 2:00
and Worship Service at 3:00). In June of 1999,
Pastor Olen Adams (from our sending church in America)
came over to commission our church.
present the Lord has provided so that we average between
100 to 110 on Sunday (that is
counting deaf and hearing). Several of our men preach on a regular basis.
To date, there
have been 6 churches or ministries and a Bible College started in the state
of Crimea. To God be the glory, GREAT things He hath done!
& Tanya Kratko
were saved at Simferopol Baptist Church. Tanya was saved in 1996 and prayed diligently for
Slava to be saved. Slava was saved in May 1997.
His spiritual growth has been amazing. He
hours upon hours in the Bible. Each
Sunday he would have a list of questions for me on what he had found.
On June 12, 2005 Bro. Slava was ordained the pastor of
Simferopol Baptist Deaf Church. Seven American
pastors and missionaries laid hands on Slava.
asked if he could begin a deaf church in Sevastopol.
That church is now 10 years old. Recently he helped start a
church in Feodosia and March of 2009 our church
sent him to Evapatoria to start another new ministry
for the deaf. Slava also travels to other cities in
Ukraine and Russia to preach to the deaf. He is doing a tremendous
work and responsible for countless deaf all over Ukraine
We have now been
in Ukraine for 14 years. Our most recent prayer
card is below:
Below are a few of the faces that you will see on
Sundays at Simferopol Baptist Church