Saturday, September 23, 2006

Update from the Ukraine

This is an email from Pastor Jeff...

Good morning to everyone. First let me say thank you for praying each day for my trip. The flights were long, but we had little problem with the plane connections and timing. We were met by two Ukrainians in Kiev, one a pastor and another a believer. They picked us up at the airport in Kiev and showed us around the city, took us to eat at TGIFridays (the only american restaurant we saw) and then to the train station. The traffic in the city was horrendous. We finally were dropped off at the station but became very worried when our Ukrainian guide started running through the terminal towards the correct train. Of course all of us tried to keep up with him even with all of our baggage. He found the correct train from Kiev to Donetsk. We boarded the train and about 3 minutes later, it began rolling. There would have been no way to make it without his help. We were met at the train station in Donetsk by a Ukrainian couple, Sosha and Etna. Since the cars are very small here, and we had much luggage, we had to take three taxis to where we are staying in dorm rooms at Donetsk Christian University (DCU). Pastor Wally had a really bad taxi driver, but the rest of us were doing ok. On thursday we went to two locations, a social center (boarding/foster care facility) and an orphanage. The foster care facility is for children who have parents but have been neglected/abused. Different than America where we have many foster care families. This is more like one big facility with a few workers. It was very sad to see these children in both facilities that no one really cares about. The head master said that many of the girls who get older and get out, go into prostitution. They can stay at the facility until they are 16. It was a tough day for me. On friday, we had lunch at McDonalds. much of the very same food. (i.e. 1/4 pounder, Big Mac, fries, Coke) Then came to Kent and Rachel McDowell, IMB missionaries, home. We had an English conversation night with many about 20 youth and young adults who are learning English. This is a good way (platform) to use to share the gospel. I talked specifically with Christina (a believer) and Maasha, a non-believer. We talked about American culture, customs, religions, holidays. The great thing is that you can use Christmas and Easter as a great way to share Jesus. Maasha said she was Orthidox, but was also influenced by Mormonism. Wow, what a mixture of beliefs. We came back to Kent's again on Saturday for more one-on-one conversations in English. I talked with a young man named Sosha who is 17. He has no church background and didn't even hear of Jesus Christ before. He was very receptive to hearing about Christmas and Easter meanings and the gospel. He did not pray to receive Christ, but now has been introduced to the King of Kings. Sosha's sister, Helen was also with us and Rachel, Kent's wife, shared with her. Helen, age 16, wants to be a gynecologist doctor who performs abortions. Kent told us that most Ukrainian women have had at least 2 abortions. Rachel explained God's plan for life and how that God knew us even before we were formed in the womb. Please pray that this young lady will see the spiritual, emotional, and physical realities of abortion. Please pray that both Sosha and Helen will see Jesus. On Sunday, we will meet at Kent and Rachel's home for church. They host a home church with about 8-10 people and are praying for continued growth. Then we will go to a park where we will show the Ukrainian people an American picnic, more time to share. On Monday and Tuesday we will go to another town, Gorlovka. We will meet with Val who is a church planter. We will do some home visits that he has arranged. Thank you for
your continued prayers for our team and for Kent and Rachel, their children Samuel and Tessa. We are seeing some positive conversations, but not a salvation yet. Have a great day in worship as we will worship 7 hours before you.

Pastor Jeff

I'll keep posting information as it comes in.

Noel Dear