Orphans • Families • Community
Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.
As we reflected on this year’s Youth Camp, we both felt encouraged by how we saw God at work - through the volunteer leaders, campers, staff, and activities. This isn’t to say there weren’t challenging moments, as well. Lack of sleep, a lot of vigorous activities (especially for Danny), and the ever-present language barrier led to moments of frustration and the increased recognition that our bodies are getting older and less resilient every year! However, we left camp feeling encouraged and spiritually revitalized.
I was thrilled to return to Ukraine again this summer to serve at Hope Now’s Kid’s Camp. I wanted a break from my normal routine and to be with my Ukrainian friends again. I desired to be in a different culture and to see the children I’ve gotten to know over the years. I was excited about the normalcy of going to Ukraine again in the summer. But I wasn’t necessarily ready for conviction…
So often I fail at loving people the way Christ calls me to. I am quickly thrown off by my own selfish desires, focusing on my own agenda rather than the needs and wants of others. Truthfully, as Christ followers, we should be constantly in a state of loving others. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to dislike people who are different from us rather than love them. But Jesus told us to literally love our enemies (which is way easier in theory than in practice, but yet I am called to do this). He modeled what real love looks like; He is love. If I’m honest, I fail every day at loving people like Jesus did.
Today, this simple verb is treated with a degree of tension that is often quite palpable. We live in an age of self-identification where knowledge of your personal story and self-awareness are perceived as strong character traits. Modern themes about being your own self, saving for retirement and looking after Number 1 resonate throughout social media as though our ancestors never really knew what was important.
Hidden within the disturbing meme is the emerging truth of who we are becoming as humans while the fabric of society wears thin.