Jul 13, 2023 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
Often the best defense is a good offense.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine impacts our JV team on a daily basis. Many young people we have trained as youth leaders in local churches are now fighting as soldiers on the front lines of the war. One former youth leader, Max, was captured and has been in prison behind enemy lines for over a year now. Others have been wounded and even lost their lives.
As the war in Ukraine enters its 17th month, a summer counteroffensive is now underway. Ukrainian forces are pressing forward to regain lost territory. The battle is fierce and the cost is high. But the price of passivity and defeat is even greater.
There is a spiritual battle underway that is every bit as significant as the physical one. Passivity or defeat in this conflict are not an option. Rather than shrinking back from the difficult challenges, our Ukraine team is taking the offensive to get the gospel to as many young people as possible during these summer months, in spite of the demanding and dangerous conditions.
A total of 24 JV evangelistic camps will take place in Ukraine during July and August. Our theme this year is “Part of the Plan.” We believe that God is sovereign over the affairs of the world and is always working to accomplish his purposes. His plan is that we oppose evil with good and move toward the battle rather than away from it. Hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ, as he invites us to join him in his mission to seek and save that which is lost. We can be part of his plan when we respond to his call with obedience and faith.
Staffing these camps is a special challenge because of the reluctance of people to travel to a region at war. Our Ukraine team is “all in” to take full advantage of these summer months, and both JV staff and courageous church teams from surrounding countries will be joining them. Some of these camps revolve around teaching English, others will use sports, music, or adventure to build relationships with young people. All of them center on Jesus Christ and his power to redeem and reconcile us with our heavenly Father.
Another emphasis of our summer counteroffensive is renewal retreats, where pastors and church workers have an opportunity to process the trauma of this last year in a safe space, and experience care, refreshment, and personal renewal. Since they have been on the front lines of caring for needy people for many months now, keeping them equipped and healthy is key to the ongoing strength of the church.
When a conflict is far away from us it is easy to forget about the battle and fill our minds with needs that are closer to home. Yet, you are also “Part of the Plan,” as you stand with these brothers and sisters with your giving and your prayers.
Thank you for joining us in the counteroffensive.
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