—by Byron Peters, Pastor
It could be a golden Christmas tree, right there next to the soccer field. Juicy apricots polka dot the branches like lights and litter the ground like presents. Turn the corner and Mulberry trees proffer their blackberry-like fruit to passersby free of charge. Roses spring dense, deep and fragrant adjacent to the simple camp dormitories as if to say, “Sure, we’re beautiful. We know it well!”
Ukraine could feed the world. It’s as if God had Ukraine in mind when David, foreseeing the fruitful new heavens and earth, wrote in Psalm 65, “You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops…The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness…they shout and sing for joy.”
But spiritual darkness cloaks the country with devastating effect. It ranks first in corruption in Europe. The divorce rate is 70% with a biblical understanding of family life a distant memory. A disheartening cocktail of legalistic Orthodoxy and frantic emotional health-wealthism stifles and smothers spiritual curiosity.
Our sister church, Covenant of Grace, is at the heart of the hard work of the gospel in Ukraine. Ruby Bea and I had the immense privilege of serving alongside these dear brothers and sisters, including our own CCC missionary Robin Price, for a week-long English camp in June. The conversations were rich and thoughtful. God’s Spirit crowded into our interactions and even those less spiritually inclined pressed closer to listen in.
I mean, think of it: What can be more life-giving than a week alongside kind and curious new friends eager not only to absorb English, but to explore the gospel?
As a result of our trip, Ruby Bea and I sense the Lord leading us to make a more robust commitment to CCC’s Ukrainian strategic partnership. And your elders agree. English camp will surely remain central, but administrative support, pastoral care, elder training, and more are on our radar for the future. These are exciting times in the CCC/Covenant of Grace partnership.
Might God be gifting and calling you for a week in Ukraine next summer? If you’re interested in being considered for our team, first pray! Then email me at email@example.com.
You won’t believe those melt-in-your-mouth apricots!