Meet Daria – Eli Reddick
She is from a town in the southeastern part of Ukraine currently occupied by Russia. She, along with her mom and dad, had to flee their home and now live with family in the village where we hosted a kids’ camp. She came sassy and strong-willed. She was a “show-off” as her English was better than most in the English station we were manning. She showed little patience or humility when it was the other children’s turn to practice the new English phrase we had just taught. I had to gently call this to her attention to allow the other children to have a chance.
One morning I asked Daria how she was doing. She was honest and said she was having some family problems. We talked about the problems she was facing and I was able to share the gospel with her based on her experiences. We talked about forgiveness and loving the unlovely. Back home, her family only went to church on Easter. I encouraged her to come to the local church while she was staying in the village. I was also able to share a Bible app with her in Ukrainian and asked her to discuss it with her friends. After just a few short days, she opened up to me.
On the first day, I introduced the kids to my family and showed them a picture of my 16-year-old daughter. The older girls seemed to connect with me as a father figure. I never saw myself as a man who would be ministering to teens. Out of all the things that could have been out of my comfort zone while in Ukraine, working with kids was the one that stretched me the most. As we got ready to leave, they couldn’t hold back the tears and I was doing everything I could to hold it together and be strong for them.
If you’ve never had this type of experience before, I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. You just don’t know how much it will bless you. We go to hard places to serve others, but many times I am the one being blessed!
There are several urgent needs and opportunities you can fill. We are partnering with a Ukrainian pastor, and others, to help plant churches and support struggling churches by meeting needs in the community. Take a look at the enclosed card for more information.
Will you give to help meet these needs in Ukraine? Will you go to encourage and love on the Ukrainian people?
*Name changed for security