Planting seeds of faith in Europe Rybinski honored with OC's Mission Service Award
One of the most important education initiatives in Ukraine’s public schools is a Christian ethics program led by OC alumnus Bart Rybinski (00) and Eastern European Mission.
EEM provides Bibles for this popular volunteer program, which is planting the seeds of a new moral foundation in this former Soviet republic.
“God has really opened doors in a tremendous way,” said Bart, EEM’s vice president for European operations. “It blows my mind to see teachers thankful and say, ‘This helps us when we teach math and teach literature because kids are more disciplined. They try to help one another more.’ There is a certain spirit, and not just everyone for themselves.”
“It has been a blessing to see how what we do is making it easier for people to have access to God’s word and grow in their faith. God’s word is powerful and active still, and if people are open to it, it will produce great fruit in their life.” Bart Rybinski
Born and raised in a Catholic family in Poland, Bart came to the United States as an exchange student when he was 17. His host family in Oxford, Ohio, introduced him to Christianity and the Bible.
“It was not just something they talked about on Sunday, but I could see they tried to live it,” Bart said. “I was pretty convicted that there was something I needed to do in terms of my relationship with God, yet I had this baggage of tradition in Poland that I was not ready yet to get rid of and abandon.”
A year after Bart returned to Poland, his Ohio host mom visited and took him to church. He met missionaries from Oklahoma Christian, got plugged in at the congregation, and eventually was baptized in a little lake outside of Warsaw.
The next summer, a campaign from Memorial Road Church of Christ brought a lot of OC students to Poland.
“I remember sitting with them late at night having Bible studies and thinking, ‘Wow. You can be 19-20, do that, and be normal?, Bart said.’”
It soon became Bart’s new normal. He came to Oklahoma Christian in 1997, earned a double degree in Bible and marketing, and went on to get a master’s degree in ministry from OC’s Graduate School of Theology.
After seven years of ministry at Memorial Road and numerous doors closed on Bart’s dream of returning to Poland as a missionary, the call came from EEM. Now living in Vienna, Austria, with his wife Tamika (Chatmon 01) and their three children, Bart has seen God open doors in life-changing ways.
“It has been a blessing to see how what we do is making it easier for people to have access to God’s word and grow in their faith,” Bart said. “It’s humbling, but a great blessing, to see God’s word is powerful and active still, and if people are open to it, it will produce great fruit in their life.”