Three weeks ago today, 7 of us were sorting out last minute details and packing our suitcases to board a plane the next morning. Two weeks ago today, that same group of seven was discussing our first visit to the Krasnoarmeysk Church of Christ, the Ukrainian congregation we support, and adjusting to living every day with over 60 orphaned children who were participating in our Bible Camp. One week ago today, we were thinking about the love and kindness shown to us by the Christians in Krasnoarmeysk, and we were wondering how we were going to say goodbye to these children who hugged us every morning, listened to us teach every day, and begged us for bedtime stories every night. Years from today, we will still remember the children who welcomed us and the Christians who cared for us on this trip.
Melissa Burka, David Fleming, P.D. and Susan McCulloch, Myrna McKinley, Kathryn and myself were privileged to spend 10 days teaching children the Bible in the Makheyevka Orphanage, located just outside Donetsk, Ukraine. This is a government-run orphanage that has been in existence for two years. Some Donetsk congregations already visit it regularly, but we were the first group of Christians to be allowed to conduct a Bible Camp in the actual orphanage facility. Because of their summer schedule, some of the children came and went during our time there, so we taught approximately 80-90 different children throughout the Camp. We also had several one-on-one Bible studies with one of the Orphanage workers. We spent two Sundays with the congregation we support in Krasnoarmeysk, which was only a 1 1/2 hour drive from the orphanage. The congregation there is small in number but big in faith! They showed tremendous hospitality, and they were genuinely excited to spend time with us.
I am grateful to the Elders for allowing me the privilege of leading this trip, and I am thankful to the group for doing such an excellent job. One of the missionaries there said that the first thing he noticed was the wonderful spirit our group possessed. One of the ladies who worked with our team is a veteran of these trips, and she stated that our group stood out from all the others she had seen because our team did not complain. I was proud to be a part of this team, and they were terrific representatives of this congregation.
In the future, we will have a chance to share more stories and memories from our trip. To whet your appetite, I will leave you with one story. After several studies about New Testament Christianity, one of the orphanage workers made this statement – �I believe the Bible is the true way. I cannot make any important decision quickly, but I can tell you this – I feel something moving in my heart.� That is exactly what our purpose is – to plant seeds in the hearts of people and realize that God will give the increase. Let�s thank God for all 5 of our mission trips this year! See you in Bible Class!