“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:18–20
Had an invitation to take the Gospel and some humanitarian aid to Ukraine. A number of friends had already been so it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m not including any names to protect the “guilty,” but we had folks from Mississippi, Michigan, Tennessee, New Mexico, Georgia, Nepal, Moldova, Ukraine, and elsewhere.
Our group started by driving from Mississippi to Chicago on June 1. Saved a lot of money on plane tickets and actually some time because we had less layovers than flying out from somewhere closer. We flew from Chicago to Warsaw, Poland and from there to Moldova.
Thursday, June 2
Flying into Moldova Thursday, June 2. We were in Moldova June 2nd and 3rd.
We headed into Ukraine on Saturday, June 4.
The drive into Ukraine was stunning! Such beautiful country. Crops being grown as far as the eye could see.
We had no trouble driving from Moldova into Ukraine. But, there was a problem getting the supplies through. So, after several hours of waiting, our fearless leader suggested that we draw some attention to the situation. After three rousing gospel hymns, the supplies were allowed through with no further ado.
The Orthodox Church was a part of the landscape everywhere we went.
This was our greeting after unloading our stuff at our host church in Odessa! Did not seem to concern any of the local folks.
Sunday, June 5
People were having to stand in line for a lot of things. Drinking water was one of those. Notice the electric bus. (not exactly part of the green revolution.) There were still a lot of vehicles from the Soviet era.
On Sunday we had enough folks to send teams to three churches. This is where team 3 attended church. We did not have a translator so we didn’t get to preach. But Eva knew several songs in Ukraine. And we sang several more in English. The local people were so appreciative. Every where we went the folks were always attentive to the preaching of the Word.
Our host from Moldova also went with us to Ukraine, and he could not pass up the opportunity for some street preaching at a sidewalk market on the way home from church.
This was our host church distributing food and water. We also passed out several hundred gospel tracts. All the tracts we passed out were in the local language.
Monday, June 6
On Monday a group of us attended one of the churches that had been visited Sunday. It was estimated that over a thousand folks had attended on Sunday as food and Bibles were distributed then. They were not sure what to expect on Monday when no food was available, But as you can see the church was full!!
The pastor of the church, left, was so thankful to have us in attendance. Notice the soldiers in the background. Church had just started when we could very clearly hear artillery fire. At first you could feel the tension in the air. But as the preaching continued, you could feel the peace of God sweep through the church!
In the afternoon we passed out gospel tracts a few blocks from the church. As in a lot of places they have a problem with alcohol and drugs. But it was a blessing to get to share with these folks, too, “for such were some of you.”
This was the sunset that ended our day.
Tuesday, June 7
As always time goes by quickly!
Headed back to Odessa.
June 7 – Odessa
One of the reasons we went to Ukraine was to deliver some badly needed medical supplies. The Polish airline allowed us 15 free “checked bags” for the supplies!
This was the refugee center in Odessa. The street preaching was well received.
Much beautiful architecture.
Wednesday, June 8.
We even got to see the Black Sea.
Thursday, June 9
In some ways our time in Odessa was the most encouraging to me. Refugees from all over Ukraine were coming to this city. They had been forced to flee from their homes elsewhere. So many were truly hungry to hear about Jesus! We had time to visit with one young missionary. He and his family had helped to plant two churches, and they were starting a third. People were sitting outside because there was no room inside. Some were literally crying because they wanted a Bible so badly.
This was another church we were able to visit, and before the service was over it was a packed house.
A discussion about how we could help in the future.
Friday, June 10
On the plane to Warsaw from Moldova.
Well we missed our connecting flight in Warsaw so we got to spend the night which was a treat in itself. The airline put us up in a very nice hotel across from Stalin’s Palace. Saturday, June 11
Well, we were headed back home early Saturday morning.
I just liked this picture….
Of course, it would not be fitting if this bunch didn’t have some interaction with the police at some point! Since we (?) were not familiar with all the driving rules, there was room for error. Nobody was too surprised when we got stopped. After some preliminaries, we finally talked the police into a picture. One of our group gave the major a pair of tactical sunglasses, and he was very grateful.
Glory to God!