Sunday is typically a day of worship for me. Whether I attend church services at a local Russian church or if I am at home watching or listening to a service from the US, I try to spend time worshiping with a congregation.
This past Sunday was no different. I went to Gethsemane Church in Donetsk. In typical Slavic Baptist tradition, there were 3 sermons, along with a few hymns and lots of choir songs. The choir opened up the service by singing “How Great Thou Art” in Ukrainian. It was a powerful arrangement.
Side note, if you don’t know the story behind the song, read it. I find it fascinating that the English version came about from an English missionary serving in western Ukraine in the Carpathian mountains!
One brother preached on the topic of prayer and its importance in our lives. One statement he made stuck with me, “For even in our tiredness, we should pray.” It reminded me of the story of Jesus on the night before his crucifixion.
There are a number of deaf people in the church and the church has cultivated a number of interpreters. Two young adults, who are deaf, signed a song this day and tears came to my eyes. I thought of the struggles many deaf people endure and how great it was that they were able to share in the service. It was a moving experience for me.
The pastor shared a challenging message and then a Roma gypsy stepped forward to repent. When I arrived at church this same lady was at the gate begging, along with two small children. The head deacon came at and encouraged her to come inside during the service. I actually followed her up the stairs into the balcony. I was moved by how attentive she sat and listened to 3 sermons and a service that lasted over 2 hours.
Watching this lady step forward encouraged me to press on doing the things I am doing to reach the people of Donetsk. It was a Super Sunday!