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 31 2016
was an outgoing engineering student at a technical university in Kyiv, Ukraine,
when we met her six years ago.
was applying for one of our English camps, which we offer every summer. Darina just
wanted to improve her English and have fun at the camp—which she did—but she
didn’t get involved in any of our follow-up activities, and we thought she
wasn’t really interested in God.
Darina applied for camp again the next year, we turned her down, choosing to
invite new people who might be more open to the Gospel. She was upset, and we
thought we’d never see her again.
a couple of years later, God brought Darina back. She joined one of our weekly
English clubs, and God began to work on her heart. We saw spiritual progress
and a greater openness to God, so we invited Darina to camp again in 2013. That’s
when she really understood the Gospel and made a decision to follow Jesus.
remembers sitting at the evening meeting near the end of camp week, listening
to a Gospel presentation—and when it came time to pray, she found herself
repeating the prayer without realizing it. When she caught herself praying, she
didn’t stop; she just knew it was right.
that day, Darina has been growing dramatically.
sit for hours talking about the Bible and her spiritual questions, and she’s
gotten involved in two of our weekly life groups (small group Bible studies), providing
key organizational leadership. She has a spiritual gift for pastoring and
regularly checks in with various group members to provide spiritual support.
is also active in helping newer believers grow spiritually and has discipled at
least three other girls who were saved through camp. She’s what we call an
active encourager in this ministry, committed to growing herself spiritually, as
well as helping others grow.
a goal of our ministry here in Kyiv to see God raise up many more Ukrainian
young people like Darina to become followers of Jesus who want to partner with him
in making more disciples. We’re pleased with the progress so far, but we know
there is much more God wants to do.
Darina, many of the people in our life groups have been saved through our two
summer English camps. The camps are a great way for pre-Christian Ukrainians to
experience the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit over a
multi-day period, which allows God to soften their hearts to his Good News.
members from North America, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia volunteer
just to love Ukrainians and to help them practice English with native English speakers,
but God also uses them to display and share the love of Jesus.
Ukrainians say that at the end of camp their English has dramatically improved,
but most also say that they receive much more than English language skills.
Some, like Darina, even make decisions to follow God.
you would like to partner with us in reaching out to Ukrainian young people, pray
about joining one of our summer 2017 teams. You also can join our daily or
weekly prayer team, or you can help sponsor a Ukrainian to attend the camp. For
more information on how to give, visit https://onemissionsociety.org/give/Ukraine-English-Ministries.
Randy Marshall, OMS Missionary and Ukraine Field Leader
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 email@example.com 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 10 2016
Ukraine has a long history of Christianity, 70 years of Soviet atheism and the
recent influence of post-Christian Europe have made it a country with an
interesting mix of spiritual interests.
grandmothers here still hold to the traditional Christian faith—often visiting
the Orthodox church services with its candles, painted icons of the saints and
sing-song liturgy in an old form of Russian.
middle-aged people, meanwhile, remember their scientific Soviet education and
don’t put much stock in the teaching about a Creator.
many young people have spiritual interest—some lightly holding to the
traditional Christian faith, while others are trying out Eastern religious
practices in search of deeper spiritual meaning or seeking an identity in an
ancient pagan religion from Ukraine’s past.
is where OMS has been led to invest its efforts in evangelism and church planting
among the more spiritually open young people.
OMS team in Kyiv (Kiev) has been working among university students and young
adults, seeking to make disciples who want to gather in small groups called
Life Groups and to reach out to friends and family with the Good News of Jesus
an exciting adventure, and it’s been a joy to see God raise up young leaders
called Encouragers, who have taken responsibility to lead Life Groups, to share
with their friends about Jesus, and to help organize special outreach events at
Christmas and Easter.
the biggest evangelistic event of the year is our English camp ministry. We
recruit teams of native English speakers from North America, the United
Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand to help lead the camps. And then we invite
pre-Christian, but English-speaking, Ukrainian university students to participate.
are a great way to see God work through ordinary Christian people who come
together to just show the love of God.
had farmers, cell phone store managers, school teachers, small business owners,
pastors, university students, architects, veterinarians and many others
participate as teachers in our camps each summer, and God has used them
didn’t have to speak Russian or Ukrainian. They didn’t have to be theologically
trained experts. They didn’t even have to know the ins and outs of English
grammar. They just needed to be in love with Jesus and willing to let him love
Ukrainians through them.
he does. One of the most common student responses we get at the end of our
camps is how much the Ukrainian students loved the atmosphere of the camp.
loved the busy schedule and the great atmosphere of cheer and faith,” wrote
17-year-old Sasha at the end of the 2014 camp. “I loved everything, but maybe
10 days isn’t enough!”
also 17, agreed. “Our sincere talks with some people were better than anything.
I felt a lot of pain inside, but such amazing people here helped me to overcome
all the bad feelings inside of me.”
the last night of one recent camp, one girl stood up at the final banquet and
said that she came to camp empty in her soul, but she said her time at camp had
changed her. She said Jesus had filled her heart, and she was going away full.
