Hello out there!
I just finished the first week of the Eastern European DTS Equip here in Ternopil, Ukraine. This is a great group indeed. A very solid feeling of being unified and focused, and just amazing as the Spirit is so evident in their lives, calling, and every one of our classes. It was such a privilege to be here.
As you know this is a leadership and staff training school. Those in the classroom represent several nations and ministries; Ukraine, Georgia, Finland, Russia, and the USA. The current political [regional] climate here is unstable, yet they are moving forward “business as usual”. Unfortunately some participants were turned back at the border, or unable to come due to the tensions and fighting. As we can see from recent news, the fighting is real, and in so many cases, the injustice indiscriminate. This has the potential to affect multiple ministries (and all who work in them) in many nations over here, especially Russia, Ukraine, and the other Eastern European nations.
A character snapshot…
One guy over here I connected with is called Sergei. He is a Ukrainian-born American, from New York. At 23 with an engineering degree, he is now moving here to live and work among orphans. Why orphans? Because, as he says, “God told me, ‘Sergei you will be working with orphans'”.
When he told me this he didn’t mention that he was an orphan himself. In fact, he doesn’t talk about it unnecessarily or volunteer it at random. This is what amazed me so much about Sergei. He is such a great guy, so relaxed and gentle, so balanced, you would never guess the horrific first 9 years of his life. In Ukraine, his father was an alcoholic and his mother a prostitute. Sergei had been through 4 orphanages, at each one being tortured as part of a covered-up child medical experimentation program. Despite the cruel punishment and treatment, he is literally a walking testimony, amazingly alive today.
Finally, at the age of 9, he was adopted by an American couple while at an orphanage in Kiev; they also found and adopted his 3 siblings from 3 other separate orphanages around the country, simultaneously! (This amazing couple are pastors in NY and have also started “Justice for Orphans”). Most of his family have been in missions, as well as Sergei today. But it hasn’t come easily for him.
Troubled years followed as he grew, and more than a decade of nightmares began taking their toll. Less than 3 years ago Sergei came to the end of himself, and while considering suicide to stem the pain from repeat nightmares, other trauma, and other pressures of life, God literally spoke to him: “Sergei, don’t do it. I really love you. You are going to work with orphans”. God began an even deeper work in Sergei that night. The years of sowing into him by his family, and his own devotion to Christ have brought him to the place he is today. He has even traveled back to Kiev to these orphanages to walk out the process of forgiveness (today it is a legitimate orphanage).
Sergei is here being trained for further discipleship and leadership, and to work as YWAM staff with a ministry that focuses primarily on orphans in Ukraine. He is a living, if young, Moses who has come back to Egypt. Meeting people like this is an unbelievable joy, encouragement, and challenge. Thank you to our support team who makes it possible to invest in and help launch people like this.
Now, it’s time to make my way back to my family in the USA and to our own DTS Equip in Montana, where our staff are finishing up week-3 without me. Three more weeks with them and then off to Mexico to run a leadership development week for leaders and disciplers from several different YWAM ministries and schools.
Blessings to you all, and thanks for following!