Author: Brian Harris

As Christians, we all have a personal story, a testimony, of how we came to Christ. There is not a prescribed method for God's plan in every individual. With myself, my parents were the main catalyst for me when I accepted Christ at seven years old. I was blessed to say the least to have them as examples of what it means to be Christians. 

You may ask, "How does God use a medical clinic to win people to Christ?" I would answer, that is actually a great question. Mike Ray, our International Mission Board (IMB) missionary to Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine would answer that it's been the most effective way to reaching adults. The key word there is adults, one of the hardest groups to reach. He even would go as far to say that our team was the hook when going fishing for men.

I wanted to take care of the rumor that mission trips are all work. It's about 99.9% work, but it's fun work every moment especially when you are seeing people making decisions for Christ on a daily basis. There are occasions though where funny things happen and I was able to document two instances that I wanted to share. 

Last summer I met Andrey Konkov, or as we knew him Drew, at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions building where I work. I remember Kristy Kennedy saying why don't you join us for lunch and get to know Drew better. Little did I know that some of the seeds that Drew planted that day would help to ignite my new found passion for International Missions. When I met Drew in the summer of 2013, he was a newlywed, having been married for only one month to Kristy. The met through the ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ themselves which makes for a good story in itself. Together they work with Campus Crusade for Christ in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, primarily with college students through the use of English Language Clubs and Sports Ministries. Often times he works hand in hand with our own International Mission Board missionaries that are also there.

The alarm rang at 4:00 am this morning after going to bed near 12:30 am. Yes, that is correct, 3 and half hours sleep. Everyone is up and busy getting ready to leave Dnipropetrovsk, our home for the past 7 days. It seems like only yesterday when we arrived here. We've experienced so much. I had the opportunity to enjoy a walk around the city last night with a friend I met last summer in Montgomery, Andrey Konkov and his wife Kristy. Andrey serves with Campus Crusade for Christ here in Dnipropetrovsk with English language clubs and sports programs used to reach local college students for Christ.

I am writing today's blog post while sitting on the marble steps of a World War II memorial within walking distance of today's clinic in the town of Loboikovka, Ukraine. The memorial itself is in great condition especially in comparison to one of the three buildings in the complex that is now a nearly abandoned soviet house of culture building.

Our fourth day of clinics took us across the Dnieper river while remaining in Dnipropetrovsk, our base of operations. The church was located in a mostly residential section of town that required us to go down several worn down dirt roads. A Ukrainian dirt road compared to a dirt road in the United States is drastically different...most wouldn't dare to take their cars down it and would instead opt for a four wheel drive truck.

Hotel Dnipropetrovsk is located on the bank of the Dnieper river in downtown Dnipropetrovsk. Not a fancy hotel by any means but you can see glimpses of it's former glory tucked away behind thick velvet curtains. Marble floors give way to exposed cement as you ascend past the first story flight of stairs. The parqued wood floors haven't seen sanding or buffed in quite some time and the floors creak at every step.

Tonight at our dinner meeting time I had the opportunity to share our devotion. For those that know me well, you know that I truly know that I have been called to be behind the scenes. I love making videos, running tech crews, writing and managing web sites and social media...speaking isn't something that comes naturally to me like it does for some. It was with reservations that I accepted Helen Taylor's requests for me to lead this time. I think one of the things that makes me so nervous is that I put such a high value on words, especially when speaking of God. It's not something I take lightly and I approach that subject carefully. I confided with Helen that I had no clue what I was going to say. She said, "Do you pray." I answered defensively "yes!". She said, "Pray then. That will be enough."