Ukrainians aren’t the only ones who are changed—so are the native speakers who
come to help lead the camp.
was an amazing experience, and it helped me grow closer to God as well as to
make many new friends,” wrote a bank teller from southwestern Nebraska.
an awesome way to minister to others!” wrote a university student from
learned a lot from the entire experience, and my faith has definitely grown as
a result of the camp,” wrote a businesswoman from New Zealand. “This is one of
the best (if not the best) camp I have been to.”
have a few spots for women left at our two camps this summer if you would be
interested in joining. Or you could start planning for next summer. It’s a
great opportunity to stretch yourself and to grow in your relationship with
God. Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun!
if you can’t come to the camp, don’t worry. You can pray. We need more prayer
warriors for Ukraine and financial gifts for the camper scholarship are always
Randy Marshall, OMS missionary 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
November 10 2015
around a dining room table with cups of tea, walking along the Dnieper River,
or going on a retreat at a camp outside Kiev, young Ukrainian believers are
learning to minister to one another as they grow in their knowledge and love of
Jesus Christ. Each week, they meet together in homes for Life Groups to encourage
one another in Christ. They take turns sharing responsibilities, preparing ice
breakers, leading Bible studies, selecting songs, and praying for one another.
has busy schedules with either university studies or full time jobs. Finding
ways to equip these young believers with knowledge and skills for ministry is a
creative adventure in theological education, working in partnership with the OMS
missionary team in Ukraine. Just as the Ukrainian believers follow the early
church model of house churches, we are following the example of Paul’s methods
for leadership training and discipleship.
Paul wrote letters to teach and to encourage the new believers. We are
also writing. Rather than letters, we are developing a series of lessons that
give biblical answers to questions such as: “What will happen at the end of time?”
“Who is the Holy Spirit?” “What is worship?” “What is sin?”
traveled and made personal visits to encourage new believers. In October, I had
the privilege of making my third trip to Ukraine to share in a weekend retreat.
I was asked to teach about developing our friendship with God through the
practice of spiritual disciplines and to lead a discussion on what it means to
be community in Christ. Each time I return, there is a deepening bond of trust.
We discuss joys, questions, and concerns over cups of tea. This is the
life-on-life model of theological education that Jesus modeled with his
young believers represent the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform
lives through their personal testimonies and outreach to others. They represent
the hope of things to come as the kingdom of God extends across Ukraine. As
Paul encouraged Timothy, let’s pray that they will receive and live out these
same words of encouragement: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are
young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in
faith and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NIV).
By Colleen Fitch, One
Mission Society Missionary and Theological Education Consultant for Europe
July 2 2015
Thursday, June 18, four OMS field leaders spoke in chapel, sharing stories
about the way their ministries have affected lives all over the world.
Cindy, who leads the field in the South Pacific with her husband Mark, teaches English at a missionary school and shared about a
student named Carrie.* Carrie and her classmates have been struggling with
grief and confusion caused by the sudden death of several students. Even so, Carrie participated with her school on a spring break mission trip. Cindy shared that
in Carrie’s reflection paper about the experience she wrote, “God met me there.
He let me know I am not alone.” Cindy then spoke about a Christian girl whose
father is Muslim. When the daughter would ask her father questions about his
religion, he’d get angry or frustrated. Cindy had the opportunity to speak truth
into the lives of this girl and her mother, who is also a Christian. The small
family is moving, but the mother told Cindy that she is determined to find a good
church to help her minister to her husband. This missionary school and its
teachers are having lasting impacts on their students in the South Pacific.
Marshall, field leader in the Ukraine, shared about a young girl who has been
attending the English club he and his wife, Shelley, lead at a local
university. This student, Anna,* has participated in the club for two years. The English club, which regularly has spiritual discussions, also has an
annual summer camp where the Marshalls are able to show and share what it’s
like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At this camp, Anna made
a decision for Christ. She then participated in discipleship with Shelly and another younger girl, but she started to doubt and ask questions.
Shelley switched to an apologetic focus to help her find answers. Shortly after
this, Anna saw a Christian drama on the street and was given the opportunity to accept Christ. Anna prayed and truly accepted Christ. This time, she
has stayed firm through searching answers and even persecution from friends and
family. The Marshalls testified to the change they have seen in her and reported with
joy that she now helps run one of their ministry’s small groups.
field director in Brazil, opened his talk saying that he often pops into a
local technology store and speaks to the men there who want to practice their
English. Through starting mini-English classes, Micah got to know one
man, Robert,* very well and also had the opportunity to invite the men to a 20-week Bible study. Robert once asked Micah if he’d ever had an affair.
Micah replied that he had not, and Robert answered, “I’ve had several. It’s not
good.” At Bible study, Micah noticed that Robert had a lot of biblical knowledge, which he came to find out was because he had grown up in a religious family. He
lived a “Christian” life and as a virgin married a virgin. He has a daughter
the same age as Micah’s daughter. However, a few years ago Robert’s daughter
was diagnosed with leukemia, and he became angry and turned away from God. In
Bible study, they would talk about the importance of confessing sins to one
another. Robert was always the one to speak up and disagree. One night, a while
later, the study group learned through the Psalms about the unconfessed sin in
King David’s life. The next Sunday, Robert went to his home church and confessed
to them about his affairs. Micah ended his talk praising God for not only
changed lives, but also changing lives.
leader in the Dominican Republic, Gail Leroy, shared about the effect of OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry, HOPE61. Gail spoke about a safe house where 10 young
girls are being discipled and finding healing. Five of the girls have gone
through baptism classes and have been baptized in the local river. Upon seeing this, the other five girls requested to be baptized as well! The five who had already been baptized have each been paired up with one girl who hasn’t. They
are helping each other through the baptism classes, and last Saturday, they all
had their first communion altogether.
how she has seen them change from bitter and distrusting to sweet and sincere.
