Ukraine (MNN) — Many young people in the former Soviet Union find themselves with nothing to do. With little to do they keep themselves busy by getting involved in drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and crime. Peer pressure is great. That’s one of the reasons why World Gospel Mission has established the “Home of Hope” Ministry Center in Ukraine.
Speaking from Ukraine, World Gospel’s Ernie Smith describes what ministries are located in the center. “One of those, of course is the church. We did a church plant here. And, another one is a youth center. And, our youth center, we’ve opened it up to neighborhood kids. There’s not a lot for them to do. So, we’re trying to provide a place to play ping-pong, table games, and where there’s not threat.”
This provides a positive environment to eventually talk about Christ, says Smith. “We try to build a relationship. We try to have people there who will talk to them and play games with them. Then, when they begin asking questions, we start getting kids to come to church. Once the kids come to church, they bring the parents.”
That’s when they can begin helping families as a whole. They offer seminars on everything from marriage, raising kids, drug abuse, alcoholism, and more.
According to Smith, all of these actives are done for one reason. “We try to live a life and show a testimony in such a way that they will ask questions. Once they ask questions, we’re free to respond.”
That’s why World Gospel Mission is raising money for their Samaritan Fund, which goes to support ministry opportunities through the Home of Hope Center. Smith describes some of the outreaches. “We’ll pay for school inoculations. Sometimes handicapped children need surgery. Or, what we’re working on now, Christmas.”
Since Orthodox Christmas is January 7, they’re still preparing for Christmas ministry. “We’re trying to make sure every kid has some type of gift — a toy, some candy, and something that’s wrapped up and underneath the tree.”