Mission Staff Pray for Injured Colleague and Partner Communities
By Melissa Hinnen
Reminding staff that “we cannot explain or preach away” suffering, and that there is no security except in God, Thomas Kemper, Global Ministries’ top executive, addressed the staff who gathered to lift up those affected by the tragedy in L’viv, Ukraine. A collapsed ceiling killed two volunteers and seriously injured United Methodist missionary Rev. David Goran. Missionaries serving in the Ukraine and Bishop Hans Växby participated in the service via Skype.
With song, intercession, and Holy Communion, the General Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Mission in the Ukraine prayed for comfort and healing. Referring to Psalm 56, they asked God to transform “the tears collected into something new.”
In a time of intercession, prayers were lifted for the families of Dave Nevotti and Illya Onoprienko, the volunteers who lost their lives; Global Ministries partner communities at the University in L’viv and the Houston United Methodist churches as they grieve their losses; and for David Goran and his wife, Shannon Goran, as David heals from his injuries. Nazar Yatsyshyn from the Ukraine will be commissioned as a Mission Intern in August. He prayed for the Ukraine and sang “You are Mine” in his native language.
“We collect our tears for Illya, who was far too young, and for Dave, who went on a mission with Christ only to find death,” said Kemper. He continued, “We bring the tears of David and Shannon and their children as David has been transferred to a hospital in Munich…. Let this be a moment of lament and tears that brings us to a renewed commitment to walk in the light of life in Jesus, the light of the world.”
The Mission Intern and US-2 class of 2012--in New York for their training before being commissioned in August--offered a word of blessing and solidarity to their colleagues in the Ukraine, saying over the Skype connection, “We love you, God is with you, we are one.”
Bishop Växby addressed the staff at Global Ministries from L’viv: “I am moved by your presence with us. I am moved by your prayers, Nasar’s song, and the word of God that Thomas shared.” He continued, “When I arrived in L’viv earlier this week, I was moved by the many helping hands, the loving care of so many people, and the greetings we received.”
Bishop Växby thanked the staff for their prayers and encouraged them to “keep working for God’s mission to bring his creation back to him.”
Photo: 2012 Class of Mission Interns and US-2s. Credit: Felipe Castillo