Bearing Witness for Christ in Kiev, Ukraine
Conversion and Call
Dan Mays is a native of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and afterward saw active duty as a logistics officer.
During naval service, Dan came to personal saving faith in Jesus Christ through reading the Gospel of John and through his participation in the Navy's man-overboard drills, which were an object lesson to him of the fact that salvation is by faith alone.
After naval service Dan went to work for Texas Instruments. He soon sensed a call to ministry, and earned a master of divinity (M. Div.) degree at Westminster Theological Seminary in California. After graduation he was involved in ministry to the youth of inner-city Philadelphia for six years. Since 1999 he has spent several years serving Christ as a missionary in Kiev, Ukraine, where he plans to return for long-term service. He is affiliated with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship.
About the Ukraine
The Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, sharing its borders with seven other countries, including Poland and Russia. The population of 48 million consists of about 80% ethnic Ukrainians and about 18% Russians. The predominant religion is the Orthodox Church, whose cathedrals and monasteries are a prominent part of the landscape. Pictured below are the Kyiv Pecherska Lavra Monastery, established in 1051, and St. Andrew's Cathedral, constructed in the mid 1700s.
During the 20th century Ukraine experienced horrors and tremendous suffering. During World War I millions were killed. After the triumph of Communism, a famine in 1932-1933 took the lives of at least 8 million. Hundreds of thousands of intellectuals and other anti-Communists were either shot by Stalin's firing squads or exiled to Siberia. Under the Communist regime dissidents and "Ukrainian nationalists" continued to be arrested, tried and sent to concentration camps up to 1985.
devastated in World War II during the struggle against Nazi Germany.
Three million Ukrainians died at the front, and five million
perished in areas occupied by the Nazis. In 1986 came the
Chernobyl nuclear disaster which resulted in over 20,000
In 1991 Ukraine proclaimed its independence from the Soviet Union and became a presidential-parliamentary republic. In its long turbulent history this is the first time real independence has been achieved along with a democratic structure. In the past Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, or ruled by the Russian Czars and other countries for hundreds of years.
Although most Ukrainians are nominally Orthodox, only 10-12% attend services regularly and 40% consider themselves non-religious. Only about 4% of the people identify themselves as Protestants, and they are a mixture of mainly Pentecostals, other Charismatic groups, and Baptists. Only 1 to 3% of the population are estimated to be evangelical Christians. There are few Bible-believing Reformed churches in the Ukraine.
Kiev has a large youth population because of its many
universities and schools.
The need for the preaching of the one true Gospel is great,
especially among the youth. Since the fall of Communism
there is more openness to spiritual things, especially among
Ukrainian young people.
Dan Mays' Ministry
Dan engages in teaching Christian education subjects to both adults and youth at his home church, The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of the Holy Trinity. Founded after the fall of Communism, the church is now more than 15 years old and located in downtown Kiev, which has a population of 3 million. After years of suppression under the Communist regime there is, in particular, a need for believers to be taught the Scriptures and to be trained in living in obedience to Jesus Christ.
Ukrainian young people are especially eager to learn English because it is the global business language. Students often begin studying English in the first grade. This has opened a door of opportunity for Dan for Gospel witness while teaching conversational English in Kiev schools.
Dan Mays is currently in the United States and is planning to return to the Ukraine in late 2012. If you would like to receive Dan's newsletter containing ministry updates and items for praise and prayer, please click here.