Day 3: Friday, May 14 -- Hitting the ground running!
The VISION team’s first day
of ministry in and around Dnieperzerzhinsk, Ukraine on Friday was a very full,
but rich experience.
We began with an hour of
shared prayer with the students of the local Bible college, in anticipation of
the upcoming Global Day of Prayer. The Lord’s name was lifted up in both
English and Russian, and the language barrier didn’t keep us from sensing the Holy
Spirit who “bears witness with Himself” in all believes, no matter what
After that, we headed into a busy
day with our first three ministry opportunities.
A Rehabilitation Center Making a Difference
Our hired minibus took us out
into the beautiful green countryside, mostly flat with some gently rolling
terrain, with many trees and croplands. We arrived at a small farmhouse with
several outbuildings that serve as a Christian rehab center for recovering
addicts of drugs and alcohol (both big problems in Ukraine).
After a tour of the
facilities, including the rabbit hutches and poultry pens, we presented our
first program of the trip in the shade of a giant tree for both the residents
of the facility and several Christian workers who came along with us. It was
clear that the dramas we presented depicting how Jesus Christ can liberate a
person trapped in sin and redeem even the worst sinner who looks to Him in
faith were deeply moving to those who attended.
Following the program, we had
opportunity to hear some of the testimonies of former addicts who have now come
to Christ and are growing in Him, and even serving in outreach ministries or
nearby villages and other rehab facilities. What a blessing that was!
A Government School Open to the Team
One of the most amazing
aspects of VISION’s ministry over the years has been the openness of public
schools in various countries to allow us into auditoriums, classrooms, and
gymnasiums to present to students of all ages the message behind the gospel of
Jesus Christ. Regrettably, we’ve never been able to do this in the USA.
In some places, we are
instructed to come in with a cross-cultural approach, often emphasizing the
universal youth problems of drugs, alcohol, and immorality, but nearly without
exception we are given the privilege of singing any song or performing any
drama we have, and often we can couple that with testimonies about the impact
Christ has had in our own lives.
We had such an opportunity
here in Ukraine today, before about 40 well-dressed and respectful high school
juniors, who not only absorbed every detail of our presentation, but asked
significant questions afterward. We pray that the seeds planted will be watered
by the local Christian workers, and that God will bring forth the fruit for His
Loving the Father- and Motherless
While VISIONs past have
visited orphanages in several countries, that kind of ministry will be a very
large part of this year’s trip. Orphans – mostly kids abandoned by their
parents or taken out of troubled homes by the State – are a heartbreaking
statistic in Ukraine. Each represents a soul that, in addition to the lack of
parental love, has the same need of salvation as all of us.
It was our privilege Friday
afternoon to visit a church-run orphanage and provide a bit of love and care
for a group of about 60 orphans ranging from about 6-16 years of age. Valerie,
supported by other team members in colored T-shirts, shared the story of the
“wordless bracelet,” with colored beads representing the various aspects of the
gospel message, providing such bracelets to all the children as a reminder.
It’s so sad to see the children in this situation, but we are thankful for the
concerned Christian workers who invest in them day after week after year!
As the day drew to a close,
the warm muggy weather dissolved into a light shower of cool rain, reminding us
of God’s ability to refresh us and make us ready for a new day on Saturday.
Thanks for supporting and
praying for VISION XVIII and Ukraine 2010.
VISION Team Faculty Adviser