Why do you spend so much time with blind people?” For Liudvig Minikh, His children’s question brings to mind a time when the visually impaired were invisible to him.
Before becoming associate vice president of Ministry to the Blind in Ukraine, Minikh was a youth pastor. But articles about the dire situation of many blind people and the scarcity of services available to them compelled him to help.
Concentrating on people whose sight is so poor they cannot read, the 11-year-old organization offers humanitarian services to those in poverty. But its underlying focus is to disciple believers and bring others to Christ. And that’s where the In Touch Messenger comes in: Minikh and his colleagues are using the technology to train up Bible study leaders, thereby multiplying the impact of each device. And in this case, the blind leading the blind is a good thing.
Through his work with the ministry, Minikh met Aleksander Volkov, a pastor who lost his sight in his 20s. For Volkov, the Messenger is a preaching tool: He holds it to his ear and, after swiftly locating a passage, plays it on the microphone for the rest of the congregation. “Flipping through” the Messenger is now second nature to Volkov and a much better alternative to the Bible in Braille.
“Those who go blind through trauma—their lives are changed dramatically,” Minikh says, “The Messenger becomes their only hope. Through it, they learn that this is not the end—they still have a future and a God who cares for them.”
“The Messenger becomes their only hope. Through it, they learn that this is not the end—they still have a future and a God who cares for them.”
It is a lesson Minikh has learned time and again working with the visually impaired, and one he’s eager to teach his children. So when they ask why he’s so often in the company of blind people, he answers not with words but with a scarf tied to cover each child’s eyes. Then he reads the story of blind Bartimaeus, who cries out to Jesus and hears Him reply, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The beggar answers that he wants sight. “Go; your faith has made you well,” Jesus says, and Bartimaeus, with sight regained, decides to follow Him (Mark 10:46-52).
“Now,” Minikh says, “Keep the scarves on. Go to the kitchen and try to wash a dish.” As they make their way down the hall, bumping into furniture here and there, they begin to see for themselves.
Photograph by Tommy Walton