Estonia Program Grows on Strength of Youth Training
MIWC’s Serhiy Bilokin joined his wife, Nadiya, to help lead Christian Music Academy (CMA) training sessions at a family camp in Estonia in July.
Over a short, four-day period, the Bilokins helped about 60 campers study scripture, share prayer concerns and consider God’s plan for each family.
On one memorable evening after losing power, the group sat together in candlelight. Using just his Bible and recordings, Bilokin shared the importance of music education for children.
He said, “It was an incredibly informal and intimate atmosphere, and reminded me somewhat of the gatherings of Christians in the churches from the times of the apostles.”
After the camp ended, Bilokin met with several leaders to discuss their impressions of the state of the music ministry in Estonia. He spoke with Igor Orekhov, leader of music ministry for the Russian-language churches in Estonia; Voldemar Mazurchakwith, leader of music ministry in the Central Baptist Church in Tallinn; and with Valeriy Vechyerkovskiy, the leader of a brass quintet, along with several others.
The leaders’ visions were “extremely important for me personally to hear,” Bilokin said, as he learned that the Lord continues to open doors for ministry in the Baltic countries.
The importance of the youth music education program was displayed again in Estonia, when Bilokin witnessed that the CMA-trained youth choir has now become, in essence, the adult choir in the church.
This ensemble performed at the presidential breakfast in Estonia at the beginning of March – a gathering not unlike the United States’ presidential prayer breakfast.
Bilokin was excited to learn that students for whom MIWC supporters helped to gain training were invited to perform at such a prestigious level.
This group of musicians organized a brass ensemble from their ranks and desires to add youth and children to the program.
As the evangelical music ministry grows, some Estonian believers asked for additional training to further develop instrumental music skills in their country. Bilokin and these leaders planned four week-long seminars and master classes that will be held throughout the next year, beginning in September.
The seminars will train leaders, assistants and any men and women
who have not yet had the chance to study at CMA. MIWC supports missionary associates who teach at CMA locations.
While Bilokin was in Estonia, three former CMA students who entered college after getting basic training at CMA, graduated from local universities with music degrees. Bilokin said this was the first time he saw students who so “strongly desired to continue their education after finishing the courses at CMA.”
These graduates are now planning the next stage for the development of the music ministry in the coming year.
Bilokin expressed his pleasure that it is no longer necessary for him to bring someone from Ukraine now that the Estonians are developing their musical skill and leadership themselves. He said the new graduates are willing to teach anywhere he sends them, “because they themselves went through the process of learning in small churches.”
This exemplifies MIWC’s goal of going into countries and training the country’s own citizens to lead on their own. Raising up nationals is fundamental to building a strong foundation for spreading the Gospel.