You CAN help / You CAN make a difference

You CAN help / You CAN make a difference

"Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” -James 1:27

THANK YOU for your support, donations, and prayers. All of our funds received have been distributed! The majority of our funding went to filling and shipping our container, however there were some funds left over. Here is how they were distributed:
•A Jesus Mission - towards generators for ministries in Ukraine - $2,735.73
•JCS Family - towards feeding displaced people - $2,551.26
•Hungry For Life - relief efforts in Ukraine - $2,568.75
If you want to continue to donate, please go to the home page and click on the links to support each of these organizations. 

Vicki, myself and 13 others just got back from an AJM short term mission trip to the Ukraine. With the financial support of many people - including excess money from our earlier initiative, the Ukraine Emergency Relief fund (UER) sending the shipping container with all the donated items for Ukraine relief - we were able to bring loads of supplies, emergency communication equipment as well as winter clothing and toys for an orphanage in the eastern war zone

Part 1 - Mukachevo, Refugee Care in West Ukraine

Our contact was Father Brown (because we were working with so many Joels on the trip, we renamed Pastor Joel Sterling Brown - Father Brown). Along with Katya, his wife, and their church called Living Water, Father Brown runs 3 refugee centers in the city. We helped with various projects from activities with refugee children, working in the warehouse (where all the supplies and donations from all over are sorted and distributed) and getting prepared for our trip out east. While in Mukachevo (though it was in the far west region of Ukraine) there were regular power outages due to 50% of the power grid being destroyed. Two thirds of each day was without power and we were never quite sure when that would be!

Along with the outages, the water system utilizes pumps so all running water was also shut off. This is the situation all over Ukraine, and, of course, more so in the war zones. We also were able to participate in ministering at the youth group and then with church on Sunday morning. It was a great time of relationship building, helping lead worship and I had the privilege of sharing the Word.

Part 2 - Hlukhiv, Aid to the Orphanage in East Ukraine 

While Father Brown and 13 of us started the drive east on Monday the 5th, Vicki Finley, Beth Young and Eliana Belcher stayed in Mukachevo with our missionary Vanessa McKelroy to continue working with refugee children and organizing the supplies in the warehouse. The rest of us loaded the supplies for the orphanage along with a couple of generators and headed east. We crossed the Carpathian mountain range in route towards Kiev, the capitol city of Ukraine where we witnessed some of the effects of the war. The destruction from bombing was evident even while Ukrainians keep on with the business of life.

At one point in Kiev, during our lunch stop, everything closed and we were ushered out of the restaurant (ok, it was McDonalds!). An air raid siren was sounding and all buildings were vacated. All that day Russia was sending missiles throughout the country mainly in the southeastern border areas. There were three strikes near where our destination was but still well enough away that we hopped in the van and continued the journey. We stayed the night at one of Father Brown's contacts outside of Kiev. It was a classic mission night of sleeping on the cold floors for most of us guys. That night we started a project to assemble small battery arrays for the flashlights we found in Kiev (flashlights were extremely difficult to find anywhere). Without much supplies we modded the batteries to power the old camp style flashlights to give to the people out east. It was a fun project that we continued the next day in the van.

At the Dnipro river, we diverted to a wooden temporary bridge as the main bridge was bombed out some time in the past. By mid-day on the 6th we reached Hlukhiv, a small town just a few miles from the Russian border. We were greeted by the church leadership at Faith, Hope, and Love Church including Pastor Volodia who's suffering from stage 4 liver cancer. We quickly crowdfunded and brought a generator for him so that he had reliable power for meds and food. (Thanks so much to Allison Welgoss, AJM's "road dog" veteran Ukraine driver and gifted fundraiser for most of the funds.)

We then had 3 opportunities for sharing the gospel along with bringing the aid for the orphanage. The first two sessions were in fully attended meetings, one at the church and one at the town hall in a village nearby. Both meetings were filled with people in below freezing indoor temperatures. Coleman Hirschman and i led some music and pastor Joel Meyer along with one of our missionaries from Serbia, Thor Allestad shared the gospel.

After taking a walk on a frozen lake and delivering another generator we attended the youth group. To our surprise we were greeted by around 20 youth from the town. It was a incredibly sweet and stirring time as Silas Puetz, one of our young men, shared his testimony. We led worship and prayed with many responding to step into a personal walk of following Jesus. We left that evening back toward Kiev. Apparently there were sounds of distant bombing (or shelling) which I couldn't detect, but was so touched by our time with the people of Hlukhiv that I may have been distracted!

Part 3 - Epilogue

As Russia has continued to focus on disrupting the power grid as winter sets in I was impressed with the tenacity of God's people to gather together in freezing temps with no electricity-and at night by candlelight and flashlights. I was also burdened to organize a shipment of generators (which are impossible to find order to help them through this upcoming dangerous winter.

I was planning to request support in this report but I'm incredibly blessed to say that we have met the initial goal of sending ten Generators - and then WE DOUBLED IT! This came about through ANOTHER injection of funds from the UER fund along with generous donations from many NW Calvary Chapels. So, we are now sending 20 generators to Father Brown to distribute to churches, refugee centers and orphanages.

Thanks so much for praying for this operation. I must say it was incredibly fun. Yes, fun! The fellowship, camaraderie, opportunities and experiences - though seemingly a bit dangerous or inconvenient -were rich and life-giving times. This is the way of God - joy in serving, I hope you're encouraged by partnering with us and maybe would consider future ventures with us as we "press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of (us).”

If anyone is interested in further helping through giving, Father Brown is always looking for support to keep the 3 refugee centers running until Spring. You can do this through: Bit.ly/livingwaterua Please put "for refugee centers" in description.

We are so thankful that the shipping container has finally made it to its destination in Ukraine! It has officially been unloaded and supplies are currently being distributed. Thank you for your support and your prayers; there has been so much hard work done by so many to make this happen, and we're grateful to see the fruit of it. Continue to pray for the people of the Ukraine and that our supplies go where they are most needed. Praise God! 

Medicine has arrived to Ukraine! Our shipment was safely received at a church in Ternopil, Ukraine and will be used to serve those in need in the community there. Thank you for your prayers and donations! God is being glorified through them!

Medicine is en route to Ukraine! Because of your support we have been able to send $2000 worth of both prescription and over-the-counter medications to Ukraine! Pray for a speedy, safe, unhindered delivery and that the right people would receive the help they need through this shipment.

***Don't forget! THIS SUNDAY is the last day to drop off physical donations to our shipping container! Check out the link in the bio for details how and what to donate.***