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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 Odessa Ukraine Dec 11, 2018
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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. 

Pray for MTW's ministry to refugees in Greece, Germany, Ukraine, Uganda, Panama, and the U.S.

Pray for teams teaching English (ESL) as a part of their ministry and for the students who attend English classes/camp.

Thank God for bringing Ukrainians to faith in Him and giving them the vision to reach their own country for Christ. Pray for many more to be transformed.

Pray for two women, Monika and Andrea, who have recently come to faith against the odds in a hard-to-reach, largely atheistic European city.

Pray for Monika, that God would continue to heal her, give her a new purpose, and protect her life from physical harm, and for Andrea, that she would grow deep roots of faith and be a witness to those like her—unlikely subjects—of the reality of the grace of God.

Pray for the safety of believers in Ukraine. Pray for God to use the crisis to strengthen their faith and bring more Ukrainians to Christ.

Pray for believers in Ukraine during a time of political uncertainty.

Give thanks to God for believers in Ukraine who are standing strong and joining together across denominations for prayer.

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