I did not have grand illusions of what it meant to be a missionary in 1994 when I first moved to Ukraine. I was so sure of God’s call that it didn’t much matter where I was to live. I just wanted to be where God was leading me.
Not much has changed for me 12 years later. Sure there are days when it is tough living in a culture that you will never quite understand nor ever truly fit in. However, those days are overshadowed by the experiences I have had this week.
One group of Ukrainians are in Kstan this month on a mission trip. They organized a children’s day camp in a city where we are trying to establish a new work. The first day we had 23 children, Tuesday there were 29 and today there were 34!
All of these children come from unchurched backgrounds. They are learning some English songs like “This is the Day…” and others. They are learning some songs in Russian. They are being taught some basic biblical principals. God is at work!
Then, today I had lunch with my friends, Max, Anya and their children. Max has become a great friend to me here in my second overseas home (my first being Kiev, Ukraine). I have enjoyed playing basketball with him and others. I have gotten to know many of his co-workers. They have been a blessing to me.
Am I discouraged? Yes, at times but not often. But then, I have days like this, and God reminds me that I am here because of the people I have the privilege of knowing and working with. Then the discouragement seems like a distant memory.
Thank you Southern Baptists for your commitment to the work of the IMB and over 5,000 missionaries like me!