At the start of 2020 many plans were made to minister to the Deaf in Ukraine. Pastor Oleg and his church partnered with DeafBridge to provide coats and winter clothes to the Deaf community. Plans were made for Deaf Schools in 5 cities to host the coat drive where Deaf students, families, and members of the Deaf community could come and receive the winter items they needed. This was also going to be a time for evangelism and to promote the summer camps for the Deaf and recruit new families to attend.
Then COVID-19 brought these well-laid plans to a halt. Schools closed. Gatherings were prohibited, and the summer camps were canceled.
Similar to what we have experienced in America, many lost their jobs. But unlike America, there was no government subsidy, no stimulus package, no food banks. Many of the Deaf in Ukraine already live very hard and impoverished lives and their situation now has become much worse. Oleg prayed about what he could do to help. That’s when an unexpected door opened. Recognizing the dire circumstances of the Deaf, a government agency contacted Oleg and gave him a list that included the names and addresses of the Deaf throughout the Kyiv region. They granted Oleg and members of his church special permission to go and call upon these Deaf individuals and families. Oleg asked if DeafBridge would talk with donors about repurposing some of the finds from the coat drive to now be used for food, masks, gloves, and Bibles. We reached out to our donors and the response was extremely supportive of this new direction.
Oleg and his team purchased flour, pasta, oil, and many other food staples in addition to the masks and gloves. Each food bag also contained a card with a message of God’s love and a Bible. As the packages were delivered, the Deaf were overwhelmed with gratitude! One lady shared that she was desperately trying to gain government assistance, but with no success. She didn’t know what she or her parents would do. Then Oleg arrived with the food package. She couldn’t believe it! She said that the government wouldn’t help her, but the Christians did! Older Deaf people had been isolated from fellowship and were thrilled to chat with fellow believers. Many many others gave their hearts to the Lord and received Christ after receiving the food and help for the first time. More than 70 Deaf families in the Kyiv region alone were helped. The response to the act of love the Deaf witnessed through this unexpected ministry was more than Oleg had expected to see with the former plans of the coat drive.
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.Proverbs 16:9
Watch the video below as Oleg shares his thanks that the donors of DeafBridge embraced this opportunity that allowed him to share the Good News with so many that otherwise may have never heard it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5NcuajBg9o