It’s always an adventure recruiting native English speakers and Ukrainian participants for our two summer English camps in Ukraine.
We never know exactly how God is going to work, but he always comes through with the needed people.
For 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.
Our 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 spiritual impact.
We had two Ukrainian girls we really wanted to invite—feeling confident they were spiritually ready, but we didn’t have the space.
So, 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.
It 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.
We 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.
We 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.
Jennifer 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 amazing!
“This 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.”
These 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.
Thankfully, 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 information.
Even 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.
By Randy Marshall, OMS missionary and field leader in Ukraine