Ukraine Marks 73rd Anniversary of Famine

Yesterday marked a dark period in Ukrainian history. Some 33,000 people died every day during the 1932-33 famine, wiping out a third of Ukraine's population in a calamity known here as Holodomor - Death by Hunger. Cases of cannibalism were widespread as desperation deepened. Those who resisted were shot or sent to Siberia.

The Soviet Union dumped 1.7 million tons of grain on Western markets during the Genocide - nearly a fifth of a ton of grain was exported for each person who died of starvation. Over 3,000,000 children born between 1932-1933 died of hunger.

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin started the Great Famine when he ordered the government to seize crops as part of a campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to join collective farms. The famine is already recognized as genocide by 10 countries, including the United States. The Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament is expected to vote this week on the term to be used to describe the horror. President Yushchenko's bid is to include the word "genocide" but such a move is strongly opposed by Russia and our Russian leaning parliament, which has proposed dropping the word and calling the 1932-33 Great Famine a “tragedy” instead.

For more information on the Great Famine of 1932-33:

A New Season

This week our first snowfall ushered in autumn in Ukraine, although with temperatures at freezing it feels more like winter to us!  As the season changes so comes a new season for our ministires in Ukraine. I have recently committed to lead the Mercy Trucks Ukraine ministry of YWAM Kyiv. This new ministry takes medical and dental care and aid to the poor and needy throughout Ukraine. Many of you read about my outreach on the maiden trip of the Mercy Truck this past summer. God revealed during those weeks what an amazing tool the Mercy Truck is for evangelism to the people of this nation. God has provided a fully outfitted dental van capable of partnering dentists and other medical professionals with evangelism teams on short-term mission outreaches throughout Ukraine. These teams will come alongside existing ministries operating in Ukraine to ensure that discipleship and ministry will continue after the initial outreach. One amazing aspect of this is how God provided a ministry that best utilizes my past twenty plus years in business. My experience in business management, organization, marketing, networking and planning fits like a glove with the needs of this new and unique ministry. Those of you who have been with us from the beginning might remember my apprehension based on my fear of how could God use me. "I have no talents or experience that would serve Him on a mission field," I would say. God can use us all no matter what our background or talents. He has a plan for each of us if we will only let Him lead. More information on Mercy Trucks Ukraine:

Additionally, Pam and I have accepted a position in Family Ministries with YWAM Kyiv. We will be working together with the Family Ministires staff throughout Ukraine teaching, training and counseling on Christian parenting. Not only is there a tremendous need for teaching and counseling the families of Ukraine, but also God has revealed another community that needs ministering, that of the missionary and church leadership community of Ukraine. Both Pam and I have had opportunities to speak with, counsel and teach to those serving along side us in missions. God continues to reveal a great need in this area as He has brought families to us. We will try to help parents better understand God's plan for the family and to fully realize the importance of raising and nurturing their children for Christ.

These ministries fit the vision God gave us and our family mission we laid out as He called us into service, "to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) while working as the hands of Christ to the children and people of Ukraine." We will maintain our work with several of the ministries we have served over the past year as volunteers. Particularly our children, who have each been developing in their ministries. Greg will continue to work with the Key of Hope ministries of the English Club, Bible Study Group, Thursday Night Youth Group, and orphanages. Steven will continue his weekly visits to the orphanage and work with the Puppet Ministry. Emily and Jennie will be rejoining the Preschool Ministry where they help with English and with Music Mission Kyiv to serve the widows ministry.

We thank everyone who has joined us in prayer as we have sought Gods' direction for the Colker Family Mission. We praise Him for calling us into His service, for bringing us to Ukraine and for His provision as we begin our second year.