Ukraine

Ukraine

Intro and History 

Servant Life partners with a unique ministry in Ukraine driven by the vision to strengthen the church through camps. Their staff work toward this goal by presenting youth summer camps and equipping other people for the same task.

The cherished dream of many Ukrainian people – an independent Ukraine – came to pass in 1991, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But as it turned out, independence itself did not guarantee a future many had hoped for. People now faced the problems associated with a transitional economy and a corrupted government. They learned it takes so much more than an abrupt change in the regime to bring about positive and long-lasting changes in the lives of people.

Christians of Ukraine, whose numbers have tremendously grown in the past 10 years, know that the One who has a future for the nation is Jesus Christ. As an active part of the community of believers, our mission partner strives to bring Ukraine to Christ and invest in her future by reaching the young generation.

They did their first camp in 1994 and as the camps grew in quantity and popularity, it became obvious what a powerful evangelistic and discipleship tool the camping ministry was. God let the ministry grow from one-time summer projects to a year-round operating organization that came to existence in 1998.

Besides camps, they also started conducting training programs for future camp directors. Our mission partners felt called to share their resources and expertise in running camps with potential camp directors and in that way reach more people for Christ.

At the same time, more summer camp programs were being developed to meet the needs of youth from different backgrounds. One of these programs was an English-language camp designed to use English and cross-cultural experiences as a means to bring the Good News to Ukrainian non-Christian students. These camps proved to be very effective and became the focus of their camp activities.

The Servant Life partnership with them in doing camps, training, and internships started in 1999. It stimulated their rapid growth and brought the ministry to a higher level of performance.

Feeling the burden on their hearts for their country and knowing a way to make a difference there, our mission partner is determined to continue creating such a camp environment where people can meet God or experience His presence more intimately. They are currently expanding their program and worship departments that help to engage creativity in communicating the Gospel to students and lead them in a quality time of worship. One of their long-term goals is to identify strong regional networks of churches and to establish regional offices in those areas, providing churches with consistent help in recreational activities and strengthening their youth groups through camps.

What will my team be doing? You will be working alongside our mission partner's summer camp, specifically English/JAMM Camp or Orphan Camp.  The different weeks are labeled below.  You will join the staff in sharing the gospel, playing games, worshipping through song, and other similar activities.  At English/JAMM Camp, as the name suggests, you will have the chance to help Ukrainian children learn English during their time at camp, as well as, spend time leading or helping facilitate "Master" classes such as, business, show biz and art.

What does my cost include?

• In-country transportation
• Housing
• Meals
• Supplemental Traveler's Insurance
• T-Shirt
• Pre-Trip Training Manual
• Pre, During, and Post-trip Devotionals

Airfare is not included in this cost, but Servant Life does offer to book all airfare reservations.

 

Potpourri

The western portion of Ukraine is predominantly Catholic, and the eastern half of the country adheres to the Orthodox faith.

About 70% of the words of the Russian and Ukrainian languages are the same.

Kiev's Independence Square is the location for the Ukrainian version of Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park.

Kiev boasts the world's deepest subway. It doubles as a fallout shelter.

Ukraine's flag, a horizontal stripe of light blue set above a stripe of wheat yellow, symbolizes the richness of its agriculture under an endless sky.

Like most Slavs, Ukrainians use a patronymic (modification of their father's first name) as their middle name, and use first and middle names in all situations. A male named Oleksandr, with a father named Volodymyr, is called Oleksandr Volodymyrovytch. In formal conversation, he would be addressed not with a title such as Mr., but by calling him Oleksandr Volodymyrovytch.

Capital City

Kiev is one of the oldest Slavic cities, situated at an ancient trade crossroads. Set on the right bank of the Dnieper, Kiev has a Western European atmosphere and merits at least a two-night stay. We suggest beginning a tour with the view from atop Volodymyr Hill, followed by a walk along scenic Khreshchatyk, the main street with fine shops, restaurants, a large market and large supermarkets selling such imported luxuries as lobster and French cheeses. Look for the gilt-covered Golden Gate, a triumphal arch built by Yaroslav the Wise in the 10th century.

