Ukraine Ministry -- November 2006
Thanks for your faithful support!
A special thanks to those whose financial and prayer support allowed us to participate in Calvary Church’s ministry in Ukraine at the Kremenchuk and
Cherkassy Pastors’ Conferences. After a brief delay at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, we were on our way for two weeks of teaching in Ukraine.
Each conference spanned four days. Approximately 150 participants were at the first conference at Kremenchuk Regional Bible College. In Cherkassy,
about 250 attended the second conference, held at House of Gospel Church.
Your participation, through your support of Crossing Bridges, has helped raise awareness of the spiritual and physical needs of persons with
disabilities among church leaders in these areas of Ukraine.
Since this was the first time pastors and church leaders attending the conference were presented with the option of a seminar designed to promote
disability awareness and ministry, it was not known how many would choose to attend – especially since there were seven seminars from which to
choose. Each seminar was presented in the morning and repeated in the afternoon, allowing participants to select two seminars to attend. Each
session lasted approximately 1½ hours per day.
There were 6 to 8 participants in the morning sessions, and 2 or 3 in the afternoons. Though the numbers were small, the responsiveness was very
encouraging, particularly in Cherkassy, when Pastor Victor and his wife (from Calvary’s sister church in Zolotonosia) attended the seminar. Topics
| God’s View of the Disabled|
| Biblical/Theological Themes|
| Apologetics – Pain and Suffering|
| Church Outreach to and Ministry with Disabled Persons|
I am certain that each presenter of a seminar has many stories to tell. This report, however, focuses only on our seminar: The Church and the
Several individuals expressed interest and gratitude for what was presented in the seminar. I want to share just a few stories.
One young mother came to the Lord after giving birth to a child with disabilities. As she sought to understand God’s love while coping with her child’s
condition, she approached her church about the needs of disabled persons and asked if there was someone who could help with such a ministry. The
church agreed with the need, and pointed to her as the one best qualified for the work! She now has a fledgling ministry called “Bethany” which holds
children’s camps for disabled children, but she wants to do more. Sveta was grateful for the biblical knowledge and practical suggestions shared in the
seminar. We were able to help her connect with others, including Shepherd’s Foundation, for assistance in growing her ministry,
A gentleman tearfully shared how he cared for his wife of 20 years who, as a result of polio, was physically disabled and a wheelchair user. He
described how, in the last days of her life, they would sing hymns together, and told of how she died peacefully, whispering the words of Psalm 23. Out
of that experience came his desire to visit disabled “shut ins” to provide what care he could, along with much love. He described how he and several
men arranged a special “bathtub baptism” for an elderly man whose physical ability and speech were limited, probably from a stroke. He, too, was
grateful for the encouragement he received to continue in his ministry, and for some new ideas about what he could do.
A woman told us of a pastor whose child was born with Down Syndrome. Because of the testimony of his family and the church members who gathered
around them to sing and pray at the hospital, many of the medical staff visited the pastor’s church and received Christ.
Pastor Victor took great interest in what was shared from a biblical/theological viewpoint. He stated his intension to encourage outreach to and ministry
with persons who are disabled. His hope is that some deacons from his church can be designated to set this vision in motion.
Two women who attended the seminar in Cherkassy met with me at the close of the Conference to indicate their intention to use what they learned in
the seminar to guide them in establishing a Christian rehabilitation center.
We visited Tamila at Territorial Center which she directs in Zolotonosia. Part of the Center’s work is with children having various disabilities, such as
autism, cerebral palsy, and mental impairments. Tamila was not able to be present at the Conference and requested our return to provide special
education training to her staff. Since she is a member of Pastor Victor’s church in Zolotonosia, she may be tapped to help in ministry there.
Seminar group from Kremenchuk