Episode 256

Formerly Incarcerated Man Finds Christ & Ukrainian Family Sees God’s Hand in Journey

Dec 27, 2022

Jason Gravely, a formerly incarcerated man now a part of Fincastle Baptist Church in Fincastle, Va., said his skeptical search for God concluded with his involvement in the outdoor kids’ ministry program at the church, where he found spiritual answers and discipleship. And, points along new Carson-Newman University professor Vova Gorbenko’s journey from Ukraine to Tennessee are marked with air raid sirens, explosions, bitter temperatures and a 20-hour drive under the cover of night. The details sound much like they were ripped from a movie plot. But for Vova and his family, every turn, every mile, and every step of their story has been real. Very real.

Transcript

Jason Gravely, a formerly incarcerated man now a part of Fincastle Baptist Church in Fincastle, Va., said his skeptical search for God concluded with his involvement in the outdoor kids’ ministry program at the church, where he found spiritual answers and discipleship.

Gravely began attending the ministry’s activities with his two step-sons last year. Through these events he began a friendship with the ministry’s leader Seth Thompson, who would engage in consistent spiritual conversations with him.

This culminated with Gravely eventually making a decision to follow Christ last fall, and he has noticed a difference in his personal life.

Gravely explained his search for spiritual answers began long before his attendance at kids’ ministry activities. In fact, it began during the more than five years he spent in prison.
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Points along new Carson-Newman University professor Vova Gorbenko’s journey from Ukraine to Tennessee are marked with air raid sirens, explosions, bitter temperatures and a 20-hour drive under the cover of night. The details sound much like they were ripped from a movie plot. But for Vova and his family, every turn, every mile, and every step of their story has been real. Very real.

Vova, his wife Marina, their 17-year-old son Andrei and 15-year-old daughter Katya, call Zaporizhzhya, (Zap-poe-riz-yah) Ukraine, home. One of the country’s largest cities with a population of more than 700,000, Zaporizhzhya is located in the southeastern part of the country – a few hours from Donetsk, and about six hours south of the country’s capital of Kiev. It is where Vova worked as an academic dean at the local seminary and a minister at his church. It was where Marina served as a public school teacher and where Andrei and Katya grew up with friends and went to school. It was home.

But on Feb. 24, 2022, life at home was turned upside down. After many weeks of speculation, Russia finally invaded Ukraine. It is Vova’s smile, calm tone and humble spirit that can easily hide the tragedy and struggles he and his family endured.

The family fled the country on a trip that led them to Ohio and, eventually, to the Christian college in East Tennessee. They call it a “God-event” that He not only rescued them from the war but provided a wonderful opportunity in the U.S.
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Good News for Today is sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs


Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.
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