Missouri Baptist Childrens Home
On September 12, a team of six from Missouri Baptist Children’s Home left St. Louis for Kiev, Ukraine. The team consisted of Russell Martin, President; his wife Shirley; Greg Morrow, Vice-Chairman of the MBCH Board of Trustees; Chris Ferkel, Board member; Robbi Haynes, CFM Program Director and Derald Harris, Vice-President, Public Relations.
The purpose of the trip was to further establish relationships with Ukrainian Christians who deal with issues related to children, youth and families and to determine how we can work together to better respond to the needs.
The trip consisted of two parts: a visit with the leadership of the All Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists in Kiev and then travel to L’viv to build on the foundation of a relationship already established with New Hope Ukraine.
A sixteen minute video report of this trip is available on the MBCH Website. That video explains the context for our new partnerships in Ukraine. We encourage you to view that video and show it to your church. You will see and hear several inspiring stories and see some of the ways Missouri Baptists can work with Ukraine Baptists to serve children and families.
It is easy to try to describe such a trip as the interaction of agencies, churches and organizations. But as anyone who has ever participated in a mission trip knows, the real impact comes from the development of relationships at the personal level. It is the formation of friendships; the sharing of experiences; and the observation of God working in the simplest and most amazing of ways.
These pages do not attempt to describe what we did in Ukraine or even what we learned there. Instead, you will read from the reflections of the team members as they try to explain how this trip changed them and inspired them in their own Christian walks. You will be introduced to special people who serve the Lord in ways that humbled us all. And you will read about ministries that may inspire you and your church to see God’s hurting people in new ways and find new ways to meet the needs in your own community.
Our new friends Vladimir, Alexi, Alex and Peter minister through their churches to care for the needs of orphans, special needs adults and the lost in their communities.
Imagine your church seeking to fulfill the description of “true religion” in the book of James by recruiting church members who will agree to adopt 10 children each and then building houses so those new families have a place to live and minister.
Imagine your church seeing an underserved population in your community (like special needs adults) and planting a church to reach that population with the Gospel.
Imagine your church sending the most faithful members to other parts of your city or county to plant a new church to reach unchurched people. And imagine rejoicing when God replaces those “righteous people” with “sinners” in your church.
Those are things Vladimir, Alexi, Alex and Peter don’t have to imagine. They live them!
“I was impressed with the strength of faith and character of those we met. They are so optimistic even as they face the great needs of children and families in Ukraine. Their enthusiasm was bubbling over. I also saw how important faith was to them during great pressure and oppression. Grandparents and parents kept their faith and prepared the younger generation/s to be strong in their own faith. This is an example for all of us as Christians.”
“One area in which I was surprised was the overwhelming way in which we were received by the Ukrainians with whom we interacted. Their heart for the Lord and the way they welcomed us as brothers and sisters in Christ was most gratifying. We were not strangers, not even for a moment, but were received as though we had known them for years. I was also impressed with the openness they expressed in hearing our advice and counsel. They have a real desire to learn and to minister in such a way that they will be good stewards of the resources and opportunities God provides.”
“It seemed like they (New Hope Ukraine) were a satellite office of MBCH that we were visiting for the first time in person. From the logo, mission statement, commitment, programs, and publications, it just felt like we were kindred spirits.”
“The visit to the foster family was a real treat for me as a foster/adoptive parent. Peter and his wife have sacrificed so much to provide such a loving home to so many children and it was evident God is blessing them for their efforts. I really enjoyed interacting with the children which allowed them to show off their animals, garden, and orchard.”
“The eight days spent with the Baptist Union and New Hope Ukraine were some of the most enjoyable days I have ever had. Getting to know these amazing Christians and the things they have been able to accomplish is inspiring, humbling and challenging. It was a wonderful reminder of the ability to quickly bond with Christians on the other side of the world and develop a warm relationship, removing boundaries of language and culture.”
Please go to www.mbch.org to view and/or download the 16-minute report video.
At every stop, and with every group, Russell asked one question: “What is your greatest need?” Honestly, we expected them to say “Financial Support.”
Amazingly, that was the answer we NEVER heard. Instead, everyone replied with some version of, “Your expertise.” “Fellow Christians to work along with us.” “The encouragement of Christians from other parts of the world.”