Alina Balaceanu|| forum funded ::

Alina Balaceanu|| forum funded ::

Country:
Romania
Occupation:
Education—University
Forum Network:
Apologetics
Ministry Focus:
University Students
Alina Balaceanu is the leader of women’s groups at Emanuel University of Oradea in Romania.
When did you trust Christ?
When I was five-years-old the Holy Spirit convinced me of my total sinfulness, powerlessness, and desperate need of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. At the time I attended the Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Bucharest, Romania with my family. The event happened during a week-long evangelism event at the church.
What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?
I continued to grow in my relationship with God, going to Church, praying, and reading the Bible. At age 16 I was baptized and started to become involved in worship ministry, playing piano and singing in various choir groups. My spiritual life knew new heights as I began to understand biblical concepts such as God’s grace, providence, and sovereignty, while dedicating more and more time to fellowship, Bible study, prayer meetings, sharing the Gospel, and disciple-making. In my student years the Lord gave me the privilege of leading one of my colleagues to Christ and discipling her.
Why do you want to attend the Forum?
Communicating and interacting with both young and experienced leaders from various backgrounds and contexts would enlarge my perspectives, and provide me with encouragement and motivation. I hope to make important connections with other believers and find new opportunities for ministry.
What is your ministry?
By God’s grace I am now leading women’s student groups at Emanuel University of Oradea, which is part of a larger program called Beauty in Holiness that wishes to involve all the women students in study and ministry groups, focusing on spiritual growth and serving others. Our group consists mainly of music students and since the music section of the university has a very high percentage of girls, these groups have the potential of creating special bonds that will eventually impact the ministries of these students, and through it the university and the churches where these students are involved. Our focus is growing in faith through Bible study, memorizing Scripture, prayer, fellowship, and sharing the Gospel through evangelism.
What are your past leadership roles?
I have served as a worship leader and adult and children’s choir director. I have also been a women’s Bible study group leader at several youth camps in Romania.
Why should someone invest in your ministry?
Women’s ministry in Romania is almost non-existent, but women represent the highest percentage in the church and Christian schools. There is a lack of knowledge when it comes to doctrine, theology, and discipleship, although there are clear commandments in Scripture directly addressing the responsibility of women teaching women. Biblical teaching and disciple-making among women in Romania would have a huge impact in the church and society, considering the key role women have in spiritually building their homes, educating children, and training and discipling young wives and mothers.
Julius Coomson|| forum funded ::

Julius Coomson|| forum funded ::

Country:
Ghana

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Pastoring and/or Bible Teaching

Julius Coomson is a pastor of Legon Interdenominational Church, which is located on the campus of the University of Ghana.

When did you trust Christ?

I grew up in a Catholic home where I was taught to attend mass every Sunday. I did this religiously but all the while I was empty within. This continued until my first year in the university where I heard the gospel faithfully preached. I realized I was a great sinner, but Jesus was a great savior. I responded to an altar call and made the finished work of Christ on the cross my own. I invited Jesus by faith to come and live in my heart. I have not looked back since.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

The defining moment for my faith was after I got saved. I was introduced to a faithful minister of the gospel who was discipling students on my university campus. He taught me the basics of the Christian faith, such as reading the scriptures, having a quiet time, and how to pray and evangelize effectively. That created a solid foundation for my Christian walk. I thank God I was discipled.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

I hope to meet other gospel-centered ministers at the Forum, from whom I can learn new ideas for ministry. I believe as we meet, learn from, and pray for each other that I will be renewed for effective ministry upon my return. In addition, I hope to meet people who have been in ministry for a long time and who can mentor me. Furthermore, I expect to be exposed to new resources which may not be available in my context.

What is your ministry?

I am currently an associate pastor of a 1,500-member congregation located on the University of Ghana campus. I provide pastoral care and help train leaders for our church’s Bible study and ministry leadership needs. In addition, I run discipleship sessions for students on the university campus.

