About the Mission

You can be a part of God’s work in Ukraine! Through camps, clinics, training, fellowship, and outreach within local communities you will impact the lives of many young people. Ukraine greatly needs a young generation of Christian leaders to rise up and influence their communities. In the times of the Soviet Union, many Christian leaders were killed and the impact of other Christians was minimized. Our desire is to develop a new generation of leaders to start a multiplying movement in Ukraine. We believe that the best way to achieve this need is by using sport as a tool to make disciples of Christ.

We aim to change the attitude toward Christianity in this country. We hope to show that Christians are all part of a large, friendly family all around the world. Through our work and play, we want people to see our all-powerful and loving God who wants to have a relationship with everyone. Once the youth have that understanding, we can build up their character and leadership potential within the context of sport.

Our team from Ukraine works with these young people throughout the year through Bible study, soccer practices, tournaments, camps, and different sports activities, enabling them to have an ongoing impact on these young peoples’ lives. If God leads you to come be part of this project, we will be waiting for you! See you in Ukraine!

Discover more about what God is doing in Ukraine.

Project Summary

Dates: May 17 - 26, 2018

Location: Shostka, Ukraine

Training Camp: May 17-19 in Novgorod, Ukraine

Sports: Soccer

Age Requirement: Applicants must be between 15 -25 years old





  • Michael DS.
    “During the Ukraine project God enabled me to build great relationships with many different people.  I realized that even though people around the world have different cultures, languages, and mentalities, we are all loved by the same Father, who invites us to be a part of His global family.”  -- Michael DS.
  • Auguy M.
    “I believe that God will raise up a generation of champions in Shoskta through the ministry of SportQuest.”  -- Auguy M
  • Wouter V.
    “The Ukraine project made me realize that it isn’t about me but about God and sharing His love and salvation to the people around me.  During this project it was awesome to see how Andriy touches the lives of the kids in his soccer practices.  Our presence and involvement helped multiply the light that is shining in Shostka.”   -- Wouter V.
  • Ukraine Country Info


    City/Country: Shostka, Ukraine

    Project Coordinator: Andriy Petrenko

    Country Population: 44,429,471 (85,000 in Shostka)

    Capital: Kiev

    Official languages: Ukrainian (18 regional languages), Russian is also widely spoken

    Currency: Ukrainian kryvnia (UAH)

    Most popular sports: Soccer, Boxing, Basketball, Chess


    Spiritual Climate:

    Estimates compiled by the independent Razumkov Centre in a nationwide survey in 2006 found that 75.2 percent of the respondents believe in God and 22 percent said they did not believe in God. 37.4 percent said that they attended church on regular basis – the most common church being Eastern Orthodoxy, which is split into three Church bodies. There are an estimated 500,000 Muslims in Ukraine and about 300,000 of them are Crimean Tatars.  One 2006 survey put the number of non-religious in Ukraine at approximately 11.1% of the population. According to Andriy, most people consider themselves believers, but this is a very nominal association.  Most people only go to church twice per year.  Officially, only 27% of the population says they are Orthodox, but in reality these are just the ones who clearly identify with one of the 3 denominations of Orthodoxy in Ukraine.  62% state no clear affiliation or are not even aware of the difference. Less than 1% of the population is from Protestant or Evangelical churches.  These churches are still seen by the general population as sects.  However, in Andriy’s community, people tend to be open and respectful of Protestant believers because they see them doing good things that help the community.  For this reason, it is very important to show a good example and witness to those watching.  If Andriy shares a spiritual talk or lesson, he always focuses on the Bible and its application to their daily lives.  Since Orthodox believers also believe the Bible is God’s Word, this is an important common ground.  However, most Orthodox Ukrainians have not read the Bible for themselves.


    Political Situation:

    Following independence, Ukraine declared itself a neutral state but nonetheless formed a limited military partnership with the Russian Federation, other CIS countries, and a partnership with NATO since 1994. In the 2000s, the government began leaning towards NATO, and a deeper cooperation with the alliance was set by the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan signed in 2002. Recently deposed President Viktor Yanukovych considered the current level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient and was against Ukraine joining NATO.  In 2013, protests against the government of President Yanukovych broke out in downtown Kiev after the government made the decision to suspend the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement and seek closer economic ties with Russia.  This began a several months-long wave of demonstrations and protests known as the Euromaidan, which later escalated into a full-on revolution that ultimately resulted in the overthrowing of Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government. These events precipitated the breakout of the Crimean Crisis with Russia in February 2014, and the War in Donbass in March 2014; both are still ongoing as of September 2015. On January 1, 2016, Ukraine joined the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with European Union.


