The Rowdy Little Boy

January 13 2008 / ShareHim in Ukraine, Sep. 28 - Oct. 14 '07 #239
by April Tracy

Personal Testimony of April Tracy.

As a little girl, I was always fascinated by the mission stories I heard at camp meetings. I was determined that, someday I would go to the mission field as a missionary. My dreams wouldn’t become a reality until many years later. I married after high school, had two children, and then decided to return to college where I received my degree as an RN. It wasn’t until my youngest was in his junior year in college that the opportunity finally came for my first mission trip. My pastor at the time had received his medical degree in the Dominican Republic and invited me to go to the Dominican Republic during the Thanksgiving holiday with a group to do medical missionary work. This became a yearly venture for me, and I truly felt that God was using me. Our group began to grow as we invited the Nursing Department from Southern Adventist University to join us. What a wonderful experience! For 16 years, I continued going to the Dominican Republic and also was involved in medical mission trips to Haiti, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

In January of 2007, as I was watching the Hope Channel, I was drawn to a report by Bob Folkenberg about a program called ShareHim, where lay people could be used to preach. I wasn’t sure about preaching, but felt that I could be used as a support person. I immediately began looking through the various evangelistic opportunities, and through prayerful consideration, decided on the Ukraine.

I don’t know how to begin to describe my experience during this seminar. I was able to work with Pastor Reggie Phillips, a pastor from Texarkana, Texas. (We had never met before, but we soon felt like old friends.) I presented health talks during the meetings, once at 3 p.m. and once at 6 p.m. As soon as I finished with my talk, I would rush upstairs at the church and work with the children. I didn’t think I would be able to talk with the children at all since I did not know one word of the Ukrainian or Russian language, but God blessed and a student from the Adventist University whose parents belonged to the church was able to come and help. The first day we had 15 children for the first meeting and 30 for the second meeting. Some of the children who had come to the early meeting returned for the 2nd meeting. I had brought crafts for the children to go along with the bible stories and WOW, what a challenge to try and explain how to do the craft. I was really tired after just one day but continued to pray that God would give me the strength and knowledge needed to communicate His love to these children. The second day, an 11-year-old boy named Sasha came to the meetings. What a challenge! He was constantly interrupting and was very disrespectful during the entire meeting at 3 p.m. and then came for the 6 p.m. meeting. I was totally at my wits end. As I walked home that evening, I thought I couldn’t handle this child and asked God to help me. This young boy was making it impossible for any of the other children to receive any kind of blessing. I don’t think I slept much that night. I remember waking up many times wondering what I was going to do. Then I began praying that God would bring Sasha back and that he would be calmer and I’d have more patience. The next day, there he was, his rowdy little self, but as soon as I saw him, I put my arm around him and welcomed him. I don’t know who changed most that night, but I know that God was working, because both of us were calm and became friends. Yes, it was a daily challenge, but I could tell God was working in these children. I taught them to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in English, and the translator explained to them what they were singing. I made up hand motions, and each night when I entered the room, they all started screaming “April, April, April” and immediately wanted to sing. The last night of the meetings, the children came down and sang for the adults. We had made crowns the night before, and they wore their crowns as they sang. I know the angels were singing with them.

I think this was the most rewarding mission experience I have had in the 16 years I have been participating in mission trips. I truly feel that God wanted me to experience this trip, and I’m ready to go again.

Last week, I received an e-mail from Pastor Shypko in Fastov where we held our meetings and from the young lady who helped translate in the children’s programs. They both told me that they were continuing with the children’s programs and that several of the children from the village were continuing to come to church on Sabbath, and guess who one of those children is? Sasha!!! I cried and said “Praise God!” I know that the sleepless night that I spent praying about Sasha was a blessing for me. God showed me that He had a little boy out there that needed love, hugs, and smiles. (I did a lot of that since I couldn’t speak their language). I will never doubt His power to change lives and His ability to use me when I surrender to Him. I continue to pray for these precious souls, and when God calls me, whether it’s here at home, or in a foreign country, I am ready and willing to be used.
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