We traveled from Minsk - a city of approximately 2.5 million people to Gomel a city of 400,000 people. It is only 1 hour from Chernobyl when the nuclear crisis took place in the 1990s. It was affected greatly.
On our way to Gomel we stopped at a midway point and stayed at the Bylerussian Mission house. While staying at the Mission house we got to meet our trip leader - Andrews father PETER shared his testimony. Andrews father PERER was a Christian during the timeframe when it was illegal to practice your faith in Belarus before the 1990s. He was watched very closely by the KGB and went through much persecution. Even his conversion story was supernatural he shared how God spoke to him audibly when he receives Christ to be his Lord and Savior. After Peter shared his story of boldness and bravery and persecution, I asked him to pray over all of us that we would walk in the same boldness that he walked in. One of the ways he was persecuted was that his wages were cut so low that his family literally went without food because of Peter standing for his faith.
Our first stop in Gomel would be to a GYMNASIUM SCHOOL. These schools are more specialized in their studies and the Students we met with and sat around the table to visit with were eighth grade students. They study much English in this school and so our role was to allow them to practice their language. While doing this I was able to share about Hannah’s attempting suicide and going through difficult times before discovering Christ to be her Lord and Savior. The school was very hospitable as we walked into the school foyer there was a group of about 10 students singing to greet us. While doing this I was able to share about Hannah’s attempting suicide and going through difficult times before discovering Christ to be her Lord and Savior. We were then presented with a loaf of bread and a cup of salt for prosperity and a tradition of being welcomed into their country.
Our second endeavor was going to a men’s addiction rehab house. There is only one men’s recovery center in the whole city of Gomel. We were very limited on our time but the 6-8 men were very grateful and receptive to our sharing from the Bible and testimonies.
The culture here is very stoic and expressionless especially for adults. So that’s a little bit different for us to get accustomed too.
For our third stop we had the opportunity to minister to orphans and foster parents. This time I wanted to speak to the FOSTER parents before I ministered to the orphan children. I had been told that many of these parents were not followers of Jesus Christ. So, we were meeting with about 20 different parents of the children and listening to each of their stories about the difficulty raising their children. Some were very very difficult and heavy as they shared about their difficult circumstances. You could feel the heaviness and the hopelessness in the room.
Our trip leader Andrews wife Ina turned to me when it was time to transition and said what can you say to give these people hope? I said before I even heard any of their stories, I already knew what the Lord had put on my heart to tell them. They can’t love these children and help them until they have first received the love of Christ themselves. I briefly shared the gospel with all of the adults and had a response to receive Christ 16 adult stood immediately to receive Christ. However, Ina told me that 11 were first time decisions out of the 16. The Lord began to move powerfully for the next hour after they received Christ. Other leaders would share and speak. Michelle would later be able to relate to the women struggling with sadness and depression and hopelessness and the women were moved with compassion and Michelle and I both were able to pray with them and even some of their children that were really struggling with different issues sicknesses, mental disabilities, emotional trauma and sexual abuse. One mother Michelle and I spoke life and hope into her and her daughter was moved to tears as we prayed for emotional healing for both of them. We Prayed for three mothers and all were moved as we prayed for three different families.
I also had the opportunity again to prophetically speak into the lives of the children and teenagers (FOSTER CHILDREN) that were downstairs. Rather than speak to each child individually one by one this time I chose to speak to the group all at once. But as I would speak, I would stop and look at different ones that were really keying in and following me. I would speak life and Hope into them and some I would see immediate countenance changes as I would tell them the love of Christ of how much Christ loved them, how much they meant to Christ, how much their life mattered and had value and purpose. One young teenage girl’s face went from a long :-( to a smile within one minute of me speaking life into her. This night would be a very special night.