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"Not Only to Ukraine, But to Many Nations"

Anatoliy Lastivka felt God urging him to learn English so that he could share the gospel and his testimony with many others in addition to Ukrainians.
“From around 10 years old I felt a strong calling from God,” says U.S. missionary with Intercultural Ministries Anatoliy Lastivka. “I loved to be in services where the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. Then I was dramatically baptized in the Holy Spirit and saw a vision of a big harvest. God explained to me that many people will come to Christ.”

By the age of 23, Anatoliy was evangelizing and preaching about Jesus around his home nation of Ukraine, and in 2000 he and his wife, Alla, and their family moved to the United States.

Older members of Anatoliy’s family paid a high price for their faith in Christ. Both his grandfathers were both Christian pastors who were imprisoned — one for eight years and one for 10 — after the KGB found the Bible in their homes.

When the Lastivkas arrived in the U.S.A. on refugee status, Anatoliy spoke no English at all. Yet the Lord whispered to his heart, “Learn English so that you can preach not only to Ukraine, but to many nations.”

TIME TO STUDY, TIME TO GROW


Anatoliy and Alla began ministering in Slavic churches nationwide leading healing and Holy Spirit baptism services, including for youth. After a time of diligent language study, Anatoliy did indeed find himself ever more equipped to minister to other demographics in the United States. He began to speak (in English) to congregations made up of Chinese, Filipinos, Hispanics, and more.

He says, “I was amazed by how much people wanted to hear about the persecution and subsequent open doors in Ukraine.”

In 2002 Anatoliy was appointed a U.S. missionary, and the couple began holding revival meetings around the United States and, once each year, back in Ukraine.

In 2016, Anatoliy and Alla planted House of God’s Glory, a new church in Vancouver, Washington, where they serve Slavic and Russian communities, whom he describes as having “held very strong traditional beliefs, very family-oriented, and extremely hard working. They often remain immersed in these traditions and cultures.”

Young people and others frequently become detached from older, liturgical Slavic church styles. In such cases, Anatoliy and Alla seek to create bridges.

“We must know how to receive and be friendly to new people at church,” Anatoliy says, “especially to unbelievers or those who forsook the Church years ago, having lost connection to the old, formal ways.”

With Bible studies, revival meetings, conferences, ministry to the homeless and disadvantaged, good use of media, and other methods, Anatoliy and Alla work to see broken families and marriages restored, addictions broken, and godly fellowships created — all by the power of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

SHIELDED BY THE SPIRIT


“Many times, when we are evangelizing and bring lost souls to Christ, the devil will attack on a spiritual level,” Anatoliy says. “Therefore, I ask for prayers specifically for spiritual shielding and victories for lost ones who are converting to Christ.”

The Lastivkas themselves have not been immune to such attacks of the enemy. “The enemy always does something bad when we do good things for the Lord,” he says. “It is just what happens.”

In an especially difficult season, the Lord used another individual to speak prophetically to Anatoliy, urging him forward in service.

Amid battles — whether spiritual, financial, or any other kind — the Lastivkas testify of wonderful victories, including a phone call from an individual who had attended a revival service in Ukraine 20 years ago. “You called us to the altar to repent,” the person told Anatoliy, “and I came forward and gave my life to Jesus. Now I am the pastor of a local church.”

They also recall a youth camp service where 100 young people were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues as in Acts 2, and a church leader’s young son who was set free from suicidal thoughts.

As they step into the future with Christ’s ongoing help, Anatoliy and Alla intend to see more growth at House of God’s Glory and many more people reconciled with Jesus and baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit.

They continue to make themselves available to minister both in the Vancouver area — where they are praying and believing for enormous, widespread revival — and nationwide to teach, preach, and testify.

"The United States is blessed to have people like the Lastivkas immigrate to it,” says Wayne Huffman, senior director of U.S. Missions Intercultural Ministries. “They bring a strong Christ-following culture with them and are planting the seeds of the gospel, not only in the hearts of other Eastern European immigrants, but the entire world around them. As U.S. Intercultural missionaries, they truly are reaching diverse cultures of this nation with the gospel of Jesus Christ and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have them as part of our family of missionaries.”

Kristel Ringer Zelaya

Kristel Ringer Zelaya serves as marketing manager for Assemblies of God U.S. Missions. She previously worked as a writer and editor for Assemblies of God World Missions for more than a decade, in numerous countries and cultures. Zelaya is also a licensed Assemblies of God minister.