OMer Yuriy recounts the story of the impact that short-term participants had on an elderly Jewish couple in Rivne, Ukraine.
A family of elderly Jews were happy to be visited by an international team. Short-term volunteers Anne from the UK and Peretz from Israel first visited this family with us to share the hope they have in Christ Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew).
What a surprise it was for us to hear that this wonderful couple speak perfect English! It was an amazing opportunity for Anne and Peretz to share the love of Christ with them directly, without the need of translation. An elderly man had a truly Jewish name: Jacob Moses. He was sick with cancer and was not able to walk. His wife Helen took care of him. They were so happy to see us, happy to meet foreigners from far away, to speak English with them. Jacob Moses was a radio amateur. On his desk was a radio station, a computer and lots of electronic devices. We were so exited to see how talented and intelligent this man was. He had many things to teach us, and we were amazed by his bright mind.
When he was healthy, he used to go to a synagogue. Usually those who go to a synagogue do not accept Yeshua as their Messiah. But when our foreign guests came, his heart was so open to receive the good news as never before.
A few months later, Jacob Moses passed away. His wife, Helen, couldn't stop crying. It was such a great loss for her.
When we came to visit her the next time, she so desperately needed to be comforted. This time we came to comfort Helen and brought a 73-year-old lady called Esther from the UK and a young girl called Ashley-Hope from Australia. Helen was excited to have guests from as far away as Australia. She had never had guests from such a far distance before. Helen said, “I remember when you last came to visit me, you told me about an Australian girl coming.”
Ashley-Hope had an amazing talk with Helen and comforted her by telling her about God's love for her. Ashley-Hope started to read Scripture to Helen. Helen started to look for her old Russian Bible. When she found it, it was just a book of the four Gospels. But Ashley-Hope was reading verses from Ephesians.
Before Ashley-Hope arrived in Ukraine, she said God had told her to buy a new Bible. She was wondering why. When she discovered Helen didn't have the full Bible, Ashley-Hope offered her English Bible as a gift. Helen was so excited to receive such an amazing gift: God's precious Word from an Australian girl.
What a great joy and blessing to see how happy Helen was! Despite her loss, God didn't leave her or forsake her. He took care of her—a widow and a precious daughter of Israel.