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Former KGB officer asks churches to send Bibles to Ukrainian university

Workers with Okemah, Okla.-based Good News International Foundation escorted the general during his visit. The ministry and its Ukrainian counterpart, Blagovest (meaning “good news”), sponsor several programs in the Eastern European nation — from providing assistance to orphanages and hospitals to enrolling students in World Bible School and World English Institute correspondence courses.
The ministry recently began a partnership with the Ukrainian government to develop Christian ethics materials and distribute them, along with children’s Bibles, in Ukraine’s public schools, said CEO and president Roger Thompson, minister for the New Beginning church in Bristow, Okla.
In 2004 Carol Bailey, president of Blagovest, spoke at a gathering of Cossack officers. After telling the military leaders about the love of Christ, he baptized 40 of them, including Shevchenko.
Bailey, a retired executive of communications company Motorola, has spoken about business ethics and his faith at conferences and the University of Artificial Intelligence.
The Ukrainian government recently gave Bailey the honorary rank of Major General of the Cossacks and presented him with a full dress uniform. He also received the Silver Cross in appreciation of “bringing Christ to our nation.” Thompson said.
“The Cossacks are seeing that the values given by God are those that will bring true hope and make their homeland flourish,” Bailey said.
Though not a Church of Christ member, Shevchenko said that he has been interested in faith since his youth. Growing up in the rural Bryansk region of Ukraine, his grandmother told him to pray to God for strength, wisdom and salvation, regardless where life took him.
He continued to visit churches and study Christianity, even during his years in the KGB. “I had access to a great library of religious literature that was confiscated from others,” he said.
Though religion was forbidden in the former Soviet Union, “there were a lot of good people working for the KGB at that time, with high morals — and there were many believers,” he said. “I was sure at that time, and I’m sure now, that we were working for the good of the nation.”
Shevchenko said he used to believe that “all the world would come to communism.” Now he wants to see his home country transformed by faith.
“Today we are preaching that, if Ukraine wants to be a great country, we need to raise the level of spirituality,” he said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, see www.goodnewsif.org.

Filed under: International

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