FirstLife Blog

A Place to Worship | Black Sea Ministries Update

Posted by Rachel Bell on

At the end of November, our partners with Black Sea Ministries opened the doors to their newly built church building. We are thrilled to celebrate this occasion with them. Below is a letter of thanks from their congregation to ours. 


It was an incredible day. About 3 weeks ago we applied for our permits to use the building and we were initially given permission. However, a few hours later a group of about 20 people from the neighborhood showed up demanding that we not be able to use the facility as a church. The authorities then canceled all of our paperwork and shut the doors to our building.

Our pastor went to the Mayor and asked what it would take for us to be able to open and they were able to agree on some terms. Because it is technically illegal to build a church in our country our building is registered as an apartment building. We had to make some temporary changes to the building to satisfy their demands. Two weeks ago, they came for another inspection and found there was no legal reason why we couldn’t open and again granted us all the permissions to use the building.

Last week was a flurry of activity to get all the odds and ends finished so that we could worship there this last Sunday. Several from our Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish congregations were there all hours of the week finishing last minute projects, cleaning paint from the floors and windows, and preparing for our first Worship.

Sunday was an incredibly exciting day. We had called a lot of our believers that live far out of town and only make it in every now and then. It was a like a huge family reunion and even several from the neighborhood joined us for our service. I think we had roughly 130 people there for the service. There was such a sweet spirit of overwhelming gratitude and unity on Sunday. I saw many people with tears running down their face as they walked into the worship area for the first time. In their wildest dreams, they couldn’t have imagined a building like this opening in their country much less in this conservative city.

The Lord has definitely shown us great favor. We worked very hard to make the church look like something you would see in this area. The paintings and style was very intentional to make it non-American. That was definitely noticed as several said this looks like a “modern Turkish church”. Interestingly, there were several churches in this area around 100 or so years ago before the Christians living here left the country. This is the first building of its kind in the country and it’s certainly so exciting to be a part of it. We are so thankful to you and your congregation for the part you played in making it happen. I have attached some pictures as well. Please pass on our deepest gratitude to your fellowship for their giving and their prayers. 

There is still a possibility we could have complaints filed against us and have to go through legal proceedings to remain open. We are prayerful that will not happen but we’d love for you to join us in praying that we would be an incredible blessing to the community and that we would have favor with all of those who seek to shut us down. 


to leave comment