Providing Hope to Ukrainian Street Children

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April 10, 2001
With the Soviet Union’s breakup in 1989, Dmytro Voznyuk was one of Ukraine’s gospel preachers who burst forth in a flurry of evangelistic activity. As he conducted gospel meetings, souls were converted, new believers were discipled, and churches planted through Bethlehem Mission and Orphanage.

To date, eight churches have been planted, and some of these have given birth to “daughter” churches. By 1998, these churches were served by seven full-time pastors. In addition, six other evangelistic church planters and one office staff member work with BMO.

Many elderly Ukrainians live on tiny pensions, which they receive only sporadically because the government can’t afford to pay them. Without their pensions, they can’t afford to buy food so, like the street children, they scrounge through garbage for things to eat.

With a donated pasta-making machine, ministry workers make food for the poor, handicapped, and elderly. Daily, they serve a free lunch (with gospel preaching and Bible study) to people in need. It’s the only human warmth and love scores of these elderly men and women know. Many respond by giving their hearts to Christ.

From the beginning, Dmytro reached out to the most neglected of Ukrainian society–those behind bars in Ukraine’s prisons: at a women’s prison in Ternopil with 1600 inmates; a men’s prison with 1700 inmates; a juvenile prison with 300 boys; two prisons in Chortkiv with 400 inmates; and one in Borshchiv.

Through evangelistic services and cell-to-cell follow-up ministry of Dmytro and his coworkers, hundreds of prisoners have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

As Dmytro Voznyuk ministered to the prisoners, one question kept recurring: “Who will take care of my children?”

The prisoners’ question burdened him deeply. Indeed, many small children of inmates he’d led to Christ during his prison ministry had no one to provide for them. Their parents’ incarceration had made the children virtual orphans, without adult guidance of any kind.

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