The fall season is very joyful in Ukrainian churches as they celebrate their “Harvest Day”. Living in a predominantly agricultural country, early in their history Ukrainian believers took in the simplicity of their hearts the commandment of Exodus 23:15-16, “Thou shalt keep…the feast of harvest…” and started celebrating the feast. It does not have a set date and is observed in September-October, each church deciding on the date. It is customary to decorate churches with various produce for that day and invite fellow believers from neighboring churches to the service with a dinner to follow. Americans usually compare this to their Thanksgiving Day, although the two have significant differences. Ukrainians, besides thanking God for providing their “daily bread”, spiritualize it and speak also of sowing and harvesting in spiritual realm. Thus, the subjects of the spreading the word of God, sending laborers into God’s field, bearing spiritual fruit in the Christian’s life etc. are typically addressed.
This fall our men’s choir was invited to visit a village church 120 miles from Kyiv, which for the past few years has used their Harvest Day for evangelism outreach. For the occasion, they rented a dining hall and invited all the villagers to come and hear the word of God. We were glad to see many visitors. The local pastor, a farmer himself, had been present at the evangelism in Gostra Mohila back in May, and he asked me to conduct the service. I was able to clearly present the Gospel, pointing to the “Bread of Life” who was broken on the cross of Calvary for our sins that we may have eternal life through Him. We ask you to pray for the salvation of the unsaved visitors. Villagers are very heard to reach with the Gospel but we praise God for the opportunity to till the ground of their hearts once again and sow the seed of God’s Word.
Excited by this event, we decided to do a similar thing in our own church in Kyiv on Sunday, October10th. It had been a while since we had any kind of evangelistically-geared services in our church and we felt like we needed a revival. I presented the idea to the pastor and he asked me to organize and run the service. We had only a week and a half for preparations, but with the help of many others in our church, we were able to prepare the program, put up posters, and pass out invitations. Right up until Sunday morning, I was not sure if I would be able to come. Three days prior to that, I got a bad ear infection, was running a high fever and was on antibiotics and shots. By God’s grace, by Sunday I was feeling well enough to conduct the service, play for and sing in the choir and preach. For the theme of the service I chose “Thanking God for providing three kinds of bread: physical bread, the Word of God and Jesus, the Bread of life”. Thus, three messages were preached explaining how God revealed Himself in nature, His Word and finally in the person of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to mankind. The church was packed and we had about ten first-time unsaved visitors, besides those who have been visited us before but have not yet trusted Christ. God blessed the service and we saw three professions of faith! One of them was the daughter of a church member. We rejoice in what God is doing here and ask you pray for those who trusted Christ to grow in faith. Also, please pray for my ear infection since I am not completely recovered and today my other ear began to bother me.