What are your past leadership roles?

By God’s grace I have held various leadership roles. In high school I was the Head Prefect for my school. I had the leadership responsibility of serving as a link between about 900 students and the school authorities. In the university I served as a hall president for the University Christian Fellowship (a member of IFES). I was responsible for the spiritual growth of about 2,000 university students. After university I obtained theological training and served as a Bible instructor for a Bible school on the University of Ghana campus. In addition, I pioneered a discipleship program for university students and by God’s grace over 2,500 students have been discipled through this initiative. I was later employed by a church to serve as the Outreach and Ministry Director. I was responsible for developing outreach training to help the members of the church become effective in reaching out to others through evangelism.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

My ministry is impacting and shaping lives greatly for God’s glory. There are many groups who are working hard to lead these young students astray, but by God’s grace my ministry is strategically being used by God to preserve these precious lives. Simply put, investing in my training will reach a lot more people for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Beryl Atieno Omondi|| forum funded ::

Beryl Atieno Omondi|| forum funded ::

Country:
Kenya

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Other

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Worship

Beryl Atieno Omondi is the worship leader of Outreach Community Church.

When did you trust Christ?

I became a Christian in 2009 during a home Bible study in my uncle’s home. They had a Bible study every night. Being that I was the only one from my family with such an opportunity to learn more about Christ, I decided to give my life to Christ and bring the light of God to my family, too.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

My uncle and my aunty are my mentors and my spiritual parents. They have had a very great impact on my walk with Christ. In 2017, my mother gave her life to Christ and this made me to seek God more and more for His Goodness.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

I expect to learn more from the people I meet, both through the life experiences and also from the teaching I receive from experienced teachers and preachers.

What is your ministry?

My current ministry is worship ministry. I am the worship leader of Outreach Community Church. I have seen God changing my life and the lives of others through worship. I have come to see that this is my life purpose. I am dedicated to growing before the Lord and helping shepherd others to Him in worship.

What are your past leadership roles?

My past leadership role was high school ministry. After giving my life to Christ, I could not keep the good news to myself. I began preaching the Word of God to my fellow students who were not born again at that time. I was also the leader of the Christian Union at my university.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

By investing in me you are also investing in the lives of everyone who I minister to.

Giuseppe Palermo|| forum funded ::

Giuseppe Palermo|| forum funded ::

Country:
Italy

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Church Planting

Giuseppe Palermo is a church planter and leads several short-term mission trips in Italy each year.

When did you trust Christ?

I made my decision to trust the Lord at the age of 13 at a Christian summer camp. However, until the age of 19 I was not consistent, and did not have a real grasp of what it meant to follow Jesus. After more study and guidance from other Christians in my life, I recommitted my life to the Lord and the change was evident to all. Since then life with Christ has been much more real.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

I think the most important thing for me was the training I received at London Theological Seminary. Studying God’s Word and being trained and taught by great men of God was life changing for me. I appreciated the quality time spent with these people, which enabled me to have a much deeper understanding and knowledge of the Word of God, and how to live it out practically on a day-to-day basis.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

The teaching at the European Leadership Forum is amazing and a great blessing. The Forum has lots of resources, fellowship, and interaction with other people involved in different ministries throughout Europe. There is good networking and I have received great deal of helpful information for my ministry in Italy. I want to return to the Forum to meet other Christian leaders from all over the world. I want to learn from them and have fellowship with them. I also want to see if there are any opportunities to partner in ministry and to learn how to better pray for my brothers and sisters more effectively.

What is your ministry?

I work among students and am involved with another missionary family in church planting here in Milan. We started off with some small home Bible studies and now rent a building every Sunday to meet and worship together. I am also part of a mission network called Italian Ministries. I am one of the founders of this network and also part of the board. I lead four short term mission trips each year.

What are your past leadership roles?

