Testimony of David Lekh, a 2018 graduate from the Music Department.
Let me start by saying that God changed my life ever since I decided to serve Him. When I was 14, I lost my father, who died in an accident. After that tragedy I found myself in an unenviable situation. We lived in a remote village with a population of 300 people that was isolated from the ‘civilized world’. The nearest public transportation stop was a couple of miles from our house. Phones often did not work, not to mention internet. Most of the villagers are stuck in a routine of daily chores for the rest of their lives. Those were my prospects too, for example, to become a lifelong welder somewhere at a factory. However, my life underwent drastic changes after I accepted Christ as my Savior. He laid it on my heart to serve Him by playing drums.
When I held drumsticks for the first time, my life changed forever. I moved closer to a big city where I could work and study music at the same time. After a while I understood that there was nothing more valuable in life than serving God.
After a missionary from Kenya, Yulia Kyrylkova, visited our church and shared about her ministry I got a burning desire to go there too. I remember coming up to her and saying, “Yulia, I really want to serve with you.” She responded “That’s a great desire… there is a lot of work to be done there. There is a school for street kids and a church…” She also mentioned the need to develop music ministry, which reinforced my desire to go on a mission trip as a music teacher so that God could raise up more ministers there as He once raised me.
Logistically, embarking on such a missionary journey seemed unrealistic, considering I had to raise an astronomical among of money, get travel documents, learn language, etc. However, I was encouraged by others that God had all resources for me to go on this trip.
As soon as I got home, I found an English tutor and dived into learning language. At the same time, I kept on praying for God to show me His ways. I was facing a hard choice, having heard about UETS, I felt it would be useful to study there before going to Africa. So, I enrolled in Music Ministry and Theology program. By the end of my first year at the seminary, I started hesitating whether I could continue my studies, because I was not the greatest student. However, God had His own plans, and soon I found myself giving private drum lessons. It was a real miracle that despite my own questioning of my professional competence the number of my students was growing. Then it occurred to me that this could be the preparation I needed to do missions, particularly in terms of teaching experience.
When my studies at the seminary were coming to an end, I faced the question: “What am I supposed to do next?” In order to find the answer I spent time in prayer and reflection. I then decided to try to go to Kenya no matter how unrealistic it seemed at the moment. While preparing and raising funds, I used what I had learned in my missiology class.
After arriving in Kenya I focused on teaching music classes. We held our first worship and praise night with local musicians we managed to find. As we had to start from scratch, we did it with the intention to encourage the locals to take part in the music ministry. Those nights helped us find enough people willing to form a worship team. The first thing I shared with them was my testimony proving that worship and praise could change hearts. Later we transitioned smoothly to trying to master the basics of music theory as well as playing the keyboard and drums. It was important that they be able to read both notes and chords.
While in Kenya, I put together nine people to train them as a worship team, selected 10 kids for music studies, and found a man who would be in charge of music education in the church on a regular basis.
Apart from music, we evangelized in urban areas, prisons, and a school for street kids. I contributed to various activities for the street kids, particularly playing games and drawing. Almost all of them had parents or other relatives, but due to one reason or another preferred street life.
When I came back to Ukraine, I had no doubt that I would go to Kenya again. I think it is the greatest thing on Earth to be used by God for His purposes. This is probably the ultimate answer to the question “why do missions?”