Double Vision

How the In Touch Messenger is ministering to the blind in Ukraine

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

Related Topics:  Service

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What happens to my notes

46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.

47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

49 And Jesus stopped and said, Call him here. " So they called the blind man, saying to him, Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you."

50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus.

51 And answering him, Jesus said, What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!"

52 And Jesus said to him, Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

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