I spent ten years as part of the eldership of a church that started the church plant Bergamo Free Independent Evangelical Church. During that time I worked with a national mission organization called Operation Mobilization.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

My only goal is to reach out to others with the Gospel, to share Christ, and to be involved in telling others the Good News. I also have a heart to help the local church by training and helping young people to preach and teach. There is an urgent need here in Italy and my burden is great, so any investment is greatly appreciated.

Andrzej Kempczynski|| forum funded ::

Andrzej Kempczynski|| forum funded ::

Country:
Poland

Occupation:
Christian Ministry – Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Church Planting

Andrzej Kempczynski is a church planter in Poland.

When did you trust Christ?

I grew up in a small town where there is no evangelical church. When I was in my last year of secondary school, I had older friends who had moved to Warsaw for university, coming home on the weekends. One Friday, one of my friends visited me and told me that he had become a born-again believer. Another Friday, another friend visited me and told me that he had become a born-again believer. Then another Friday, another friend came and also told me about his conversion. They all, like me, had been Roman Catholic. Two of them were nominal and one was devout, so that made me think about Christianity. Although I was Roman Catholic, I rather thought of myself as an atheist. I had questions, and they provided the answers. Eventually, I wanted to become a born-again believer too. On November 30, 1993, I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

I joined my friends’ church once I moved to Warsaw to continue my education. Because there were splits in the church, I decided to change churches. My other friends invited me to a new Baptist church in Warsaw. I decided to stay there, but I did not know anything about Baptists apart from stereotypes. I started looking for information on the internet about Baptists, and I found information about Charles Spurgeon, the most famous Baptist preacher. That was the defining moment of my Christian walk. I started reading his sermons, and after a very poor ‘diet’ at my previous church, it was like a three-course meal. Spurgeon used expressions I did not understand, so I started researching more and reading books about these issues. At the same time I started to be hungry for theology and wanted to grow in understanding, so I went to the Warsaw Baptist Theological Seminary. During seminary, the conviction in my heart grew that I should think about full-time church ministry. Because I did not think I had enough preparation, together with my wife, we decided to leave Poland for the United Kingdom (UK) to study at London Seminary (formerly London Theological Seminary). We spent almost 4 years in the UK, and were subsequently sent to Poland as church planters.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

It will help me to focus on the subject of my interest. I am thinking about reaching young people, and to that end, I think it would be helpful to focus on apologetics. It is not my strong suit, but if I learn a bit more I could impact the young people in our town.

What is your ministry?

We are involved in church planting. That means I have to do a bit of everything. I am an evangelist, and that includes street evangelism as well as writing tracts. I am also a pastor and prepare sermons.

What are your past leadership roles?

This is my first leadership role.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

We are the only evangelical church in our town of almost 53,000 people. We are also the only evangelical church in our county of almost 110,000 people. If there is a way we can reach these people with the gospel, we would like to do it. We are a small group, but we would like to see people converted to biblical Christianity. What I would learn at the Forum would also benefit our church, and equip my brothers and sister to talk to their unbelieving friends on a different level.

Emanuel Pela|| forum funded ::

Emanuel Pela|| forum funded ::

Country:
Romania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Other

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Discipleship

Emanuel Pela is a small group leader and discipleship group leader.

When did you trust Christ?

I grew up in the church, so I had all the information I needed about the Christian faith and about what Jesus had done. But in the end it did not transform me. When I was about age 14, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to take part in a Bible study group. I joined the group and started to read the Bible and things began to make more sense. During the summer of 2015 I went to a camp with the youth from our church and the theme for the week was from Philippians 3:10. That week was the defining moment when I realized that Christ was an actual person and that I could have a personal living relationship with Him.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

