When our group left for Ukraine a few weeks ago, I was excited and nervous about the two weeks ahead of me. The nine of us were headed to Dzerzhinsk, a small town in rural Ukraine, to help with a community Bible school and to distribute humanitarian aid. Though I’m not the most well-traveled teenager, I thought I had prepared myself, having studied travel guides, practiced reading the Ukrainian alphabet, and packed every travel-sized toiletry know to man. None of this, however, prepared me for the emotional and spiritual journey ahead. By the time the Bible school began on Monday morning, I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and worried about what I’d gotten myself into. I didn’t know how I could relate with the children when I couldn’t even talk with them. My worries were quickly relieved, though, by the children’s warm smiles and anxious laughter. As my class sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” both in Russian and in English, it struck me that though language is not universal, God’s love is. I didn’t have to read the Russian Bible to my class to minister to the children.
Simply holding hands, singing songs, and making crafts with them was enough to show that we cared. Each of us showed God’s love in some way that week: playing basketball, teaching a game, or leading a silly song. I’m so grateful to Independent Presbyterian Church and His Kids, Too! for the opportunity to have been able to reach out to the children of Dzerzhinsk in this memorable way.