Thirteen students from Northwest Nazarene University traveled to Ukraine for two weeks in May where they worked alongside members of the Church of the Nazarene in Vapnyarka. The trip was led by physics and engineering Associate Professor Dan Lawrence and Director of Student Ministries Julene Tegerstrand.
The students worked on several different projects at the church that included painting, preparing ground for a children’s play center and dismantling a brick wall. They were assisted in these ventures by men from the church’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. These men spoke about their relationship with God with a joy that deeply impacted the students. Senior physics major Mark Ostyn, Nampa, Idaho, attested to this saying, “The transforming power of God was so evident in their lives – it was truly amazing to witness.”
In addition, students worked with the children and youth of the village. Each day they organized a “kids club” as well as soccer and basketball matches.
The NNU group’s time with the church in Vapnyarka concluded on Pentecost Sunday. During this last day together, Tegerstrand says “we were all reminded of how we are one body in Christ, and we have brothers and sisters all around the world.”
Ostyn was able to travel through Germany, Switzerland and Italy following the mission trip. However, when people ask him what his favorite part was, he answers: “Ukraine. We really connected with the people there, and they were so eager to learn, to worship, to work and to serve.”
To learn more about the cross-cultural opportunities available at NNU, contact Hollie Lindner at HMLindner@NNU.Edu.