"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." — Joshua 1:9

CMO 2018 has officially started, and it looks to be a good summer of service for the Lord! As we started our ministry this week, we've had the opportunity to settle ourselves in and accommodate to the city, to meet one another and fellowship, and most importantly, do the work that God has given us this year.


Andrew Howard, William West, and Isaiah Mahlstedt were the first CMO guys to arrive.

Wednesday is the first day that us out-of-towners started to arrive in L'viv. First Isaiah (our man from Minnesota) in the morning and William and myself (the Texans) in the afternoon. We headed over to the Days' home and were given welcome meals, as we hadn't had time to make it to the store to get food yet. We got to meet Katelin and the girls briefly before we headed over to the Steeles' home. We said hello to Kelsie and the kids and then we were able to sit down, rest, and enjoy our food. After our delicious meal, Josh took us three over to the Ministry Center (the MC, for short). We dropped Isaiah off, as he's staying there, and then Josh took us Texas guys over to Ruslan's apartment, where we're staying. Ruslan is a great and funny guy. We like him a lot.

Thursday was another day for adjustments and settling in. The rest of the guys came in, and despite some close calls, everyone made their flights on time (praise God!). Us guys that were already here did some shopping and preparations, but mostly recovered from our flights. In the evening the Steeles had us all over for dinner and we all had the chance to really sit down and meet one another. We had a great time getting to know one another, doing dishes together and finding out that all us guys are from the same year. This is the CMO of the '97 kids.


Isaiah Mahlstedt and William West stamp invites for the film.


Andrew Joyner distributes invitations to the film showing scheduled for Sunday.

Friday was our first day of ministry. After a group devotion and prayer-time in the Ministry Center, we packed up and headed out to the mountains. It was a little more than a two-hour drive before we reached the Opaka village. We distributed literature that gave an invitation to come to the film showing we were hosting Sunday. We didn't see many people, mostly leaving the invitations in the villagers' gates and doors. After we distributed the literature and hung the posters, we moved to our next village, Zalokot. This being the smaller of the two, it took us less time to distribute our invitations and pack ourselves back up for home. We got in later that night, but a full day behind us.


Setting up the chalk easel before the outreach.

Saturday was our first day to sit town as a team and discuss what our long-terms plans for this trip are. Josh and Nathan hosted our orientation, taking turns explaining and discussing the goals for our missions work here and laying out some ground rules. We prepared some literature that we will pass out later in our trip. Josh also gave us young guys some explanations and tips about street preaching – doing it out of obedience to God and tips how to hold and maintain an audience. These are tips that were put into practice soon after they were given, as we went out into the town and set up a chalk drawing and Gospel presentation. God allowed it to rain right as we were about to start. We prayed that we would be given an opportunity to share the Word, and the Lord allowed the rain to stop. Josh gave the Gospel, and we were able to hand out some literature. The seeds are planted, now for God to do His work in the peoples' hearts.

As soon as we finished the presentation, the rain started again. We broke down the chalk board and took cover and prayed that God would allow us a second Gospel presentation that day. Again, the Lord allowed our prayers to be answered and Ben took the street pulpit and delivered the good news to those passing on the street in L'viv. Praise God that His Word was given. We pray that God will touch the lives of those who heard, whether they respond now or it just starts a stirring in their hearts, we pray that God will use us in the way that he sees fit.


Our second film showing of the day in the village of Opaka.

Sunday was the day scheduled for our film showings, so in the morning we all met at the Ministry center and loaded up the van and Tolik's (a native Ukrainian missionary who serves on the ETO team) car with all the necessary equipment for the film showings, as well as our camping supplies. We drove up again into the mountains and reached the village Zalokot. We had our film showing with 12 attendees, after which Josh was able to share the Gospel. We headed to our next village, Opaka, and set up for our next showing. We had an even better showing of 20 attendees, and we were again able to present those who attended the showing the saving Gospel of Christ.


The team hikes into the camp site.

After we packed up the equipment, we drove out to our campgrounds, where we fought with the rain in order to set up our campgrounds. God abated the rain long enough for us to set up camp and be fairly dry. We set up and even made a little fire. We all slept comfortably for the most part and were able to wake up and move on by around 10 in the morning.

The staff team before all of us arrived had talked to a few villages and set up movie showings. We were heading to our next village (Bystrytsya-Hirska) to pass out invitations when Josh spoke to the village secretary by phone and found out that we were no longer allowed to show our film. This is the really great part, and how we got to see God work. While we were stopped on the side of the road in this very village to figure out what our plan, all of us in the van were in prayer that God would allow for a solution to come to pass in his way and timing. Right as we were praying, the secretary walked by and stopped to speak with us. She appeared to have some influence in the village and made some calls. Soon after we had a reversal of the previous decision and were again able to show out film. It was a situation where God very directly showed his power and might as He changed the minds and hearts of the village leaders when we stopped and went to Him in prayer.

I thank God for the opportunity that He has given me and my fellow mates to come and have an opportunity to serve Him and spread His word and train us up for continuing our work at home. I look forward to seeing what work God has in store for us as we continue to serve Him this summer. Blessed be the Lord.

Week 1 Photo Album

How you can pray

  • Praise God for those who heard the Gospel in the villages of Zalokot and Opaka!
  • Pray for our next showing in the village of Bystrytsya-Hirska.
  • Pray for those who heard the Gospel during our open-air outreach last Saturday.
  • Pray for our upcoming literature campaigns in Lutsk and Lviv.
  • Pray for health and safety for the team.
  • Pray that God would continue to open doors with local government officials.