I’ve learned that all God wants from us is to surrender and go wherever He opens the way. Nothing else depends on us – not our skills, schedule, resources or talents. We are only called to be faithful, and God takes that and makes it more than we could have ever expected or imagined.

This fall, I had the privilege of spending two weeks serving in Ukraine. We chose to walk where Jesus walked, among the least of these, the sick, and the broken-hearted. Our focus was on their well-being, praying for peace, and addressing their deepest needs – whether physical or the need for a listening ear and a loving heart.Dakota Conference

During this trip, I was part of a pop-up clinic based in the local Adventist school, with over 10 different departments offering primary care, neurology, OB/GYN, mental health, dentistry, physical therapy, orthopedics, massage therapy, ENT, chaplaincy, imaging, diagnostics and more. In four days, we served 1,069 patients, providing 827 consultations with different specialists, 243 dentist visits, 809 analyses, 4,544 medical services, and 590 individual chaplaincy communications.

With 55 Americans and 145 Ukrainians (totaling 200 volunteers) we made a significant impact. One day, after clinic hours, my Ukrainian friend Marina and I strolled around the clinic site. We ended up at chaplaincy, where we visited with a local pastor conducting spiritual counseling. He shared a conversation he had with an older Ukrainian woman who wondered why Americans would come so far to help. The pastor used this opportunity to explain the gospel and the love of Christ, and because the volunteers are Christians, they love as He loved and want to serve as He served. Overwhelmed, the woman requested Bible studies because she wanted to understand and know a love that deep.

While working in the lab, I was impressed to pray with a lady before a blood draw. Through my translator, I asked if we could pray with her. She eagerly agreed, and after the prayer, she hugged us, tearfully expressing how touched she was.

The medical work and week-long evangelistic series led to six people being baptized into the local church. Those engaged in Christlike ministry know the true meaning of happiness, as I experienced in Ukraine. The joy and happiness that came from serving these wonderful people reminded me once again that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.Dakota Conference

1 Cor. 15:58 says, “Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” In a world where various priorities are emphasized, and society often directs us toward a certain lifestyle, this verse serves as a powerful reminder that the Lord’s labor is the only lasting work. So let us give ourselves fully to the labor of Christ.

I believe that every resource, gift, attainment, talent and possession is entrusted to us for one purpose – to faithfully give it back to God, further His kingdom, and spread the gospel. God blesses us so we can experience the joy of giving wholeheartedly and pouring everything out for others in response to love. He desires each of us to experience that extent of joy, and this gospel truth is the only reason we, as humans, are on this earth: to totally surrender, freely give and completely live for the love of Jesus Christ!

Mindy Schumacher is a registered nurse and member of the Lehr Adventist Church in North Dakota. She plans to return to Ukraine in 2024 to serve in the Adventist Sanitarium of Черешенняка (Chereshenka) during the months of January and February.