Take a walk with me down a Ukrainian road. This road is just a path winding down a hill through one flat after another. These apartment buildings are tall and plain with little colorful playgrounds dispersed between them. On these playgrounds are Ukrainian children spending their summer playing on the dilapidated equipment. Between this one particular building on this one particular playground stood a little girl with a deep olive complexion, sandy brown hair, and steely eyes that could stop a train. Upon my first meeting with this beautiful Ukrainian girl, a smile seemed impossible for her, yet as my journey down this path winded between each flat, the same little girl appeared around every corner. Each time brought a light to the child’s eyes and lifted the corners of her lips just a little more.
On May 15, 2010, I will begin my third journey to Ukraine. Only this time, I will be boarding the plane alone. Through my past connections with the missionaries Keith and Wendy Wofford in Kharkov, Ukraine, God made it evidently clear to me where He wanted me to spend my summer. For two months, I will be serving alongside Keith, Wendy, and the rest of Team Kharkov to share the love of Jesus with the Ukrainian people. I am going with very little language skills and very little experience, but I am also going with faith in a God who moves mountains. Some people are called to stay, and some are called to go. I have been called to go, and I would like to partner with you in prayer to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Ukraine. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go, ye therefore into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to obey all my commands, and lo, I am with you always even unto the very end of the age” (NIV). You may be called to your hometown, to your work, or even to your next-door neighbor, so I am asking you to take part in my calling to share the love of God in Ukraine by praying for the hearts of the people I will meet and minister to. My trip will end on July 15, but the message that will be spread while I am there will never stop.
By the end of my first trip in Kharkov, Ukraine, this precious little girl named Liza had her arms around my neck in a farewell hug. Little did I know that the face of Liza would stay engrained in my mind for the next three years. The same smile that enveloped Liza’s face every time she came running to our Backyard Bible Club overtakes mine when I think of her. The face of Ukraine will be forever sketched in my memory as a little girl with a light so bright in her eyes.