Stories from the Field

Seeds Planted a Century and a Half Ago Now Ripe for Harvest

A Minnesota-Ukraine connection bears fruit.

ODESSA Township in western Minnesota, first settled in June 1870, was named for the city of Odessa in southern Russia (today’s Ukraine), from which the wheat-seed used in this vicinity was purchased.  Ukraine supplied the first wheat-seed planted by western Minnesota’s first Scandinavian immigrant farmers almost 150 years ago!  And those who farm these fields, as did their parents and grandparents, have not forgotten their debt to southern Ukraine.

Earlier this year, several churches in nearby Ortonville, Minnesota, and citizens of this agricultural community learned of the opportunity to place Christian literature in 1,000 public elementary schools in the Dnipro region of southern Ukraine.  Viktor Nikonenko, one of READ’s ministry partners and pastor of “Jesus Christ’s Church” in the city of Dnipro, was asked by the Department of Education for this region to place copies of “The Camel Story-A Trilogy” in each elementary (grades 1-5) classroom reading center.  Do the math.  There are 5,000 classrooms where the story of Jesus birth, death, and resurrection is wanted and welcomed by public school officials in southern Ukraine!

When brother Viktor asked READ for help in responding to this open door for the gospel and READ shared this gospel-seed sowing opportunity in western Minnesota, the response was overwhelming!  “Ukrainians helped our ancestors get their start in farming.  Now it’s our time to return this favor and help their Ukrainian children hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  By the grace of God and generosity of the good people of western Minnesota, Viktor will have the resources he needs to plant gospel-seeds in 5,000 classrooms in southern Ukraine.

Since Pastor Viktor has begun placing Christian literature in the public-school classrooms, the word has spread.  Other opportunities are opening for gospel literature to be distributed in churches, summer camps, and to public school teachers of the Christian ethics, not only in the Dnipro region, but surrounding ones as well.

Please share a year-end gift with READ so we can support Pastor Viktor’s unique opportunities to sow seeds of the gospel in the fertile soil of Ukraine.  Pray that these seeds will yield a spiritual harvest in the hearts of Ukraine’s children and their families.

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