Many leave winter retreat wanting to know more

Tags: Eurasia, Ukraine, Muslim Ministry, Story

By G.K. in Ukraine 

Before our family moved to Ukraine, we seldom thought of how resistant many Central Asian countries are to the sharing of the gospel and the acceptance of religious workers. People in such places often live their whole lives without ever encountering a Christian or hearing the Good News of Christ. And yet, thousands of Central Asians are studying and living in Ukraine! 

God opened the doors for us to meet several of these international students. After a few months of having them over each week for dinner and games, we took many of them on a winter retreat.

Three American families attended the retreat, eating, playing, and talking with atheist, agnostic and Muslim students from Central Asia and Ukraine. We did the program in Russian, with translation going on in the back for guys from the Middle East who knew English well but understood almost no Russian. It thrilled us to see this diverse group reading the Scriptures and hearing the story of Christ for the first time! 

We looked at Christmas according to Hollywood, and then at Christmas according to the Bible. The retreat provided a good balance of free time, games, great food, skiing, sledding and interacting with the Scriptures during our group sessions. We explored reasons for Christmas from biblical, philosophical and personal perspectives. Here are a few comments summing up the weekend:
• When one of the more closed students was asked what he thought about the kind of sacrificial love demonstrated by God and talked about in 1 John 4:10, he responded, “It gives me goose bumps up my arm. This is such a good book; I want to read this book.” 

• After watching the Jesus film in two languages, a young woman from Asia said, “I never knew Jesus did so much for us. I didn’t know the gift He gave us. Now I love Him, too.” She prayed the prayer at the end of the film.

• When asked about the Jesus film, two other students responded, “It was a good story; I learned many things I never knew.”

• During our discussion, another student stood up and described the whole of the gospel in detail, though he had never heard it before camp. He has since returned to his home country where most people have never heard the story that he so remarkably retold to our group.

We’re so grateful to those who prayed for this camp! Please continue to pray for God to work in the hearts of these students and others from hard-to-reach countries. Ask Him to bring together a multi-cultural community of new believers focused on reaching outward and growing in His mercy, grace, truth and love!