Having authentic Christians around me when I first started following Christ helped me with my thirst to know Jesus. Whether they knew it or not, these Christians became my mentors. With their help I began to pay forward what was given to me. I started leading small discussion groups and Bible study groups for teenagers in my home church. Seeing some of my friends engaging in a personal relationship with Jesus was a huge boost in my faith life. Being raised in a church had its benefits but also some disadvantages. A major one was that after moving to another city to attend to university, I realized that I had taken some things for granted. I had some beliefs that were not challenged and so I did not know how to answer questions that my non-Christian friends had about Christianity and the Bible. This motivated me to go back to the basics and to the truths I had told other people to believe in but had not tested myself. During my time in college I found Vox Domini Church and that is where I experienced considerable growth in my relationship with Jesus.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

The European Leadership Forum and the Forum’s Year-Round Mentoring for Disciple Making Leaders have been the best learning experiences in my life. The sessions greatly contributed to my development as a Christian leader and discipleship group leader. Being able to have lunches with the speakers and other leaders and also meeting new people made my first time at the Forum a memorable experience.

What is your ministry?

I am currently leading my third church home group and my third discipleship group at Vox Domini Church. These two groups are contexts where I am in direct contact with students and graduates and have a chance to challenge them to walk daily with Jesus. We are also inviting non-believers to our home group, where we engage in discussions about our faith and challenge them to seek the truth for themselves.

What are your past leadership roles?

For five years while I was a student I volunteered as an event coordinator and project manager for an NGO called OSCET (Christian Student Organization in Timisoara, which is part of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). I led Bible study groups in my hometown and Bible study meetings in my home church.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

Along my journey as a Christian I have always wondered why people have chosen to invest in me and mentor me. I don’t really know if I have an answer, but I think it has to do with the fact that I assume responsibilities and follow them through, that I am focused on learning and becoming more mature, and that I want to help others do the same. My calling is to make disciples and help them grow. I need help to do it better than I am doing right now.

Antoni Bokun|| forum funded ::

Antoni Bokun|| forum funded ::

Country:
Belarus

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Apologetics

Ministry Focus:
Pastoring and/or Bible Teaching

When did you trust Christ?

I was born in a Roman Catholic family, but my parents did not visit the church because during the time of Communist rule in Minsk there was no Catholic church. In 1993 I met a group of young people in Catholic Holy Trinity Church in Minsk who studied the Bible every week. The leader of that group was a student from Poland named Jaroslaw Lukasik. In 1994 I was born again.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

In 1999, the Catholic cardinal of Minsk said that we must disband our congregation as we were more Protestant than Catholic. We became evangelicals at John the Forerunner Pentecostal Church. Since 1997, I have been working towards publishing the Bible in Belarusian, because although the first Bible in Belarusian was printed in 1517, to this day there is no commonly used text of Holy Scripture in Belarusian. I wrote the book “The Golden Age of Belarus” in 2001. This book is an analysis of the religious history of Belarus in the 16th century. I am also one of the organizers of the East European Leadership Forum, which is held annually in Kiev, Ukraine.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

In Belarus we need to communicate with Christian leaders from abroad, especially from Europe, to learn from them and to share what the Lord has revealed to us. The Forum increases my skills in apologetics and is a good opportunity to get inspired by Christian leaders from all over Europe.

What is your ministry?

I am a pastor of a 100 member Pentecostal congregation in Minsk, Belarus – John the Forerunner Church. Our church works among students, intellectuals, and political activists. I took over the leadership in 2007 when the co-pastor Jaroslaw Lukasik was deported. Each year we serve about 500 students and young people from different universities. Our children’s ministry serves more than 2,000 children each year. Also this year our church organized 35 apologetics discussion clubs for students and 30 street evangelization events.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

In the age of Reformation the main part of the Belarusian elite were Protestant. But in the 17th century the “treason” of Reformation by the Belarusian elite caused a state of permanent crisis, from which the Belarusian nation has not recovered. In present times, evangelicals are the most dynamic and organized group in Belarusian society. But the great weakness of the church is a lack of educated Christian leaders because under Communist rule Christians were prohibited from attending university. A key problem for Belarusians is a lack of national identity. If the church provides a solution to this problem, the Christians can impact the making of the Belarusian nation.


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