Although it is the political capital of Ukraine, Kiev is perhaps more important as a magnificent monument to the Russian Orthodox church. The city has seen many churches and monasteries built since AD 988, when the Byzantine wife of Kiev's ruler introduced Christianity to the region. The chief religious site in town is the golden-domed St. Sophia Cathedral. The 11th-century structure is actually an enormous complex that includes a cathedral, seminaries, a bell tower and the metropolitan's residence (a metropolitan is the Orthodox equivalent of a Roman Catholic cardinal). All have beautiful Byzantine architecture, with onion domes and mosaics. Along the right bank of the Dnieper River is the Pecherska Lavra Monastery (Monastery of the Caves) and its associated catacombs. Inside are two antiques shops, a folk-art museum and displays from the monastery's treasury. Other notable holy places in Kiev include the Cathedral of St. Volodymyr, Vydubichy Monastery and St. Andrew's Church, which was designed by Rastrelli, builder of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Personal Safety

As in any large city, travelers should be on their guard against crimes of opportunity, particularly petty theft on public transportation. Always carry a good copy of your passport with you at all times.

For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency.


 

Health

Generally speaking, medical care is adequate but limited. Most larger cities have hospitals, and Kiev also has a branch of the international American Medical Centers, a well-equipped clinic staffed by AMA-certified doctors that can deal with outpatient care and emergencies. In smaller cities, however, many basic supplies and medications are scarce. Visitors who need specific prescription medicines and/or disposable syringes should take their own supply. The smog in some cities may be a hazard for some visitors.

There have been a few cases of typhoid in rural parts of the country and tuberculosis in some parts of the east. Boosters for hepatitis and diphtheria are also recommended. Consult your physician for precautionary measures. Do not drink the tap water: Stick with boiled or prepackaged drinks.

For more information, contact your country's health-advisory agency.

Do's and Don'ts

Don't use the old way of referring to the country as "the Ukraine." The definite article implies that it is still a province of Russia, and the name alone means it's independent.

Do learn a few words of Ukrainian and Russian. (You'll find the phrases "Hello" and "To your health" are indispensable in both languages.).

Do be prepared to remove your shoes if you're invited to someone's home (you will usually be furnished with slippers).

Do take toilet paper and a universal bathtub stopper (the round, flat type) if you're traveling in rural areas.


 

Geostats

Official Name: Ukraine

Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens need a passport, valid for six months after the intended date of departure.

Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.

Capital: Kiev.

Population: 47,732,079.

Languages: Ukrainian, Russian.

Predominant Religions: Christian (Ukrainian Orthodox, Roman Catholic).

Time Zone: 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+2 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

Voltage Requirements: 220 volts.

Telephone Codes: 380, country code; 44, city code for Kiev; 48, city code for Odessa.

The country has three vegetation zones: mixed forests in the north; beech, silver birch and oak forests in the center; and black-soil steppes in the south. The main rivers are the Dnieper, which runs from north to south in the center of the country, and the Dniester, which forms part of the western border. The famed Danube River crosses a small corner of the country south of Odessa and empties into the Black Sea, as do the Dnieper and the Dniester. The Crimean peninsula, which juts into the Black Sea, has beaches and a Mediterranean climate.


 

Money

Paying for your purchases in Ukraine can get complicated. These days, it's a cash-and-carry economy, and your traveler's checks and credit cards, especially American Express and Diner's Club, may not be accepted everywhere. There are many banks in larger cities that can cash traveler's checks (you must show your passport to do so), and ATMs can be found in all major cities and in most smaller ones with populations of 200,000 or more. (Only use ATMs that are in well-lit areas and display a wide range of international banking symbols on the front. If your card is not returned, contact the bank whose machine you've used immediately).

For a good exchange rate, compare rates at the exchange kiosks on the street.

The Ukrainian hryvnia is the sole legal currency in Ukraine. At major restaurants in larger cities you may ask the staff to change your foreign currency for you before paying for your meal in hryvnias. Dollars or euros are only acceptable as payment for large-ticket items such as airline tickets and luxury items, including automobiles and jewelry.

