From 11-23 February 2016 the SU Scotland gap year team (Fergus Munro, Rachel Barr, Rachael Cobb, Nathanael Jones, Joanne Fisher and Anya Stupak), and SU staff Jackie Ringan and Colin Carmichael, took part in a mission trip to visit the Scripture Union Open Bible team.

International Youth Camp

Over the first weekend there was an international camp held at the Open Bible campsite in Vorzel, outside Kiev.

“This was great because we were all able to worship the same God in our different languages, as we sang the same hymns but in our own language and there was an amazing blend of words and you could feel everyone’s passion for worship and praise.”
Rachael Cobb

There was also an international evening where the different countries shared some things from their respective cultures. (Yes, the Scottish team did organise a ceilidh!)

The Long Road to ChernivtsiUkraine 'horse ' & Carriage

The Scottish team spent the majority of their time in the beautiful western city of Chernivtsi, a 10 hour drive away from Vorzel. There they joined in activities organised by Sveta, the Open Bible staff member in that part of Ukraine, and also spent time sightseeing and taking in the culture.

“I also got increasingly excited about travelling to Chernivtsi, since even though I’m Ukrainian but that part of Ukraine is not very familiar to me as well as visiting schools and telling children about who we are.” Anya

Chernivtsi churches and schools

In the Chernivtsi schools the team had the opportunity to share with children and young people about Scotland and the work of SU Scotland. There was a lot of enthusiasm about our visit as international visitors are a rare occurrence. One school said that we were the first international visitors in over 30 years!

“Going into the schools with Open Bible was a privilege, seeing the relationship that Open Bible was building with the schools and being part of it was great.” Nathanael

Ukrainian Class

“Church was also not completely unfamiliar, there were some differences but they really prompted me to think about the way I worship and why I believe certain things.” Rachel Barr

In Chernivtsi we visited two churches where the team shared testimonies, sang a couple of songs and Colin was invited to preach. For our visits to schools and churches, the team were very grateful for the translation work done by Open Bible staff member Oksana Khimich and Anya Stupak. You can watch one of the church services on You Tube.

Jackie and Colin were also asked to lead a training event the Friday evening and Saturday of the second weekend for children’s workers in the Chernivtsi region on how to use the Bible with children.


Ukrainian hospitality

The team were amazed at the hospitality they encountered during the trip. A few of the gap year sum it up well:

“The people I met there were among the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.” Joanne

Ukraine Team

“We met people who would truly understand the story of the widow’s mite. They gave of themselves, their time, their money and their food (I particularly enjoyed that last one!)” Fergus

“I was blown away on so many occasions at the generosity and hospitality of people we met throughout the trip.” Rachel Barr


Find out more about our gap year programme.