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Hagerstown couple tours the world to spread Gospel

January 21, 2002

Hagerstown couple tours the world to spread Gospel



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY

andreabh@herald-mail.com

If prayers and hugs could change the world, the Revs. Mike and Kathleen Kianetski of Hagerstown would be off to a good start.

The evangelist founders of Young at Heart Ministries travel the globe spreading the Gospel, teaching Christian church leaders and youth, and ministering to people in need.

The Kianetskis know their work alone won't erase the rampant poverty they've seen in India or the civil unrest they've witnessed in Israel, but "you never know if one person you might touch will impact a whole nation," said Kathleen Kianetski, 49.

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She and her husband do their part to spread love and knowledge in "God's big world," they said, hoping to help young people and church leaders in such places as India, Mexico and Mauritius - a tiny island off South Africa - better understand Christianity so they can in turn help those around them by putting Christian principles into practice.

"We've been given so much and we want to give back much," said Mike Kianetski, 50. "Sometimes you just demonstrate the love of God with something as simple as a hug."

The Kianetskis founded Young at Heart Ministries about 10 years ago. The Rev. Miriam Hellman of Prophetic Ministries in Washington provided their evangelistic training and led the couple on mission trips to Israel, Peru and Egypt, they said.

They went to India on their own for the third time in October.

The Kianetskis spent more than two weeks doing ministry work in the southern and northern parts of the country. The couple recalled the hundreds of homeless people who lined the streets in Bombay, the lack of running water and plumbing, and the disease in the city. Christianity is rare in India, a predominantly Hindu country, they said.

"It's a different world. We in America are blessed," said Mike Kianetski, whose full-time job as a pharmaceutical salesman helps fund the couple's mission trips.

"Here, people say they pray over their food," Kathleen Kianetski said. "Over there, they mean it."

The Kianetskis divided their time between the cities of Bangalore in southern India and Jamnagar in the north, they said.

In Bangalore, they were the featured speakers at a large youth conference. In Jamnagar, the couple helped an Indian Christian leader train young people and others in his home. Christians are not allowed to open churches in northern India. Instead, they host home fellowships to share their love of Christ, the Kianetskis said.

About 40 Indian Christians crammed into the couple's friend's small house to praise the Lord and learn more about the Bible, they said.

The Kianetskis gave money to buy blankets, food and clothing for children in a poor village near Jamnagar, they said. They gave away books they've written, and helped fund a program to teach children to read, they said.

Photographs from the couple's trip show Mike Kianetski laying his hands on Indians with ailments in hope of healing through faith.

In northern India, the Kianetskis felt the change in attitude toward Americans since their last trip there in 2000, they said. Many Indians seemed wary of the couple as American troops in nearby Pakistan geared up for battle in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks in September.

The Kianetskis heard fighter planes overhead. They planned to hop a 10-minute flight to Pakistan to minister to people in need there, they said, but canceled those plans after the attacks. Nobody would sit next to the couple on the plane ride from Bangalore to Jamnagar, Kathleen Kianetski said.

But the couple didn't fear for their safety, they said.

The Kianetskis plan to return to India later this year. They will also take a mission trip to Mauritius and return to Mexico, where they are working closely with a group of youth and adult church leaders, they said.

The rewards of their work have been greater than they ever could have "imagined, thought or asked," Mike Kianetski said. "We've gained some incredible lifelong friendships."

"We're making disciples," his wife said.

The Kianetskis will sign their books, "End Times Field Manual" and "The Anointing," from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Shepherd's Table Bookstore in Hagerstown.

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