Lately, I’ve been thinking a little on how to build new relationships with Ukrainians outside of the church. Relationships are a very important part of evangelism here, as the people here are much more receptive to the message of Jesus from a person that they’ve begun to know and trust rather than some complete stranger.
One of the issues with this “Relationship Evangelism” is where to actually meet Ukrainians. Imagine yourself in bustling downtown L’viv, with people busily walking here and there and taking care of their daily tasks. How would you reach out to them on a daily basis? Where would you go to meet Ukrainians? One of the things I’m trying to do is nail down a couple of restaurants to frequent where there are people that I can build relationships with. Now, this can get a little expensive, but I believe that it is worth it.
Another obstacle is language. Please be praying for this for all of us. We’ve stopped language lessons because of the holidays, and it’s taken its toll on my comprehension. Imagine trying to build a relationship with a complete stranger that cannot understand a word that you are saying, and neither can you understand the thing they say. It’s pretty difficult. There have been many times in cafe’s and such that I have been blessed to have a waiter/waitress that spoke English, but it’s often limited. I’m praying for more opportunities to reach out to those folks, though.
Relationships are so important here. The culture is entirely based upon it. If you have relationships with people, you are able to do business, to travel, to stay at hostels, or to buy groceries for a good price and ensure they are quality goods. Everything is based on knowing people here, so how much more the Gospel.
Please pray for my neighbor, Anya. She is a very sweet Ukrainian grandmother that reminds me a little of my grandmother on my dad’s side. I’m building a good relationship with her. She’s helped me a lot by showing me how to pay my bills and giving me pointers on different stuff with the apartment. She’s an excellent neighbor. I got her a Christmas card and had a friend translate a message for me to write in it. She seemed surprised to get it when I handed it to her. Please pray for more opportunities to reach out to her and her family. I don’t think her husband has much time left with us, and her daughter lives in the U.S..