Ukraine, Poland, France Trip Report

On July 15, 2023

Dear Thrive Partner, 

I am so grateful for your prayer covering during my recent trip to Ukraine, Poland and France. I’m still trying to take in the great diversity of ministry on this trip.

In Ukraine, Philip Adams and I worked with pastors I have known for nearly ten years who are very involved in support of Ukrainian people affected by the war. We were able to work with around fifty Ukrainian military chaplains and leaders, and Philip used his extensive knowledge and experience in war zones to help the chaplains understand PTSD and how to help trauma victims. 

I also ministered from the lamenting Psalms on God’s healthy way to walk through grief. There was a real emphasis by the Holy Spirit on equipping every member of the church to walk in their unique gifting. You can read more about what is happening in Ukraine in the blog below.

Pastor Sergei and wife Katherine, who serves as a military chaplain. Their church has worked tirelessly in the effort to bring aid and the gospel to war-torn areas.

The second week I met up with forty of the students who have been walking through the New Psalm Studies worship school for a songwriting camp in a rural setting in northwest Poland. I have rarely seen such unity, creativity and productivity. 

This diverse group of people (Protestant and Catholic, young and old from many parts of the country) wrote and recorded thirty new Polish worship songs that are gospel-based–in four days! Many of them carry a uniquely Polish expression. It was beautiful. 

Mateusz Otremba and I led the morning and evening devotional sessions using the newly translated The Gospel Centered Life books that Thrive Ministries has initiated.  I also found out I can make it with much less than I thought, as my luggage was lost for the first twelve days of the trip!

In a total surprise, the New Psalm Studies students threw me a birthday party… and they bought me a set of Polish bagpipes–look out, world!

After the camp I spent two days in Mateo’s home studio recording the audio version of my book, Walking Through Grief: Finding Hope and Healing in the Psalms of Lament.

I’m so grateful to be able to do this with my dear friend by my side.

The last week I rejoined Philip and Jennifer Adams in France. We spent the weekend in Normandy among the congregations of three church plants of the Baptist Federation of Churches. It was a joy to be with these saints who are doing faithful gospel work in very difficult context. 

Philip and Elton (whose story you can read in next month’s blog) in front of the cafe where the church meets in the Normandy region of France.

I am back home for several weeks, but I head out again to Kenya and Tanzania in late August and early September. Again, thank you so very much for your prayers and gifts. All that happens with Thrive Ministries happens in partnership. Your part is very important.

Together we are Multiplying Healthy Leaders Worldwide.

Blessings,

Mark

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