Ten months of serving Ukraine: a brief summary

Prior to the war, for ten years I have operated as a non-residential cross-cultural missionary in Ukraine, in-country for about 8 weeks every year, and working there by video chat, messaging, and teaching via Zoom the rest of the time. We also ran seven national training conferences for church leaders.

Now, in the midst of the horror of Russia’s war against Ukraine, God has provided a way to support and encourage our Ukrainian students, friends, and colleagues who are now refugees in their own nation and abroad. They are using the resources they have to press in to the needs of those around them no matter their current situation.

ServeUkraine mobilizes the global Church in order to meet the urgent and ongoing needs of Ukrainians. We are focused on serving and supporting Ukrainians in ministry who are doing the work, colleagues and ministries we already have relationship with, and others, by God’s grace. We are committed to helping meet physical, mental, financial, and spiritual needs.

Since the war began 24 February, you and ServeUkraine…

  • donated salary support for 45 seminary staff families
  • bought a bus used to evacuate students out of Kyiv at the start of the war, and now for delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the region
  • provided beds and bedding, microwaves, operating expenses, plus food for a month for the 200+ individuals and families displaced from the front in eastern Ukraine at the Morshyn Center (in conjunction with World Partners)
  • paid for and facilitated 7 families and individuals to evacuate to Norway, Sweden, and the US
  • supplied financial support, supplies, training, encouragement, and transportation for evacuated Ukrainian colleagues now in the US
  • covered medical and dental expenses for displaced refugees
  • purchased a commercial drone and four sets of body armor to support humanitarian aid workers in the field
  • provided school fees for a young special need student whose family has now been displaced twice due to the Russian invasions since 2014
  • replaced 100+ windows for 22 families in Irpin, where 70% of the buildings were damaged in the initial frontline stage of the war, and even
  • replaced money scammed from and provided a stroller for Ukrainian mom and under-one-year-old displaced in Poland.

And right now, we are…

  • purchasing 10 generators to be used and shared with families in need in Irpin (with Filadelfia Church)
  • providing 300 heavy winter blankets for displaced seniors in Kyiv (with Bible and Life Church), and
  • helping with travel costs for a Ukrainian family to send their son to the US college that is giving him a full scholarship.

Personally, in addition to establishing and running ServeUkraine, I…

  • wrote two articles for Christianity Today on the conflict
  • housed three sets of Ukrainian evacuees for six weeks total
  • presented the Ukrainian situation to Arts/Mission leaders from all over Europe in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • visited and encouraged current and former students displaced in Poland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
  • observed work being done in Warsaw and in Ukraine to help Ukrainian refugees
  • spoke at worship and prayer evening with a student team at the Morshyn Center
  • went to Ukraine and saw firsthand the work we’ve done in Irpin, and met with families there and other contacts in Kyiv
  • taught second year students live at the Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary in L’viv in September
  • took part and helped with the Nashville Consultation on Ukraine in November alongside our friends at Mission Eurasia, and
  • taught second year classes for the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary on Zoom in December.

We have seen over $110,000 invested this year in serving and supporting the urgent needs of Ukrainians in the first days of this ministry. 

Thank you.

The needs continue and we will continue to gather and give support with a more intense ministry focus in the new year. More news coming soon.

Continue to pray for and stand with Ukraine as we look to serve urgent needs.

A blessed New Year to you!

Thanking God for your partnership,


Year-end involvement giving

We are so grateful for those who have chosen to partner with our ministry of training church leaders and providing relief in Ukraine in 2022.

If you would like to give a further year-end gift to our work, you have two choices:

ServeUkraine.org is our relief fund that is primarily dedicated to serving those Ukrainians who are doing the work helping others on the ground since the Russian invasion.

MusicWorks International is our overall ministry fund which allows us to keep doing the work we do in training church leaders in worship and theology, and now also running ServeUkraine.

(All donations submitted online by 11.59pm on 31 December are tax-deductible for the 2022 tax year in the USA.)

Thank you.

Дякую тобі! Thank you!

As of 15 December, we have seen over $18,000 come in for our current need in three areas: 10 generators for use in the city of Irpin, 300 blankets to help the displaced without power in Kyiv, and help for specific family and individual needs.

