February ministry trip to Ukraine
“What is the temperature this morning?” This was one of the first questions asked each day by one of the team members. Not that the answer changed the circumstances too much – we all knew that we would have to layer up pretty good for the day. -20 C was the coldest but the rest weren’t much warmer.
Ministry takes on many forms, and for the four of us in mid February it was working in the chapel at Sumy Grace Camp in Sumy Ukraine. With all that is presently taking place in Ukraine, the project was important not just for the physical work that was to be accomplished. It was important as the body of Christ needed encouragement. Believers in Ukraine have been serving, living and giving of themselves under very stressful circumstances. One of the team members expressed it very well after we returned to Canada.
“It finally hit me why this trip was so important to me. You see, as being part of the body of Christ I knew there was a part that was hurting. Just as we come alongside people around us that are hurting for whatever reason – to encourage, comfort, or just to be there. I wanted to go and do what I can, even if it is something small (in my own eyes). The body of Christ is to be there for each other. I just wanted to do my part.”
We discussed the challenges that believers are facing in Ukraine – living and serving while there is war on their soil, not many miles away. So many churches around the world are attempting to be a light in the midst of areas that have conflict. Team members asked themselves the question – how would we respond if this was happening in Canada, where we live? A very good question, which one hopes that the answer is similar to how those we served with were responding.
The team worked hard alongside a number of men from Sumy Grace Church, and accomplished a lot in a short time. We were able to complete 99% of the project – insulating and putting up a wood (tongue & groove) ceiling in the upstairs chapel at the camp. The practical part – it increases the usability of the building for ministry throughout the year. The relational part – we are able to come alongside brothers and sisters and in a small way say that we are standing with them in the midst of this crisis, and that they are not forgotten.
The world is in a state of change, and the challenges that the body of Christ is facing around the world are increasing. Standing together, across cultures in whatever way God gives opportunity is part of what it means to be a member of the body. What opportunities are being placed by God in your sphere – is there something that you can do to walk alongside the body of Christ, either near or far away?