Our partners in the Slavic world have expressed their gratitude for the support, prayers and gifts that make ministry possible and bless workers in the kingdom of God.
World Challenge’s partners who work in several former soviet states, MIR Ministries, tirelessly serve widows with food distribution, volunteer visitation, evangelism and pastoral care.
Our partners wrote to us, “We added several new villages in Belarus and also in Ukraine to our ministry. The Lord continues to add like-hearted believers and church ministries that are excited to become part of our growing missional network that focuses on participating in the ongoing mission of the Father to the fringes of broken, Slavic culture.”
Part of this growing outreach has become acknowledging the widows who volunteer in the program, reaching others like themselves. The team decided that they wanted to invite these volunteers to a retreat to bless and refresh them. The process was not all easy, but the team persevered through every complication because they believed that something else was much more important.
A Quiet Place with God
The team had 35 volunteers from their Ukrainian villages and another group of four volunteers from Belarus that they wanted to invite to this retreat. Getting the newly required visas for the individuals in Belarus proved to be difficult and costly, but at last, they succeeded, and the volunteers were able to come out to the retreat center.
One of the team shared, “We gathered for fellowship and rest primarily, a time ‘away’ from serving to decompress and learn the value of soul care. Our volunteers are precious servants in their respective churches, but they are rarely encouraged to take a breather, to spend time in solitude, refreshing their soul and being vulnerable with one another. This is something we have begun teaching and providing space for during our conferences.
“It was, for everyone, an incredibly deep experience that many found refreshing, There were many tears, laughter, and healing. Our motto was ‘You cannot give to others what you aren’t experiencing yourself,’ and our scripture verse was Matthew 11:28-30, allowing the shepherd of our souls to pastor our hearts, lead us to green pastures and exchange our heavy burdens for his.”
They were also able to give each one of their volunteers a precious gift: an MP3 player loaded with an audio Bible, 100 popular Christian songs and many sermons. With these resources, the volunteers can continue to be refreshed as they meditate on the Word and worship God.
A Testimony of Gratitude
Several of the volunteers wrote to express their gratitude for the retreat and for the work that our partners have done with them and in their communities.
“My wings have grown; such is the feeling when you are with the family of God. I feel connected to the head and heart of Christ in a fresh way. Everything provided for us was so important to me, the Word of God, the beautiful nature all around us to enjoy. I am just delighted to serve with you all.” —Natasha
“I’m very grateful for the rest and the wonderful information we received. I am so thankful for the people I was able to meet.” —Luba
“We were surprised that the atmosphere was such a blessing. The conversations and the new friends we were able to meet are very encouraging for us.” – Sergey and Olga
“I was most blessed by the hospitality of the ministry and weekend. Everyone was so open to talk about any topics we needed. I was really encouraged by the teaching, and the organization of the venue was perfect for us” —Max
We would like to add a special thank you to everyone who supports World Challenge and our partners’ ministries. Because of your prayers and gifts, our partners globally are able to invest in the spiritual health of each volunteer and their respective mission in each community. It’s an enormous blessing, especially as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift of all: Jesus Christ.