New Year's Day, 2014, I was in Ukraine celebrating with dear friends at the HfO house during a few days lapse in between camps. We decided to write down our dreams for the new year and seal them up in tiny jars to be opened next year. I heard the scratch of everyone else's pens as they wrote their dreams, but my pen simply rested against the piece of red construction paper I held in my hands. I had nothing to write. There were the usual resolutions I could put down- go skydiving, study Russian, write more poems, read the Bible every day... but these were practical things I could accomplish, not a vision or hope I had for the future.
Life had taught me dreaming of the future could be dangerous. The future could disappoint and hurt me, so what's the point of dreaming at all? I had rationalized the safest way to live meant having no expectations, simply taking whatever came and accepting it as the Lord's will. Sitting on a kitchen chair in the HfO living room that night, I realized how sad it was that I allowed fear and pain to stop me from dreaming. After a few more minutes of having no idea what to write, I wrote down the only honest thing I could, "Lord, give me dreams again." We all sealed our jars without sharing what we had written and sang a few worship songs together.
As the party dwindled and people began to leave, a new friend of mine, who had no idea what I had just asked the Lord, turned to me, looked me in the eyes and said, "my sister, my wish for you is to dream impossible things." And then he turned away and left.
Two and a half years later, my impossible dream is coming true- I am moving to Ukraine.
I am buying a one-way ticket and will stay as long as the Lord leads, serving with the Hope for Orphans team and teaching English to kids who have aged out of their orphanage and are trying to get into trade school or university. There are currently 3 boys living at the Hope for Orphans House, Sergei, Edik, and Jenya; but the team hopes to add more boys and girls to the program soon. I am committing to at least one year serving with Hope for Orphans, but anticipate staying 3-5 years, or as long as the Lord leads. My passion is for Ukraine and serving teens who live in chronic trauma, and I am excited to discover more extensively how God will use the passion He has given me as I become more familiar with the language and culture of Ukraine and the Hope for Orphans team.
I would love for you to be a part of this journey with me. If you would like to receive monthly (or more realistically, every-now-and-then-ly) email updates with stories and prayer requests, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to my support team.
The support and encouragement I have received leading up to this next step in this journey humbles me. I could not be ready to make this next step without the financial, spiritual, and emotional support my friends and family have generously poured out. If you would like to continue this journey with me, there are several ways you can do so:
- Stop by my moving sale on September 17th at my parents' house in Altamonte Springs! Call/text/email me for directions.
- You can support me financially through a one time donation or on a monthly basis by following the link: Send Abi to Ukraine, or by clicking the "Donate" button in the right-hand column of my blog homepage. If you don't have a PayPal account, or feel more comfortable sending a check, you can mail a check to me with Ukraine in the memo at my parents' address (please email me and I will send you the address).
It looks like my living expenses will be under $1,000 a month, so I aim to raise $12,000 before I leave. After the first 2 months, I will reassess if these are reasonable estimates and let you know if/when I make any adjustments.
Please pray for me. I am hopelessly inadequate to be a full time missionary in Ukraine, but when my inadequacies threaten to overwhelm me, I remember none of them are a surprise to God and He does not call me to walk in a way that He has not already prepared before me. The list could go on and on, but here are some things close to my heart I would love prayer for:
- My family. They are incredibly supportive of my decision and rejoice that I will be serving the Lord in my heart country, but it will be hard for us to be so far away from each other. Please pray for their wellbeing and that I trust the Lord with their lives.
- Political unrest in Ukraine. Tension is building as Russia and separatists continue fighting in Eastern Ukraine. Please pray for peace and protection of those made more vulnerable by the economy, having to flee their their homes, and losing loved ones to the fighting.
- Hope for Orphans. This team is growing and maturing in beautiful ways. Please pray for the expansion of orphan ministry, for team unity, and for the resources needed to sustain the work the Lord is calling this team to. Please also pray for Sergei, Edik, and Jenya as they are the first kids to move to the HFO house.
- Me. As you probably know, I am a very independent person and living in complete dependence on financial support, living in a country where I am dependent on my friends to navigate the culture and the language, and teaching English for the first time... yeah, I'm going to wrestle with feeling completely inept and dependent, and my pride won't like it one bit. Please pray I see the beauty in the journey, that I trust God, and that I rejoice in the ways He will carry out His will.