December 3 2019
Mary’s spiritual story
begins during childhood visits to her grandmother. She was curious about God
and the Bible, but her grandmother told her the Bible was a special book—only
accessible to a select few chosen by God. So Mary didn’t even try to read it,
believing she wasn’t chosen.
That is … until three
years ago when she heard about an English camp offered by the OMS Ukraine team.
She was just finishing her
first year at Grinchenko University with dreams of a successful business career
and financial independence. She decided the camp would be a great way to improve
her English skills.
But Mary got way more than
She experienced an
atmosphere of love and acceptance that she had never seen before. She saw and
heard people talk about Jesus like he was easily accessible—and when camp
participants discussed the Bible, it came alive and was quite understandable. On
one of the last nights of camp, Mary
prayed to follow Jesus and experienced a joy she had never felt before. She
left camp excited and ready to follow Jesus wherever he led.
But when she returned
home, her parents were skeptical, and her friends were closed. She felt a
coldness from them and began to question her new belief. She dealt with her
questions in the way she always did—by burying herself in work, achievement,
and success. And slowly … Mary’s passion for Jesus burned down to almost
But last Christmas, she
responded to an invitation to attend a Christmas worship celebration hosted by
the Kyiv Life Group Network, a network of home-based churches started by the
OMS Ukraine team. She had rejected many of those invitations before but this
time couldn’t find a reason not to come.
Jesus touched her heart
again during the worship time. Feelings of joy and love for him flooded her
soul again. She made a decision to return to Jesus with a passion and boldness
that hasn’t passed away.
Now, one year later, Mary
is a key member of the Life Group Network, was baptized this summer, and is
boldly sharing with others what it means to follow Jesus. She also joined the summer
English camps—but this time as a student assistant, sharing her testimony and
building relationships with pre-Christian Ukrainians looking for opportunities
to share the Good News.
This fall, she’s been
meeting with multiple young women from the camps to discuss the Bible and to
help them grow in their relationships with Jesus or to come to know him. She’s
even feeling a call to ministry and missions and has started to study at an
online Bible school.
Her parents have been concerned,
worried that she might be involved in a cult. But after attending a network
retreat recently, they realized she’s connected with good people—and they, too,
have become more open to God.
Thanks for praying for
Mary … that God would use her powerfully as she seeks to share the Good News
with those around her.
You can help others, like Mary, have a wonderful camp experience and be introduced to Jesus for the first time. Or give to one of our other seven Christmas projects.
May 17 2016
always an adventure recruiting native English speakers and Ukrainian
participants for our two summer English camps in Ukraine.
never know exactly how God is going to work, but he always comes through with
the needed people.
example, in the spring of 2009, we were getting a lot of interest from
Ukrainian girls for camp, but we had only four American women signed up to come
in August—limiting the spots for Ukrainians to eight.
camps are set up for a one to two ratio of native speakers to
Ukrainians—allowing each Ukrainian to live in a room with a native speaker and
increasing the potential for relationship building, language practice, and
had two Ukrainian girls we really wanted to invite—feeling confident they were
spiritually ready, but we didn’t have the space.
we sent out a last-minute appeal via email for more North American or British
women … and then, we prayed. One woman from Colorado opened her messages, and
the appeal for more women volunteers leaped out at her. She sensed in her
spirit an immediate call from God to go to camp.
was late for her to join the team and to raise the funds, but God provided, and
she came. God used her powerfully too, as one of her Ukrainian partners prayed
to accept the Lord.
always start recruiting our summer teams at the end of the camps the previous
year because so many of the team members have been moved by the Spirit and have
seen him work through them. They’re ripe and ready to come back.
have many who come back year after year, they love it so much. “It’s the
greatest two weeks of my year,” said a Kansas farmer after his fifth time at
camp last year.
Schreckengast, a caregiver for the elderly in Colorado, loved her first time at
camp last year. And she’s signed up to join us again in August. “This has
brought me closer to God,” she said. “To see his love be shown to others—it’s
camp changes everything I thought I knew about missions,” she added. “The
disappointment I feel that I must leave. It’s like cutting a cord that is in my
heart to Ukraine. It won’t stop me from coming back.”
camps are a great way to show and share with pre-Christian Ukrainians what it
means to live in relationship with Jesus Christ. Most of these Ukrainians come
to the camp because they want to practice their English, but by the end, most
of them have become quite interested in God and the Bible, and some even make
commitments to follow Jesus.
