For the First Time
Dave Patty | March 2017
There is a first time for everything.
In February, our Ukraine team entered their very first week of Exit Tour with nervous apprehension. Although the concept had already proved fruitful in four other countries, the Orthodox background of the Ukrainian people added a particular challenge.
Would the schools be open to a full day’s program from an Evangelical perspective? Would national loyalty to their Orthodox faith quickly close the doors? How would students respond to the gospel programs provided in the afternoons and evenings in local churches?
JV missionaries Ben and Kristy Williams and Ukrainian, Nadya Vorobyova, decided to start at the very top. Contacting the Department of Education for the Lviv region, they lobbied for permission to offer our Exit program to all 86 secondary schools. By God’s grace that was granted. Now it was necessary to prove the concept in four initial schools.
A Christian band from England kicked off each day with a concert in the school gym. Then our staff fanned out into classrooms for lectures. During every interaction, our team worked to build relationships, inviting young people to follow-up activities each afternoon in local churches.
On Thursday night at 9:00 pm, while the Exit launch team was having dinner together, Nadya’s phone rang. Everyone was nervous when they realized it was the Department of Education calling.
“We received quite a few complaints from school principals today”, he began. Nadya caught her breath and braced herself for the worst. “They are upset that their schools were not chosen for Exit Tour, and are wondering how quickly they can get on the list for the next tour.” He went on to share that the program had been a huge success and that all of the secondary schools were interested.
At the Friday night concert, 400 students showed up to hear the band perform and to be challenged with a clear presentation of the gospel. On Saturday, 70 of those came to a follow-up activity at a local church to learn more about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Pray for our JV Ukraine team as they continue to follow up with these new contacts and recruit a permanent Exit team to respond to the open doors. Thank you for your support and prayers that make it possible for us to share the good news of Jesus with so many young people in Central and Eastern Europe.
We are asking God for many more “first times”,