Praise God for faithful giving!

Please consider a year-end gift at ServeUkraine.org to allow us to respond quickly to urgent needs. Thank you again. #standwithukraine #prayforukraine #serveukraine

For Giving Tuesday…

The need in Ukraine is overwhelming. I experienced it first-hand in September as I spent time in Morshyn, Stryi, and L’viv in western Ukraine and then Irpin, Bucha, Pushcha-Voditsya, and Kyiv in central Ukraine. The toll in homes and buildings damaged or destroyed, atrocities committed, and lives lost is staggering, and I just saw a small portion from the start of the invasion. And now, civilian infrastructure around the country is adding to the burden with power, water, and food shortages across the nation, including the Kyiv region.

Ukrainians have shown incredible bravery and fortitude as they have faced insurmountable odds. But it has also taken many ministries, nations, and organizations to help them with the many things they need. We’ve been part of that with ServeUkraine,

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day set aside to invest in charitable work. I sent an email to over 500 of our friends and donors last week to ask them to invest in helping with 10 generators for Irpin, and 300 blankets for elderly displaced people in Kyiv. They have already begun to respond, and we have seen $6000+ of the $13,000 raised.

Will you consider helping with this need? Time is of the essence as winter in Ukraine can be very tough. We want to get funds sent as soon as possible. You can give at our information and donor page at ServeUkraine.org.

There is now also further urgent need for $5000 to help with medical, education, and transportation expenses for families and individuals that we continue to help both here and in Ukraine.

That leaves a total of $12,000 of $18,000 to be gathered. It may seem overwhelming, but nowhere near as overwhelming as the situations faced by our Ukrainians friends and partners. We can make a difference, now. Be brave like Ukraine!

Ukraine under siege, and how we will help

…will be the theme of updates on my trip over the next weeks.. My last full day in Ukraine is tomorrow, and it has been a whirlwind of seeing the aftermath of the horrific battles that took place here in Bucha and Irpin at the start of the war in February and March, meeting families that we have been able to help through ServeUkraine, and visiting friends and colleagues, talking and praying about the present and the future. A train to L’viv tomorrow, then into Poland. I head to the UK on Tuesday for meetings at Nexus Institute for Creative Arts in Coventry, with our partner Dave Silber, as well as several of our Ukrainian students who are now studying there.

Five days in Bulgaria

Five days is a long time for a short report.

The last five days were spent at a gathering of arts and ministry leaders from the UK, France, Hungary, Switzerland, US, Austria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Bulgaria who use their art to express the values of the Kingdom of God, and disciple, mobilize, and encourage others. The Arts Plus event (https://www.artsplus.info/events) took place in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to encourage and help Bulgarian brothers and sisters to do the same. Professional musicians, sculptors, painters, actors, dancers, filmmakers, pastors, and catalysts–all strategizing together.

I gave a report on our work in Ukraine and the situation there and led a time of prayer and intercession. Both sessions were very intense as the outcome of the war has major repercussions for all nations in Europe: e.g., Sofia is only 400 miles from the nearest Ukrainian border.

It was a great time for building relationships and the chance to think and plan how we could work together to come alongside Ukrainian artists and musicians now and in the future. We heard from some amazing young Bulgarian musicians, saw the work of professional painters and sculptors, discussed, shared meals, prayed, worshipped, and laughed together.  I loved my time with new friends from the UK–Bishop Rob Gillion from Streatham and Southwark, London, and mixed-media artist Paul Hobbs.

You must see the work of Bulgarian sculptor/painter Nickolay Steffanov on the Prodigal Son (http://nickolaysteffanov.wix.com/gallery) and Paul Hobbs’ work on modern martyrs. (https://www.arthobbs.com/unknown-martyrs)

It was also good to connect with Jim and Anne Mills who have been working in creative ministry in Europe for decades and have many relationships in common with us! (Kirk and Deby Dearman!)

Special thanks to fellow IWS alum Jill Ford, Amy WIlliams from OM, ACT colleagues Diane and Glenn Collard who invited me, and ACT’s Steve Thrall who works in France. Everyone attending prayed and expressed active support for musicians and artists in Ukraine.


