Now that the official arrangements have been made, I can announce that Mitch will be returning to Ukraine in July to offer support to the ministry of our sister church in Khorol. He will be travelling with two other people from our church, and they will be in Ukraine for 12 days.
On the way back, Mitch will return through Frankfurt and stay in Germany for an extra week to visit Kathi and Patrick and their families. He is so excited for a reunion with them! I'm so thankful that it worked out for Mitch to go there this year. We have dreamed about it and hoped it would work out.
I really wanted to go to Ukraine with the team this year, and I even initially said, "Yes!" But before I could turn around, the reality of the logistics of providing care for our children for 3 weeks sunk in. So there is a sadness about not being able to be by Mitch's side, while at the same time a joyfulness that 1) he is even able to go, and 2) we have been so abundantly blessed with children, that the blessing also requires a sacrifice of desires. This time of our lives won't last forever and it might be that I will be able to have a turn in the future.
I admit I've daydreamed about loading all the kids up and driving to VA while Mitch is gone as a diversion or a chance for us to do something "big and fun" too. No worries, I came to my senses VERY quickly. ;) It will pretty much be "business as usual" around here, and I'll have Eden and Caleb home during that time if I need to get away for a break for a couple hours.
If you are reading this post, will you say a prayer for the ministry of the church in Khorol? They are bringing the Gospel to their city and have enjoyed growth in the church over the years that we have partnered with them in ministry. They have physical needs and spiritual needs. Pray for their hearts to be prepared for leading VBS and for the children who come to hear and receive the Good News. Pray also that they would have all the resources they need--money, supplies, etc--for their ministry. If you attend our church, stop by the ministry table on Sunday to see how you can tangibly help meet these goals. And finally pray for the spiritual growth of our team. Short term missions often is as much about what a team learns themselves as it is about what they go to teach others. Pray for our team to be ready to show kindness and joy and love, and that the praise of what Jesus has done for them would be on their lips.
If you like to specifically pray Scriptural prayers, here is one that I have found very helpful:
Pray they will 'be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.'
May God strengthen them 'will all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified [them] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.' Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)