Great Students, Big Themes: English Camp in Ukraine

by Heero Hacquebord, OPC Missionary to Ukraine
(shared with permission)

Thank you for praying!

Your prayers were instrumental in having one of the best camps yet!  Students actively participated in all events, Ukrainian volunteers grew as leaders and American short-term team members were excellent teachers, roommates and examples of true Christian faith.  We are especially thankful for our U.S. short-term team—primarily from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio—who braved war conditions to serve students with Christ's love! Students enjoyed a refreshing break from the war in the unique atmosphere of summer camp and the beautiful Carpathian Mountains.

As usual, daily events included an English lesson, an English Bible lesson, hobby classes, sport, games, singing, and an evening "Theme of the Day" explanation of the Bible's big story. Students know that it's a Christian camp and even those who don't consider themselves to be Christians were willing to discuss, question and consider the one solution to our deepest problem that Jesus Christ offers.

After one such discussion a student from the small group I helped with asked the following question: "I agree with everything that we are discussing, but I don't think I have true faith. What can I do?" I encouraged her to ask God to give her true faith and that He will always answer such a prayer. Her eyes filled with tears as she nodded understanding.

It truly is an amazing and unique week during which students are open to discuss deep questions that they don't usually take the time to ponder or talk about with others.  We had more students from other parts of Ukraine this year, some from areas that Russian soldiers are currently occupying.  This produced a broader group with more wide-ranging perspectives.  But they were also willing to question their own beliefs and assumptions.  We had many deep, meaningful conversations!

Most of the work is ahead of us, though, as we are eager to continue developing relationships with these students and offer them the opportunity to become part of our student ministry, led by our L'viv teammates Jon & Olya Powell.  We have already had some follow-up events in L'viv, but the big push to re-boot our student ministry (after Covid, the start of the full-scale war and a change in leadership) will come in September.  We appreciate your prayers for that!



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