The Wise Carpenter
Mar 13, 2023 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
I wonder who taught Jesus how to be a carpenter.
Think about it for a moment. Although he was the all-powerful, all-knowing God, Jesus became fully man. This means he had to learn to walk, eat, and speak just like we did. And as he “grew in wisdom and stature,” someone, perhaps his dad Joseph, took the initiative to teach him carpentry.
Was all that time Jesus spent making things wasted? Apparently not, because he spent more years as a carpenter than a teacher. Those years were full of meaning and growth, because a person learns and teaches while working with their hands.
This was the conviction that motivated Vitaliy to launch a very creative ministry to young boys in his town of Cherkasy, Ukraine. Recognizing that the typical 12-year-old is activity-oriented and builds relationships by doing things, Vitaliy began using his skills in carpentry to reach out to the boys in his neighborhood. Teaching them to make things with their hands, he gathered them together weekly in a small shop in his garage, working on projects and telling them about Jesus.
He called his workshop “The Wise Carpenter,” because his goal was to lead them to saving faith in him. When young boys began trusting Christ and becoming a part of his church, he dreamed of helping others start ministries like his. Leaving his job, he raised support and started his ministry. Later, he joined the JV Ukraine team as a national missionary.
Then the war broke out, and all his workshops stopped. Vitaliy sent his wife and four children to the Czech Republic for safety and began driving vanloads of food and medical supplies to the front lines and evacuating civilians. Always a man of action, Vitaliy risked his own life many times to come to the aid of others who were suffering and in danger. By the time summer came, Vitaliy and his Wise Carpenter team decided to innovate by making mobile Wise Carpenter workshops that could travel around the country to teach young people and share the gospel.
The war in Ukraine has not ended, but Vitaliy’s wife and children have rejoined him in Central Ukraine. He is expanding his Wise Carpenter workshops again. The need is even greater now, because so many fathers are gone fighting the war. Young boys crave older role models and, more importantly, need to meet their heavenly Father.
Recently, Vitaliy gathered 32 men from 13 village churches and spent the weekend equipping them to start Wise Carpenter workshops in their churches. Since Bible study is part of every club meeting, these boys are learning with both their hands and their hearts. Already two of them have put their trust in Christ and began attending their local church.
We don’t know who taught carpentry to Jesus. Likewise, these boys don’t know that your gifts and prayers have made it possible for the gospel to reach them.
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