It has already been more than 350 days of full-scale war with Russia. It can still be dark, loud and difficult for us, but God is removing fear. When we look back at 2022, we understand how faithful and good our Lord Jesus has been to us. God has lead us through a very stormy year. We faced new challenges like rationed and disrupted electricity. Thanks to you and other supporters, CCX (translated “Fellowship of Christian Students”) was able to serve students with a fully functioning student center in Lviv that operates on generators with power banks and your prayers for our safety. Our team has also worked hard all year helping refugees and their families with humanitarian aid.
As a result of this ministry, the Lord has brought us into new relationship with a number of non-believing students. The Ivano-Frankivsk team has also been investing in new relationships with students whom they befriended during their Christmas outreach activities. Among these students are a number internally displaced refugees as well as international students who were brave enough to come back to Ukraine to finish their studies.
With your help CCX had the opportunity to sponsor seeking and non-believing, refugee students to attend a retreat, relax for a few days, and find rest from the news and rockets in the middle of Carpathian beauty. The evangelistic retreat was titled “The Light Side Camp” and took place from January 30 through February 3, 2023. The retreat presented an amazing opportunity to witness to the love of God and to share the gospel with these students.
In all, 67 people attended the retreat, including 50 students, as well as staff and volunteers. Among the students, about one third were non-beliving students who had some connection to CCX or Christianity but hadn’t yet accepted Jesus as their Lord. The retreat was also an occasion to bring together multiple generations. At the retreat, we met the parents of second generation CCX students. These parents had been a part of CCX back in the 1990s.
The camp’s theme, “The Light Side,” was “borrowed” and adapted from the Star Wars franchise. The students, especially the non-believers, were challenged “to come to the light side.” To invite the students to “the light side,” our amazing speakers covered both the logical and emotional aspects of our lives. The logical aspect was shared by our CCX board member, Ben Morrison, in the morning session. The emotional part was laid before students by our special guest from the UK, Andi M. Andi is an international evangelist and amazing song writer. He shared how it is possible to recover joy from the rubble and ruin using song.
We didn’t forget the humanitarian aspect and invited guests from the Caritas ministry (a Maltese humanitarian mission) to teach students how to give first aid to persons in need. As an additional project, we made wax candles to send to our soldiers in a care package containing other useful things.
The retreat was a time to recharge and recover for students, but we also witnessed non-believing students making a decision to accept Christ for the first time, as well as nominal believers renewing their relationship with Jesus.
Here is what Solomiya Sapsay had to say about the retreat:
“For me, CCX are friends who support and help. These are like-minded people with whom we grow together in God and learn to tell about Him to our groupmates, unbelieving friends. I really liked the retreat. Thanks to it, I made a lot of new friends and memories. I found answers to the questions that bothered me, and most importantly, I understood in which direction I need to move in life.”
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