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Fall 2012 Medical team

Holly Friesen on October 10, 2012

jamie 2 Dr. Oakman explaining to a patient

It is hard to summarize in just a few paragraphs the blessing of two weeks of ministry with a short term medical team, but I will attempt to give you a glimpse of our two weeks with the team that was here Sept 8-22. 

robert Robert giving vision exams

Dr. Jamie Oakman, opthomologist, made his 6th trip to Ukraine to provide eye care for our needy village patients. His son Robert accompanied him for his 2nd trip as his assistant. Relationships are very important in establishing trust and providing a platform for sharing the gospel here in Ukraine. Many of our patients in the Odessa region remember Dr. Oakman and look forward to his visits. His investment in the ministry here in Ukraine, and his compassionate care have made an impact on many of our patients and on the pastors that we partner with. 

jamie Dr. Oakman examining a patient
stefanie Stefanie doing a blood test

My childhood friend, Stefanie Powers, who is now a registered nurse also joined the team. It was great to be able to share my life here with someone from home and to see her heart for ministry and evangelism. 

sharon Sharon with her translator Luba did a number of home visits

Sharon Berbin, a registered nurse from Dr. Oakman’s church, was also a member of our team.  I was blessed by Sharon’s compassionate heart and desire to serve the Lord wherever she is. It was a joy to have both Sharon & Stefanie in my home during our time in Odessa.

We had 10 days of clinics while they were here and saw over 700 patients. While Dr. Oakman provided eye care, Dr. Miriam and I saw people for their general medical needs. We generally started the day with a short service for those who were already waiting. It would include some special music from our team of Americans and translators and a short sermon from one of the local pastors. The local pastors were also available to visit with patients while they waited and to spend time with patients that expressed more interest in spiritual things during their visits with the doctors. 

singing Our group singing at the beginning of a clinic day
miriam Miriam examining a patient

For many it was their first time to ever visit the church or have any contact with the “Baptists”. During soviet times rumors were spread about the Baptists being some type of strange cult. This has continued to make people, especially in the villages, hesitant to have anything to do with a group that calls themselves Baptist. The clinics provide them with an opportunity to meet the pastor and others from the church and to help move them past some of the fears and suspicions that might keep them from ever attending a church service. 

Dave & Penny Dave & Penny Winget -missionaries in Kharkov Ukraine that assisted us our first week

Our first week was spent in northern Ukraine holding clinics in village church plants where we have never ministered before. It was a blessing to meet the Ukrainian church planters in these works and to see their passion for the villages/ people they are ministering too. 

holly Holly seeing a patient

The second week we were in the Odessa area and were in villages where we hold monthly clinics. Even in these villages we saw many first time patients who came because they heard the eye doctor would be there. We have not had the chance to follow up with the leaders from all the places we visited during those two weeks, but we have heard some good reports. I know of at least two unsaved patients who have visited church since the clinics and expressed interest in spiritual things. One of the churches recently had a harvest celebration and said that a number of the clinic patients showed up for that special service. 

We may never know the full extent of the impact of these clinics on the lives of those we ministered too, but we can be confident that God’s Word will not return void and we can continue to pray for the seeds of the gospel to bear fruit.

lonya Miriam's pastor Lonya who assisted us almost the entire two weeks as a driver, evangelist, and encourager for the local pastors