Welcome back friends!
The previous post that I made has been a real pain in the butt for me. First off, I spent three days writing it, only to accidently delete it and send it away to who knows where. Once I rewrote it, I tried to add pictures and the gallery wasn’t working properly. When it was posted it looked like maybe it had posted twice, so I deleted one. Only to realize that it was in fact only posted once on my blog. I managed to copy the entire thing from another draft, and repost it today. It is mainly a quick update of the past three weeks, so feel free to take a look if you missed it last time. Something that I realized in the frenzy of that posy is that waiting three weeks to update is far too long. Which is why I’m back today, yay!
Alright, let’s start off with the fun stuff now! My team and I have been in Ukraine for just over a week now. We’re staying in a town called Vinnytsia. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where that is on the map, but I want to say near the middle of the country. It’s a two hour drive from Kiev. It’s a nice city, I heard that it has some of the happiest people in Europe that live here. We’ll be here for about one more week, we head to Poland on May 1st.
Our time here has been spent teaming up with the YWAM base here in the ministries they are involved with on a regular basis. We have gone to orphanages in small villages to play with the kids, visited a mom and baby hospital, helped out with a few “youth groups” and lead a Sunday school class in a local church.
I knew that we would be visiting orphanages in Ukraine prior to our arrival, and this was something that I was struggling with a bit. I have had experiences on past missions trips where we would visit orphans, and it was more of what you could call “poverty tourism” than anything else. I don’t think it was intended to being like that, but I had told myself that I pretty much didn’t want to visit an orphanage ever again. However, I have witnessed a much different relationship with the orphanages here, which has made me realize that you can visit these places without it being poverty tourism. The YWAM base has been working with these orphanages for six years, visiting on a weekly basis. For them, it’s not just about preaching at these kids, but they genuinely have relationships with them and they show Christ’s love through their actions more than their words. I really respect the work that the YWAM team is doing here. They also have two transition homes set up for teens as they age out of the government system. At these homes, the teens live with a family and are able to learn basic living skills that they may not have been able be to learn growing up in an orphanage. It is a really cool ministry that they have going here.
I mentioned that we also got to visit the mom and baby hospital here, that was definitely one of my favorite moments of Outreach so far. It was incredibly challenging and heart breaking for me, but God definitely spoke to me in really cool ways through it. The term “mom and baby hospital” is pretty self explanatory, a hospital that mom’s go to with their sick babies. What we got to do there though was love on the babies that were there with no mom’s. The team here had the opportunity to essentially sponsor two rooms at this hospital specifically for orphans. They remodeled them and turned them into the nicest rooms on the floor. This is a really cool thing because often times orphans are looked down on in society, but at this hospital they are the ones with the nicest rooms. A group of us went along with one of the YWAM staff here one morning to join her in her work there. She visits the hospital once or twice a week and holds and plays with the orphans that are there. When I visited, I held a beautiful little five month old girl. I snuggled her, sang to her and I even got to feed her. When I would give her kisses, she would get the biggest, squintiest smile on her face. It broke my heart to think about how this little girl doesn’t have a mom or a dad to shower her with the love and physical affection that is so crucial in the first years of life. I wish that I could go back every day to cuddle with her.
We’ve also visited a few of the youth groups that they work with here and joined in with them.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but being in Europe has been really cool in the sense that I get to see places and things that I learned about in my Social Studies and History classes. This has happened a lot in Ukraine. I remember hearing a joke in my History class about the Soviet made “Lada” cars last year. This week I got to ride in one for myself! It was a car from 2009, but easily looked like it could have come out of the 60s, and I felt a little bit like I might die the whole ride, but it was really cool! I’ve also heard about different things the Nazis did around this area, there’s actually an old bunker on the outskirts of town! I feel pretty smart when I get to add in to the conversations that my History-Wiz teammate Jared is having. Who knew that History class would ever be applicable in real life!
I think I say this in every post, but I’m still having a great time on Outreach! Thanks for checking back. I added an option to follow my blog somewhere on this page. I would encourage you to sign up for that! sometimes Facebook posts get missed, so this way you’ll always know when I’m updating.
(Also, a side note for all those back home who are always harassing my poor, innocent sister about my relationship status, I am in fact still single… and not ready to mingle. Just want to clear the air there 😉)
- Health (I am currently writing this while skipping church due to a stomach bug, and I would hate to see any of my team come down with it too)
- That God would be softening the hearts of the people here (we want to do more street evangelism stuff this week)
That’s all for now!