It seems that Jesus and I have the same conversation time and time again. I imagine how a series of events are going to play out and Jesus beautifully interrupts, showing me so much more than I could ever imagine. This same conversation happened countless times during the two months I spent in Armenia and the Ukraine.
Often I go places with the expectation of being the blessing. Yet I leave more fulfilled than I could ever provide those I had hoped to bless.
Young Life has been in Chernivtsi, Ukraine since 1994 and the impact the staff and leaders are having on the city is so apparent. There are a number of Young Life ministries in Chernivtsi (Young Life, WyldLife, YoungLives, Young Life College, Capernaum and Young Life for orphans). There is also a church that was started for the purpose of being more inviting to students involved with Young Life.
I spent a month in Ukraine and was given the chance to serve at a WyldLife camp and a YoungLives Camp. I also had the opportunity to lend a helping hand to remodel a Young Life center in Chernivtsi. I joined local leaders and students and we spent many hours working on the Young Life center (we also had ample time to explore the beautiful city). There was a small language barrier, but that didn’t stop us from laughing, praying and worshiping together. As much as I had to give it would never compare to what had been given to me. I had more fun than I could have ever imagined and got a glimpse of what Young Life looks like across the world. I made friends that reminded me that we are all His. But most importantly I learned so much more about Jesus, how He cares for me, and what He wants for my life.
After leaving Ukraine I spent a month in Armenia working to turn a former Soviet Youth Camp into one of the most beautiful Young Life camps I have ever seen. I met a group of guys that I was absolutely humbled to work with. Everyone cared for and valued each other more than the work at hand. Everyone had a different set of skills to bring to the table and together we shared through the good and the hard times of building a camp.
Everything about the camp completely blew away my expectations. I was prepared for the facilities to be marginalized, because It isn’t an American camp, but upon arrival I realized how wrong I was. The property was beautiful and everything was built to give kids the best week of their lives. Even across the world, Young Life camps are always going to feel like a place where heaven meets earth. Knowing that kids will hear about Jesus and the life changing news of gospel there makes it absolutely worth it.
When Jesus told the disciples, “leave your net and follow me” they had no clue of the adventure that would ensue. In the same way, Jesus has invited us into a journey to witness more than we could ever imagine.
The world is waiting, go and see it!
— Danny Boyle
You can see more on these ministries at www.Russiafsu.younglife.org and www.armeniacamp.younglife.org or on Facebook at Young Life Former Soviet Union and Young Life Armenia. To find out how you can serve in Ukraine and at the new Pioneer Camp in Armenia contact Carrie Fraser firstname.lastname@example.org 719-229-4970