Do be aware that if you choose to change money with or buy from black marketeers you're engaging in an illegal activity. You also run a significant risk of being cheated or robbed.

Currency Exchange Rates
 

US Dollar Ukranian hryvnia US Dollar Ukranian hryvnia
$10 50.30 $200 1,006.04
$20 100.60 $400 2,012.07
$30 150.91 $600 3,018.11
$40 201.21 $800 4,024.15
$50 251.51 $1000 5,030.18
$60 301.81 $1200 6,036.22
$70 352.11 $1400 7,042.25
$80 402.41 $1600 8,048.29
$90 452.72 $1800 9,054.33
$100 503.02 $2000 10,060.36


 

Weather

In general, the best time to visit is May-September, when the days temperatures are 50s-70s F/11-25 C. Spring and early fall, however, are unpredictable; snow flurries and low temperatures in the 30s F/0-10 C are possible as late as May and as early as September. Layers and warm clothing is certainly a necessity during the cold months, and layers with a light jacket are wise for the warmer months.

Transportation

Servant Life will take care of all of your in-country travel arrangements.

Why Go With Servant Life?

Our team at Servant Life has two primary functions: serving local churches here in the U.S. and Canada, and serving and supporting the work of missionaries around the world.

Servant Life serves the Church by equipping and sending believers to the nations. Our 20+ years of experience in short-term trips makes missions possible for many churches and individuals. Many churches do not have the training, experience, connections, or time to organize and execute trips of this magnitude. This is where Servant Life steps in. Our trips are all-inclusive, which means that we focus on the details so that you can focus on ministry with your team.  Our team  will work with in-country missionaries to take care of food, lodging, and ministry experiences for your short-term mission trip. Servant Life also provides international traveler's insurance, trip devotionals, training videos, and other resources as part of your basic trip cost. Servant Life exists to be a fantastic resource for churches as you make disciples of all nations. 

Servant Life serves missionaries by equipping and sending the Church. According to our mission partners it can take a combination of 50 phone calls and e-mails to prepare a person to serve with them, not to mention countless hours before that trying to find and recruit churches to come serve with them. Equipping trip participants for the mission field requires time and resources that most missionaries do not have, as this pulls them away from ministry in their local context. Servant Life is ready to answer your calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, at your convienence and in your time zone. We can prepare you for the majority of the details for your trip to alleviate some of those communication logistics from the missionary, and then as we get closer to the trip the mission team will be able to communicate the specifics of your schedule and talk through your trip in more detail. Servant Life will also provide training materials for your trip to walk through such topics about the "Why" of missions, how to share your faith, culture shock, and other logistical considerations, so that you show up prepared to serve in your context. Servant Life is not only a great resource for the Church, but a great resource for missionaries as well.

Who Can Go?

Servant Life hosts many youth mission trips, college mission trips, and even works with individuals to get them on a trip as part of a team. Trips will only occur if there is a group (youth, college, or adults) signed up to go. For individuals interested, we would do our best to add you on to a group already planning to serve, but this is not always possible.

If registering and traveling with their church group, students must be 14 years old or older* to participate in a Servant Life missions experience. If registering as an individual participant without an adult, students must be 16 years old or older*. Of course, adults are welcome on these trips as well! Servant Life asks for at least a 1 to 5 adult to student ratio, but some groups even end up closer to 1 to 1 ratio, and we always love it when this happens because we know adults want to serve the nations as well. Teams may be made up of groups and/or individuals.

*It is possible for participants to be younger than 14 years of age if traveling with a group, but that is taken on a case by case basis depending on the trip location and the discretion of our mission partners. For domestic trips such as Houston Memphis, and St. Louis, middle school students are welcome to participate. For international trips, we love to accomodate younger students when possible, but please ask us if you would like to do this in a certain trip.

Can College Students Go?

