GO (Global Outreach) Trip participants are experiencing miracles all around the world. Lives are being transformed in the name of Jesus.
Read how God has been working through His servants in locations like Nicaragua, Uganda, Peru, Kenya, and Ukraine!
UKRAINE (January 2020)
Day 6-10: A Heart for Ukrainian Children
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Although Christmas is a joyful season, many of us dread the hecticness of purchasing, organizing, and wrapping gifts. We often end up buying dozens of presents: new toys for children, fancy chocolates for co-workers, gift cards for relatives and friends…some of us may have even bought a new chew-toy for our dog! Yet, in other areas of the globe, the act of exchanging this many gifts would seem extravagant.
The January GO Team serving in Ukraine noticed a lack of Christmas presents given to children and committed to participating in the distribution of hundreds of Gift of Hope boxes throughout the Zaporizhya region and beyond.
Our local ministry partner, Mission Eurasia, explained that over the course of the Ukrainian Orthodox holiday season (early January), over 127,000 Gift of Hope boxes are given to children across Eurasia. Sure enough, throughout their ten days of ministry, the GO Team gave out almost 20,000 parcels to Ukrainian children.
And these boxes are no ordinary Christmas packages! Each container is stuffed with little presents of toys, candies, and school supplies. As well, each gift box includes an illustrated Bible and Spark magazine! The box itself is an evangelism tool for parents and includes a code for the New Life app, allowing the recipient to digitally access Scripture in their local language.
A new addition to each Gift of Hope box this year was a little heart, with a blank space where the receiving child could write his or her name. This may jog your memory, as you might have found a similar paper heart in your mailbox at Christmastime! This is a clear reminder that the love of Christ has no borders; it spreads across every nation!
The following quote was sent to us from Mission Eurasia president, Sergey Rakhuba. It encompasses the passion the GO Team has for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with young people in Ukraine.
"Merry Orthodox Christmas from Ukraine! It is wonderful to be here witnessing the amazing gospel impact that the next generation leaders are making in their communities. During the Orthodox Christmas season, our Mission Eurasia leaders and my team of colleagues from Canada are mobilizing local churches to use the Christmas holiday as an opportunity to reach hurting children in their communities by distributing Gift of Hope boxes!"
Watch the video below to hear what one young Gift of Hope box recipient has to say about the outreach programs she attended lead by the GO Team and Mission Eurasia.
Day 1-5: Stephen Zurakowsky - The Gift of Music
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16
Sunday morning worship brought on a wave of emotions for the GO Team serving in Eastern Europe. The team had the opportunity to participate in a service on January 6 at a vibrant, traditional church called New Hope Church in Zaporizhya, Ukraine. It didn’t take long for the team to discover that this was no ordinary Sunday morning celebration. According to Ukrainian holiday tradition, Christmas Day is celebrated on January 7, so the morning was filled with joyous caroling and Christmas Eve festivities.
The local church members felt blessed to have a Canadian team take part in their cultural Christmas service. They were eager to listen to the team share testimonies and passionately prayed alongside them. Yet it was an impromptu performance by GO Team member, Stephen Zurakowsky, that left the deepest spiritual impact…and few dry eyes in the entire sanctuary.
Stephen, not expecting to be asked to perform a solo on his acoustic guitar, hesitantly introduced himself in front of the congregation. But as he began to strum, the response was pure wonderment and his confidence grew. His fingers graced the strings, and a heavenly tune filled the room from end to end. “The whole church was overwhelmed by his playing,” said Brad Willey, GO Trip manager. As he humbly plucked the strings, Stephen suddenly knew why he had been sent to Ukraine. God called him to be a witness through music—a musician for Christ.
This realisation was divinely confirmed shortly thereafter. Following the service, a man who had been sitting timidly towards the back of the small sanctuary approached. The gentleman explained that the guitar solo had profoundly touched his heart, and Stephen’s faith story had resonated closely with his own spiritual journey. Both men had grown up in households ridden with pains from alcoholic parents. Yet, both had also been miraculously rescued by a new Father—the Heavenly Father.
God has given Stephen Zurakowsky the incredible gift of music. And it was only by His power that Stephen had the ability to deeply connect with a man hurting from the effects of alcoholism. Although not everyone is musically talented like Stephen, God has given each person specific gifts that can be used for His purposes. Don’t keep your gifts hidden!
God calls you to bring His gospel message—be it in your local area, or as a part of another GO Team in a foreign location. If you are struggling to see the many spiritual gifts you possess, ask God to reveal them to you! The Father has equipped all of His children with specific tools to bless others and share His Word with the world.
NICARAGUA (November 2019)
Day 1-5: Liberation from Bondage
“I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck and tear off the chains of oppression.” Nahum 1:13 (NLT)
A hospital can be an intimidating place to share the gospel. People are sick, doctors are busy, and patients’ emotions are low. Though it may have been difficult for the Nicaragua GO Team members to muster up the emotional, physical, and spiritual strength to preach at Manolo Morales Hospital, God was with them, guiding their hearts and speech for His will to be done there.
GO Team member, Eddie Martin, reflects on the visit. “We were given complete freedom to witness, evangelize, and pray with so many patients in the wards. It was exhausting! But exciting to be exhausted [for Christ.]”
The Manolo Morales Hospital is a sizable facility that serves hundreds of people from surrounding cities. Although spacious, the institution struggles to address the constant medical needs of its many patients. “Life and death are very public and raw here, indeed,” remarks Rhonda Bourne, another GO Team member.
Team leader, Artur Borges, had an experience with a patient named Logan that put the physical and spiritual poverty of the hospital in perspective. A convicted criminal, Logan lay chained to his cot. He was suffering from a very dangerous combination of HIV and Dengue Fever; a brief conversation with a nurse confirmed Logan was shackled to his deathbed. Artur commented, “Logan’s body was very weak and the prison's conditions were not giving him hope that he would survive this last infirmity.”
Artur had no choice than to trust in the provision of Christ—only the Word of God could bring comfort to this dying man. Artur read passage after passage, reiterating that only the Lord brings true deliverance.
Logan slowly opened his mouth to speak. “I am now a born-again believer.” Artur’s hand immediately met Logan’s, and they prayed together. And as he let go of the man’s chained wrist, Artur knew the Lord had already freed Logan from the shackles which confined his broken spirit. He was now ready to be released. Artur and the team are confident that they will meet a liberated Logan in heaven one day.
Speaking about your faith can be scary, and you may feel inadequate to evangelize in a place like Manolo Morales Hospital. Yet God calls every one of his children to boldly proclaim His love—everywhere. Pray about it; He will give you courage. Christ may be challenging you to step forward and join a GO Team—to be a light in a dark place, and help release people from the bondage of life without Jesus.