Ukrainians glad to see Montgomery’s Vaughn Forest missions teamcomment (0)
May 22, 2014
By Brian Harris
Ukraine’s current political unrest may leave its people concerned about their future, but glimpses of God’s love and provision are keeping many of them encouraged.
“We have had times of worries here, but we don’t get depressed because we know the Lord is not going to leave us or forsake us,” said Lydia Davienko, a member of the Church at Amur in Dnipropetrovsk, who helped with a recent medical missions clinic hosted by Alabama Baptists.
“I’m so happy to see our friends who come from abroad, who come here to support us physically and spiritually,” she said. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart that you paid attention to us.”
Medical missions to Dnipropetrovsk
An eight-member medical missions team out of Vaughn Forest Baptist Church, Montgomery, spent a week in Dnipropetrovsk, the nation’s fourth largest city, in early May.
The group consisted of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist and five others, including the congregation’s immediate former pastor, Lawrence Phipps, now the leader of It’s Life Ministry.
“It’s been amazing to talk to the people (in Ukraine) who absolutely can’t believe we came,” Phipps said. “They know that their country is in turmoil. They’re doubly appreciative that we came in a time of crisis.”
Working with Ukraine's IMB church planters
The team worked alongside International Mission Board (IMB) church planters as well as Linda and Mike Ray, the IMB team strategy leader for east central Ukraine.
“One of the greatest things about doing a medical clinic is that it’s an immediate touch into people’s lives,” Linda Ray said. “I think so much about how Jesus healed, touched and did what He could as He would go. It’s really an exciting project to be a part of.”
One of the medical clinics was conducted in a former Soviet-era apartment building that will house Love of Christ Baptist Church, a new congregation being planted by Dnipropetrovsk’s Central Baptist Church.
The clinic offered free checkups and reading glasses for those who needed them.
Dr. Lee Franklin, a Montgomery-area oncologist, said the IMB representatives have learned that medical clinics “are a great way to reach adults. They come for medical care, but on the way they get real medicine. They get to hear about Jesus.”
As Dnipropetrovsk residents came to the clinic, Ukrainian church members gathered contact and medical information and engaged in conversation, including sharing the gospel. The team shared the gospel with more than 700 people and some among the group made salvation decisions.
Igor, the lead church planter for Love of Christ Baptist, said the team’s visit and medical clinics helped the church become more familiar with its community. “We are really glad that God made this possible,” Igor said. “Many of the people have never heard about Christ. It was very beautiful for us to see how their eyes were opened and ready to accept this good news.”
Other locales for medical clinics included church buildings, an office building and the abandoned second floor of a town hall.