ADMIN: An interview with Kirk Norris, MTW missionary in the L’viv church working with young adults.
The L’viv church consists now, I’d say, of probably a third of the people, if not more, are from Kharkiv. There’s also a scattering of other people from Kyiv and from Zaparizhia and from other places who have landed in the L’viv church. The Kharkiv church contingent is the biggest, and a lot of them are young folks. We’ve been dreaming in the L’viv church the last couple of years of really having a healthy young adult ministry that’s not just students, but also consists of the post student age and pre-family life that gives them a place because they’ve still got lots of time and energy and desire to be together. They’ve grown and matured beyond the student world and student age, and a lot of them are believers and growing believers.
We’ve dreamt of having something where they can have a space that’s intentionally focused on them and gives them a place to interact. That was before the war started. Now we have even more people in that age group, and we were sensing that we should do something, even if it’s not that organized. So, we just started meeting on Saturdays. We’ve had a good, solid group of people, and we’ve got probably 45 plus on a little Telegram chat group that hear about meetings each week and 20 to 25 that come.
We just had 35 come on the retreat in the mountains in western Ukraine. It was really neat to see probably a third to half of the people that were there from Kharkiv and then the rest were mostly from L’viv. Some were students and some were 20-somethings. My goal was mainly to let them rest, to give them a little bit of spiritual renewal and teaching and just a time away where they could get to know each other a little better, but mostly simply to rest from the war and not think about it.
A few of them did mention that it was weird that they saw on their phones that there were sirens in L’viv, but they were now up in the mountains – there were no sirens. There was no worry that anything was going to happen and nothing really weighing on them while they were able to just enjoy nature and each other, even though it felt a little weird being far away from the reality of what was happening.
One girl in particular wrote to me (see text below) saying that the retreat was something that she absolutely needed. She’s from Kharkiv and she fled in the first days of the war when Kharkiv was being bombed. She said it was a total reset for her and that she feels like she’s finally just woken up from a dream and that she needed that encouraging word, and the word of God spoken to her. She had never had quite so much freedom on a retreat like that, just to spend time with the Father in heaven and be renewed.
She said that after that weekend, she finally felt like she’s really at home in the church in L’viv. I hope that’s one bit of encouragement to see that someone who had fled and has been in a bit of a haze for some months, to feel like she has a renewed lease on life and actually wants to interact with people again and feels a kind of renewed purpose enjoy being part of the church.
Her letter and translation:
Я була дуже рада мати такий час з вами! Дуже вдячна за таку можливість . Це було дуже мені потрібно. Повне перезавантаження. Напевно, в мене ніколи не було стільки свободи в поїздках і стільки часу для роздумів. Дякую велике за організацію цього ретриту, за ободрююче слово і можливість мати стільки часу наодинці з Небесним Батьком 😌. Зараз я ніби прокинулась після якогось сну. Знову захотілось жити, пізнавати людей і я нарешті почала відчувати себе як вдома серед вас ❤️
I was so happy to have that time with you! I am very grateful for this opportunity. I needed it very much. Complete reboot. I’ve probably never had so much freedom to travel and so much time to think. Thank you very much for organizing this retreat, for the edifying word and for the opportunity to have so much time alone with Heavenly Father. 😌 I kind of woke up after a dream. I wanted to live again, to get to know people, and I finally started to feel at home among you. ❤️