The story behind our journey to Ukraine is below.
The entire story about the trip, including an airline tale that could spin an urban legend, is here.
Our family attended a church in Noblesville for 14 years and we still find ourselves there on an occasional Saturday evening. Grace Church was a place of great healing for me. A place where I could sneak in, hide out and soak up……grace. I made a few acquaintances over the years and I cherished the anonymity.
In 2001, Barkley went with a group from Grace on a construction trip to Mozambique and we knew that at some point I would do something similar. In February, I took the kids down one weekend that Barkley worked. During the service, opportunities were presented for some summer service trips. I heard my heart pound a little louder .
After the kids were in bed, I filled Barkley in on some of the details. We discussed it and decided it might be a good time for me to go. He thought we should pray about whether it was a trip I should take on my own or whether it was time to take one of the children.
The following morning, Gage got up and asked if there was any way we could go on a mission trip this summer……..and so, we’re leaving in 9 days! There’s a video about the organization we’ll be working with at the bottom of this page.
We will be in Zhytomyr, Ukraine from July 5 through July 17th working alongside a group out of Carmel called Mission to Ukraine. Find out about Mission to Ukraine here. The Crisis Pregnancy Ministry through MTU offers a number of programs to children with special needs and their families. “These include weekly physical therapy sessions, art and life skills classes, and clothing, medical and food assistance.
Most importantly, their spiritual needs are addressed through Bible classes and fellowship.” Ukraine does not offer services or assistance to these families and they are rarely able to leave home due to “inaccessibility of transportation and buildings, limited resources and negative cultural attitudes.”
We have the opportunity to assist in the 8 day summer camp offered for special needs children and their families! This link will take you to information about the camp. It’s easy as an American parent with healthy children to take the opportunity to go to camp for granted.
Many of these children will go down a slide for the first time! They will have the opportunity to ride horses, ride in a boat and participate in crafts. More importantly, they will hear about the love of Christ and how we have hope through Him. They will participate in Bible stories and singing.
Each of these experiences will communicate that Christ cares not only about their heart but about their physical challenges here on earth.
We will learn our specific roles when we arrive at camp. I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I found out that a spa day is included on our agenda. I’ll be joining others as we pamper the caregivers of these precious children and I feel honored to be able to use my skills in this way.
Some more background……
I knew that this trip was completely God’s doing, that was clear, but there were concrete blocks around my ankles when it came time to apply for passports and tell our friends. I was part of a women’s bible study this year with a group of ladies who have lived decades more life than I have.
One Wednesday the anonymous fear felt like it was going to crush my chest. I was a blubbering mess of raw emotion and Barkley suggested that I tell the ladies in my group and ask for their prayer. There were only a handful of us that morning as I sputtered out our plans. Their response was exactly the encouragement I needed to continue forward.
They were excited for the opportunity, and thrilled that I was able to take this trip with my son. They prayed for me, cried with me, hugged me and loved me back into action. The fear surfaced again when it was time to send out fundraising letters. Exciting, but not fun. Gage and I needed to raise a total of $4800.
God completely overwhelmed us with the response we received and in the end, with generous support from family and friends our church, we are around 120% funded. The extra money given will help support either Mission to Ukraine or some of our team members unable to raise their support. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or imagine! Eph 3:10.
We have 9 days, 8 sleeps, 4 bags to pack, 1-2 baseball games, 2 doctor visits, 2 4H presentations, 2 work days, a family reunion, 1 team meeting and 1001 details to wrap up before we leave! Though we reached our fundraising goal, there are still some personal needs we have and we are excited to see how God shows up and provides.
I would appreciate your prayers over this next three weeks for our entire family. My four year old son doesn’t quite understand and is upset that we are leaving and we’ll be missing my daughters 11th birthday. (sniff sniff) I have no doubt that she’ll have many birthday extras to make up for that!!!
We’ve been greatly encouraged with the financial, emotional and prayer support that has poured in and look forward to sharing more with you. I’m hoping to post from Ukraine but am not sure about that yet. There is no doubt that I’ll be writing more about our trip when I get home and am able to corral my words!