A question we frequently hear is, "What is the hardest part about missions work?" Without a doubt, the most difficult thing is saying, "Goodbye." We have had a tremendous time and made new friends that now seem like family. With all that we have learned about our host's lives and ministries, it is apparent that there is still so much left to do in Ukraine. For the mean time, we all have many stories and photos to share and there are still many experiences we are still processing. We are excited for you to hear about Ukraine and what it's really like serving there. God willing, many of us plan to return to Ukraine and we would like for YOU to seriously consider joining us in 2019!
While Pr. David & Angela and Steve & Linda Meyer had to fly out Saturday morning, headed for the EEMN Language Camps in Albania, the rest of the team was able to stay and enjoy a couple of more precious days with our gracious hosts! On Saturday, the team spent the day with Pr. Oleg & Viktoria Schewtschenko. First, we visited the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Ukraine (SELCU) Seminary and then we spent the day exploring more of Odessa. Later that evening, Mike & Nancy Wind led the team through a formal debriefing, in order for us to begin processing all the experiences we had and contemplate how God is working and moving in our lives. On Sunday, the team returned to Odessa where both, Mike Wind & Pr. Dan Tabor preached during the worship service with Pr. Oleg and his SELCU congregation. The rest of the day was spent preparing to leave Ukraine and to work up to having to say our final "goodbyes" to our friends who are now like family.
We are so very grateful for your prayers and for the privilege of sharing this mission trip with you. To God be the glory! Amen.
This week was jam-packed with so many wonderful memories made! 114 students participated in the EEMN English Bible Camp at Yospivka School! We sang praise songs, played sports, made great crafts, and taught and spoke a lot of English (and some Russian and Ukrainian, too!). We learned about Love through the life of Jesus, as found in the Bible.
A more detailed update about the team and our Ukrainian hosts will follow. In the mean time, please enjoy the camp video, below!
Blessings to you and thank you for your continued prayers and support!
The first day of English Bible Camp in Ukraine began today, at the public school in Yospivka, Ukraine! There were 103 eager students (aged 7 - 14) served in 9 different classes. This year we are exploring and learning about Love, through the life of Jesus. Each day we will gather and sing songs, play sports, make crafts, and learn English. Today read and talked about the birth of Christ, and what it means that he was sent as Savior of the world. It was really a great opening day!
Here are photo highlights:
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
One of the realities of overseas travel is jet-lag. Hurdling your body through 8 to 9 different time zones, in an aluminum tube, at 40,000 feet and over 500 mph, for 11 hours, tends to take its toll on the human body (Not to mention the in-country flights on either end of the overseas hop)! As a result, EEMN builds in a few days for acclimation, before the actual language camp begins.
One of the best ways to work through the jet-lag is walking and staying occupied, while our bodies adjust to living many time zones removed from our homes in the U.S.
On Friday, we took a walk around our new home-away-from-home, Petrodolina, Ukraine. The population is about 3,500 people and it only takes about 25 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other. We also spent time getting to know our host family, Pr. Alexander & Ilona Gross and their two daughters, Anna Maria and Marta.
On Saturday we took and excursion into the large port city of Odesa, Ukraine. We experienced the multi-layered history of this land, which goes all the way back to the early Greek culture and includes the more recent French rule and, of course, the heavy handed Soviet influence of the U.S.S.R.
Following worship with the congregation at Petrodolina Lutheran Church, we were joined by our Ukrainian team of translators, who helped us set up the classrooms for the camp at the school in the nearby village of Yospivka, Ukraine. We also spent time getting to know each other by assembling the EEMN student curriculum books we will use and then by joining in an extended devotion and worship time, together. It looks like this is going to be a really great camp and we are especially excited about the 108 students that will join us there!
Thank you for your continued support and prayers!
The entire team has arrived safely in Odesa, Ukraine and so did all of our luggage! Yay!
Our 2018 EEMN Ukraine Team is:
Everyone enjoyed some fellowship and a late dinner, after reaching our new home-away-from-home in Petrodolina. We are so grateful for our hosts, Pr. Alexander & Ilona Gross, along with their two daughters, Anna Maria and Marta. Pr. Oleg Schewtschenko and his wife, Viktoria are co-hosting us with Pr. Alexander's family.
Please pray for restful sleep after a very long overseas travel itinerary and for jet lag to be at a minimum for the team. Pray thanksgiving for our safe and uneventful flights! Amen.
We are all getting really excited as final preparations for teaching, distributing camp supplies, packing (double-checking what we packed) and our last team training session is scheduled for 22 May! This is an especially momentous occasion as EEMN has not been able to host an English Bible Camp in Ukraine since 2014. We will see many familiar faces from Petrodolina and Yospivka (like Pr. Alexander Gross and his family!), as well as meet the new EEMN partners in ministry from the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Ukraine (SELCU) and our host from SELCU, Pr. Oleg Schewtschenko and his wife Viktoria.
Please lift up in prayer: