Youth to Jesus


I couldn't get him to smile.

I couldn't get him to smile.

We made it! After two flights, a LONG wait at customs, a night in Kiev, a day with our new boss and an overnight train ride we arrived in L’viv at 8am on Wednesday, which would be midnight the night before for all you central timed folks. AND…I hate to break it to everyone who told me that it wouldn’t be too chilly when I arrived – I could already see my breath. However, they promised me it was only a cold snap, and one of the students last night even told me that they were expecting an Indian summer. I am continually amazed at the understanding some Ukrainians have of English.

that's with carrots and parsley.

A Ukrainian burrito: that's with carrots and parsley.

That brings me to a more important matter than the time zone or the weather, the reason we are here, the students. Last night David and I attended Pilgrims. We will be referring to Pilgrims a lot, so let me introduce you. It is the corporate worship service of ‘Youth to Jesus.’ So, what’s “Youth to Jesus?’ It’s the name of the college ministry that David and I will be co-leading with Ukrainians. It has it’s own space in a building in downtown L’viv, and looks a lot like any other college ministry in the states. Last night when we arrived everyone was so excited to meet us. Most of the students speak impressive English. This is not going to make learning Ukrainian easy for us. However, after trying to grocery shop, buy sheets, travel, it is painfully obvious that we need to learn it immediately. Anyway… the service started at 6:30 with some praise and worship music, then announcements, another song, our introduction, a guest speaker, a prayer time and then tea and cookies. It doesn’t take long to notice that most things in Ukraine start and end with tea and cookies, not a bad custom if you ask me. I asked David this morning what he thought about Ukrainian cookies. He said, “Shannon, you know I don’t really like cookies.” I thought uh-oh this could be a long adventure for David, but if cookies are currently our biggest obstacle, I think we’ll take it.

The overnight train ride from Kiev to L'viv.

The overnight train ride from Kiev to L'viv

All that to say we thoroughly enjoyed our first Pilgrims. There were 37 students and they are already a little tight in the student center. What a great feeling! We can’t wait to start fulltime ministry, but fulltime is currently on hold until we are able to learn some Ukrainian. We start classes on Monday. They are five days a week, 9:30am-2:30pm. It makes me want to scream a little bit, but I know it is necessary for our us to connect to the students through their culture in the way only knowing someone’s vernacular allows. Pray for us about that. It is going to take some real discipline.

The view outside our livingroom window.  Can you find the Ukrainian flag?

The view outside our livingroom window. Can you find the Ukrainian flag?

OK, I did it everyone! My first blog entry ever and hopefully not my last.


11 thoughts on “Youth to Jesus

  1. So glad to hear you made it there safetly and that the biggest challenge right now might be the cookies – hehe :)! The ministry aspect sounds so fun and it is great thinking you guys are finally on the mission field where you have longed to be for so long!!! We will be praying for you! It makes me excited for when we get to start ministry in Georgia! Let us know when you get an address so we can send mail your way! Love you and miss you!

  2. Shannon, excellent blog. The stuff you wrote about is real candid and the stuf that everybody wants to know about. So keep it up. Your a natural blogger!

    I am crying just thinking how awesome God has woven our life, your lives, and the lives of some great young people in ukraine together.

    God will use you two mightily there – you are just the right people at just the right time. Absorb it, allow them to love on you.

  3. Welcome to Ukraine! I don’t know you, but four years ago shortly after I moved to Kiev I had a nice phone call with Stacy V-werf and was encouraged by the ministry there in L’viv that you are now joining. God bless and keep you as you start language training (fun fun!) and get to know the students 🙂 Oh, and Asbury’s a great place! Didn’t go, but probably have some friends that know ya – so a big shout out to ya’ll, Methodist-Wesleyany peeps!

  4. Wow! What an adventure you guys are having. So glad to hear you made it. The kids will love any pictures you post. We will continue to pray for you as you study and learn a new language. We look forward to your updates. Love you guys. Daniel and Tanya and kids.

  5. Hey guys! Thanks for the update. Nancy and I miss you something terrible. We love you both and are glad you made it safely to your destination. Know that we are both praying for you daily and if you ever need something (at least something we could help you with) let us know:
    In Christ’s love,
    Jeremy and Nancy

  6. Shannon,
    That was a great first blog. Welcome to the blogosphere! I especially enjoyed the pictures and I didn’t see a Ukrainian flag in that one, only a Swedish flag and one that I didn’t recognize. God bless you and Dave. I’ll be praying for you.

  7. So good to hear that you are in Ukraine safely and starting off your exciting adventure! The picture in the train brought back memories for me – loved the overnight train rides:)

    If you can, post your mailing address so BFS can mail you a care package. There might even be a couple extra surprises!

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