Wednesday, January 15, 2020
A few miles away from our village is the town of Dneprorudniy, where Oksana grew up, and there we have many friends and acquaintances - people whom Oksana knew from her childhood, sellers at the market and shops where we make many purchases, etc. We always invite these people to the Christmas service at our church in Balki, but it’s in a separate village and most people don’t have their own transportation, so they would have to take a bus, and it’s just easier to say, “Oh, I’d love to come…hopefully it will work out,” and it rarely does.
So, we had the desire to rent a small auditorium in town where we could hold a Christmas “concert” and chalk talk. However, in order to do this, by law, we needed the permission from the city hall - and the mayor, in particular. We had heard about the town’s leaders’ suspicion of religion, and when we came to request permission to rent the auditorium, we could immediately see that they did not want us to hold this event. The mayor demanded that we bring him official documents that showed our right to carry out religious work in Ukraine. We agreed to do this, but it required traveling an hour and half to another city and meeting with a government official to get copies of these documents. However we brought them back to the mayor and were then told to wait and call them later for their final decision. We had tried so hard to be kind, polite and respectful and so we prayed that God’s will would be done. We were overjoyed (and somewhat amazed) when the permission was actually granted!
The event turned out to be a wonderful blessing. Over fifty people, nearly all them with no church background, crowded into the meeting room (some even had to stand) and eagerly listened for more than an hour as we shared through word and song the message that Christ came into this world to bring salvation to all who believe! Everyone was thankful and delighted with the program and we were also able to give everyone a beautiful scripture calendar as a gift (and candy for the kids)! Many seeds were sown in the hearts of precious souls and we rejoiced that God allowed that opportunity in spite of the obstacles.