Interview with David Lekh and Myroslava Smetaniuk, graduates from the Music Department, who are currently on a mission to Kenia.
How did you end up as a missionary to Africa?
Logistically, embarking on such a missionary journey seemed unrealistic. However, I was encouraged by others that God had all resources for me to go on my first trip.
God had His own plans, and soon, being a third-year student of music at Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, 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.
I can’t say I had a plan or vision to go to Kenia. God just opened the door and provided an opportunity. Looking back, I see His hand in every detail of my trip. Today, I am in love with Africa, people I have met there, particularly children. It is impossible to see their eyes and remain indifferent!
What do you focus on in your ministry in Kenia?
On my first trip to Kenia two years ago I focused on teaching music classes. As we had to start from scratch, we did it with the intention to encourage the locals to take part in the music ministry 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. Also, we held our first worship and praise night with local musicians we managed to find. Those nights helped us find enough people willing to form a worship team.
My main ministry in Africa is similar to what I regularly do in Ukraine. Teaching others music is what I really like to do. Mostly it is all about singing and playing keys.
Also, we are trying to teach our students what worship is from God’s perspective for them have the right foundation and theology in the future. Hopefully, these seeds sown among children in Kenia will grow one day into a powerful worship ministry in the country.
What do you do apart from music?
Apart from music, we evangelize in urban areas, prisons, and a school for street kids. Actually, I contribute 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 prefer street life.
The first thing we did after the arrival was a children’s camp. We had much fun playing, singing, dancing with the kids. We helped them discover their talents and gifts and – what is of primary importance – know and grow in Christ Jesus.
In Kenia I have been to a prison, not as a prisoner though. We went there with the aim of evangelizing inmates. We sang songs and preached the Gospel there.
Also, I helped at a field clinic. That was a special trip to a school where we provided medical assistance to the locals along with local doctors. In particular, we held medical check-ups, provided medications according to prescriptions the doctors wrote out, treated wounds. It was a great blessing to be a part of the mission when you could practically help others.
Would you go on a mission trip to Kenia again?
When I came back to Ukraine after my previous trips, 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?”
Undoubtedly, I would love to go in a mission trip again. God has been changing not only hearts of those we ministered to, but our hearts too! I am sure, every Christian has to go on a mission abroad at least once in his or her life. It will change you forever!