Short-term missions: God provided so fast, I could barely keep up
February 2016

By Rachael in Ukraine — Around mid-November I was officially accepted to go to Ukraine and given the go-ahead to begin fundraising. I sent out my first support letters on November 16 and waited to see what would happen. I knew Thanksgiving was only a week away, so people would probably be distracted and busy. I was prepared to start more actively seeking support in a couple of weeks. I doubted whether I would even have my minimum amount of $10,000 by the time I needed to leave for my year in Ukraine, let alone the full amount of $20,000.

What happened, though, blew my mind and continues to amaze me!

Support started coming in that week and even more came once Thanksgiving had passed. About three weeks in, I had the minimum of $10,000 that I needed to leave. I was amazed and content to let the rest come in once I got to Ukraine. But the amount only continued to rise and on December 16, exactly one month after I had handed the first letters to people, I received an email from a new monthly supporter. That email put me at $20,000—full support for the year. God’s hand in providing all that support was very clear.

The next thing I was waiting for was my Letter of Invitation (LOI) to be processed through the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. This would allow me to apply for my visa. Just a couple days after I found out I was fully supported, I got an email saying that the SEND team in Kiev had my LOI in hand. Four days later, the letter arrived and I started working in earnest on my visa application (probably should have done more on that ahead of time!). Thankfully, after many emails back and forth with the team in Kiev, the application was done and I dropped it off at the post office on Christmas Eve, postmarked for the Ukrainian Consulate in San Francisco.

Having heard horror stories about missionaries who have to wait months for their visas, I resigned myself to hear nothing for at least a couple of weeks. But then, on December 29, I got a call from the Ukrainian embassy saying that I had paid the wrong amount for my visa. I hung up, relieved to know that they had at least received my visa and were looking at it. I went to the post office that day and sent off the new money order, which was set to arrive on Dec. 31. Again, I thought I would be waiting at least a couple weeks before I heard anything back from them.

Fast forward to January 6 … I am at short-term training at the SEND headquarters. It’s wonderfully cold and wintery and I’m loving meeting all the staff! After our afternoon session, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a text from my mom. I opened it and read, “So I guess you’ll be leaving soon.” Under that was a picture of my passport with a Ukrainian visa in it. I was shocked. If that package got to my house today, then it had only taken 2-3 business days for the consulate to process my visa! Where were all the horror stories? Once again, God’s hand is so clear.

This has probably been the most faith-building process I’ve ever gone through. God has shown so clearly that when he has a plan, nothing will get in the way, even if it seems insurmountable to me. 

A short mission trip can change how you view yourself, the world, and our God. Our missions coaches can connect you with a great opportunity to serve short-term!

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Rachael served short-term in Ukraine. Through Engage Ukraine, interns and short-term missionaries can get hands-on experience with cross-cultural ministry in a Slavic setting.