Village of Mihalivka
Dear friends in America, we had a medical outreach in a small village named Mihalivka, which is in the state of Poltava, about an hour and a half drive from Kharkov. The village only resides 400 people, but it was a wonderful success. It is unknown the last time missionaries arrived in this location, but there have not been many missionaries who have visited within its 150 year history as a village (mostly because of the small size of the village). All said, about 50 people came to the event, which comprises about 12% of the entire village! Most of them were unbelievers, and I am proud to report that three people asked Jesus into their hearts. One of them is an elderly lady named Ekaterina, is a 74 year old lady who never married or had children. She has lived in this small village her entire life. During the Nazi occupation, God’s mercy and grace allowed Ekaterina to survive when so many others perished. Now she understands why – she had not yet met her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in a personal and saving way. It took seven decades, but our Lord found her and touched her heart!
When the pastor explained to her the way of salvation, she listened intently and then gave her life to Christ. She repented from her sins, asked for forgiveness from our Lord, and was delighted that she discovered her newfound identity in Jesus! She thanked everyone who came to minister to the sick and were willing to share the Gospel with her. People like Ekaterina is what makes this ministry so special to us and hopefully you too!
Suburb of Jukovskaya
During this medical outreach in a suburb of Kharkov, only 25 people attended this event. This was a surprise, considering the huge population of the region. Because the number of people were trickling in, many of the team went to the streets to invite people in for a free medical examination. And despite such a low turnout, there were five people who asked Jesus into their heart as their Savior. It goes to show that it isn’t always a numbers game of how many people attend our outreaches, but on how the Holy Spirit is moving in people’s hearts. Because of the team’s necessity of trying harder and seeing positive results, their faith grew, they learned that a little bit of extra effort can produce positive results, and all were blessed that particular day.
Village of Kolomak
When the team traveled to Kolomak, they decided that it was more strategic to rent a large room in the center of the village than anywhere else; this way, there would be better access for everyone in the village. After passing out numerous fliers, about 60 people came to the event – most of them were unbelievers.
Many of the people were skeptical and wondering why we would offer something for “free,” because that is quite unheard of in Ukraine. It was explained to them that our team was comprised of Christians who wanted to express God’s love to them in a tangible way.
One of the women who came was Eva, who was originally from Belarus. She had visited the Orthodox Church a few times, but she had no understanding of the salvation message. When the pastor (who we partnered with in this village) clearly and concisely explained the way to salvation, she opened her heart and accepted Jesus as her Savior. After Eva’s conversion, two more people repented, bringing a total of three people to the Lord during this outreach!
Village of Kachalovka
Before going to the village of Kachalovka, we discovered that some locals were initially “against us” coming to minister in their community. Their spirit was one of fear and anger and their attitude was less than welcoming, to say the least. Nevertheless, the team was not dissuaded by a few naysayers.
During this outreach, our team worked in cooperation with the local hospital, which was somewhat of a surprise, considering the early feedback we received. All in all, about 30 people showed up and five people accepted Jesus for the first time. After the people saw the team’s Christian character, love, and self-sacrifice, the mood quickly changed from negativity to that of joy and elation. The majority of the people were blessed by the education and professionalism of our medical staff and with the free gift of medicine. A few of the patients had not seen a physician in a very long time due to the unaffordable medical costs in their region. So this free event became a blessing to the poorest patients.
One lady, named Maria, who accepted Jesus during this trip remarked, “Thank you for helping us medically, but more importantly, telling us about God. It is so necessary for us to hear this message, because no one ever told us about Jesus – you have a wonderful program!” Time will tell if these new believers’ faith will grow as the local mission pastor follows up with those recent converts. In the meantime, those early antagonists asked us, “When are you coming back?” Now that is a wonderful change of events!
Suburb of Nova Bavaria
Nova Bavaria is also a suburb of Kharkov. During this medical outreach the weather was extremely cold, and there was some concern if many people would endure the elements and visit the physicians. And despite the freezing weather, 40 people withstood the cold and attended our outreach. No one accepted Jesus as Savior during this event, but it was still considered a success, from all outward appearances.
In the beginning, one woman named Masha was unwilling to give us her name or personal information for fear that we were going to try to extort money from her at later time. But after we ministered to her and shared our Christian faith, she asked a simple question, “When is you church service, I would like to visit.” She wasn’t ready to give her life to Christ, but the positive Christian spirit of our team saw that she was willing to seek, learn, and possibly discover more about our Lord. In fact, almost all of the unbelievers asked for the pastor to follow up in inviting them to the church. Of course, those words were music to the local pastor’s ears!