Yes! Servant Life trips are designed for all students from the age of 14 with a group, or 16 as an individual, all the way through college age. We have also specifically designated College Weeks in which only college-aged students will participate. Additionally, Servant Life has launched the  A1eight Project, an opportunity for college-aged individuals to serve with a missionary for the entire summer.

Trip Cost

Servant Life  trips  are priced at a BASE COST PLUS AIRFARE (or plus travel, if domestic). The base cost varies per country and can be found by clicking on the link for a trip on the "Mission Trips" tab at the top of the page. The cost varies from trip to trip simply because our partners have different cost structures in their contexts and different expenses, and our partners set the price of our trips. 

The bast cost covers all of your in-country expenses, including meals, lodging, transportation*, and even expenses like translators and local staff for the week. The base cost also covers training resources, traveler's insurance for international trips, and a t-shirt for every participant. Some of our camp ministries include scholarship funds in the base cost so you are helping students come to camp in these international contexts. As part of your base cost, Servant Life also offers to book airfare for you through our travel agent. Contact us if you would like an airfare estimate, and be sure to check out our  Financial Guidelines  to see a payment plan.

*Transportation is not provided for domestic trips like Memphis, St. Louis, Houston, and Toronto. It is provided in NYC.

 Airfare Information

Servant Life offers to book all airfare through our travel agency, though you may book with your own travel agent if you prefer to do so. We just want you to get the best rate possible! Generally everyone on your team must travel together, though we may be able to take exceptions on a case by case basis. We book group airline tickets and therefore cannot always accommodate special requests for different individual flights. Due to commitments to our missionaries to have groups there on set dates, trip dates may not be flexible, so once again we must take requests on a case by case basis. Generally with our travel agent, we can hold your airfare tickets with a deposit a few months in advance of your trip, but then the full price of the ticket is due around 45 days before your trip. Once a ticket has been purchased in your name, it must be paid for regardless of circumstances. If you cancel an airfare ticket, we will refund you anything that the airline refunds us, but you would have to pay the cancellation penalty that the airline sets. Airline tickets are non-transferrable as they are tied to a person's name, and they are only partially refundable based on whatever policies the airline implements for your specific booking. Airfare can be a headache, but we try to alleviate that burden for you and make it easy!

Activities

Servant Life works with missionary partners in each country. Your team will be helping local missionaries with various needs, and exact details may vary from trip to trip. Sample activities include serving at a Christian youth camp, hosting VBS activities in the community or the school, conducting sports camps, "backyard Bible clubs," or other community events, teaching English to internationals, helping with food and clothing distribution, and home visits-- with an emphasis on sharing the gospel and the hope of Christ in conjunction with each of these activities. Specific details for each short term mission trip can be found by clicking on the trip's link and looking under the "What will my team be doing?" section.

Passports

We encourage anyone interested in an international mission trip with Servant Life to go ahead and apply for a passport. The amount of time it takes to get a passport varies, and we generally do not recommend booking plane tickets without a copy of each person's passport, since the name on the airfare must match the passport exactly. Any costs associated with obtaining a passport are solely your responsibility. You can download a passport application and read instructions on obtaining a passport online here. It is required for your passport to have at least six months of validity past your travel dates.

Will I need a background check?

For groups serving on a Servant Life trip, the group leader will need to sign an agreement stating that background checks have been performed for all adult leaders 18 years or older. For individuals, Servant Life will perform a background check for you if you are 18+. The estimated cost of a background check is $10, which will be added to your base cost.

Immunizations

Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area, but please give us a call and we can talk through the recommendations for your specific trip. Ultimately, this will be up to your discretion, as we are not medical experts and default to your local doctor, the CDC, and your own judgment. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.

Once You Register

Shortly after you register, you will receive an email from the Servant Life team letting you know we have received your registration. The next step would be accessing the Prep Center where you will find needed paperwork to be filled out by each participant. An initial per person deposit is due by November 1, and paperwork is due by March 1. If you register after November 1, the deposit is due within 30 days of registering. A registration is not complete until we have received your deposit. Registrations cannot be held beyond 30 days if the deposit has not been received.

How many adults will be on each trip? 

