Just a few days ago, I experienced a special joy when I spoke with four of my long-time Ukrainian friends and their Armenian hosts located not far from Yerevan. It was less than two months ago when Marina, who came to Christ at a camp we did fourteen years ago in Kiev, asked what I thought about her organizing a short-term mission team from Ukraine to serve in Armenia. I tried to encourage her in her plan, though in the back of my mind I was thinking it was quite unlikely to work, particularly trying to pull together the finances for the trip. Thankfully my Ukrainian friends’ faith was greater than mine. They not only raised the funds for their travel, but were also able to buy food and medicine to serve the needy people of Armenia.
As I talked with the team, they were stepping over each other as they joyfully expressed the ways they have seen God work during their trip. They have had many opportunities to share the gospel. They have found some “people of peace (Luke 10)” to help with the church planting efforts of our Armenian team. They have been able to encourage and bless the believers, and have seen in a new way the beauty of the body of Christ laboring together in unity.
A verse that I shared with members of the team and have prayed for them comes from the story of Lazarus in John 11. Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Marina, Dima, Gennadi, and Ira all told me that they will head back to Ukraine with a deeper knowledge of Christ and a greater vision of what He wants to do in their country. They took a step of faith and believed God, they saw His glory, and they will never be the same. May we all regularly take new steps of faith that allow us to see the glory of God in new and fresh ways.