Ruslan Mandzyuk SGA-Sponsored Missionary Pastor in Pochaev, Ukraine
In addition to our regular meetings with youth, you made it possible for us to hold two camp sessions. This year, we had a lot of kids who had registered a good month and a half in advance. The camps were extremely blessed. Not only were the children happy, but their parents also came to us every day. Over the past few years, the local attitude toward us has changed. We used to be considered “sectarians,” but now people seem to be able to see Baptists for who we really are. The parents help buy products for the camp. One offered to help with transportation while another brought an ATV with a full tank of gasoline. We have built friendly relationships with several parents.
Our teenage camp was more difficult because so many seem to be near atheism even as young as 12! They are very skeptical. Even so, they all had a chance to watch us and see living examples of true faith. One boy named Mark came to us. During the entire camp, this boy had been disrespectful to us, and was caught smoking with his friends. They scoffed during Bible lessons and made their contempt clear.
But one night, Mark really acted up, hitting another boy who was smaller than him (we were celebrating the smaller boy’s birthday). It made me angry and I scolded Mark, then later called him aside for a conversation that lasted four hours. I found out that Mark had a bad relationship with his father and was lashing out because of it. As we talked further, I realized Mark had been paying more attention than I realized. He had been watching all that was happening around him. He could see that we not only talked about God, but that we really believed what we were teaching. Mark asked many questions about God, the Bible, and the Lord Jesus. He then expressed the desire to come to our meetings after camp was over! Please pray for Mark and the other boys who need Christ’s love so desperately.
One other ministry we have is family holidays in a local park. Last year, more than 200 children came to this event, and 100 adults. This year, more than 500 people came—both adults and children! We had inflatable trampolines, cotton candy, popcorn, coffee, french fries, and face painting. These meetings lead to further family meetings in our church. Please continue to lift this before the Lord. Thank you for your prayers, and for your support of me and my family in our ministry!
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Galatians 6:9).