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"Right into the danger zone to share God’s love" by Linda Sheimo

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Valentyn Korenyvych and his Ukrainian team held the Olive Branch Ukraine English Camp in the Carpathian Mountains.

Ukraine English Camp 2023

The 70 teens who attended were all from military families, they rarely attended church and only one had been to camp before. The American teachers came in response to the call from Valentyn for assistance but did not represent OBI this year.


“Here I am, send me”. Isaiah 6:8 - Teachers included an American family of five, a missionary couple, two who had been on the American team previously and two newcomers.


Jim Fisher, a retired Navy Chaplain, wrote about his experience and has given permission for us to share it with you.

Jim Fisher and Vika

“Through the invitation of the ministry of Olive Branch Ukraine I was able to facilitate an English-Speaking class of thirteen teenage students at a week-long camp in the Carpathian Mountains. I was impressed at the way that the camp was organized so that maximum impact of the gospel was achieved. The two teams of leaders complemented each other while being unique and distinct. Essentially, the members of the American Team taught the English classes and shared their testimonies, and the Ukrainian Team focused on sharing the Good News of forgiveness and redemption through formal Bible Studies, dramatic skits, videos, and personal testimony.


The Ukrainian Team provided daily Bible Studies on biblical saints such as Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David, so I focused my morning English classes on lessons, stories, and games that would emphasize and reinforce this. For instance, on the day that the Bible study was about Moses's journey through the wilderness, I divided my morning English class into groups of three. One student would talk about his/her life journey. The next would discuss possible obstacles and the last would offer affirmation and possible solutions. Such lessons reinforced concepts such as Moses' journey in the wilderness, the obstacle of the Red Sea, and the affirmation of God opening the waters. I believe that process of reinforcement of biblical truth was helpful to bring many of those teenagers to faith in Christ.


On the last day of camp, as the students climbed into the buses to return home, it was with a new spirit, of new friends and new life in Christ. And yet, I knew that these young Ukrainians were returning to homes and towns that had faced, and could face, the devastation of war. The Carpathian Mountains, were named by the early Greek explorers as "Kar-pat Heroes." The youth climbing into buses are the next generation's heroes. They will rebuild Ukraine after the war is ended...and they will rebuild Ukraine in the name of Jesus. Those youth now have dual citizenship, both to the nation of Ukraine, and as new believers, to the Kingdom of God. I couldn't help reflecting on the impact that Olive Branch Ukraine, with support from Olive Branch International, had that week in developing those youth for both God and Country."


The OBI board thanks our American volunteers who went to camp and worked alongside their Ukrainian counterparts. We are thankful to them for answering God’s call.


Regards,


Linda Sheimo, Col USA (ret)

Interim Executive Director


Your donations ARE making a difference in the lives of people. There are several OBU events this fall that still need funding.


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