~ by Laura Courtney, English Teacher
This is the twelfth year that I have had the opportunity to serve at an English Camp in Kyiv, Ukraine. Our team was wonderfully diverse: 1 Aussie, 7 Americans, 4 Kiwis, and 1 Chinese/American. Throughout camp, we played games, had Bible discussions, watched a movie about the life of Christ, shared testimonies, sang worships songs, and clearly presented the Gospel. God worked powerfully through the activities and the team to show Himself to the students.
One of the unique aspects of this year’s camp was that none of my student partners were actually college students. Mary is getting her masters (and got married a few weeks before camp!); Natalia is starting a job teaching at a college (and got married in September!); and Ilona has an 8 year old son. They’re all in their late twenties. Ilona is a Christian, and she partnered with me to reach out to the girls. Natalia was especially open and is very close to making a decision to follow Christ. Another unusual thing was that we had two brothers at camp who are refugees from Afghanistan. They have lived in Ukraine for about two years but don’t know where the rest of their family is. They are Shi’a (which is a persecuted/targeted minority in Sunni-majority Afghanistan), as well as being from an ethnic minority. They asked a lot of questions about Christianity, and Masih, the younger brother, was especially open about asking questions and sharing his beliefs. Another aspect that differentiated this year’s camp was Sadie Sprankle (‘13). Sadie has been to camp for many years and served in Kyiv full-time, but this was her the last camp for the foreseeable future as she has followed God’s leading to serve in Budapest, Hungary. Lastly, camp was very different for me as I have been recovering from a broken tibia. This made some aspects of camp a challenge, but it was a wonderful blessing to be able to serve in Kyiv again. I am grateful that God made a way for me to go and that He used me to impact the lives of Ukrainians.