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Unexpected Journies

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An unexpected journey unfolded before us last fall!

It started with a phone call from Phil Wagler asking if Gillian and I would be interested in helping out with a group of young people who were preparing to go on long term missions throughout the world with MB Missions’ TREK. These students were all training and preparing.  Getting equipped to embark, along with their co-labourers, to their various destinations, serving as an integral part of MB missions and MB’s ongoing work. The obvious questions for the two of us was: “What would we do? How would we help?”

Those questions were quickly answered by trusting in the Lord and what His plans for us were.

We stepped out in faith.  Our answer was yes and our time with the teams turned into a most live-giving and amazing journey from September to December last year and September to November this year.

Many might ask: “So what did you do during that time?” Well, we really just made ourselves available to these new missionaries.  We came alongside to pray with them and for them.  We encouraged them.  We listened to them.  We served as “parents” to them as they prepared themselves with extensive teaching, listening to God, growing in their faith and preparing their hearts for the mission field ahead.

What was the result from all of this? A group of missionaries prepared to go.  And for us… well we now are able to keep connected with these servants - give ongoing support and prayer for these groups as they work in Peru, Panama, Thailand, Portugal, Lithuania and Germany. What a gift!

As we reflect on all that has happened, we are so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity - as seniors - to be available to serve!

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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