Spotlight on Clinton White - Ukraine

story
April 22, 2014
Linda Bryant
Linda Bryant

“It’s easy to see Jesus in the midst of the political unrest in Ukraine,” said Clinton White. “People are on their knees praying, and clusters of Christian leaders are invited to pray in the prayer services that abound. In fact, I see prayer services being held 24/7.”

The word Ukraine literally means borderland. Historically, this country has always been caught in the middle. In fact, Ukraine lost more people per capita in World War II than any other country. The country fluctuates between a sense of being attacked and a sense of being abandoned. According to Clinton, this has provided him with an opportunity to demonstrate the truth that God is not abandoning them.

“I will stay in Ukraine as long as my presence doesn’t endanger the people. I hope that encourages them. I will stay WITH them,” declared Clinton.

Clinton has been coaching churches in youth ministry in Ukraine for two years now. The desire to be with the people of Ukraine ripples throughout our ministries there.

ITeams is passionate about empowering Ukrainians to care for their own people. In Uzhgorod, Clinton works alongside local churches that care deeply about caring for orphans who ‘live’ in an abandoned baby ward at the pediatric hospital. It is no surprise that he is passionate about the growing volunteer team that visits and holds these babies. They have an organized rotation of volunteers so that each day the babies are held for two hours. Typically there are 2-4 little babies, but at times there may be as many as eight babies who need love and attention.

Clinton has seen transformation occur in this ‘out of the way’ abandoned baby ward. The physical environment is sparse and too hot. He knows that the caretakers don’t make much money and it appears that most don’t really love their job. They don’t change diapers unless absolutely necessary because they lack sufficient resources to provide enough diapers. He has rarely seen a nurse cuddle, rock, or comfort a baby. He also noticed that the babies didn’t cry. They were listless and lethargic.

However, when the teams of volunteers arrive for their daily visit, even for as short as two hours, the babies now respond when they see these familiar faces. They even cry when the volunteers leave.

Falling in love with these babies has inspired the local churches to take another step in orphan care. It all started with a little boy who had captured their hearts. After holding him each day for nearly eight months, one day the little baby boy was gone. The nurses said that he had been sent to a toddler orphanage. Instead of ‘letting him go,’ now the churches send a volunteer team to the toddler orphanage once a week. They not only get to hold these precious children, they get to play on the floor with them. They are with them.

This summer, Clinton is partnering with a network of churches to hold a summer camp for middle school and high school students. Because of the political unrest, they have chosen to base the camp’s theme on The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. He wants the students to address what they are feeling practically by wrestling through the question of how to love those they may consider enemies. They may also partner with the Red Cross to learn first aid skills.

Unfortunately, the church that hosts the camp may need to convert the facility into a refugee camp if the political unrest continues. Clinton holds firm to his conviction that whether the Ukrainian people are attacked or abandoned, he will remain with them.

Many opportunities to serve in Ukraine are available. Some of the needs include a Refugee Ministry Director, Refugee Ministry Youth/Children Coordinator, Humanitarian Aid Director, and Worship Leader.

”We need people to lead a tutoring program for the Roma people, thinking entrepreneurially for community and economic development, and reaching out to university students. A project is already underway for a coffee house in the center of the city of Uzhgorod,” said Clinton.

Click here to learn more.

Please pray for the people of Ukraine and our teams there.