Over the last several years, Ukraine’s government has mandated several increases in the monthly minimum wage. At the end of 2016, the minimum wage was about 1,550 hryvnia (about $60 per month). As of January 1, 2018, it is about 3,720 hryvnia (about $143 per month). This increase of 138% in the last two years is making it very difficult for many of READ’s Ukrainian ministry partners to meet their budgets for 2018.
READ supports the training of 20 church librarians and 12 cross-cultural missionaries at the Kremenchug Evangelical Seminary (KES) in central Ukraine. KES has a record total enrollment of 208 students for the academic year 2017-2018, despite Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and its troubled economy! Last year, 2016-2017, their budget of $63,000 was met by the grace of God and generosity of God’s people in Ukraine and around the world.
At harvest time, Christians from churches in central Ukraine donated scores of sacks of potatoes and other produce from their kitchen gardens. Their sacrifice helped feed the students and staff during the winter months and freed up cash donations to meet salaries, taxes, and utilities.
For 2017-2018, this seminary’s projected budget has grown to $86,000, due in large part to the government mandated increases in minimum wages and taxes, as well as escalating costs for food and utilities. This is $23,000 more than what was needed last year!
In response, the leadership of KES is asking their staff and students, local churches, and individual donors in Ukraine and around the world to pray that God would again meet their needs through the generosity of His people everywhere. And, potatoes will again be welcomed at harvest time! But, this strategic seminary needs more than spuds. They can’t pay their increased salaries and taxes or utility bills with potatoes! Cash donations are needed.
For 2018, READ has made a commitment of $13,000 to KES to help our partner of twenty-plus years meet the challenge of training and equipping of a new generation of church leaders in the former Soviet Union. The average cost per year to train one future pastor or cross-cultural missionary or church servant at KES is $415. We believe that collaborating with KES to train and equip servants of Jesus Christ and his church is crucial for the advance of the Gospel in Eurasia. Please join with READ in this important investment opportunity for building up the Church of Jesus Christ in in the former Soviet Union.
Will you pray that God will provide what His people need? And, will you consider a financial gift to READ designated for the support of Kremenchug Evangelical Seminary in 2018?