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And then there were 8

I remember in 2022 Pastor Michael told us to be prepared for the unexpected. With less than three weeks before our trip departure, God already threw in a plot twist concerning our team (Uzhhorod Ministry Team).

Whitney, one of the members of the Dnipro team, had left for Poland relaunch the ministry work she was doing in Ukraine before COVID hit. The multi-step plan was for her to:

  • spend a week in Poland
  • return to the states
  • go to Ukraine and then Dnipro with us
  • come back to Uzhhorod
  • return to Poland.

Or so we thought. 

Last week, Whitney heard from her missions organization and they requested she not go to Dnipro, but rather join the ministry team in Uzhhorod. She also would not be connecting with us in the United States.

Initially, this appeared to be a knot in our plans. In reality, she was just what we needed.

After one of the team meetings, right before Whitney left, on a whim Whitney, Cheryl and I got to get lunch together and spend some time connecting. We started as teammates and left as good friends in prayer. 

One aspect of the trip, two days where we would be ministering to the Rroma population, was not coming together at all. With only two weeks to go, everything else managed to come together except those two days.

By “chance” Whitney worked for over two years with the Rroma population during her previous missions work in Ukraine. I sent her what very little we had put together Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning, Whitney had a plan, outline, options, and ideas for the whole two days as if she had been in charge of the ministry time from day one!

Soon after, Whitney told me that she never felt completely at peace going to Dnipro, but that a sense of peace instantly washed over her when she was told she would be on the Uzhhorod ministry team. That it felt right.

Seven might represent completion. But in Jewish culture, the number eight represents things that go beyond our understanding and into the divine.

We now have a team of eight.

“The fact that Job’s corner of the world [or ours] is troubled,
does not mean that the cosmos is out of balance.”

-Carol S. Grizzard, theologian

That quote reminds us that even though things seem off-kilter to us, God has things completely in hand. In the past two weeks, we celebrated the holidays, Passover and Easter, where we remember the truth of God’s control:

  • When Pharaoh initially chose to persecute the Jews further instead of releasing them, things felt off kilter for the Jews (Ex. 5:20).
  • When Jesus initially told the disciples that He would be crucified and suffer, Peter protested that such things wouldn’t occur (Mt. 16:21-23).

How off-kilter they must have felt!

But once again, God was leading us beyond our own understanding into His divine plan.

I look forward to seeing how God will continue to lead us beyond ourselves… in one more week!

Uzhhorod Ministry Team

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