August 20, 2014
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NEW ALBANY, Ind. (BP) -- When Becky Dorman sees Ukraine in the news -- the violence, the bombs, the downed aircraft -- she thinks of Marina.

Dorman, a member at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Ind., met the young Ukrainian woman in 2009 when Dorman's mission team traveled to Ukraine. Marina was a translator for the team.

"I continue to pray for her, especially for her safety," Dorman said. "Having never been to Ukraine before, she really took my heart."

A number of churches in the United States have postponed or canceled their plans to do ministry in Ukraine this year because of the unrest. But Christian workers in that region of the world say there is still much that churches "back home" in the United States can do.

Tim Johnson,* an IMB representative in Ukraine, said the U.S. church has a "great role" in reaching out to Ukraine during these difficult times by creating awareness, continuing to pray and being a part of outreach efforts.

"Those are great ways for the church to continue to support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters," he said.

"It's just hard when you know that there's church-planting efforts going on, there's desire to see new work take place, but at the same time there's that cloud of fear that hangs in the air," he said. "So we pray for that to dissipate and that we could have a chance to move forward with clear skies."

Marina's home is in the Luhansk region, a section of eastern Ukraine torn by conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army. Her home couldn't have been farther away from war -- or from Dorman's radar -- a few years ago.

"I remember hearing our pastor say from the pulpit that we needed to have a people group on our heart, and I remember thinking that I didn't even know what a people group was," Dorman, who serves as worship ministry administrative assistant at Graceland Baptist Church, said.

Then Dorman's daughter, a junior in college, announced she was going to Ukraine to serve for a summer.

Suddenly the needs in Ukraine came to life for Dorman.

"I thought, 'You know what? I'll have Ukrainians in my heart," she said.

She did.

Since Dorman's initial trip to Ukraine in 2009 she has been twice more. The church partners with Joel*, a former worship pastor of Graceland Baptist. He is co-director of the church-planting program at Kiev Theological Seminary. He served 35 years as worship pastor at Graceland Baptist before he and his wife Mary Ellen* began work with the International Mission Board in Ukraine in 2003.

Since then, he's partnered with Graceland Baptist to link them with the church planters he trains. Read More
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