In the villages, time moves backwards a 100 years. You see more horse drawn carts than cars. The bathrooms are usually outside. Most people can only travel as far as they can walk. Many are bound by superstition and go to a local witch for advice or solutions to problems.
It is a simple life where people work long hours in the fields, doing most of the work by hand. In one village, many children did not come to our program because they had to help in the fields.
In the Zhirtomir region, there are 1400 villages and small towns. Only 120 of those have a church, a light, a place to hear about hope. In 2 days, we did 9 shows, 6 in villages where the work is very new or only in the planning stages. They received the stories about Jesus with such enthuiasm. For so many, it was the first time to hear.
I keep thinking about the verse in Romans 10. "How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?" Many of the children that we are sharing with are hearing about Jesus for the first time.
Please pray for God to call more Ukrainians to village ministry. There are Christians here who could do the work. Ask God to convict them of the need to be involved.
THE FIRST TIME
Today, we drove for 2 hours to reach a group of children at a school in Bezpechue. There is no church in their village and it is a very difficult place to reach. The roads are terrible, sometimes they made a path beside the road to avoid driving on the real road. The roads are full of holes, really big holes. All were amazed that we would come so far. Again we heard teachers ask us to come again. Only prayer opens the door and only prayer will keep it open. Please pray!
These children listened with their hearts. You could see the hunger and the joy in their eyes. Many come from homes that are torn apart by alcohol abuse. They are very poor, very needy, but for a little while today they laughed, smiled, and clapped.
Please ask God to help them remember the story that they heard about Jesus. Please ask Him to send others to share with them. A local pastor has begun a work there, but he needs workers. Pray.
I dread doing shows for very small children because they are often frightened by my English, the puppets, and the story sound effects. This afternoon, we had over 100 small children, ages 2 to 6. They came in the room crying, but as soon as we began the program, they did not shed another tear. Praise God! They truly listened, to the amazement of their teachers.
So many parents crowded into the doorway and hall to watch the show. Our friend, Pastor Sasha was so wise. I had told the story of Jonah who wanted to run away from God. He challenged the parents not to be like Jonah and show their children the way to God, the way to Jesus. We were given a double blessing.
PRAYER AND PRAISE
In Pisky, Stanishivka, Ivankov, Lechin, Krosnopol, Chudniv and more villages, we have spent the last 3 days telling so many children about Jesus. Twelve shows made us very tired, but very happy.
Tomorrow, we have a 12 hours drive to reach Donetsk where we will work for the next 3 days. Go ahead of us with your prayers. This will be our first time in this place and it is known as being a very hard place for the Gospel. We plan to train and equip a team in this place. Pray!
In Jesus, Linda for
Sam Shaw – Assistant Director
Anna McIlwaine – French Puppet Team Director
Oksana Pyvovar – Ukrainain Puppet Team Director