The Five Ws Of Mission
By Bill Smith • Grace One Church • Matthews, North Carolina
Grace One Church in Matthews, North Carolina sent a third team to Poland since the war in Ukraine started to help serve refugees. This team of 7 went to Gdynia, Poland to serve with a local Ukrainian church to conduct a VBS for 100+ refugee children. The local church served was Gdynia Safe Harbor Baptist Church (Ukrainian church).
Jesus demonstrates the importance of reaching out to those in need and serving others. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus teaches that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for Him.
Our team was part of a team of 40+ leaders who prepared and conducted a Children’s Day Camp to care for 100+ Ukraine refugees. The theme of the camp was “Sea of Life.” We focused on an aquatic theme since Gdynia is a port city on the Baltic Sea. Each Bible lesson, skit, and craft emphasized following the “Captain” on one’s spiritual journey.
In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus called Peter and Andrew, and later James and John, to follow Him and become His disciples. The theme of the camp reflects the idea that just as the disciples left their nets to follow Jesus, these refugees and children are encouraged to leave behind their past difficulties and follow Jesus on their spiritual journey.
We left Charlotte, North Carolina on June 16 and returned on June 27. We started team preparation meetings and fund raising in April. This was our church’s third trip to Poland to serve Ukrainian refugees since the war started in February 2022.
The timing of the mission trip aligns with the urgency demonstrated in Acts 1:8. After receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples were commanded to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The mission team’s readiness to go and serve, even during a crisis, echoes the disciples’ commitment to spreading the Gospel.
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We went to serve a church (Gdynia Safe Harbor Baptist) in Gdynia, Poland. This is in Northern Poland on the Baltic Sea.
This mission to Poland echoes the Great Commission, where Jesus instructs His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. By going to a different country to serve refugees and partner with a local church, we live out the global nature of the Gospel message.
Our church has a deep call to care for others in need through missions and service opportunities. We do this locally and overseas. Our church supports Ukrainian missionaries, and our Pastor has led close to 20 international mission trips to Ukraine to conduct sports camps for youth. Once the war started, our church has stepped up to serve Ukraine refugees and local churches not just with significant financial help, but also to practically “go” and serve.
This is an intentional effort of our Missions Committee to “Give, Pray, and Go” following Scripture challenges from Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:18-20. We hope this is a Biblical mandate for all youthworkers and youth ministries.
God is moving through this local church in Gdynia, Poland because it has a strong Ukrainian leadership team. The key to this leadership is a young adult and youth team that serves and cares for the children refugees. They model Christian faith in lifestyle and witness which resonates with the principles found in 1 Timothy 4:12, where believers are encouraged not to let their youth hinder them from being examples to others in faith and conduct. This is how we encourage our students “to put footsteps to their faith.”