Construction Ministry in Ukraine
Deer Run Church sent two teams to Ukraine this summer to help rebuild homes that had been destroyed by the war. The first team led by John Dyck, went in June. The second team led by Isaak and Margaretha Fehr, left in August. Both teams were greatly impacted by their trips and the people they met in Ukraine.
First team: John Dyck, Willi Martens, Bennie Fehr, Cody Fehr, Alex Unger and Jake Unger
Second Team: Isaac & Margaretha Fehr, Jake Guenther, John Fehr, Pancho Giesbrecht, Pete Friesen
YWAM organization sent a call out to the world asking for help. Deer Run has been partnering with Kyle and Anya Schlegel who are missionaries in Ukraine for a number of years. Our church has sent maintenance teams there in the past. So when this call came, we were more than willing to help. We had a fundraiser, where we raised over $28,000.00. It cost about $13,000.00 to build one house. YWAM matched the donation and therefore we could build 4 homes.
Each team member was asked to raise their own funds to go, at a cost of approximately $3,000.00 per person. We were very encouraged and blessed by the generosity of family and friends that help to cover this cost.
In March 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine from the north, coming close to Kyiv. After some time, the Ukrainian army fought back and Russia was pushed back to their boundary. The fighting still continues in the south east part of Ukraine. We built a house for a widowed lady whose husband had died in their bunker during an attack. A lot of people have not returned yet, because of all the unrest.
Once we arrived in Ukraine, we were met with very friendly people. During the time there, we all felt safe, not once did we feel afraid or worried about what could happen to us. We definitely felt the prayers of our congregation, family and friends. It did not take long for the locals there noticing that foreigners were there to help them. They brought us food, lots of food, and so appreciative of that we would leave our country and come to help them, even though there was a possibility of danger.
During the first “Wave of Hope” event June 9-20, 2023 there were over 150 volunteers from all over the world, building 40 homes. At the end of that week, 3 people had given their lives over to Jesus. A couple weeks later, we received an update that a person where a house was built on, they had evening services on their yard and people were being saved. Great story. The second “Wave of Hope” was from August 9-22, 2023 where over 150 volunteers built over 40 homes and also rebuilt a high school.
Upon completion of the build, there was a prayer of dedication and prayer over the home and the owners were given a Bible in Ukrainian, and the keys to their home.
On the last day we were in Ukraine, Greg, our group leader told us “this is not about the houses that we build, or the volunteers (Deer Run group) or the people we helped. It is about glorifying God.” Did we glorify God in all we did? Greg says we did. Praise God!
This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 60 No 5