By Anonymous Pastor from Ukraine and Gustav Krös (INcontext Director)

For my September Just a Minute last year, I compiled messages I received from one of our partners in Ukraine to share a Christian perspective from within the country. Since seven months have passed, I thought I would do a follow-up in a similar style for this month’s Just a Minute. While I was sifting through messages from Ukraine, I came upon the following testimony I received on 26 September 2022 and instead of doing another compilation, I felt to only share this one testimony.

Greetings, dear friends.

I want to introduce you to one man, his name is Pasha*.

Pasha has been coming to us for more than three months to get a portion of the food we hand out on the street. Each time he was drunk and actually hasn’t been sober for a long time. Until 2014 he lived in Donbas, after the war came there he joined the armed forces of Ukraine and defended his land, was shell-shocked twice and left the military. He ended up in Kyiv on the street, where he began his homeless street life.

Every time we gave out food, Pasha promised us he’d come to the church meeting, but he never did, he kept losing our phone numbers and there was no place to call him. Three weeks ago [August 2022] we decided to bring people from where we feed them to our Sunday services, and Pasha showed up at the church service. Of course, he was drunk and completely confused because he had a very different idea of church, he kept calling me “father” because that was his only idea of a minister.

The Holy Spirit touched him, and it was very noticeable. Usually, Pasha is irascible and defiant, on the street they call him a boxer because he used to box, but here there was no dry spot on his face, despite his drunken state he could not hold back tears and did not know what to do about it himself. At the end of the service he ran forward and with his slurred speech asked me to pray for him. I prayed as I had done many times before in similar situations, not expecting much from this prayer, and soon they were taken back.

On Wednesday at the next meal, Pasha showed up drunk again and very surprised. He told the guys that he hadn’t smoked since Sunday and had no cravings for it. On Saturday at the next food drive I attended, Pasha came up to me and was drunk again, as usual, but said he hadn’t smoked for six days and didn’t understand why. He asked me again to pray for him, but he was very drunk that day, I told him to come to church the next day and try not to drink, to which he said it was completely impossible, he said he would come, but he would probably drink, I asked him what if we prayed that you stop drinking, he laughed loudly in my face, saying it was absolutely impossible, I asked, well if you have gotten rid of cigarettes, is it impossible to get rid of alcohol, but he answered, “No, this is different!”

The next day at church he was much more sober and at the end of the meeting we prayed for him again and he went back. On Wednesday, after another feeding, our volunteers called me and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but Pasha was sober.” Last Sunday [September 2022], Pasha was at church completely sober, he had been living in a hostel instead of on the street for a few days, he had a cell phone and had signed up for a volunteer construction battalion to rebuild war-damaged buildings. This morning we saw him off to Chernihiv, where he will live for the next month and work with his hands.

Another interesting thing is that the second time he was in church, he told me about a dream where he saw a reference to Ephesians 4:28 (Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.), he didn’t even have a Bible at the time. Now he calls me and asks me questions on parts of Scripture he doesn’t understand. I believe in miraculous reincarnations, but this is the first time I have seen something like this, such a clear work of grace and God’s power.

Pray for Pasha, his thorny journey with Christ has just begun and of course, he will be tested. I’m just sad that he hasn’t been in church a little more to be strengthened, but God’s grace is really transforming.

I asked the pastor how Pasha is doing now, and he shared with me that after Pasha returned from the construction work, he went to visit his friends on the street, to share his testimony with them and to witness about what Christ has done in his life. Unfortunately, during this visit, his friends persuaded him to have a drink with them, and that was all it took for him to fall back into alcoholism.

One positive thing is that he still attends the church services and has a yearning to be clean from alcohol again but unfortunately, it’s not happening as miraculously as the previous time.

When I heard about Pasha’s current circumstances, I wondered whether I should still share his testimony, and in the end, I felt it is still very relevant to share. Firstly, it remains miraculous how Pasha stopped smoking and drinking after he was prayed for, and secondly, by sharing his story, more people can pray for him, because as the pastor shares, this is not the end of his story.

Besides these two points, there are many other lessons to be learned from this story and I pray that the Lord will impress the lesson on your heart that He wants to teach you or remind you of, through this story.

*Pasha’s name has been changed out of respect for his privacy.


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www.incontextinternational.org; gustav@incontextministries.org