I loved my first time in Bulgaria, and experiencing the hearts and gifts of the dear brothers and sisters we spent time with.

In just a few hours, I fly to Warsaw and Krakow, Poland where I will meet up with long-time friend and ministry colleague Jim Gilbert as well as former students and see more opportunities for ServeUkraine before heading into Ukraine on Thursday.  Please pray.

September ministry trip


Here is my basic itinerary for prayer this trip. Please pray for travel arrangements, protection, and key connections with people and partners.

6 September – Fly from Nashville
7 September – Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria
8-11 September – Arts + Conference, “Hope in the midst of crisis”
12 September – Evening flight to Warsaw, Poland
12-14 September – Time to see opportunities in Poland
14 – To Krakow with UETS alumni
15 – Ride to Ukrainian border, drive to Morshyn
16-17 – Visit centers in Morshyn and Striy; night of worship on 16th with UETS students
18 – Church in L’viv
19-20 – Teach 3rd year students at UBTS
21 – InterCity train to Kyiv
22-24 – Time in Kyiv region
25 – Train back to L’viv, or to Krakow
26 – To Krakow, Poland
27 – Morning flight to London Luton airport
27-30 – Time in Coventry with Nexus, UETS students
30 – Ride to London Heathrow, fly to Nashville

To stay in touch for news and prayer…

In the next month, I will be visiting colleagues, students, friends we have helped, and opportunities to bring help to Ukrainians in this time.

I will be in Bulgaria, Poland, parts of Ukraine, and England during this month. Prayer needs will be posted here as I go. To receive our newsletter, send an email to info@serveUkraine.org.

Please check back here for prayer points during this month.

What’s happening now?

I’ve never had to work with people in the midst of a war before. I’m far-removed physically from the front lines in Ukraine, but these last six months, it has been an immediate daily presence as we have sought to serve our colleagues, partners, and students in the midst.

I have been following government and news reports, pictures and videos, posts and calls from friends, and consulting with other ministries as ServeUkraine has become the focus. I’ve been on Zoom calls with leaders, students and teachers scattered across Europe and North America.

We have sought to serve the nation and needs as donors have allowed us to supply a bus to distribute humanitarian aid in the region around Kyiv, and help with beds and food for a refugee center sheltering 180 in western Ukraine. We have helped resettle folks in Norway, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and five in the US–contacts for housing, paying transportation costs, covering medical bills, clothing needs, giving them time to breathe, and being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. We have replaced dozens of windows in the homes of families in Irpin, where many atrocities and destruction took place in the first month of the war. We have even supplied a needed stroller for a mom with a 6-month child in Poland separated from her husband in Ukraine.

Many stories to tell, but you haven’t heard them yet because of many things that also came along–the decline and death of my Dad–F. G. Heumann–after 4+ years of dementia and Alzehimer’s. Visits from all the siblings, helping my stepmom, planning and leading Dad’s service, good time with family. Getting two rounds of shingles, of all things (not the roofing supplies). Issues with trying to build this new ministry while flying it. Severe muscle spasms. Completing my time at the Institute for Worship Studies, and twice helping settle colleagues there for their classes. Major issues in building a system to keep all informed of the work. Grieving. Evacuated Ukrainian “family” with us for two and a half weeks. Top all that off with getting COVID after three years of carefully avoiding it. (So grateful for the vaccine that kept it on the mild side!) Yet, God is sustaining.

Good things are happening in spite of all of this. People are being helped. God is being glorified, as he gives us strength.

ServeUkraine – that’s what we want to do!

When you are sitting half a world away and see places you have been many times riddled by rocket fire and bombs, and people you have known and worked with for 10 years hiding in bomb shelters and evacuating to save their lives, it has an impact on you. And so it was with me on February 25, the second day of the new stage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

I had to do something, and I knew by the Spirit of God that it meant acting immediately. These were my students, colleagues, graduates, and friends. It was in those moments that ServeUkraine was born. This has been my focus for the last 2.5 months. We have been blessed by many who have given, and have been investing in those who have great need and in those who are doing the work on the ground helping others.

Expect to see the work with ServeUkraine and the situation in that nation be a primary focus here in the coming days.

#prayforukraine #standwithukraine #serveukraine

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