Our recent trip to Ukraine was an amazing experience of blessing and being blessed. We are returning to the UK with so many happy, painful and poignant memories of our encounters with so many people in desperate situations of need in some of the poorest regions of Europe.
We spent just over a week in Ukraine, covering thousands of miles as we travelled from the capital, Kyiv, to the eastern cities of Zaporizhe and Dnipro. In Kyiv we spent the evening praying on the central square, known as Maidan, and learning from our Ukrainian hosts about the violent events in 2013-14, which resulted in the deaths of over 100 people. It was remarkable to learn about the role of the churches in promoting peace and reconciliation both during and after the Revolution of Dignity.
The DHM team prays on Kyiv’s Central Square, Maidan, in temperatures of -17°C!
In Zaporizhe we visited a group of students who were involved in a missional initiative in a local polytechnical college. In the evening we (the DHM group from the UK) had an opportunity to address a group of young people, most of whom were not Christians, sharing with them our experience of how our faith had helped us to make important choices at key moments in our lives.
The DHM Team with our Hosts outside the College in Zaporizhe
In the Dnipro region, we visited a disabled home and a school. At the school, we were treated to a performance by the children, who sang traditional Ukrainian ballads and recited verses from the Ukrainian national poet, Taras Schevchenko. The disabled home visit was an altogether difference experience. This visit left an enduring mark on all the DHM group. We will never forget the despair and desolution, mingled with courage and dignity, on the faces of those we met at the disabled home.
Joshua with Nina, one of the residents at the Disabled Home in Dnipro
One of the most prominent immediate memories of the trip for me was the depth and quality of the fellowship between the members of the DHM group during the entire duration of the trip. There was a special bond borne of mutual respect and willingness to serve one another, which enabled us by God’s grace to bring the light of Christ to bear on the many bleak situations that we encountered.
Joshua with children from a school in the Zaporizhe Region
Returning from the trip yesterday, I began to read the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I read the following words: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” These remarkable words summed up my sentiments as I reflected on our recent trip to Ukraine. It was a time of immense blessing and I and the whole team are grateful to God for the privilege of being able to serve Christ in Ukraine.
The DHM Team with our Hosts in Zaporizhe