Life in Ukraine has always been interesting. We have always held our ministries here with an open hand, and have sought to be used by Christ to further the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) in whichever way He gives us opportunity. One primary area that John has been involved with here in the Sumy Region has been leadership and ministry development. Walking alongside national pastors and ministry leaders facilitating them in their ministries, helping give and provide training, mentoring, coaching and a general helping hand. When we came to Sumy in 2000, it felt a bit like the “wild frontier”, with a few churches and minimal ministries. Over time, we have been blessed with being part of developing a number of individuals and ministries. It has been exciting to see them grow and expand.
We returned in July, 2012 knowing that in 2015 we would be transitioning out of Ukraine for an extended period to facilitate our kids into their next stage of life. So it was in our minds that during this term we would need to be working towards that transition, more of wrapping up and passing the baton. What we didn’t know is that when we returned in the summer of 2012 we would soon realize that it was already time to begin to transition out of our present ministries in Sumy. It became clear to us that we had reached the “hand off” point in various areas. It was time to step out of the picture. We have reached stage four in the ministry facilitation cycle in the majority of our ministries here in Sumy. Here is a description:
You help Me
During this stage, the learner is an active participant, with hands on practice, working together with the trainer in more of a peer relationship
You do, I help You
During this stage, the trainer begins to take a secondary position and background roles, assisting with the trainee taking on more of a leadership role
Transition into the ministry
I do, You watch
During this stage, there is desire on the learners part but lack of skill, so the trainer shows the learner how through example and teaching
You do, I watch
In the final stage, the trainer becomes more of a coach and source of encouragement, following rather than leading, taking on less responsibility and phasing themselves out
Transition out of the ministry
In the midst of all of this, we have been in the midst of some very difficult circumstances with ministry and leadership. As we walked with ministry leaders here through these challenges, it was also a time of God showing us that they have reached a stage where they can and need to step forward without us here on site as part of the next stage.
In the meantime, our mission leadership here in Ukraine and in North America has been praying about the needs of the Ukraine team. There are a number of areas where they need help with different ministries which impact three primary areas. Those being that the team is branching into new areas of ministry with unreached people groups, another area of ministry is seeking to facilitate the growth of Ukrainian missions both in country and beyond, and the also the overall facilitation of the ministries of our team in Ukraine
We approached our leadership late last fall with the dilemma – we see that we need to transition out of Sumy, but we do not see that God wants us to transition out of Ukraine. Any ideas? Well, that started a lot of discussion, prayer and soul searching. This type of transition isn’t easy for any of us, as it means a lot of changes. But in the end, this is the route that we see God leading us.
The plan is for us to transition to Kiev and for John to become a “floating” ministry team member, joining different ministries & leadership teams to assist on various projects in order to help them in the areas that are most critical.
So, what is the timeline? Good question. It depends on a number of factors, but this is the plan. Lord willing, by September 2013 we will be living in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine. We could be moving as early as spring, during the summer or in the fall. Please pray for all of the details that are involved in the transition. Please pray especially for us as a family, for Sumy has been home in Ukraine for a long time.
The ministries of SEND will continue here in Sumy. They are not dependent upon us, and we are looking forward to what God has next for the team here. There are some exciting opportunities on the horizon, and we are looking to help see those developed over time. We will let you know more when we can.
Thank you for walking with us, in our lives and in our ministries here. If you have any questions, comments etc, please feel free to contact us
Have a great day!
John, Leanne, Lanae, Alicia & Daniel