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Ukraine was the Dessert!

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Ev pictured with Max, one of the first trade school students to come through the program and currently studying at Providence College in Manitoba to prepare for ministry in Ukraine.

Once in a while, you get to keep company and spend time with someone who inspires, spurs on and sparks a flame in you.  Last week, I had one of those mornings.  I had the privilege to share stories with an incredible woman of God – faithful with the small and big things in her life… here is a short excerpt from my time together with Ev Wiens - as she shares about her upcoming plans to travel back to Ukraine for three months next January.

Kim Savage (KS): I understand you are planning to go back to Ukraine – the ministry you and your husband John started several years ago.

Ev Wiens (EW): Yes! Much of me going back is to reconnect with the elder team who stepped up and led the ministry after John passed away in 2014.  To be an encouragement to them and to see how things are going over there. To serve where I can for a short time.

KS: What do you hope to be doing while in Ukraine?

EW:  There is so much to experience when I go back.  The ministry has grown so much and changed in the last couple years and I am eager to see so many friends at New Hope church – to reconnect and support them.  Two vans go to the war zone almost every week to take food, supplies, Bibles and share the hope in Christ to several areas. They are in the process of planting two new churches in the war zone.   I also want to see what is happening at the trade school in the village about 45 minutes away from Zaporizhye and see how New Hope Centre is working with traumatized children from the war zone as well as with young, struggling families.

KS: It sounds like the ministry continues to flourish and grow.  What would you say is the core value your ministry in Ukraine was and is?

EW: When we went over all those years ago, we just wanted to serve where there were needs. And there were a lot of needs.  We didn’t know what that would look like.  In time, God revealed that a big part of our work would be to care for orphans – orphans that were aging out of a system with no education or work skills, orphans who didn’t know how to be part of or have a healthy family, orphans who needed hope and a future. To go back next January will be such a privilege – I can’t wait to see how this work has expanded and the see the new things they are doing. There are kids we worked with who are now serving in the ministry or go to New Hope church.

KS: Last question, if you had to sum up your time in Ukraine, how would you?

EW: Well, that’s hard.  I think I would say that if life in ministry was a meal then Ukraine was the dessert. It illustrates how special and important our time was there.

There is so much that could be written about this time with Ev and her upcoming plans to go to Ukraine.  Barely the “coles notes” have been relayed in this blog.   Take time to connect with her personally.  She has so much to share and your life will be [much] richer for it!

with Anya (left) and Victoria (right). Two ministry leaders serving with Ev in the Ukraine.

Ev & John Wiens are retired Gracepoint pastors who were called by God to start a church and school called New Hope Center located in Zaporizhye, Ukraine in 2007. They have a deep heart for missions and have followed God as He purposes their entire life. John passed away a couple years ago, Ev continues to be involved in the ministry they started and provide support and encouragement to the ministry’s leadership.

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Summer Intern to RA in 3 Short Weeks!

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Lauren Weigel served as our multi-talented intern this summer in Worship Arts.  We miss her terribly, but she sent us an update of how God is moving in her life since heading back to university and serving as a Resident Advisor.

Hey Pastor Rick! 

Hello from UBC Okanagan! Hope you guys are doing well at Gracepoint. Even though I've only been gone a couple weeks, 18-20 hour days make it feel like I've been here already for ages. 

Just thought I'd tell you all that things up here are great and I've met many resident advisors who are also Christians! We will be planning a few events to bring some willing residents to church with us. One of the Christian boys that I met actually knows someone that goes to our church! So yay for connections. 

Pastor Chris' fridge has come in a handy because the food they are feeding us is kind of gross (but we eat it anyways – carbs!).  I'm pretty much the only one with milk for cereal. I've also been playing Chris' seemingly favourite song, Prodigal Son Suite by Keith Green every morning while I do my devotional. So glad that [Pastor] Gregg got me back into this habit. Everyone I meet is super confused about what being a worship arts intern means so I get to tell them about my job and sneak in a little bit about how great Jesus is too. 

Thank you guys again for teaching me how to be a leader in this respect. I often think of you all and I can't wait to be back to see everyone! I've attached a few pictures of how small my room is (please excuse how messy it is, my brain has been all over the place for the last week) and the view at night time (it's of the Kelowna international airport). Enjoy! 

Please keep praying for me, this training is extremely draining!

Miss you all very much,
Lauren Weigel 

PS - I've been doing daily devotions with my fellow Christian friends and we are looking into doing a weekly bible study together!! Last night I shut down my first party and even though I was extremely nervous about it, I asked God for strength and he delivered!!  I've been on house arrest (basically) since I got to Kelowna and haven't been able to leave for church yet, so this week I'm planning to go and check it out. My one prayer request is that I sell my books!! 

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