Our Journey To Ukraine
There are 32.5 million young people in Central and Eastern Europe and less than 1% have a personal relationship with Jesus.
When we were married in 2012, our greatest desire was to live our lives fully open to serving God in any and every way. From Katie working at a non-profit organization and in youth ministry, to Lee’s ministry with a touring band and his position as a Tech Director at a church – God has weaved our stories together for Him in unique and humbling ways.
A perfect example of this is when we first visited Lviv, Ukraine in February of 2014 to learn more about Josiah Venture. We were blown away by the missionaries, the relational aspect of the ministries, and the bigger vision to see a movement of God among the youth of Central and Eastern Europe. We love that Josiah Venture empowers nationals and focuses on doing ministry in and through the local church. Even though we spent just a few days in Lviv, God opened our eyes to the unbelievable need for global youth ministry. 94% of the world’s youth live in a country other than the United States, yet only 6% of youth-focused ministry happens outside of the US! Indeed, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
During our brief time in Ukraine, God planted a desire in our hearts to see the local church there continue to grow in discipling youth and equipping young leaders to fulfill Christ’s commission. Upon departing Lviv, we felt an increasing desire to stay open to serving longer term with Josiah Venture.
That summer, due to the uncertain situation in Ukraine, we led a short-term team of high school students to the Czech Republic to do an English Camp with JV. When we returned to the US, we continued serving in youth ministry, in a college/young adult group and through Lee’s band. We deeply hoped and prayed for an opportunity to return to Ukraine for ministry. In 2016, God said “yes” to our prayers as we were able to lead a short-term team to Ukraine to do a music ministry camp called Fusion. It was amazing to see how music brought so many young people to a camp to not only learn instruments and participate in a choir, but to also hear about the good news of Jesus. Once again, we felt God deepening our love for the people and ministry in Ukraine.
Our Role With Josiah Venture
During this camp, Josiah Venture invited us to join the Ukraine team to help launch a ministry called Exit Tour. After prayer, fasting, and counsel, we felt strongly affirmed by God to do this.
Exit Tour is a music outreach program that already exists in a few other Josiah Venture countries. The tour travels to various schools to provide preventative training on topics such as relationships, self-esteem, and substance abuse, and puts on a mini-concert by a Christian band. This happens at a few schools during the week and concludes with a full-blown concert that every student is invited to attend. It is during this performance that the gospel is presented. Not only is Exit Tour an incredible way to build relationships with local schools, it also provides an opportunity to connect students to local churches and ministries.
We are in awe of how God has used Lee’s experience with the band and Katie’s experience with youth ministry to equip us for this specific role. Along with Exit Tour, we will be living in Lviv, Ukraine, learning the language and investing in a local church.
Ukraine is home to the fastest growing church in Europe, and its youth are more open to the gospel than they’ve ever been. Since 2014, Ukraine has been in the news regularly with the occupation of Crimea and fighting in the eastern part of the country. Josiah Venture leadership closely monitors the political situation and has a safety plan in place. This is an absolutely critical time in history where many significant changes are occurring. Now more than ever, it is a time to invest in the next generation of Ukrainians. We want to join the movement of God in Ukraine and tell young people about the hope of Jesus Christ.
Join The Movement
Our goal is to move to Ukraine by the summer of 2017. In order for this to happen, we need a great team of people like you to partner with us. We are in deep need of a community of prayer supporters. We cannot do this apart from prayer and would love your partnership on this journey. If you would like to commit to pray for us regularly, please subscribe to our email newsletter by clicking here.
We also need to raise financial support for Josiah Venture. We have both monthly and one-time expenses. The monthly amount will cover our cost-of-living expenses as well as our ministry expenses. The one-time amount will cover things such as relocation expenses, a vehicle, visas, and training. You can partner with our ministry through Josiah Venture financially through monthly donations, or a one-time gift. Would you prayerfully consider giving?
If you decide to support us financially, you can give online at this link: https://josiahventure.webconnex.com/1210380.
Mail Support Address:
ATTN: Humerian Account #210380
P.O. Box 4317
Wheaton IL 60189
Thank you for taking the time to read this and considering partnering with our ministry through Josiah Venture in Ukraine!