BY BRIAN RAVES, DIRECTOR OF VIDEO COMMUNICATION & TRIP PARTICIPANT
Last October, I took a trip to Ukraine
that changed my life. I had the privilege to film and create some promotional videos for an organization called Mission to Ukraine (MTU)
. MTU is one of Grace Church’s Partners. As a church, we come alongside these partner organizations to help engage people in God’s mission to bring healing to the broken places of the world. MTU goes above and beyond to love and value those who are marginalized in their everyday, normal life. During my trip, I was blown away at the incredible work this organization was doing on a day to day basis, and I got to experience firsthand the impact they are having. From behind the camera, I fell in love with MTU and the people of Ukraine.
God was stirring something inside of me during that trip, and I knew that I would be back someday. Since that time, I’ve discovered a new passion and heart to love and bring dignity to those with disabilities. At the same time, having recently become a parent, I’ve felt an unexplainable joy in my life that can only be described as an awakening of my love for children. God is moving, I feel it. And as I continue to pursue these passions, I know that it is no coincidence that Ukraine keeps coming to mind.
I want to honor these promptings from God and discern exactly what He has in store for me. So after much thought and prayer, it became clear that I need to return to Ukraine this summer on a Short-Term Trip with Grace Church. I’ll be serving at a summer camp that MTU holds for people with disabilities and their families. A chance to put down the camera, and interact on a more personal and intimate level. I get to spend a week pushing wheelchairs, holding hands, laughing, jumping on trampolines, singing songs, playing games and sharing meals with people who are legitimately cast aside every single day in Ukraine.
My story is still being written, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me on this trip! I’m so thankful for the ways Grace Church is partnering with like-minded organizations all across the world. Because of Grace Church, and their intentionality with Partners and Short-Term Trips, I have an incredibly practical outlet to further investigate my place in God’s mission. God is moving, and His people are responding…in my heart, at Grace Church, and all over the world with organizations like MTU.
To find out more about trips that are coming up, click here.
Update on Brian
Since his trip in 2016, Brian led a trip back to Ukraine in 2017. This further sparked his interest in helping kids with disabilities. In the fall of 2017, Brian quit his video job at Grace and began his new job as an in-home therapist working with kids who have autism. He is currently attending Ball State and will finish his Master of Arts Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis with an Emphasis in Autism in May 2019. One trip changed his life. Imagine what it will do to yours.