In less than two days our team will depart from Little Rock, Arkansas en route to L’viv, Ukraine. The past twelve months have been filled with the hope of returning to Ukraine and to the people of God’s Design Church in Lutsk. Honestly, I cannot remember another time in my life where desire has stirred me more towards action.
Last summer, God brought two groups of Ukrainians and Americans together to create something unique at English Camp. We were separated by language and culture, but we were united in Christ. One indelible memory that I have from camp was singing together around a campfire with an explosions of stars overhead. Those tiny points of light made the universe feel infinitely out of reach and, yet, there was no where in all the expanse of this world that I wanted to be. One verse in English spilled over into another in Ukrainian and, as one, we sang the chorus together. The moon illuminated that fair night and the melody that lifted beyond the trees and into the sky made my heart ache with joy not of this world.
It was, with a heart unbelievable heavy, that I left Ukraine and God’s Design Church. The portrait of love that never escapes me is the one that I witnessed at the bus stop in Lutsk when we left the people of God’s Design Church. Never have tears meant so much to me as they did when I saw them fall from faces that were wrenched with sadness and delighted with joy at the same time. There was sadness in having to leave someone you loved, but joy in the love that was shared, even for a short time.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
Since I have returned to America I have prayed for the opportunity to be reunited with my brothers and sisters in Ukraine. They taught me, with their lives and their love, the strength and bond of Christ’s love, and I my only desire is to see them again. I have been thankful for the ability to communicate with them through Facebook and Skype, but letters and pixels are just shadows of the real thing.
Once you taste the sweetness of Christ, in community, everything else comes from a bitter cup. I have been thirsty for another drink of what I tasted in Ukraine since I left twelve months ago. What started out as a forlorn endeavor a year ago is now within my grasp. God has stirred the hearts of countless people to make this possible and I want to thank my King for his amazing provision. He is in control of his universe and the story of his glory will be told. I am not worthy to play a part in this adventure, but God is good and he blesses the unworthy every day. May I honor him with my heart, mind, and actions overseas.