She said, “We’ve seen them grow in faith. We’ve seen them get along
together. We’ve seen them start healing from what they’ve been through.” Gail
ended by requesting prayer for a new property because, praise God,
they now need more space to help even more young girls.
overwhelming to hear the things that God is doing all over the world. As an
avid traveler, I am invigorated by these stories of redemption from people of
such diverse backgrounds. As I listen to these stories of hardship and victory, I feel my sense of curiosity about the world and its people intensify. I love
hearing the missionaries speak; from the lilt of the Scottish accent to the achingly familiar African cadence. I want to know them all, learn about our
similarities and differences. Just last week, I met an MK from the Ukraine who
likes to sing in Russian and listens to the same bands as me. I know that this
burden I feel to know and love others stems from our Creator’s desire to know
and love us, his people.
changed for security.
-Laura Jouhnson, Summer 2015 Communications Intern
November 6 2013
Ukraine Summer Camp Report
“Before camp, I could believe in God, now I can trust in him.” It is comments like this that really make camp, or indeed any mission trip, either short- or long-term, worthwhile. There is nothing greater than seeing a soul come to know the Lord and deciding to follow him in their daily lives.
Before a student can get to this point, those initial barriers between God and themselves must be broken down. Some of these barriers usually come in the form of unanswered questions, which the students are eager to have answered before they make a decision to follow Christ. However, before they can get the answers they desire, they need to build up a sense of trust with their teachers (English speaking short termers). One way in which this is carried out is by giving the students the opportunity to take part in a range of different activities, both indoor and outdoor, which encourages interaction between students and teachers. The activities also give them the chance to improve their language skills, which is one of the main goals of camp. As a direct result, the students will then begin to open up, which is vital if we as teachers are to fulfill our ultimate goal, which is to make the students think about the true meaning of life and to expose them to the reality of the Gospel.
To demonstrate the power of God’s saving grace at camp, I want to tell you the story of one student who came to camp this year. The quote at the beginning is taken from an interview with her post-camp. Similar to most of the students, Stasy (pictured on left in photo) came from a Ukrainian Orthodox family where God is primarily viewed as a mystical being, who is beyond human comprehension and any type of personal relationship. As Christians, we know that it is sometimes hard to comprehend who God is, but we know that it is possible to have a personal relationship with him. Throughout camp, Stasy found it really hard to open up and trust others, let alone God. However, with the unique family atmosphere and the loving atmosphere that existed at camp, which we can only ascribe to God himself, by the end of the 10 days these barriers had been broken down and Stasy had opened her heart to others, and more importantly to God. The transformation was so evident in her life, and the desire to walk with God and to read his Word was so real.
This story is only one of many that demonstrate how God is clearly moving throughout this city of Kiev and the country of Ukraine. It is because of stories like this that many of us keep returning to Ukraine and continue to serve God in our local context as we know that he has the power to change lives. It is my desire that others might experience this feeling and want to serve him.
--David Cathcart, OMS UK short-term missionary to Ukraine, summer 2013
Is God calling you to be a worker, either on the front lines or in a support role? View all of the opportunities how God may use you to be a missionary. You can even register to serve in Ukraine next summer for an English camp. Contact Brent Morrell at 317.888.3333, ext. 391 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
September 20 2013
One Mission Stories "After the Show"
We hope you enjoyed last night's (Sunday, Sept. 22) One Mission Stories, OMS' radio program, featuring Randy Marshall, OMS missionary serving in Ukraine, along with his wife Shelley and his three kids.
It's exciting to share the stories of what God is doing around the world of OMS.
Here are our "After the Show" resources to better connect you with things you heard about on the program last night.
Do you want to participate in next summer's short-term English camp as a English teach, friend and mentor? It's not too early to sign up. Perhaps you were moved to pray for Randy and the other OMS Ukraine missionaries. If so, we can get you signed up to receive weekly requests by email. We are looking for 1,000 intercessors! Email us at email@example.com and just put Ukraine prayer in the subject line.
Would you like to help get a Ukrainian student to camp next summer? A gift of $50 will offer a subsidized scholarship for one student. Just type account #301620 in the blank.
Finally, do you want to learn some more fun facts about Ukraine? Through our One Mission Kids ministry, we have created a virtual tour of the country, especially for kids.
Have fun exploring and please tune in to next week's One Mission Stories to hear OMS' executive director of international ministries, Randy Spacht talk about his current role and his 17 years in Colombia.
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you missed the program, you can listen to it at www.onemissionsociety.org/radio, or you can subscribe to our iTunes podcast here.