God has provided full teams for our two camps this summer, but we are always
looking for more people—especially for next year! If you have an interest in
learning more, contact our Mobilization team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more
if you can’t come personally, please pray. We need more prayer warriors for
Ukraine. And if you want to support the camps financially, here’s a link to
help partially sponsor a Ukrainian to come: https://onemissionsociety.org/give/Ukraine-English-Ministries.
Randy Marshall, OMS missionary and field leader in Ukraine
May 3 2016
a 24-year-old graduate of the Linguistics University in Kiev, Ukraine, was so
shy, she would barely mouth a word during our weekly Life Group meetings.
was content to just sit and listen and think.
when we called on her, she would say some significant things, but she preferred
not to talk much. Her quiet personality led her to feel rejected by some
classmates during her school years, and that might have contributed to her
she had made a decision to follow Jesus at one of our 2013 summer English camps
and started attending a Life Group faithfully, she didn’t really grow
significantly until one of the 2014 camps. We invited her to help reach out to
new students, but God reached out to her.
understood what it means to live with Jesus and to follow him,” she wrote after
camp. “I want to change my life totally. Not to be afraid to leave my old life
and habits and to be brave enough.”
Olya is growing significantly. She has even led the Bible discussion at one of
our weekly Life Groups a number of times. She is a thinker and not afraid to
ponder questions deeply. She still doesn’t talk a lot in Life Group, but when
she does, she usually shares a powerful idea or asks a significant question.
still is learning boldness, but God is changing her. She recently shared how
she felt the Spirit prompting her to challenge her pre-Christian brother about
some disrespectful comments toward their parents.
responded not with anger, but remorse—expressing that he feels helpless to stop
his behavior. And he asked Olya for help—opening the door for deeper spiritual
is just one of many Ukrainian young people who have been touched by the Spirit
through the English camp ministry in Ukraine. We’ve been privileged to organize
20 camps in Ukraine since 1994.
goal of our camps is not to teach English—but to help students who already
speak English get lots of practice with native speakers. That’s why we invite
teams of 10 to 15 native English speakers from North America, the United
Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
our main goal is to place pre-Christian university students in a camp
atmosphere with a group of vibrant, Jesus-loving Christians. And the students
usually experience a love and acceptance that they’ve never felt before. It
forces them to deeply consider the claims of Jesus and the Bible—most for the
first time ever.
always amazing to see students who come to camp with an ambivalence toward
Christianity and the Bible join so enthusiastically in the worship by the end
of camp. The Spirit of God and the love of Jesus have a powerful transforming
To give to the Ukraine Summer English Camp fund, click here.
By Randy Marshall, OMS missionary in Ukraine
January 21 2016
Overjoyed. Overexcited. All of the emotions that we experienced as our family
of 5 stepped off of that airplane in Budapest, Hungary, to share in the
indescribable ongoing work that God called us to be a part of last summer. Quickly,
we realized that in an unfamiliar culture and place, with perfect strangers, we
had one common bond. One like mind. One Mission as we call it.
fall away as you realize that God has prepared you for a time just as this. Each
of us is given a set of unique talents, gifts, and resources. Just as 1 Corinthians
1:12 talks about a body with many parts, each doing its function, we saw the
body of Christ come together in Hungary.
person, clearly ordained for specific purpose, fulfilled their role as the
weeks rolled on and opportunities arose. Career missionaries, short-term
missionaries, volunteers, various denominations, and churches all working
together. Everyone combining their resources to minister through the English
Camp, Roma Camp, and outreach projects to the Syrian refugees. A true example
of the church.
team in Hungary is continuing the next step of faith by building a literal
place of connection through the new Transformational Ministry Center in the 14th
district of Budapest. A physical structure for the body to work and grow for
the glory of God. To train, disciple, make connections, build relationships,
form partnerships with fellow believers, and transform lives for Christ.
calls each of us to be used by him for him. How would he have you to become a
part in sharing in the next step in building his kingdom in Hungary?
By Shannon & Aaron DePue,
Short-term Volunteers in Hungary, Summer 2015