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Pictured: Lauren Stovall, center, with two of her fellow interns

A Summer Internship Reveals a Surprise Call to Missions

I had somewhat successfully suppressed my call to serve God cross-culturally. However, as a teacher, on school breaks I found myself praying about and researching opportunities to serve other cultures. I had participated in trips that spanned a week, but was burdened by a desire to pursue longer-term service. Last year, I perused the MTW website for opportunities and to my delight, I discovered a two-month summer internship with a focus on ministry and missionary service—in Ukraine.

What did I know about Ukraine? I knew that Ukraine is near Russia and that it’s cold. “Cold” and I aren’t great friends. I also assumed that there probably weren’t too many people walking around in my shade of brown. After briefly navigating that thought process, I found myself emailing the team leader in L’viv to obtain more information about the internship. I was ecstatic about what God would teach me in L'viv. Upon my arrival, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful architecture, people, and language. As interns, we learned about the culture and the specific needs of the people of Ukraine. It truly burdened my heart to know that the number of evangelical Christians there was fewer than 4 percent. I thought, “There are not enough workers here, or in Europe in general.”

One of our big outreach projects was to help serve Ukrainian university students at a weeklong summer camp in the Carpathian Mountains. That week was one of the most challenging and beautiful weeks of my time in Ukraine. It was at this camp that the Lord revealed a passion in my heart to serve university students through teaching English. I enjoyed my students so deeply. I didn’t want to leave them. On the bus ride home, I reflected on my experience as the Ukrainian landscape transitioned from rolling hills to bustling city life in L’viv. I felt this intense rush in my heart as it beat harder and faster. While watching elderly women tending their fields and passing signs in Cyrillic script, I thought to myself, “I want to stay here. I want to be a part of this culture. I want to learn the language and walk alongside students as they learn the gospel and discover who they are in Christ.”

It was on this bus ride that the Lord revealed to me a desire to be replanted in Ukraine, a place I never in a million years would have imagined myself living or even desiring to live. With each passing day, I am more convinced that my heart's desire is to serve in Ukraine.

Editor’s note: Lauren is now itinerating to serve longer-term in Ukraine with MTW. Pray that the Lord will guide her and bless others through her. Click here to learn more or join her support team.

Serve with MTW on a summer internship! Visit mtw.org/internships to learn more.

Lauren Stovall, Lviv Odesa Ukraine Dec 11, 2018
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Give thanks for and pray for the Krakow crisis team, the distribution of aid, and the shelter ministry as the team cares for displaced Ukrainians.

Pray for courage for Christ’s followers in and around Ukraine. mtw.org/ukraine-crisis

Pray for families who have evacuated, leaving behind the only place they have ever known. Pray for transition and provision. 

Pray for pastors who have stayed behind in Ukraine as they minister to their congregations and the surrounding communities in a time of war.

Pray for the health, rest, and ability to continue for those who are working with and making arrangements for refugees. It can feel like the future of each one of them is in your hands. mtw.org/ukraine-crisis

Pray that our brothers and sisters who have lost everything will cling to the community of believers and ultimate hope in Christ, and for the massive movement of people and the refugee work our teams are involved in focusing on Lviv and Krakow. mtw.org/ukraine-crisis

Pray for Ukraine to trust what is not changeable and to hope in what cannot be lost. May the Church in Ukraine be strengthened through this war. mtw.org/ukraine-crisis

Pray for MTW Ukraine's publishing ministry, translating and publishing Reformed materials in Ukrainian to equip pastors and laypeople in the Church.

Pray for the church-planting team in L'viv, Ukraine, and the Ukrainians they serve. 

Pray for Ukrainian refugees who are being welcomed by the church in Belgorod to be drawn to Christ. 

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