Service Update 2016
2016 was a consequential year for Olive Branch. War in Ukraine and Ebola in Sierra Leone pushed us to our limits as we addressed the difficult issues of combat stress, battle fatigue, and Post Trauma Stress among military personnel and Internally Displaced Refugees in Ukraine and hospital chaplains ministering to doctors, nurses, and patients during the Ebola epidemic. These are the projects that our great group of volunteers accomplished this year.
Opportunity in the Ukraine
- Volunteer Chaplains in Ukraine
In January, we did training for volunteer chaplains with pastors and priests including: Roman Catholic Seminary, Vorzel, 9 priests; 25 volunteer chaplains of the Ukrainian Chaplains Battalion, Kiev; hosted 30 Baptist pastors for Ministry of Defense Certification Course. In an ongoing program, Olive Branch Ukraine hosts Military, Hospital, Prison, and Police Chaplains Training at Kiev Theological Seminary (KTS) Kiev, Ukraine. Five new students joined a student body of 50 this autumn in the Chaplains School.
- Medical Chaplaincy in Ukraine
In separate meetings in Kiev. we met with the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Interior, and the Main Military Hospital advocating the establishment a medical (hospital chaplaincy and in May made a presentation about the medical chaplaincy to 35 medical interns at the Main Military Hospital. In February, we met with the Ukrainian Defense Attaché at the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, DC.
- Conference on the Chaplaincy, Kiev, Ukraine
In May we were a major sponsor of a governmental-level International Scientific and Practical Conference, THE MILITARY MULTI-CONFESSIONAL CHAPLAINCY IN UKRAINE: RESULTS OF THE FIRST PHASE OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION (2014-2016), May 11-12, 2016 held at Shevchenko University, Kiev, Ukraine, 180 conferees. Our OBI delegation spoke in both plenary and workshop presentations.
Family Support Programs
- Military Women’s Ministry in Ukraine
In July, we held meetings with Military Wives/Women’s Ministry of Olive Branch Ukraine in Kiev, Zhitomer, Ivano-Frankovsk, establishing three new chapters with a total 60 women in attendance.
- English Camp
In July we also held our 15th Annual English Camp, 82 campers, 115 total in at Open Bible Camp in Cherkasy.
- New Country – Moldova
Following English Camp we met with Deputy Minister of Defense of Moldova in Chisinau, Moldova to discuss Suicide Prevention Training for the Moldova Military, National Police, and Protestant churches that have Rehabilitation Programs. We extended our connection within the country and met with a Christian Evangelical Pastor at a Rehabilitation Center, near Chisinau, Moldova.
Online Training Opportunities
- Sierra Leone
Due to the Ebola epidemic, our team could not travel to Sierra Leone and if they had they would have had gone into three weeks quarantine on their return. So we did faciliated online training, shipped a library of chaplaincy materials to them and shipped training materials so the SL hospital chaplains could do training of their own volunteers themselves. Now that the Ebola crisis is passed, Chap(CMD) Don Cramblit, US Navy(Ret), is traveling to Freetown the first two weeks of December to conduct onsite training to refresh the hospital chaplains and connections at the Ministry of Health.
COL(Ret) Bill Barko conducted 4 online training sessions with the Olive Branch Ukraine hospital chaplains at the Chernova Sloboda Regional Hospital in Cherkasy, Ukraine.