For our second the plan was for us to travel to a juvenile prison about 2.5 hours from Kiev and play soccer and share with the guys. We picked up Dima, Yuri’s pastor, along the way. It is hard for outsiders to get into prisons to share here in Ukraine. But Dima has such a great reputation and has been ministering so long to prisons that we were able to go along with him. We had to submit all our passports ahead of time for security check, and once we arrived we all went through security, signed our documents and were lead to the prison yard. In this particular prison there are 36 inmates who serve anywhere from 1 to 12 years. While serving their sentences they are taught career skills so when they are released they are able to go back into society and find work. Our goal was also to give them hope for present and for eternity.
We played soccer against their team it was 6 on 6. We were hopeful and excited, until they came out in matching jerseys then we knew we might be in trouble. Things started off well with the us only being down 2-1 in the first 15 minutes of the game. By the end of the game the score was 15-3. even though we lost by competing and interacting with the guys we were able to form a bond that allowed us to speak into their lives. After the game Aidan and Zach both shared their testimonies. The boys did an amazing job of sharing, and their stories spoke to the prisoners hearts. Yuri’s pastor Dima shared the Gospel at the end and during the prayer many of the guys vocally committed their lives to Christ. Afterwords we handed out Bibles and sport videos and every guy came to get one.
We ate a quick lunch and headed back into Kiev, where we attended and spoke at Yuri’s church. Brian shared about the vision of their club Reality Sports and how they use sport to share the Gospel and CJ shared about being part of Reality Sports has impacted his life. It was fun to be part of a Ukrainian church service!