So I need to clarify things before I even try to explain life over here to you.

The region I live in is called Transcaprthia. It is the valley in the south-western side of Ukraine after the Carpathian Mountains. It is 250 kilometers from L’viv, the city I began working in, in 2016.

English club-“Taco Tuesday”

I live in the village, Kamyanitsa.
I attend church in Kamyanitsa & a neighboring city Perechyn.
I lead children’s ministry in the Roma village/city Seredne.

My week is usually as follows:
Monday- Roma english @ 3PM
Tuesday- Kamyanitsa preteen english @ 6PM
Wednesday- free
Thursday- youth meeting in Kamyanitsa lead by Vasylyna @8PM
Friday- church in Kamyanitsa @7PM
Saturday- Roma children’s ministry followed by english lesson @3PM
Sunday- church in Perechyn @10AM & Kamyanitsa @4PM

The church in Perechyn is small and needed a pastor and some community so Vasylyna Babych, a youth leader, began to go there to preach Sunday mornings, taking along some people from Kamyanitsa to add to the church community as there were only 5 elderly people attending. It was a cool way of seeing Jesus come to the people and not us building a church and expecting people to come to us. Thanks to a lot of prayer and patience, the church has grown. And has been filled to the max (which is maybe 25 people) with us from Kamyanitsa, the elderly and Roma people.

With a lot of prayer, and me desperately begging for your prayer as well, we are planning to attempt the beginning of a women’s group on either Monday or Friday evenings with the Roma women in Perechyn. As a way for the church to grow more in community and also out of a selfish desire to be in a small group once again.


Preteen English “Simon Says”

This idea has grown even stronger after my return from visiting Stoneworks friends in Montenegro and seeing their ministry and their women’s group with Roma as well. A friend of mine there, Masha, was kind enough to show me the strength, patience and resilience it takes to lead as well and a heart full of love and kindness. If you’re ever in Montenegro, I suggest you meet that truly remarkable woman.

In Kamyanitsa I continue to lead English club for the preteens, attend the youth meetings, church and we are unsure whether we will continue youth English club through the summer but I’ll keep you posted. Occasionally, okay perhaps often, we are pulled into other ministries like the current one…taking the 16 hour train to Kiev to pick up a young American and turn around and come back.

Nastya & me

I am excited to say that one of the youth (Nastya) seems to have an interest in assisting Ruvim and me with our Roma ministry…though she’s still particularly afraid of them in general. Please pray for wisdom and guidance in her heart.

Sadly, we have still not been to Seredne. I suppose the silver lining, if there is one, is that most of the community has headed to the north for work for the summer. Perhaps in the coming weeks, God will see fit for us to be back in the village, driving the kids crazy, learning how the girls braid their hair so intricately and tossing water balloons at each other…in the name of Jesus.

We are gearing up for summer camps. For short term mission teams, for conferences, for lots of traveling and trips to the Carpathian Mountains. As is the case for most of my friends at Stoneworks, summer is nothing if it is not crazy. I feel like I’ll blink and miss it all.

I’m excited to have started my summer in Podgorica, Montenegro. Most people I know go to conferences and seminars to learn how to lead better, but I think the most valuable things I have learned this year and perhaps in my life, happen only in community and conversation.

I thank God for Sinisia and Masha in Montenegro. I’m not sure if it was Masha calmly interpreting, checking in on me and sharing stories or it was Sinisia letting me berate him with questions and forcing me to sing for 100 people but I feel like I learned a lot more ministering to people who are different than me, and a little about myself as well. Sinisia’s heart for the people and determination to spread the love of Christ was astounding. If I’m honest with you, the work God has done through and with him baffles me and it seems like an impossibility, but I pray God can do something just as wonderful in Transcarpathia.

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