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The Least of These ©2003 -
A ministry targeting young people around the world, sharing the Love of God in Word and Deed.
The time that I have spent in Ukraine has been the most amazing and fulfilling time of my life. I truly believe that this experience has set me on a path that I will follow for the rest of my life.
When I first heard about this trip I was drawn to the idea because it involved international travel and it was another chance for me to explore my faith. I knew very little about what I would be doing and even less about the type of people that I would be doing it with. My mind was put to rest by the fact that I knew Emily so well and I knew that she was a very good, reliable and reasonable person who I had respect for. I signed up to come only a few months before I would leave and I think that how smoothly that process went was what confirmed to both me and my parents that this was truly something that I was supposed to do.
I left this trip to faith in the way that I just dove in head first and with all of my heart, ready for anything. I thought that I would be very uncomfortable traveling by myself and then with
some college student I didn’t know to a country I had never been to where the people spoke a language that I didn’t know a word of. However I was not afraid for a minute, I never felt alone (because I never really was of course) and Sarah Adams has such a glowing optimistic personality that I never felt the need to worry about anything. After I arrived and during the next few days I began to see that what I had to do was just put my trust in the people who spoke Russian and let them guide me step by step through the day. Nothing was ever entirely predictable and our last minute plans led us to some of the most valuable moments with the children from the camp and with our fellow team members. For example I was not one of the four people selected to go on the three day hiking trip and at first I was disappointed but I realized very quickly that it was best that I had stayed, my place was at the camp where I continued to build fellowships with the children and youth that were there. Not only did I use that time to strengthen the connections that I already had made but I also became acquainted with the youth from the fifth unit on a trip to the black sea. I had not been able to spend much time with them before that and many of them were among those who did not attend our daily programs so I was very excited to get to know them. I found that group to be much more open to help than I had heard and I feel like I accomplished a great deal with them, both
through example by the way that I lived and acted and by allowing them to teach me Russian. It seemed to me that when they had an opportunity to teach me something, their reaction to that implied that they were learning something from me in return.
I changed and grew so much on this trip that I’m not entirely sure how I am going to return to my life at home. The incredible testimonies and actions of my team members showed me a kind of faith and love that I did not previously know existed. I also learned from the children, I can only hope that they gained as much from our time together as I did. When I was there with them, I came to the realization that I was where I belonged. I know now that this type of ministry and outreach is something that I will be involved in for a long time to come. I had so many unbelievable encounters with the children that I will never be able to recount them all, however they will remain in my heart forever because I have been so deeply touched by this opportunity that god gave me. My future is still somewhat unclear but I know without a doubt that I will continue to travel to Ukraine to help these beautiful children and I will probably find other places where I will be able to lend my assistance both physically and spiritually.
|Statement of Faith|
|Emily - Camp Gorney|
|Emily - Kerch|