An interdenominational mission agency will expands its theological seminary in Ukraine after raising $1.4 million dollars through a dollar-for-dollar donation arranged earlier this year.
According to Send International, the agency received a challenge six months ago from a donor who said, "If you raise $700,000 by December 31st, we'll match it dollar for dollar for expansion of the Kiev Theological Seminary."
Last week, the agency reported that it had met the challenge after supporters raised the needed funding to leverage the matching money.
The funds come just at the right time as the agency reports that the need for expansion is great. Warren Janzen, Send's General Director told Mission Network News, "There [are] a lot of institutions around the world that have great facilities, but are lacking students. Kiev is one place [where] they're turning away students because they can only graduate one bachelor group every four years and they can't take new students in each year. They just don't have the facilities for it."
The $1.4 million dollars will build the shell of the addition and another $1.4 million is needed to finish the work inside. Janzen said the work will be completed with the help of short term mission teams.
Janzen said once the building is completed it will allow more believers to receive a quality theological education. In explain why it's important, Janzen told MNN, "A place like Kiev Theological Seminary is critical for the establishment of the church and then the discipleship of those believers so you can take missions full-circle 360 degrees and be sending people out from that place into Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or back into the former Soviet Union."
Christians in Ukraine are uniquely qualified to be able to reach into the Muslim world, said Janzen, "because they have faced such hardship, such suppression and they've come out of nothing. It is a thing where they've been empowered by God to go into those kinds of areas and I think they'll have a platform, a commonness, with Muslim believing people in that region that we couldn't get or couldn't earn."
Although the current presidential elections in Ukraine has stirred quite a ruckus, Janzen doesn't expect the election problems to have any impact on their work.