This article was originally published in the May 2023 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Romania - Ukraine
“I cried my eyes out when I heard that’s where he was going.”
“It went very smoothly,” Ema said, “We could certainly feel that many people were praying for us.”
Some couples in attendance hadn’t left Ukraine since the war began early in 2022. They’ve endured months of pressure - serving refugees, transporting and organizing supplies, serving meals, and being spiritual and emotional leaning posts for the hurting.
One pastor and his wife shared a story with Ema. Early in the invasion, a call came in from a war-torn area. The callers were out of food and desperate. Two pastors decided to answer the call by transporting food and supplies to them. They would make a 5-6 hour drive into an area occupied by Russian troops.
“I cried my eyes out when I heard that’s where he was going,” his wife shared, pulling back the curtain to reveal just one of the many ways these brothers and sisters have lived under pressure for over a year. These pressures come at them from all directions. But they’ve chosen to stay and demonstrate God’s love and care for the hurting in their war-torn country.
“You could tell there was a lot of pressure on them day in and day out,” Ema observed.
Despite recent health challenges leading up to the retreat, Adi and Ema had thoughtfully planned the retreat. They invited others in Oradea to participate in various sessions to encourage the Ukrainians. The second night, several local pastors came to participate in the session as an encouragement to the Ukrainians.
The third night, the couples Adi and Ema disciple through their Young Couples’ Fellowship Groups joined the session. Steve said, “The benefit of having these different groups join on different evenings was that Adi was able to go around the room and have each share and encourage the others. I believe the Ukrainians highly valued it.”
“We feel like you are showering us with blessings and love,” one told Ema. Another sent a note to Adi the following week that read, “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the most pleasant and blessed retreat we’ve ever had. May God bless you and provide for you as only He knows how.”
Another shared that the week had been an incredible week and that it had meant so much to be allowed to receive encouragement and rest.
Throughout the retreat, Steve taught SALT lessons (I am not God, I am in Christ, Rejection, and Money) and Adi and Ema did sessions on Biblical family and marriage (Family and Social Media and Communication Styles).
The couples in attendance responded well and seemed inspired to infuse their ministry in Ukraine with what they’d learned.
They asked Steve to take them through the rest of the SALT material and Adi and Ema to share their wisdom on Biblical family life with the communities and people they serve in Ukraine some time in the near future, hopefully the end of this year.
Thank you for your support, allowing us to help Adi and Ema with the funds to honor and serve our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in this way.
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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