One of the things that led me to do this gap year was the mission trip to Ukraine. Ever since I went to Lithuania in 2014 I’ve had an admiration for the former Soviet Republics so I was eager to go to Ukraine to see the culture but also to meet the people.
While the “Scots” were in Kiev we stayed at Vorzel (Open Bible’s camp). We spent the second half of the trip in Chernivtsi staying in a church that had dorms.
Our first weekend involved a trip to the opera, all in Ukrainian. As I suspected the building was truly amazing! On the Saturday a group of Ukrainian young people arrived at Vorzel and over the rest of the weekend there was a conference about prayer. It was really nice to share that time with other young people of a different language and great to hear their testimonies.
On the Monday we had a 8 hour journey to Chernivtsi that ended being more than that due to regular stops. While we were in Chernivtsi, we went into schools to tell them who we were and where we are from. In Ukraine the school system still shows the impression of communism, very little religion is taught or shown. But as soon as international visitors are offered schools are very welcoming. This was helping Open Bible get into more schools that were previously closed to them. In one case we were the first international visitors in 30 years. Whilst in Chernivtsi we also went to two church services. The first service was in a big inner city church, where all the services are recorded and put on YouTube, therefore much to my delight I am now on YouTube singing… The second church was a small village church, where I gave my testimony along with some of the other gappers. To warm up the church they had a wood burning stove, and I can confirm that it was very effective.
On our last whole day in Ukraine, we went to Maidan. If you remember, this is were more than 50 people were shot on the 20th of February 2014; some of these were a similar age to me and probably had similar political views. It was difficult to see that this place was utter carnage 2 years ago yet now it is rather peaceful.
Nathanael is on our 2015/16 gap year. Want to sign up for next year?