The Warmth of the Gospel is Welcomed in Ukraine
Jun 14, 2017 1101
GNU’s partnership with God in Ukraine has seen another 61 wonderful people give their lives to Jesus. When GNU ministers Eliezer Gonzalez and Philip Rodionoff visited in April, they found bitter spring winds carrying snow from the Arctic. Ukraine’s economic chill is just as palpable. War has decimated the economy, and refugees living hand to mouth are a constant reminder of the misery in this part of the world. But through GNU’s ministry, the Gospel is warming hearts with its message of hope and joy.
Eliezer and Philip connected with the local GNU minister for a Gospel campaign in the city of Poltava. They reached out to all who would listen – long-time Christians and the irreligious alike, refugees, drug addicts in a rehabilitation programme, prisoners in the city’s jail.
The years of godless Soviet rule are still etched deeply on the minds of these people, who were taught that no thinking person could possibly believe in God. Now, they are learning to their joy that the opposite is true. Even those who have been raised as nominal Christians often have little understanding of the light and hope of the Gospel. This was the message you helped Eli and Philip take to these people. They came to listen, rugged against the cold; keeping their warm coats and hats on inside the chilly hall. Both Eli and Philip spoke through translators at each session, warming minds and hearts to the truth and hope of the Gospel.
Everyone who attended the meetings received a copy of GNU’s book about the Christian life, Tree of Life, which has been translated into Russian and printed locally.
The Gospel is warming hearts with its message of hope and joy
In all, over sixty people accepted Jesus and more than a dozen were baptised in various locations. Each person has a story that is precious to us. But there is one incident that demonstrates the power of God to work with individuals, where they are, how they are. At the final baptism, Eli asked if there was anyone else who wanted to be baptised, then and there.
A young man came running from the back of the hall, his enthusiasm bubbling over. It turned out there was also an element of astonishment in his enthusiasm. He had attended most of the meetings with some friends from the drug rehabilitation centre, but he sat at the back of the hall to mock and joke. However, the spirit of God takes little notice of bravado, and instead works on the heart. Gradually Valerii recognised his need. For the first time in his life, he heard the voice of God. When that final call came, he still hesitated, his jocular, mocking habit of a lifetime refusing to let go. He tossed a coin. “Heads I will, tails I won’t.” God made sure of the answer, and Valerii knew that no small thing had happened.
“God cares about me too, so I am coming home to his Kingdom,” he said, “and this time it’s no joke.”
– Ella Rodionoff