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Eastern Europe

Our interest in the former-Communist nations of Central and Eastern Europe began in the early 1980's, when we read Brother Andrew’s book called God’s Smuggler. We first visited this region in 1986 on an outreach after our DTS (Discipleship Training School), when we spent two weeks in Hungary doing friendship evangelism, mostly through praise and worship in public places. We then visited Czechoslovakia briefly, before having a long weekend with a church in the former DDR (East Germany). We returned from this trip greatly moved after visiting such oppressed nations, with a great desire to bring God’s Word to places where the people had been starved of it for over forty years.

We watched the events of 1989 with great interest and excitement as these nations threw off their Communist governments, and the Berlin Wall was opened, thus opening the way for Christian ministry. Since then we have been involved in several former-Communist nations of Central and Eastern Europe

Latvia

After having been to teach a couple of times at the YWAM centre in Latvia, we were invited to run a four-week Bible seminar in 1998. We travelled to Latvia as a family by car from England to lead the seminar. This was a great success, with about twenty students, who were mostly Latvians, attending. One of the students then went away for more training, and now leads a three-month version of the SBS there. I have been back to teach there several times in the last few years, and it is so encouraging to see such good fruit from the trip we made twenty years ago.

Russia

While in Latvia, God made it very clear to us that our next venture would be to go to Russia. So a few months later, we packed up and drove the 2500 miles from England to Rostov-on-Don. There I led the very first full nine-month SBS in the ex-Communist world. There were many challenges running the school there, particularly over getting visas, and some spiritual opposition. Also, living in Russia with a young family on the ninth floor of a Soviet apartment block (right) had many practical challenges. The school continues to be run in Rostov, and there is another school in Perm, where it is run by a couple from Uzbekistan.

Hungary

In 2001 we went to Budapest to help run the first part of the SBS there, which was being led by a Korean couple. We returned to Hungary a couple of years later with the aim of establishing the school there more permanently. Unfortunately, we found that it was not easy to get a sufficient number of students to run a viable school there. However, the school was run in Budapest again in 2008-2009.

Today

After a year in Hungary, we returned to live in the U.K. in 2004, but our interest in Eastern Europe certainly continues. I usually go and teach in these nations at least once a year. In recent years, I have back to teach in Russia and Latvia several times, as well as other nations such as: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Albania and Central Asia.