In our daily reading this morning, Jim and I read these words of Paul Tripp in his book A Quest for More:
“Ministry is always a process and not an event. Ministry is the willingness to make long-term investments in the lives of others, with the hope that God will do what he alone can do as we are making those investments.”
This truth is what makes our ministry here in Ukraine so difficult to describe. We are not a ministry that offers a lot of hands-on opportunities for visiting teams, though we are able to organize such events. The events, though, are the easy part. And, at least in our own experience, these trips affect the traveller more than the national. We personally were forever changed after visiting Ukraine.
The follow-up is where the real ministry begins. The building of the relationships that hopefully developed at the “event.” Month-by-month, week-by-week, and day-by-day investments in the lives of those around us.
Jim has been diligent in studying the culture and asking questions about the medical system here. He has spent time on-call with Ukrainian physicians so that he could better understand their work. He leads Bible studies for medical personnel, teaches English to Ukrainian physicians at a children’s hospital, is available to help adoptive parents with evaluating children (while making contacts at the orphanages), consults with parents about their children’s health. He is happy to go into villages on outreaches — particularly where there is a local church involved. None of these things are earth-shattering alone, but the consistency speaks volumes to our friends here.
He is currently planning 2 conferences: one for Christian medical students (as far as we know, this is the first-ever Christian medical student conference in Ukraine) in August, and one in conjunction with Caring Partners International in the Fall, specifically designed as a hands-on follow-up to a conference two years ago in which the foundation was laid for developing early intervention programs for children born with disabilities.
Please be in prayer for these conferences…that God might be glorified, that relationships will be deepened between Jim and the participants, that the speakers may clearly articulate their topics.
Ukraine Medical Outreach is God’s work here, even through us.