The Missions update for June is from Tom Popelka Ministries. We have supported this ministry to Russian villages, churches, orphanages and hospitals for several years. We also support their VBS programs each summer. Christmas programs and food evangelism ministries are presented each Christmas with gifts for all the children after the presentation of the story of Jesus birth. These are very poor villages and the food evangelism programs are a great blessing to the people. Even the local authorities have expressed appreciation for the care and concern for the people.
Tom recently shared the following experiences from the Christmas trip this past winter. “It is always difficult to know how our ministry will be received at the Children’s Hospital in Shadrinsk. The children are sick and sometimes do not want to be bothered and the parents are tired from the continual caring for their children. We know your prayers and ours are the only way we will accomplish anything here. There were 38 children and their parents for this year’s program. There were some children that were too ill to get out of bed. We were able to go to each bed and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ and give them a gift. When we finished our program and the gifts had all been distributed, every parent came up to us to express their gratitude and tell us how much this program meant to them, but especially to their children.
One lady told us her son had been there for 12 days having to eat the hospital food. She said one boy had died during this time. She said that the program was a breath of ‘fresh air’ and ‘here is news being shred that Jesus loves us. Thank you so much for the encouragement to me and my son. God really does love me and I know it for sure now.’
Another grandfather was there with his grandson whose procedure had been delayed because of our program. He had a very negative attitude and expression on his face. At the end of the service, he was smiling bigger than anyone else and apologized for complaining and gave each of us a big hug! His grandson said, ‘Grandpa! Look! You said that there were no toy sanitation trucks, but Jesus had one. And the angel Roma (one of the ministry team) had only one and it was just for me! It is just what I wanted!’
The director of the detention center for children who have become orphans or taken away from their parents due to neglect or abuse called one of our local pastors and asked if his congregation would like to visit the children on Christmas. Of course they would love to! After counting, our team had 42 gifts left from our programs. Would you care to guess how many children were there? Exactly 42! What a mighty miracle-working God we serve!
Thank you for your faithfulness and beautiful example of serving Him. The team all said what a special joy this year has been.“ Tom
Please pray for the VBS ministries this summer – here at Westway and in Russia!