We would like to thank you for your prayer support for our Irish Global Alpha Training (GAT) team who led an Alpha Training Conference in Kiev, Ukraine from Wed. 3rd to Sun 7th April. It was a wonderful blessing. The trip comprised of Fr. Pat Collins, Susan O’Toole, Brian Sheridan, Jonny Somerville, Peter Rigney and Paddy Monaghan.
80 delegates from 17 Messianic Jewish congregations attended the Conference in Kiev. They came from around the Ukraine, Russia and Slovakia. I would say the average age of delegates was about 27. None of the Irish team had been in the Ukraine before. We received wonderful hospitality from the Kiev Messianic Jewish Congregation.
Peter comments that “The biggest impact for me is that I was expecting a seminar type atmosphere and response, but I was very quickly humbled and awed by how God is moving in the Ukraine. I have learned so much from the delegates and can take so much back to my local church, and the larger Christian community in Ireland. It was one of my best trips ever”
When the conference was finished our team were invited to attend the regular Messianic Jewish service on the Sat. This was attended by 1,000+ mainly Messianic Jewish people. This service was special in that it included a traditional Jewish Wedding – started at 11am and went on until 5pm. The worship was amazing – it included dancing and some wonderful testimonies of healing. Check out the 2 minute video below which gives a flavour of the Conference and a glimpse of the dancing!
Brian Sheridan, a career guidance teacher from Mullingar comments “From the outset of our preparation meetings I have received great grace and joy from the whole group, none of whom I had ever met before. The trip to Kiev was unbelievable and beyond words of joy for me. The living faith of the people we met and the hospitality I experienced was overwhelming and I never had such an encounter before. I genuinely felt that I got much more from the trip than I gave. I shared about this wonderful trip to our follow- on Alpha group, to my wife and children and also to the young people in my school. In brief it was a reawakening and new beginning for me and I deeply thank God for it”
After the Congregation Service on the Saturday we were treated to a guided tour of Kiev. The architecture in the centre of Kiev is very beautiful. We visited the Orthodox Jewish Synagogue and a Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Then we ended the day in a beautiful old Russian style restaurant for dinner and were blessed to be joined by Rabbi Boris and his wife. We then held hands and sang a song together and prayed for God’s blessing on Kiev, Rabbi Boris’ congregation and Ireland.
At both the Alpha Conference and the Congregation Service, our team held up the Irish Tricolour flag – green, white and orange and I explained that the colours represented the Protestant and Catholic community in Ireland with white for peace between them. It made a major impact on them when I explained that our team comprised of 3 Christians who worshipped in the Catholic Church and 3 Christians who worshipped in 3 different Protestant Churches and I said that only Yeshua (Jesus) can bring true peace both in Ireland and the Ukraine.
Susan O’Toole, who is the new chairperson of Alpha Ireland, gave a wonderful analysis of the whole experience:
“I was personally overwhelmed (in a good way!) from my experience of the GAT in Kiev. We were so loved and welcomed and supported with such dedicated prayer. The Congregation prayed for our GAT for months before we arrived and had a dedicated prayer team praying throughout the GAT. This bore such fruit – the GAT was described as “powerful”. God’s presence was tangible and the prayer and worship amazing.
Those with experience of Alpha shared experiences and discussed difficult issues they faced, such as dealing with alcoholics and disruptive behaviour. The local Alpha team led some of the sessions and encouraged congregations to take up Alpha, so it was a great joint effort between the Ukraine and Irish teams.
I was impressed by the professionalism of Kiev’s Alpha organisation. Examples:
1) Saturation of prayer
2) Signing up people for Alpha on the streets, following up with phone calls. The person who makes contact with guests on the street becomes their small group host, so a relationship already exists
3) Competitions to incentivise people to complete the Alpha Course
4) If people decide not to do the Alpha, they keep in contact and regularly invite them to their key events
5) Personalised VIP invitations to Alpha – for one plus guest
6) Social media communications
We were privileged to be invited to the host Congregation’s Shabbat service (about a 1000 strong) and witnessed healings and God’s power when praying with people. Personally I received much from God throughout our time in Kiev and came back empowered for the next phase of Alpha in Ireland. A good result!”
Again thank you so much for your prayers – it was truly a great blessing for us all and a privilege to be part of the Gat Team.