Appreciate your post. My sister and I have been going back and forth to Odessa since 2016, working with orphanages and Holocaust survivors. I have really missed going these past few years and thankful for all Clint and Allina are doing. Prayerful for Ukraine and many friends going through so much.
The war in Ukraine is personal for me. 22 years ago, my sister and her husband flew to Ukraine to adopt my nephew Trevor. He was a little baby desperate for love and attention and we were so thankful to welcome him into the Barnes family. And in the time since then, while the situation in the orphanages of Ukraine remains heartbreaking, it has been a joy to see Trevor grow.
When I first visited our team there in 2009, I saw a country still trying to find its way out of communism. In the years since, we’ve sent dozens of World Race teams to Ukraine. They could see that too many children had been cast aside and wanted to make a difference in showing them the love they longed for.
The beginning of our long-term involvement in Ukraine can be traced all the way back to our first World Race squad leader, Clinton White.
In 2004 Clinton was a happily married youth minister in a Gulfport, Mississippi church. But in the following year, Clinton suffered twin tragedies. First his community was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Many members of his congregation lost their homes.
Then in March, his wife, Kim unexpectedly died of cystic fibrosis.
The shock was devastating. Clinton and Kim did their best to talk through what his life would look like if the illness took her. She had told him, “Don’t give up on your dream of serving overseas!”
The World Race was the fulfillment of their mutual dream and the start of his journey to serve the orphans of Ukraine. Clinton founded Shade for Children, and has hosted numerous World Race teams. Allina Robie was one of many to have their lives impacted and, of course, has joined them in their efforts.
So now, as 3 million refugees are fleeing Ukraine, Clinton and Allina are in the middle of the rescue effort. AIM’s has a rich history of bringing aid to those suffering the trauma of crisis. And now, we are helping the people of Ukraine as well. We are sending aid and we have teams in other Eastern European countries who are preparing to help.
In Romania, we are working with our partners to minister to the many Ukrainian refugees flooding their nation. Simultaneously, we are talking to those who will volunteer in the future.
Those who have partnered with me in the past have seen how the church, the body of Christ, is a resource waiting to be mobilized. We not only can bring help in the short-term, but long-term help as well. You’ve seen my commitment to ensure that those we help get back on their feet. You’ve seen the difference that an activated body of Christ can make.
If the war in Ukraine is somehow more than a disturbing series of news reports for you, I encourage you to get out from behind your phone and do something. If you’re interested, let me know in the comment section or at this link and I’ll look for ways to get you engaged. You can make a difference – take a first step.
Seth – Thanks for sharing. Yes, this is personal. Ellen and our racer daughter Rachel did a short term mission to Ukraine back when Rachel was in high school. It made a lasting impact when they served in The Ark orphanage, a mission of Atlanta based Father’s Care. We’ve had the blessing of meeting Jane Hyatt, one of the founders. We maintained contact with her over the last ten years. Jane was recently interviewed by ABC news https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0UIkKKWtBc
Jane was in the US when the war broke out, and is speaking at our church this weekend. They’ve successfully evacuated 17 orphans and 7 adults to Germany. It’s hard to see where this ends. Praying for the Lord’s will and praying for the Lord’s workers like Jane.
PS: An example of how short term missions do make an impact….
That’s so good, Andy. I’ve been trying to get in touch w/ Jane.
Ok, great! Thank you!
I know I’m called to serve in Ukraine long term, but I’ve struggled for four years just to raise support for a one year term. At the moment I’m pursuing a masters in library and Information Science and finally found a career I love in my early 30s, but I still know I’m supposed to go to Ukraine. I expect to be completely finished with my degree by the end of Spring 2023, but it’s an online program so I have flexibility as far as where I live. I’d love to do something like work in a seminary/Bible school library in Ukraine and help students and professors in their ministry and maybe lead some local outreach to give students hands on ministry experience. Also I have this idea of creating a small or even micro publishing press and encouraging pastors, Bible professors and theologians in Ukraine to write and publish in Ukrainian and English (as well as translations in Russian, Polish, Kazakh, etc as needed). That is my long term dream job as a missionary, but I love to volunteer and don’t mind stacking chairs and cooking/serving dinner to others. I’ve volunteered with ministries to the homeless so many of those skills may carry over to working with refugees.
Regrettably, I didn’t learn Ukrainian from my grandmother who spoke it as their first language and am trying to learn it now. Obviously that would limit the librarian tasks I could do to those which don’t require an in depth knowledge of Ukrainian or Russian although there are simple tasks I could complete and I can read Cyrillic and understand some Ukrainian.
I am in good health, but I’ve had type one diabetes (insulin dependent) since eight years old so that does complicate serving overseas somewhat, but doesn’t rule it out. I’ve been to Ukraine short term (one month) and I’m familiar and very comfortable there even as I have much to learn yet.
This is way more than I usually share in a comments section, but I’m really tired of hitting walls in trying to get to Ukraine. In the mean time in light of Russia’s evil invasion I am stepping up my giving financially, helping raise support, and in constant prayer. If you know a way to get me over to Ukraine long term then let me know.
Matthias – I will connect you to a friend who has the connections in Ukraine that you may need.
Subscribe to Radical Living:
Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.