The year was 2001. George W. Bush had just become president, Wikipedia launched their online encyclopedia, Britney Spears was still popular, "Friends" was the hot new television show, and Microsoft released the new Operating System 'Microsoft XP.'
But none of these facts really mattered much to Jenny and I, as it was the year we repented and got baptized, found our first church family, got married, and started a career in politics and marketing. Everything was simpler then, or at least it appears that way from our vantage point now. It's hard to believe that it was so long ago, but this is where the adventure of a lifetime began.
Flash forward 16 years, we have 4 kids, Alex, Jonah, Isaac, and Lauren. We serve in Ukraine as church planters, and the world is a very different place. Some nights Jenny and I just lay in bed listening to the neighborhood dogs barking, and one of us will say with a note of astonishment, "we live in Ukraine." And the other, with a similar note of contemplation says, "yup." It still perplexes me, what God has done with our lives.
After travel to Ukraine for the first time in 2004 with our church family from Bettendorf Christian; I became convinced that God was calling us into missions. When I announced what I felt was the calling of God, Jenny not so gently indicated that I needed some psychiatric help. I left the idea alone and practically forgot about it, but it wasn't but a month later that Jenny let me know that God had been working on her heart too. That was the moment of real terror. It was normal for me to be a little crazy ambitious, but it was altogether different to have Jenny, with a new baby (Alexander), thinking so adventurously. We began planning, paying off debt, selling our house, applying to Lincoln Christian University, and having another son (Jonah).
It certainly was crazy, and defied normal human logic, but I find this is usually how God likes to work. Halfway though my education we were blessed with our third son, Isaac. After finishing with a degree in Christian Ministry from Lincoln Christian University, I was ordained, we sold most of our worldly possessions, and we started a 6 month intensive Russian course in Columbia, South Carolina. As you might imagine, the courses were challenging, but we had some of the best teachers I've ever known walking with us everyday. At the end of December 2009 we said our tearful good-byes to our friends and family, and boarded a plane with three children under five. We arrived in Kiev, Ukraine in the middle of one of the largest snow storms on record.
The roads to our city were impassable, so we spent the night in the home of some of our Kontaktmission coworkers. There was no electricity, but a wood burning stove provided a place to cook and some heat, and there were absolutely no English speakers with the exception of our team leader Stanislav. That was the first night we said those words with the notes of astonishment, 'We live in Ukraine.' And we continue to be amazed at what God has done with our lives to this day. Years later we were blessed with our fourth child, a bubbly little girl named Lauren. (Lauren ladybug for those who know her well)
Our days now are spent planning events, homeschooling our boys, doing evangelism, teaching English, doing marketing for the regional seminary, and doing life in a second language. A little weird? Pretty much. Difficult? Often. Peaceful knowing we are at the center of God's will for our lives? Always. We know this world is not our home and we know we will be there someday, until then, we will continue to be busy going about the business that we have been called to.
After being cloaked in secrecy for many years under the Soviet Union, many people have little understanding of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture. The Ukrainian people have a rich and beautiful culture forged through centuries of hardship... Read More>
Kontaktmission Ukraine has been serving the Ukrainian people since 1994. We serve in different ways, but the easiest way to categorize missionary efforts might be through our core values; send, plant, multiply... Read more>>
About our ministry
Officially we are church planters in Ukraine, but this means a lot more than just gathering people together to become a new church. From outreach to building up the established church there is more than enough work to do... Read More>>
Partnering with us
Being in full time ministry and providing our basic needs is an endeavor that takes spiritual and financial resources. If you would like to be a part of our ministry in Ukraine, please click below to fill out a giving form with our sending agency Kontaktmission.