AN AMAZING PLACE
We are staying in the most incredible place! Many years ago during the years of communism, the government built enormous cultureal centers in all of the villages and towns. They were so big that they could easily contain several small church buildings.
Today, most crumble from neglect, but we are worknig with a group of people that is using one as a church. They have done so much work, but so much more remodeling will be necessary.
The building has endless possibilities because of the grandness of its space. Huge domed ceilings, hung with crystal chandeliers, awe you as you enter the rooms. When you come in the front door, a great staircase (like the one in Gone with the Wind) rises from the center hall and goes up to a large landing where it splits to the right and to the left. Our rooms are upstairs. A 12 foot tall painting stretches across the top of the stairs depicting "the Communist worker’s paradise."
How ironic that today people come to this place and hear about the true paradise! Once people used this place to teach that there is no God and now people come here to hear about Jesus. More, during the reign of Communism, these people’s grandmothers and grandfathers were brought to this place and put on trial for loving Jesus. God is redeeming this place! Through the Communist’s passion to teach lies, God now uses their building to teach truth.
A 12 hour drive, across very bad roads, has brought us to Donetsk. Harvest is almost finished, so we drove past many burning fields. More, we passed through so many villages where there is no church, no place for the people to hear about God’s love. As we drove, I prayed, begging God to send Ukrainian workers to these places. Please join me in prayer for these villages.
This area is the industrial heart of Ukraine. It is famous for its coal mining and brick making factories. Metal processing plants stretch an unbelieveable 12km in length. Many people have left this area because the air is bad. They travel to Kiev or immigrate to Argentina searching for jobs. There are no air quality standards or requirements here.
In Zoryane, a little village outside of Donetsk, we set up a program outside beside a store. A crippled little girl walked very far to come to the show. The store owner was very kind and got her a chair. The weather was perfect and a good size crowd gathered from several villages.
At first all the children could do was stare in shock. They had never seen such things. Slowly, they began to smile, then laugh, and clap. Best of all we heard them praying in soft whispers, putting their trust in Jesus.
When we finished, a lady stood up and announced that tomorrow a Sunday School will begin in this place. There is no church here, but they can grow one.
Surrounded by communist built 14 story apartment buildings, we did a puppet show outside!Children, teenagers, and adults gathered to hear about the "Christian culture."
This is a major city and the jobs in the mines pay well so the children and young people have spending money. Older children often smoke and teenagers become addicted to video and gambling games. They skip school and run out of things to do to entertain themselves.
Though they are comfortable by Ukrainian standards, they have no hope. Please pray they find their hope in Jesus.
Even though we had permission to set up in the park, a man strongly complained about our presence. He demanded we leave, but allowed his children to stay for the show. More, he stood and listened with his back to us. Some laughed at us, but many gathered and listened. The children all received free balloons and were very happy. Most wanted the Christian literature that we offered.
A man began conversation with me. He asked me why I had come to Ukraine. I told him that when I was a little girl, I found my hope and love in knowing Jesus. Since He changed my life, I wanted to offer His hope and His love to all the children here. Satisfied, he asked another question.
He said, "What has He done for you this year?" In light of all that has happened in the last 12 months, it was an incredible question. I told him about Mike’s death, the pain and the peace that Jesus is giving me. He listened intently and admitted to me that he did not know what would happen when he died.
I told him that this was a question he could answer with certainty if he put his trust in Jesus Christ. Then, I asked my translator, Oksana, to share her testimony. He continued to listen and asked more questions.
Finally, he stood there in the park and prayed to receive Christ! We gave him the nearby location of a good church. Pray that he will attend and ask God to deliver him from his desire for alcohol. Ask God to show him what it means to live for Jesus.
On Sunday and Monday, we have 7 shows, a training session, a missionary report, Sasha sings, and Sam preaches. Please hold us in your prayers.
In Jesus, Linda for