God molded my heart and revealed a passion for serving and loving people internationally on short term mission trips. This is probably why receiving a short-term trip was so exciting for me (plus Nadia did most of the work) and I want to share a few highlights!
Every day we went to two different villages in the Krasnograd region and we set up our system. The people would start at registration (my job) continue to get their blood pressure, stop at the doc and talk about their main complaints, then they would run through the pharmacy. Next they went to the eye clinic and received a pair of glasses.
With my translator & new friend Maryana, pictured above, I shared a little about who we were and why we were there. This one woman came through and she just started crying as I was being translated. She said that no one cares about them. By simply slowing down and communicating with her I had the chance to tell her she is loved.
It’s hard in short-term to say we love you because Jesus loves you then leave. This is why it’s so important to partner with local believers who go back to the places reached and love them all through the year, not just in one morning. Multiple people came through the line and just smiled brightly back at me which is abnormal for strangers here.
Through the whole week this one thought kept coming to my mind as we were serving. We are here to love but the most powerful thing we can give isn’t medicine or new glasses
Ukraine is a closed off culture. The people are protective of themselves because they have experienced so many hardships through their lives. They aren’t thriving but surviving. They don’t only need to hear that they are loved but that they can find freedom and hope in Jesus. That His identity is unchanging and unwavering no matter what the government looks like.
The Lord answered many prayers and held back the rain for us everyday! We only had one village situation where the police shut us down and then our leaders went to the station. It was resolved with the help of a few locals who knew the Baptist church’s goal was to serve. We even saw a specific man who advocated for us through the clinic after!
We served 385 people through our clinics and let me tell you why this doesn’t make a temporary impact but open’s doors for the long term. In each village our pastors or deacons built relationships with the heads of the villages. Many of these villages invited us back to host a small group. So while we loved and served the villages through their physical needs the people asked us to come back and share about our beliefs. With each opportunity for a new small group comes the chance for God to change hearts & lives and for those hearts to reach their neighbors.
After this week I am exhausted but am so excited to see the growth in these places and can’t wait to visit a few of them. Prayers appreciated for what God’s going to do next!
Have any questions? let me know down below!
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