5 Feb 2008

Experiencing Ukraine


Last week i travelled with our Polish interns to Ukraine to help with a Christian camp. It was a really neat experience, and God showed me a lot of things, about myself, about His body, and through his word. I am so thankful for my time there and how we can learn from each other as followers in Christ, leading each other towards perfection in Christ.

Language was an interesting thing at the camp. I was with the 'Polish team' and had no problems communicating with them in Polish... but during the evening program i felt like i had been thrown back 5 years in time where i didn't understand much of what was going on - in Ukrainian!

I feel like i connected with 3 girls at camp. Dasha, Katya, and Natasha... It is interesting though when i think of how we connected. Katya didn't speak much more than 2 words of English but her constant smile towards me every day, her introducing me to her sister and looking at pictures of mine, cheering for me on the ski slopes... i felt a deep sister connection to her- even though we couldn't talk. I know she loves Jesus. You can see the joy in her eyes.

Dasha is a waitress in her home town in Ukraine and knows some English- but she would often forget words and talk to me in Ukrainian, then i would answer her in Polish. Quite honestly i didn't know what language to speak to her!! But the last night she was there i went into her room and she told me her train was leaving that night- i was surprised because it was 2 days earlier than the camp ended. But we stayed up until 2am talking and she shared with me some of her dreams and about her family. She has such an alive spirit and a desire to know God that she had travelled 24 hours by train each way to get to camp... and i feel privileged to have met her.


Natasha translated for me all week during the evenings. Natasha speaks English well!!! It was fun to get to talk to her and hear about her husband came to know Christ and about their family and her work. We found out that we have common friends and at the end of the week decided to pray for each other. It was a sweet time.


How amazing it is that language does not limit our God that he is alive and well in every culture and language of the world. The Ukrainian Christians have a sincere spirit, a gratitude for what God has given them, a desire to learn and grow in Christ and a love for one another that deeply challenged me and made me think... a lot.


Tyler and Melinda said...

What a great week of meeting new friends and seeing Christ at work in Ukraine. I think that's one thing we've both been amazed at in all our travels...just how much work God is going all over the world and through His people.

Matt said...

Good to hear your thoughts on ministry in Ukraine. It sounds like we are in similar situations in that neither you nor my wife and I speak Ukrainian except you speak Polish and we're supposed to be doing our thing in Ukraine. What part of the country were you in?

We're way down south in Kerch (the Russian speaking part of the country) also at a Christian camp. I was screwing around, looking for similar blogs and came across yours. I hope all is well in Poland!

Matt Gaw
Hope Center, Ukraine