Going to the Ukraine was definitely an amazing experience. As soon as I decided to go, I knew it would be an adventure. Early on in the process, I felt God calling me towards missions, but I wasn’t sure where.
Once the door opened for Ukraine, I treaded on faith that God would make it happen if it was His plan. Once the support raising began and planning meetings took place, I felt more of God’s presence as the days went on. It really sunk in when the pastors from Almaz, our sister church in Ukraine, came to [nlcf] to share about their church. I still remember the night they came and spoke, and that is when I really knew that going to the Ukraine was part of God’s plan for my life.
We finally departed for Ukraine, not totally sure of what would be coming, but fully expectant that God would work in and through our team. God started teaching me things and laying things on my heart very soon into the trip. For example, one of the first things I realized was how many little things I take for granted. I often forget how fortunate I am to be living in America with two loving parents in a Christ-centered family.
Meeting the Ukrainian team was very exciting. Seeing their perception of Christianity and how it differed from a typical American’s was very interesting. I noticed that many of the Ukrainians clearly saw Christianity as a gift, something so amazing and so exciting that they truly wanted others to have this gift as well. During a game, a question was asked to one Ukrainian, “If you knew that you would die tomorrow, what would you do today?” He responded by saying that he would go out in the streets and shout about Jesus because he would no longer have any fears or worries. That struck me in an awesome way. It made an impression on my heart that these people really cared about the mission that God has given us.
Throughout the week, the guys worked on various construction projects while the girls played with the children, showing God’s love. With projects ranging from enclosing a porch with polycarbonate siding to preparing the foundation for a playground, I knew that God’s work was being accomplished.
Since I hadn’t had the opportunity to play with the children yet, I decided to play with the children some on my last day there. I am definitely glad I did. So far on the trip, I had only seen disabled children near the building we were working at. I found out that not all the children were disabled, but other buildings held young kids full of energy and curiosity. Minus the fact that they spoke no English, they seemed just like typical American kids playing. I had a blast finding out that play is a universal language.
When we left and started our trek back to Blacksburg, I knew that God had moved. He had moved in my heart, and also in the hearts of those we met. He impressed upon me the importance of following His call. He gave me a heart for the Almaz church and those children at the orphanage. By the conversations I had with the Ukrainian team and the smiles on the faces of the beautiful children, I knew God was smiling too.
– David McCann