The Oct. 2021 day in Ukraine was cold, though the sun was shining brightly. Ludmila, bundled in her coat with a scarf wrapped around her head, walked to a small church in her village. She had heard from a friend that the church was hosting a medical clinic. The long conflict with Russia had left her village with no access to medical care. This would be her only hope to see a doctor. Plus, she heard that there was no cost – inconceivable to her.
Ludmila was greeted warmly by the medical team and church members who helped her fill out the initial registration. IMB missionary Jack Gibbs, who organizes healthcare mission trips in Eastern Europe, showed her to a seat where she could wait for her turn to see a doctor. Vlad, a Ukrainian ministry partner, talked with Ludmila while she waited.
Vlad explained that the clinic was hosted by Christians and asked her about her faith. Her face went blank. She seemed to struggle for words, then quietly expressed that she knew she was a sinner and needed salvation. She felt too shy, however, to make a commitment to follow Jesus. At each station of the clinic, Ludmila met someone else who shared the love of Christ — a retired nurse from the U.S. spending two years in Ukraine with her husband, a Ukrainian doctor, a Journeyman nurse practitioner, Jack who serves as a career missionary with the IMB.
She talked with church members and other volunteers, all eager to share the news about a Savior who would meet her in her shyest moments. Vlad approached her again as she waited by the tables used for the pharmacy. This time her countenance changed, and she began asking questions about faith. Vlad and the local pastor explained the gospel. Now Ludmila, age 66, was sure she didn’t want to go another day without committing her life to Christ.
Moving to a small choir loft to be out of the way of patients, Vlad and the pastor kneeled and prayed with Ludmila who accepted Jesus as her Savior.
We don’t know how to reach Ludmila or check on her safety during this time. Has her village been hit by bombs? Is she hiding in a basement? Does she have access to food and water?
We may never know the answers to these questions. We do know this: Her eternity is secure, even if her life on earth is threatened during this time of war.
Thank God for Ludmila’s salvation and for the faithful workers who brought the good news to her on this day. Thank Him for the many believers and the faithful Ukrainian Christians who continue to share the hope of Jesus.
Pray for Vlad, who at the time of this writing is trapped in an area under extreme attack. Ask God to protect him as he works to provide others with food and water. He is a dear friend to many IMB workers.
Some names may have been changed for security reasons.