"How on earth do I transition into the study?” That was the question on Tracy Eide’s mind as she sat with a group of Ukrainian women who’d gathered for a new Bible study last Spring. The women, some believers and some not, were sharing stories of their hurried exits from Ukraine, the families they’d left behind, and their losses along the way.
Tracy recalls, “I was worried, but the Lord really led. That whole first lesson ('Compassion,' from The Person of Jesus: Unit 1, Compassion) focused on how Jesus saw people’s pain and was moved with compassion for them. It still gives me chills to think how the Lord orchestrated things so that, even though we had no answers for their deep suffering, we could say to these women at that moment in their lives: ‘God sees your pain and his heart is moved with compassion for you.’ ”
God sees your pain and his heart is moved with compassion for you.
When Ukrainian refugees began to arrive in Krakow late last February, Christ the Saviour Evangelical Presbyterian Church and displaced Mission to the World missionaries sprang into action. They rented an office building and converted it to a Help Center, where they provided clothing, haircuts, legal advice, printers, and more. Karina Ospanova, a Kazakh woman and Russian speaker who became a Christian through the church, began organizing children’s activities at the center. With the children occupied, the mothers were free to connect with one another and share a meal. When missionary Tracy Eide arrived, the team asked her if she’d be willing to start a Bible study for the moms.
“I’d used the Person of Jesus study before and had heard it was being translated into Russian. I thought it would be a good fit.” Tracy shared, “I emailed seeJesus and sure enough, the translation of the first unit had just wrapped up and they were able to send me a copy to start using right away!”
The work on that Russian translation of The Person of Jesus had begun years ago because of Richard Eckhardt’s work with a Christian university in Moldova, which provides education and theological training for believers from many Central Asian countries.
Tracy partnered with Karina and Katia, a woman originally from Lviv, to lead the study in English and Russian/Ukrainian. Tracy left to return to the States in June, and Karina and Katia carried the remaining weeks of the study. With the transience of refugee life, some women only attended for one or two weeks, while others were involved for the duration. They saw many women growing in their faith and several who became believers. Many who returned to Ukraine have asked where they might find a church like the one in Krakow.
It was one of our best decisions to use this study. It is good for people who are new to church, but also very practical and useful even after being a Christian for years.
Looking back, Karina reflects, “It was one of our best decisions to use this study. It is good for people who are new to church, but also very practical and useful even after being a Christian for years. Sometimes it can be hard to connect a Bible study with practical life, but that was easy to do in this study. The women learned that Jesus is not someone very far away whom we cannot understand – they saw Jesus who walked among us. We learned about who God is, how he cares about us and understands us. And we learned about ourselves, how we need Jesus and how in Him alone we can find peace and eternal hope. This is exactly what we want people to learn when they come to church – and this study helped us to do that.”
Join us in giving thanks that this Russian translation became available just in time to bless these women with the good news that God sees and has compassion on us!