Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Deaf Camp - 32 SAVED!

We are part of a two-fold church. Our church consists of deaf church on Sunday mornings and hearing church on Sunday afternoons. On Wednesday evenings the hearing and deaf are combined.

Simferopol Baptist Church was originally started as a deaf church. Missionaries Bob and Judy Van Sant were called to Ukraine 13 years ago to reach the deaf, and this is the church the Lord allowed them to start. However, once the deaf began being saved, their hearing family members became interested, and the hearing church was eventually started. How funny to think, though, that a hearing ministry started as a result of a deaf church! (Normally, a hearing church will have a deaf ministry.) Both are now churches, with Bob Van Sant being the pastor of the hearing church and Slava Kratko (a deaf Ukrainian) being the pastor of the deaf church. You can read all of the interesting details of how these churches began and how Pastor Slava Kratko was saved and later became pastor at the VanSant's website: http://www.bobandjudy.net/

So do we know sign language? No, unfortunately we do not, but we are learning... not "officially," but we are with the deaf on a regular basis, and we are learning from them, little by little. We do our best and they appreciate our efforts!

Last month, Bro. Jim Bracelin, his wife, and daughter Amanda came to Ukraine to host a Deaf Camp for deaf children, ages 10-15. They are from Silent Word Ministries, and they themselves raised the money for the expenses of the 40-something children who came to our Deaf Camp. They brought crafts from America for each day, but, for the most part, they allowed Pastor Slava to do all of the preaching and they encouraged from the sidelines. (Some of you may not know this, but English sign language and Russian sign language are two completely different languages.) What a blessing it was to all of us Americans to stand back and let a Ukrainian teach these children the Gospel for the first time ever!

We praise God that 32 children were saved, all in one evening! Pastor Slava was very organized in his preaching, starting with creation the first day and ending with Jesus dying on the cross. The evening he got to the "good part".... the part about Jesus being our sacrifice... they were excited and ready to accept Him! We have more than a hundred pictures from the various activities of the week, but I decided to just show you pictures from the evening the children were saved. Angels were surely rejoicing in Heaven to see these precious deaf children, who formerly knew nothing of Jesus and His free gift of salvation, come to Him!

Pastor Slava preaching about Jesus being on the cross. Bro. Oleg (also deaf) was his living example.
Pastor Slava kneeling with the 32 who came forward for salvation.
The joy of salvation!
These pictures were borrowed from the VanSant's website. Go and visit them to see more pictures from this exciting week!

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