Practical Love

After a recent trip to Australia for a family wedding, Shane and Jemimah returned to Ukraine, their home for the past 13 years. A few hundred metres from their home lay the remains of a technical college they had served at. Charred and half destroyed, it sat there, taped off from the public but visible to all.

The sight was quite jarring for the couple after they had experienced the peace of Australia. “It was a snap back to the reality that is Ukraine now and of this seemingly endless war,” shares Shane.

The constant reminders of the war, now raging in its third year, are very draining and felt by all. With no end in sight, Shane and Jemimah share the love and hope they find in Jesus to counter the sombre mood of many they come in contact with. “We always pair the gospel message with practical love,” says Shane.

Raised in Christian homes in Australia, the couple moved to Ukraine two weeks after their wedding. They live with an open-door policy, using hospitality to welcome and encourage. “We love to feed people,” shares Shane, “and for the past nine years, two young men have lived with us so we can more personally and practically teach what it means to follow Christ.”

Since 2020, Jemimah has worked in children’s ministry. She runs the Anchor Day Centre, which helps disadvantaged children from two to fourteen years old.

“We show what it means to love like Christ – this always comes first,” shares Jemimah.

“We provide a warm and healthy meal each day, teach the children Bible stories, sing songs and help them with their homework.”

Since the war began, Shane’s focus has shifted many times: “Life on the mission field is constantly moving and changing. Perhaps the first 12 years were training for the past two!”

Shane has started a new ministry in personal discipleship and counselling men serving in the war. Still, he holds his plans loosely to meet the needs wherever and whenever they arise. Whether helping the waves of refugees, ferrying food, equipment and medical supplies to the front lines or removing shrapnel and debris from houses, showing practical love has come in many different ways and forms. “It can be as simple as giving someone a loaf of bread and listening to their story,” he says.

Despite the weariness and uncertainty of war, Shane, Jemimah, and the OM team in Ukraine aim to show that something greater is at work and that nothing can separate people from the love of God.

To support OM's ongoing work in bringing hope and help to worn-torn Ukraine, please give a tax deductible gift towards our Ukraine in Crisis Appeal.

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