We want to share some of the things going on with us here in Ukraine. Greenfield Coffee Company will need to be shelved for the foreseeable future. We believe this is God’s guidance and answer to our prayers for opening and closing doors. We soon realized upon our arrival in Mukacheve that God has called us to extend our three month mission trip! We are trusting God by daily living in His time frame. We may be here another month, another year, or indefinitely. Last week, we traveled to the Ukrainian Embassy in Budapest, Hungary and received our Visas!
Mukacheve is charming. Last month they celebrated their 1,120 year as a chartered city, steeped in tradition. The population is 86,000. Many of the streets are brick. It seems to be, literally and figuratively, a place of refuge (a valley) nestled between mountains. Currently, Ukraine, probably along with other former Soviet republics, is welcoming to Americans. While much of the world seems to be becoming more and more anti-American, we feel very welcome. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the US took control of the nukes in exchange for security. So the US has an obligation by treaty to protect Ukraine, which probably contributes to the pro-American atmosphere. However, Russia has advanced farther west in an attempt to reclaim parts of Ukraine. Last week, laws were passed prohibiting religions beyond the State sanctioned Russian Orthodox Church. We see this time now as a window of opportunity to show God’s love to the Ukrainians.
We are seeing people come to Christ weekly!
From the day we arrived, we immediately fit right into the activities of the church, жива вода (pronounced Shiva Voda and translated: Living Water). The church’s core leaders originated from the Calvary Chapel group of churches, but Living Water has been established as an Evangelical non-denominational church.
The largest age group of the church is made up of teenagers and young adults, our age being one of the reasons we are needed. Most of the kids who come to the youth events are poor so the free cappuccinos, lattes, deserts, and pizza are a true treat because it is way beyond what many can afford. There is no offering that is ever taken; everything is funded by the team, with American money. When we do outreach throughout the city, we mention that we absolutely do not want anyone’s money, as there seems to be some skepticism from many about church groups just scamming for money. The older generations seem rooted in Russian Orthodoxy and Catholicism and refer to any other church as a ‘sect’ or ‘cult.’ Many of the younger people seem to come from more atheistic backgrounds. A large part of our ministry is to let people know how loved they are, and that their salvation comes through relationship with Jesus, and not man-made religion.
Significant parts of our church are refugees from the war in Eastern Ukraine that have come to Mukacheve to escape. Another significant group is Middle Eastern refugees that have either fled persecution due to their faith in Christ, or fled war and terror and have found Christ after arriving here. Another important ministry is to the Roma (Gypsy) Villages. They are among some of the most impoverished people groups. We are also in the process of setting up an orphan ministry. The orphanage is located about 30 minutes from town and houses about 90 children. The paperwork is in process as anyone working in the orphanage must be approved by the State. We will hopefully have that ministry in full swing by the end of summer.
We have been considered as mid-term missionaries, we are now planning to be long-term missionaries, as long as we continue to believe and feel that this is God’s plan for us. Our goal is to be self-sufficient. We are working on some creative endeavors to point us toward self-sufficiency. Both of us feel as though we’ve spent more of our lives burying our talents than doubling them. We only wish to live out the rest of our lives in the center of His will, using our gifts, and fulfilling our callings as effectively as we can.
We ask you for your prayers, any wisdom and discernment you have for us, and any input at all, whether encouragement and blessing, or words of caution. We really hope that you will consider coming to visit what is happening here. You are welcome indeed. We would love to be a destination for short-term groups to come and jump right into what is happening here.
Thank you so much for your help and support to get us here! Thank you so much for believing in us and encouraging us in so many ways. We love you!
Mark & Nora Apple
Vul Rosvigovska 17a KB 5
If anyone feels called to donate to our mission, you can donate to us through World Renewal’s secure site under Partner/Give/Ukraine. World Renewal is a 501c3 public charity organization. (Click here to donate: WRI Ukraine)