Spiritual Impact through English Camps

English Camps: Ukraine

By Randy Marshall OMS Ukraine

Many short-term mission trips look for people with construction skills or a desire to serve with manual labor, but the camps in Ukraine offer a different way to have an impact for the Kingdom of God.

We need English speakers who are willing to make international friends while having fun, and who want to share God’s love with those around them. No special skills are needed—just an ability to smile, make friends, and live out your daily relationship with Jesus.

Our camps bring together teams of 12 to 15 native English speakers from Australia, New Zealand, North America, and the United Kingdom to spend time with a group of about 25 English-speaking Ukrainian university students.

We spend eight days together, playing games, eating tasty food, and engaging in discussions about the Bible and a film about Jesus. Although Ukrainian students come to practice English with native speakers—by the end, many are excited about the love and acceptance they’ve experienced—and most say they’ve gained much more than English.

English Camp Participants
English Camp participants enjoying a picnic lunch and games at the beach.

Lili, a 17-year-old university student in Kyiv, came to camp this summer to make international friends and to gain confidence in speaking English. Her long-term goal is to become a diplomat. But her time at camp made her stop and think. “After this camp, my thinking really, really changed,” she said, “Now, I understand that I must think more about God and my life.” Since then, she has been meeting faithfully twice a week with OMS missionary Shelley Marshall and a Ukrainian believer named Mary. They have been studying the Bible and learning what it means to live the Christian life.

Through those discussions, it’s become clear that Lili has committed to Jesus. She’s so excited and is telling her family and friends about Him. Lili has shared about her experience with a college roommate, asking if they could start praying together. She and Mary are praying that God will bring people with whom they can begin a new home church.

English camps are a great way to have a significant spiritual impact in a short amount of time. The organization of the camp schedule allows spiritual conversations to naturally happen. It’s exciting to see team members uncertain about their ability to share Jesus, leave camp excited at how the Spirit enabled them to share His love and life with Ukrainian college students.

We’ve had team members come back year after year because of the joy of seeing God work through them and in the hearts of the Ukrainian university students.

The camps are a critical part of our ministry in Kyiv, because we use them to find people open to the Good News, and then we follow up with them through Discovery Bible Studies and Life Groups. We’d love to have you join us next summer to see God change your life and the life of a Ukrainian university student.

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