Summer 2014 LifeNets Mission to Vinogradov, Ukraine

Camp: Teaching English, Music, Crafts

May 28, 2014

For the sixth time in seven years LifeNets sponsors a two week program to teach English and provide support for a day camp at the Light of Love Mission in Ukraine. LifeNets has been supporting the work of Vasyl and Irina Polichko since 2001.

Vinogradov home

LifeNets home

Four US volunteers, Oleh Kubik, group leader, Colin Kubik, Michala Lockwood, and Cody Martin will travel on this very fulfilling mission. Here's some background.

From Oleh Kubik, group leader:

We are again gearing up for our Annual Ukraine Summer Camp.  I call it that because the Mission has changed and adapted to  what is being accomplished.

We still teach English but have expanded our efforts and goals to make use of the limited time that we are there. Camp will begin on June  28th and close on  July 11.  For two weeks our daily schedule  runs like this. Breakfast at 9:00.  Songs and hymns at 10:00. We sing in both English and Ukrainians. The children’s  voices blend so nicely. We then have a basic English class. This year we will focus on the life and  times Jesus. We will read a parable or event of Christ’s life .

Oleh Kubik

We will translate it into Ukrainian or Russian and then review vocabulary. Then review the English. We then have arts and crafts. Everything we do revolves around learning, speaking , reading in English. Kids say they learn more in two weeks than a year of English in their schools. 

We go over with 3 college students to serve. What we find is they learn from us and we learn from them.  We exchange and compare cultures. We learn of similarities and differences. Sometimes there is laughter and sometimes there is serious discussion as we play and discuss life and Jesus. Every thing is in English as we cobble together conversation from lists, I pods, signing, and hand waving. It’s a joy and a challenge. It is a pretty filled AM.  In the afternoon we head for the river to swim or go to the mountains to explore ancient castles. Ukraine is a surprisingly ancient land with forts and castles going back to feudal times. One of the most interesting is an old destroyed monastery that was destroyed  by the Mongol horde in 1242! 

We go to serve and teach. We also find they serve and teach us. It is a remarkable exchange. Students that go there find they learn a lot and their lives are enriched. Each day we come home exhausted but happy.  It is an experience of a lifetime!  

Michala Lockwood, participant

MichalaMichala Lockwood


I’m Michala and I’ll be leaving for the Ukraine from Denver, Colorado on June 28th. I just graduated from high school and can’t imagine a better way to start my post-high school life than serving God’s children.

Around Passover I felt like I needed to go do something, and the more I prayed about it the stronger that feeling was. When I got back to the US (I spent the beginning of the Holy Day season in the Caribbean) this opportunity opened up, so I jumped on it. I love working with kids because they’re so much fun and full of love. These kids need love, but I’m positive I’ll get way more out of it than they will. One of my goals, after talking to Mr. Eugene, is to teach the kids English songs with some simple signs; that’d be pretty fun. 

Thank you,

- Michala Lockwood

Colin Kubik, participant

This will be my third year going to Ukraine and working with the children in Vinogradov! I have never been more excited for this trip than this year. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us when we get over there. I am 19 years old and I am attending community college in Spokane Washington where I live with my parents.

Colin KubikColin Kubik

My family has Ukrainian roots, which makes this trip so much more interesting for me becauseI get to see the land where my grandparents were born. I run track and cross country for the school I go to and I can’t wait to be running again on the streets of Vinogradov. Last year when I went to Ukraine I had learned quite a bit of Russian to help me communicate with the children. This past year has been tough for me to keep learning Russian because I have had a hard time finding someone that will practice with me. It has gotten better and I can thank Alina Chizmar (One of the cooks that works in the camp) who came to the states for 3 months in the winter and stayed with my family and me for 2 and a half months.

She practiced her English with me and I practiced my Russian with her. This summer I want to be able to leave Ukraine and know that I made a spiritual impact on these children and also a language impact with their English studies. I truly believe that Ukraine has a special place in my heart and especially the children that I work with. This is going to be a summer to remember.

- Colin Kubik


Cody MartinCody Martin

Cody Martin, participant

I'm Cody Martin and I'm originally from the Twin Cities, Minnesota but last November I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. I want to participate in this program because more than anything I want to serve, help out, encourage and energize people. I will be teaching English to the children and teaching them about Christ. The goals that I have in mind aside from teaching English is to build the kids up and help them to have fun and not let it be just like regular class. This will be my first time out of the country, so I am very excited for this and I know it will be an experience if a lifetime that I will never forget. 

- Cody Martin