At university we have both got involved with our Christian Unions (CUs), and through the CU, the opportunity arose for us to partner with the Ukrainian Christian Union movement (called CCX Ukraine), and help with an evangelistic English Language camp for Ukrainian students. Most students came to this camp to help improve their English, whilst being aware that it was a camp run by Christians, involving activities such as Bible studies, as well as challenges, games, songs, and other camp activities. Over half of the students were not Christians, although some had ‘cultural’ experience of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The theme of the camp was ‘inside out’, as inspired by the Disney film. Bible studies and talks were based on God knowing us inside and out. He sees and knows our hidden parts, and still loves us there! The students were encouraged to consider these things and to search deeper, especially in the ways they think about themselves, each other, and God. Despite English being students’ additional language, surprisingly deep conversations were had. It was a reminder that despite anticipated barriers, God can do exceedingly more than we could imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!
It was amazing to see how God worked in this short-term mission. I heard one student say that she will really miss camp because ‘the atmosphere is saturated with love, kindness and acceptance’. We saw how building relationships, engaging in conversation, opening the Bible, and living to glorify God started to transform hearts and make some students want to seek out faith and Jesus further.
Serving on a team like this grew us as people too. It made us more passionate about sharing God’s love and our faith; it showed us the impact that opening the Bible with non-believers can have; and it showed us the unity and love Christ brings in a cross-cultural team.
We joined a year-round mission of CCX Ukraine whose staff continues to hold events to engage students throughout the year and can follow-up with those who showed interest at camp. It was a privilege to be a small part of it and we thank God so much for giving us this opportunity. Thank you for anyone who prayed for us. Do come find us and ask us questions if you want to find out more or want to join us in praying for Ukraine and their ministry!
Rebecca and Matt Giddens