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Easter in Ukraine

Holly Friesen on April 29, 2011

The celebration of the resurrection in the churches here in Odessa really began the week before with services to remember Christ’s final days on this earth and death. My church took advantage of the opportunity to do several evangelistic outreaches using the Jesus film. I was able to participate in some of those outreaches. We showed the film at the boys home where my church has a weekly Bible club.
The boys listened very attentively and several of them prayed to accept Christ as their personal Savior. Pray for God to continue to work in the hearts of those boys. Camp is being planned for them again this summer as well. Pray that Satan will not snatch away the seeds of the truth that are being planted in their hearts.

We also showed the film at a nursing home where my church has a weekly service. Several of us went an hour before  to walk through the home and give everyone a personal invitation. The majority of those who were able to leave their rooms came. One lady said she was not planning to come but when this nice young man came into her room to invite her she couldn’t say no! Praise the Lord for the young people in our church! Pray for the message of the film to bear lasting fruit in these lives as well.

On Easter Sunday morning I had the joy of singing with our church choir. I enjoyed singing with this group and the chance it gave me to get to know some of them better. It was a very special service with lots of singing, poetry, and rejoicing in the resurrection of our Savior!The kids are supposed to be flowers :-)The kids are supposed to be flowers :-)

Following the service most of the young people gathered at one church couples house for Easter dinner. While it wasn’t what most people would consider a traditional Easter dinner, the grilled chicken suited my tastes just fine! If you have been around my family much, you know that special dinners (including Thanksgiving dinner) generally involve my Dad firing up the grill. The home was near the sea, so after our delicious meal we enjoyed some of the fresh sea air and sunshine! I am so thankful for the friends the Lord has given me here and the good times I can enjoy with them!

Easter is traditionally celebrated for three days here – Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. By Tuesday kids are back in school and most people have gone back to work, but Monday is definitely still a holiday and the churches often have a special service on that day as well. I joined Miriam’s pastor and the young people from the church in Krasnosyolka for Resurrection services in two of the villages where we hold monthly clinics and they have a weekly outreach. It was a beautiful day so we held the services outside and soaked up some sun in the process! I sang the song “Christ Liveth in Me” in Russian for both services. We had a good turnout in both places and the gospel was clearly preached. Praise the Lord for the work He is doing in these villages! I again enjoyed the fellowship with these young people and am blessed by their heart for ministry.

On Tuesday we had clinic in the village of Valentinovka, but since it was technically still a holiday we had a short service before we started seeing patients. I sang my song again and the clinic staff helped lead everyone in a few songs. One of the believers in that village sang and read a poem of testimony that he wrote. It was a joy to see him publicly testify of his faith to unbelieving neighbors that had gathered. Pastor Volodya also gave a gospel message.  Since people had gathered to be seen in the clinic, we had a good audience. Again, pray that the gospel seeds that were planted will bear fruit!

Praise the Lord for the glorious hope of the resurrection! May we be faithful in sharing that hope all year!