Common questions we receive and some quick easy answers!
Are you safe? Where are you now?
Yes, we are safe now. The first 3-4 days of the war were very intense but we have been relatively safe the whole time. We helped some of our Ukrainian friends cross the border into Romania.
How long will you be in Romania?
In times like these it is nearly impossible to plan for the future. As of now, we are planning to stay in Romania until it is safe to return to Ukraine. They will need a lot of help rebuilding when this is all over-both physically and emotionally. We want to help with that. As the war progresses we constantly be reevaluating, praying, and following God’s lead.
What is your ministry like now?
We have joined YWAM Cluj as they receive Ukrainian refugees. Right now they are housing around 60 people and feeding up to 85 people every day. Vladimir has been helping them finish new apartments and renovating spaces for them to gather in community, transition into their new lives, and start healing. Emily has been helping clean apartments and get them ready for new refugees, cleaning up after lunch, sorting clothes in the donation boxes, and helping with the kids program. The team has also been sending trucks full of supplies into Ukraine, where the YWAM team in Ternopil unpacks and distributes wherever needed.
What is YWAM?
YWAM stands for Youth With A Mission. It is a nonprofit organization started by Loren Cunningham in 1969. He had a vision of waves of young people being sent out as missionaries to the world. Today there are YWAM bases all over the world that function independently but with the same general guidelines. The most common program they run is called Discipleship Training School, or DTS. This is a 5-6 month program divided into Lecture Phase and Outreach Phase. In the 3 months of Lecture Phase, the students hear from guest speakers on topics like the heart of God, worldview, Biblical studies, cultural differences, and more. During this phase they also are involved in some light ministry work and prepare for the Outreach Phase, 2-3 months of full time missions. We (Vladimir and Emily) met on our DTS back in 2017; see our About page for more info.
YWAM bases around the world typically run at least 1 DTS per year (depending on the size of the base), and do full time ministry engagement with the community. There are also other types of schools they run, such as a 3 month worldview class, a 9 month intensive Bible class, and more. They also occasionally host other YWAM teams on Outreach Phase. Most European bases have shifted their focus and are primarily working on helping Ukrainian refugees in the present crisis.
What about the kids from your youth group?
Most of them have left our village, although a few stayed. Some were able to leave independently, and others we helped find transport. They are now scattered across Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and other western European countries. A few of the older boys joined the Ukrainian territorial defense. They are young, still between ages 15-17. We keep in touch with them through our old group chat. They are safe, but we miss them.
Has becoming Orthodox changed anything?
(This was an older question we got asked a lot just before we went to Ukraine.) Yes and no! We are still the same people we were before. But now we have a deeper connection to our faith, our heart for missions has grown stronger, and we are more passionate than ever before. We have a greater understanding of the Ukrainian and Russian people and their history. There is a deep rich history of Orthodoxy: 70% claim it on surveys. But how many actually attend? Reconnecting them to the church and their history, their identity in Christ, is now crucial to our ministry. Not to mention, a whole new world of global connections have opened up to us. Orthodox take care of each other, and as long as we can find an Orthodox Church we will be in good hands.
How can I donate?
This is our page that lists how to give tax deductible donations! Thank you, every dollar helps!