Ukraine (MNN) — How might God use you if you took a step of faith to engage with His mission somewhere in the world?
This is the time of year when you hear a lot about summer mission trips. Many are geared toward children, the Gospel, and summer camp ministries. When asked what makes their summer trips to Ukraine unique, Mission Eurasia’s Wally Kulakoff noted the difference in two words: Community Transformation. “We have an opportunity to [do] a summer missions camp with children, from grade one till middle school, and then, we’ll also build a playground for a local church.”
Playgrounds are rare outside of the urban areas, and Kulakoff explains that once built, the playground quickly becomes a community gathering place.
“When the mothers come with their children to the playground, ladies come out and say, ‘We can take care of your children. Why don’t you go inside the church, have a cup of tea?’ Then, there are ladies who are leading short discussions on reading a Bible story and they’re discussing some spiritual truths. The ladies are very interested in that.” This will build meaningful connections between the local church and the surrounding community, at the same time creating relationships with the families in the area.
The other part of Mission Eurasia’s summer effort is through the children’s camps. Kulakoff says the opportunity is unprecedented. “You can come there and the churches just welcome you. There’s no hostility toward Americans. It’s open evangelism, open discipleship, you can work with children, there are no restrictions for foreigners to come and work with children, so the door in Ukraine is wide open.”
This year’s trip runs July 7th through July 17th. “We have an opportunity to invite people to come to Ukraine. We have three locations: Zaporozhye, Ukraine; Korosten, Ukraine; or Kremenchuk, Ukraine.” These are some of the most economically challenged areas in the country.
When a local church decides to sponsor a child to summer camp, a door opens. School Without Walls is a Mission Eurasia Next Generation leadership training program. SWW students and national churches and Christian leaders will be working alongside the team members to introduce the love of Jesus and the message of hope to hurting children during a week-long evangelistic summer Bible camp.
Kulakoff shared the story of one team member who couldn’t get over the difference in summer camp purpose between the United States and what he saw happening in Ukraine. “He said, ‘We send our children to summer camps in the USA because it’s vacation, they have a great time, and there’s no community transformation taking place.’ He said, ‘I came back from that part of the world, realizing the local church is having an impact on their community through a summer camp and also through a playground.’”
Loving on these kids creates a warm atmosphere that attracts people from all over the community. People feel cared for and remembered. Participants often find themselves blessed when they see what God changes in a community through Mission Eurasia’s summer camp programs and playground builds. Explore your options. “People have until May to make a decision to come with Mission Eurasia and join a missions trip to summer camp and build a playground for the local church.”