half-a-world behind.

I’m home now. 

But my heart is a half-a-world behind.


When I think of Ukraine, I’ll think of doors.

Doors closed for decades, shut off from life, love, and freedom.

Heavy steel hiding shadows and pain, and an evil not of this world.

Doors that tried to keep God out of a land,

but which could not keep God out of the hearts of the people.




I’ll be honest, the drab high-rises, strung out like Legos as far as the eye can see, they frightened me.

Sagging with the weight of oppression, they mocked my naivety of the depth of cruelty

a government can deliver to a land . . . to a people . . . to a soul.




I saw it first in the airports.

The farther we journeyed into Eastern Europe, the lower shoulders drooped.

Faces, yellowed from the lack of hope-light, avoided our freedom-gaze.

They’ve waited too long, many of them, for deliverance,

their backs permanently bowed

from plowing fruitless fields.




Blankets of pure white snow

could not hide the ponderous affliction of captivity

in the farthest countrysides.




 Until we walked into the Isaiah 61 love of Mission to Ukraine.

A place where the tonnage of suffering lifts

where countenances pink with joy

where lives are not only saved,

but redeemed.




The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord annoints those who come near

 good news is proclaimed to the poor.

Broken hearts are bound again

captives are set free

prisoners are released from darkness, seen and unseen

and the favor of the Lord is proclaimed

His vengeance released as comfort to those who mourn

arms embracing all those who grieve

replacing sackcloth of shame

beauty for ashes

oil of joy overflowing

mourning embraced

despair wiped from tear-stained faces

hearts strong as oaks

with newfound





joy unending




prayers unceasing




 hope unyielding




acceptance unconditional




a double portion of love




everlasting joy and justice




a people the Lord is blessing




praise springing up




This is God’s love in action.

This is the Kingdom breaking in.

This is hope renewing a blood-stained land.

These are shattered shackles.

This is a holy place

springing up

before all nations.



Mission to Ukraine.


My journey to Ukraine is not over.

In many ways, I believe it has just begun.

Join in the jubilation. 

Learn more at Mission to Ukraine.

mission to ukraine logo


10 thoughts on “half-a-world behind.

  1. Thank you for sharing in such a creative way, Amy. It has been a joy seeing your pictures and I look forward to hearing more about what God is doing in your heart and in the hearts of those living in Ukraine.

  2. Thank you for your wonderful post. I also traveled to Ukraine (September 2012), though I was in a different place with a different mission (Building Hope). I saw some of what you saw, the real joy and hope was only to be found in the church and in the places they ministered to and to the people they served. I hope someday we can both return to minister to the people of Ukraine. 🙂

  3. I was excited to see you were heading to Ukraine. I was in Kharkiv on mission in 1997, not long after the country opened up. My group went to Grace Church which was lead by a missionary pastor and his family and now is lead by pastors who were discipled and mentored by him. Their ministry outreach has planted churches, ministered to a TB and a childrens hospital, the homeless, addicted and orphans. People have been healed miraculously and most of all brought to Jesus. I am always amazed and humbled by what God does for and through the least of these.

  4. this post and that video you put on twitter… the boy stuffing the oranges into his shirt near the end and the little gal getting treatment on her legs, their joy rose up outta the mire with such beauty. thank you.


  5. Very nice writing. I actually had the opportunity to visit the Romaniv orphange last summer and it was a life changing experience. It’s great to see some of the boy’s faces again, even if it’s from “half-a-world” away.
    Seeing the conditions they lived in really tugs at your heart strings, but also makes you realise how lucky we can be growing up with loving parents

  6. Thank you for sharing this Amy, you’ve expressed so much in such a lovely way! My eyes are filled with tears and my heart is filled with hope! I have been involved with Ukraine and MTU since 2000 and part of my heart belongs there too. Thank you for sharing and reminding me again of the lovely people with the biggest hearts and most beautiful smiles.

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