We request that groups bring at least 1 adult for every 5 student participants, but it is ok if you have even more than this. This is to ensure to the team's safety. Each setting you are working in is an area designated specifically for youth and college teams, but when traveling in a foreign context that you are unfamiliar with, it is always wise to have sufficient adult supervision.

Parent FAQs

Will my student serve alone or as part of a team?

On each of  our trips, your student will be part of a Servant Life team, which typically consists of a youth group, college group, or other group from a single local church. The majority of our trips feature teams in which 100% of the members come from the same local church. However, if your student is registering alone and not with his or he group, he or she may be able to join a group from another church. In that case, the participant would join the rest of the team at a domestic or international airport, and stay and work with that team for the remainder of the trip. Individuals being able to join teams is taken on a case by case basis.

What kind of supervision will my student have?

Servant Life trips are led by our in-country missionary partners. This partner serves as the host and leader for the team from the time they land in-country at the airport until they depart at the end of the mission experience. Additionally, we request that groups bring 1 adult for every 5 student participants to supervise the trip. We believe that this is the best (and safest) model of leadership. We rely on local leaders from their local contexts, because they know their contexts far better than any outsider would. And we trust the leaders from your group to come alongside those local leaders to help shepherd your team well.

How safe are these trips?

Servant Life makes every effort to keep your students safe during their entire short term mission trip experience with us. We visit every location before sending a group, and work with partners in the country who are familiar with the area we will be staying in and working in. We research and plan the safest places for your student to eat, stay, work and have fun. We do recognize that any "safe place" can become unsafe in a matter of seconds if an outside threat comes in, which we have sadly seen more often in our own country than many of the places we serve. However, we take safety very seriously and our partners on the ground do their due diligence to keep teams in the safest positions possible.

Who will the teams work with?

All teams work with established missionary partners in the Servant Life network. These are either missionaries or ministry leaders who have a history of service in the country and programs that fit with the mission vision of Servant Life. The people leading your team for the week are going to be the people who are staying behind and continuing to serve that context well after your team leaves.

Who do I call in case of emergency while my student is traveling?

If you are unable to reach your child or their group leader in the event of an emergency, you can contact our team at 1-800-772-2615 or send us an e-mail at info@servantlife.com. We will not answer calls to that number on the weekends or after hours, but we will see e-mails coming through at that time. Your group leader will also be provided with a cell number for us and can share that with you so that you have it on hand. We can help get in touch with the team, the missionaries, etc.

Will my student be able to call home and email while on the field?

Access to phone calls and email may be limited, and varies from location to location. As your trip approaches, more information will be given on phone and internet availability for that specific trip. In the event of an emergency, Servant Life will contact parents immediately (since we do collect emergency contact information for every participant). So remember that no news is good news!

We have a frequent flyer program. Can we use those miles to cover my student's ticket?

Possibly, but you will probably have to book flights on your own separately from the rest of your team, since travel agents cannot utilize those forms of payment to purchase tickets. Also, we cannot guarantee which airline each team will use in advance, as we are watching for competitive pricing and schedules. Please contact Servant Life if you are interested in learning more about using frequent flyer miles on a mission trip.

When should my student apply for a passport?

We recommend applying for a passport immediately after registering for a Servant Life mission trip. Even if you were to back out of the tirp for some reason, passports are eligible for 10 years and you will be able to use it in the future. Passports can take up to 8 weeks to arrive, and it will be helpful to have your passport well in advance of the trip so that we can make sure your airfare information is correct. Costs related to obtaining a passport are the responsibility of the participant.

Is a visa required for my student's trip?

The only areas that Servant Life is currently sending teams to needing visas are Cuba, East Asia, Uganda, and Kenya. Specific information will be provided to team leaders and/or students traveling on their own, as Servant Life will help teams secure these visas. In each of these locations, the cost of the visa is included in the trip cost listed online.

Will my student receive any training?

Servant Life will send a preparation "Field manual" filled with detailed information regarding your child's mission trip, as well as training sessions that we provide for your team leader to go through with your group. Training sessions cover topoics such as the "why" of missions, training in evangelism, culture shock, and other logistics. Hands-on training will take place with the ministry partner once the team arrives at their destination.

