Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Story and Pictures of A New Ukrainian Brother in Christ

I heard recently about a church leader saying to their missions ministry, "I'm glad we can commit ourselves to and rejoice in seed planting opportunities as well as harvesting opportunities."  I agree fully as YouthReach International does indeed do a lot of seed planting and that leader's church is one of our key partner churches.

Seed planting though is never an end to itself.  Today, we want to share with you some concrete fruit as a result of seeds sown years ago through the mentoring work of YouthReach International.  Yakov and his wife Alyona recently helped YouthReach International launch a new ministry in Gorlovka, Ukraine, allowing us to follow up directly with graduates from partner orphanages who have now been passed along in the social care system to a higher level of learning called a Trade School.  Since these children are of legal age, this effort involves very direct evangelism, discipleship, and even church planting.  More on all of that in the months to come.  For now, hear Yakov, in his own words, share with Tony Morrow, YouthReach International's Director of Ukraine Operations, the following good news about a young man that he has maintained a mentoring relationship with for a few years now.  

The story of Sergey is not really bright, more than that I never thought that he going to decide to fallow Jesus as soon as he did. But thanks God he did. God ways are amazing!

Sergey start to come in 2010 with his friend Andrey, a guy who believe in Satan, to our School of Life. Both of them were fools and crazy but with great heart.  They were constantly helping us with new projects and the reparation work that we were doing in the building. We had plenty chats with him and Andrey about everything and soon we become friends. 

At that time Sergey was good in Photoshop so in a couple of months he start to lead a class of Photoshop and also he leads sports. Sometimes he disappeared for some months cause he had to work … But then reappear and he was great encouraging for everybody! 

Last summer he was also helping with a camp that some friends did.  I think that God saw his carying heart and because of that aloud him to have salvation in Jesus!

Couple of days ago he called me and said that he is not shore but maybe he wood like to get baptized. Today he was a so proud of what was going on even he wear the special ring of their family and also a little bit scared couse he don’t said a thing abut the baptism to his family and they are Orthodox! 

But anyway he was happy like a child with a new toy!

Let's follow the story in pictures now right up until the moment of Sergey's baptism.

Sergey (center in white turtle neck) connects for one of the first times with other Ukrainian Christians as Yakov, to Sergey's right, invites him to a church gathering. 

Yasha, far right in front of open Bible, instructs Sergey, two over from Yakov's right, and friends in a Bible study. 

Sergey, clapping, Yakov, and other YouthReach International Mentors celebrate Andrey's birthday.

Yasha and Sergey, a picture of one to one mentoring.

Sergey washed and clean on his new birthday.
As we have said so often before, none of this can be hurried.  Relationships take time.  Trust on the part of a child who has never been given reason to trust takes time.  The penetrating truth of the gospel can cut to the heart or marinate in the heart for as long as God allows.  Whether immediate or over time, the results are clear.  Rejoice with us at this new creature in Christ and pray for him as he begins now working alongside Yakov to serve and mentor orphans in his own country. 

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