Stories of Impact

New Life

New Life id1128In Ukraine, nursing homes are not known for their high quality of life. State-run homes lack the funding to provide adequate clothes, medicine, and other basic necessities for their residents. Many residents pass their days without visitors as they wait for death. Oleg Shaykevych, one of Walk Thru the Bible’s leaders in Ukraine, travels around his home region of Odessa to bring hope to people in twelve different nursing homes through Walk Thru the Bible resources.

One of the residents who has made the greatest impression on Oleg is 80-year-old Nikolai. Born into a family of unbelievers, Nikolai lived the majority of his life without faith. His exposure to Christianity was limited to one family that had evangelized in his region. Not long after he encountered this family, he moved to a nursing home in the Odessa region. In this new season, his life took an unexpected turn.

Near Nikolai’s nursing home lived a stridently atheistic woman who actively tried to persuade others to adopt her worldview. When she died, her entire collection of atheistic literature was donated to Nikolai’s nursing home to use as fuel for the winter. Included in this literature were several Christian magazines, which the woman had included in her collection for the sole purpose of mocking Christians. Out of curiosity, Nikolai started to read some of these magazines instead of burning them. From what he read, he learned that he needed to repent and be baptized, so he went to the local river for baptism. When he learned about communion, he began to serve it to himself.

Still, he lacked a personal relationship with Christ. For him, baptism and taking part in communion were necessary actions to please God.

One day, Oleg visited Nikolai’s nursing home and gave each resident a free Russian copy of Detour, Walk Thru the Bible’s biblical resource on the life of Joseph. “Because of Detour, I was born again,” Nikolai told Oleg. For Nikolai, the story of Joseph bore witness to the person of Christ. For the first time, he started to fully understand the gospel and develop a transformative relationship with God. That was several years ago. Oleg recounts, “Now he’s losing his memory because of his age, but I know that at one time in his life, he understood God.”

In a place that most people come to die, Nikolai found new life. Through the ministry of Oleg and his coworkers in Ukraine, Walk Thru the Bible resources are changing the lives of people who, in their old age and isolation, are unlikely candidates for life change.

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