What about immunizations?

Immunizations and any costs related to them are the sole responsibility of the trip participant. All childhood immunizations must be complete (measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus). We also HIGHLY advise any immunizations recommended by your physician and/or the CDC for the area of travel. Both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are strongly recommended for all international travel. It is solely the traveler's responsibility to obtain information on required/recommended travel immunizations and travel precautions for the area. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/travel and has up-to-date info on immunizations for every country.

Why should my student go serve over seas when there are so many needs here in the United States?

The first and primary reason we believe in sending teams on international mission trips is that God has commanded His followers to make disciples of ALL nations (Matt 28:19). Knowing that we are commanded to play an active role in global disciple-making, we have found that missionaries and ministries around the world have needs that short-term mission teams can easily and uniquely fill, thus helping to advance the kingdom of God in those countries. We also hope that participating in an international mission trip will leave such an impression on your child's life that they will become supporters of mission work for the rest of their lives, whether through prayer, financial support, church leadership, or even life service.

What is not covered in my child's trip cost?

The only expenses not covered in your child's trip cost are meals in airports on travel days, any souvenirs that your child may wish to purchase while in country, any expenses related to obtaining a passport and immunizations, and any additional "free day" expenses that your team chooses to add. If there are additional expenses, they will be outlined in the profile of each trip. For example, all of our domestic trips require you to provide your own transportation.

Are there scholarships available for my child?

Servant Life does not offer scholarships. We encourage participants to raise support through fundraising efforts such as church partnership, personal support letters, and fundraisers such as t-shirt sales and other activities.

For information regarding Servant Life's financial guidelines, please  Click here

Financial Guide

Servant Life is committed to providing a quality mission experience at the lowest possible price. Our goal is not to entertain, but rather to bring the teachings of Scripture to life.

The cost of the mission experience includes in-country costs, such as:

  • In-country transportation
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Supplemental Traveler's Insurance
  • Sponsoring local students to attend camp
  • T-Shirt
  • Pre-Trip Training Manual
  • Visa, if applicable
  • Exit tax, if applicable

Costs not covered in base cost of the trip include:

  • Airfare
  • Passports
  • Immunization Shots
  • Snacks
  • Souvenirs
  • Personal expenses while traveling and in-country, including meals in airports
  • Any additional costs associated with the trip before you arrive and after you leave

Financial Guidelines

Deposits:
Deposits of $250 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due November 1. If you register after November 1, a deposit of $250 per person and a copy of the front page of your passport are due within 30 days of registration.

Deposits are non-refundable.

Airfare:
Servant Life will secure all airline transportation through our travel agent to insure teams arrive together. Once your group is in place, let us know as soon as possible so we can secure your tickets at the lowest possible rate.

You are responsible for the payment of any purchased tickets. Once a ticket is purchased, payment for that ticket must be in our office within 5 business days.

All tickets must be secured and paid in full 60 days before departure. Payments for airfare must be made via check. We cannot accept credit card payments for airfare purchases.

Summer Missions Payments:
The first payment, which is half of the base cost, is due March 1.

The second payment, which is the balance of the trip cost, is due in the Servant Life office no later than 35 days before departure. If your final balance is not received by 35 days out, a $100 late fee may be applied.

PLEASE NOTE: All checks and money orders must be made out to SERVANT LIFE. Please mail all payments and donations to PO Box 36307, Birmingham, AL 35236.
 

Ukraine Trips
DatePrice (Per Person)
*Plus Airfare
DescriptionCapacity
Jul 08, 2020 - Jul 19, 2020
Open
TBA
TBAJAMMglish Camp / Relational Ministry20
Jul 15, 2020 - Jul 26, 2020
Open
TBA
TBAJAMMglish Camp / Relational Ministry20
Jul 22, 2020 - Aug 02, 2020
Open
TBA
TBAJAMMglish Camp / Relational Ministry20

* Dates and locations are subject to change