    Challenges for Prayer:

    • The Orange Revolution displayed both the incredible potential and the predictable humanity of Ukraine. After non-violent mass demonstrations forced new elections and greater freedoms, many felt Ukraine was on the road to widespread transformation. Sadly, much remains unchanged. Opposing political leaders undermined one another, and the nation remains intrinsically divided between East and West. Pray for this fault line to be repaired by genuine healing and reconciliation.
    • Ukraine is a key nation, a bridge between East and West, Orthodox and Catholic. Slavic Christianity was born in Kiev 1,000 years ago. Most Ukrainians are part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but it is torn by factions loyal to competing patriarchs in Kiev and Moscow. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church condemns both for compliance with the Communists, but is itself beset with schisms. The Greek or Uniate Catholic Church, which follows the Orthodox liturgy and structure but accepts the leadership of the Pope, is also large. There is much competition for limited resources, reacquired buildings, and dwindling populations. Superstition and superficiality are widespread, but those with a love for God and the Scriptures remain faithful. Pray that spiritual life and renewal, rather than power-politics, may govern structures and relationships within these large Christian bodies (Operation World).


    Points of Interest:

    WWII Jewish Community Memorial

    Museum of Panteleimon Kulish

    Impuls Shostka Soccer Team

    Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Caves and Monastery

    Rodina Mat Monument of the Motherland (Kiev)

    St. Sophia Cathedral (Kiev)


    Typical Weather:

    Spring in Ukraine is a guessing game.  Sometimes the sun can be shining, not too cold, and no snow, but at other times it can be extremely cold.  Prepare for everything.  If outdoor fields cannot be used, then an indoor gym will be provided.


    Typical Foods:

    A typical breakfast usually consists of things like eggs, porridge, and cheese.  Soup is common for lunch, especially the Ukrainian favorite – Borscht (usually made from red beets, other vegetables, and bacon).  They also eat a lot of potatoes, pork, chicken, pasta, and lots of bread.  Tea is the most popular drink.




  • Dear Parents,

    We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in your child's life this summer. Thank you for supporting your son or daughter as they step out in faith and seek to encounter all that God has for them. May this moment remind you of the dreams that God has placed in your heart over the years. Are you walking in all that God has for you? We want to encourage you to believe that it is never too late to step out and surrender your will for His will. What we do in this life really does matter for eternity and obedience is always better than sacrifice. We love, appreciate, and pray for you as a parent. Please let us know if you have any specific prayer requests or questions.

    We understand that the safety of your child is very important to you and it is equally important to us. In the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, we highlight and discuss questions that are important for you to review. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have regarding your child's upcoming SportQuest experience.

    Below we have included two letters from SportQuest parents.  We hope these letters encourage you, excite you, and bring you peace as you prepare your child to "Go" on this experience of a lifetime!

    A Mother's Story by Carrie, Kansas

    We have three sons who have all traveled multiple years on PWP Projects. We have had a son travel with SQ every year since 2000! I asked each of our boys how SportQuest made a difference in their lives. Each one of them mentioned that it was through SQ that they became aware of the need to share the gospel to every corner of the earth. Ryan mentioned that it made him see things in a different perspective and made him grow in different areas of his life. Kyle and Chris mentioned how it made them want to reach out to others.

    Kyle traveled to Kenya in 2010. I want to share a heart-wrenching story that occurred after his return from Africa. He had been home for about an hour and was full of stories, but because of the wee hours of the morning we all decide to go to bed and catch up on everything else the next day. Kyle decided to have a bowl of cereal and my husband and I headed off to bed. As I was getting ready for bed, I decided to visit some more with Kyle as he ate his bowl of cereal. As I entered the kitchen I noticed Kyle standing with his back to me looking at the food in the kitchen cabinet. He was not moving, not making a noise but just standing there. I asked if he was OK and nothing came out of his mouth. He continued to stand there just staring. I didn't go over there but just stayed silent, waiting for his next move. With his back still to me I heard the words in a tearful cry "WE HAVE SO MUCH. THEY HAVE SO LITTLE". He said "I thought I knew....I've heard missionaries talk....but I didn't know. Mom you think you know, but you don't know." It took him a while before he turned around, but when he did his eyes and face were so filled with tears. I will never in my life forget that picture of what I saw in my son.

    Kyle gave a presentation to our local church after his return from Africa. The church was packed with those not only from our church, but from our community. This 19-year-old son of ours was emotional as he shared about the people of Africa. His life will never be the same.  Kyle has always been a child that respected us and gave us no trouble in high school, but he now has a passion for missions and others. What a blessing to have SQ be a part of our children's lives.

    I'm tearful as I am thinking right now of what SQ means to us.  We have always been a basketball family, and we enjoy sports immensely. We believe so strongly that God has blessed the boys with a talent of basketball that can be used as a platform to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We believe this is what SQ wants to do – use sports as a platform to share the Gospel. God has given kids so many talents in different sports not to bring them glory, but to bring GOD the glory. 

    I would like to reassure any parent that is apprehensive to send their kids overseas. We know that God loves our kids more than we do and that we are called to be witnesses. We definitely prayed over the trips our children took and of course when we saw how God provided the finances for these trips it confirmed that they were to be there.  We had problems with Kyle's shots and our medical clinic was very against us sending him to Africa. However, God really taught me something when my child looked me in the face and said, "Mom, we have a God that can keep me safe, and I'd rather die sharing the Gospel than to stay back home to just work and make more money."  This 19-year-old was teaching his mom to trust in God as he felt he was being called to serve Him in sport missions.

    A Parent's Perspective by Chi-Chung, California

    My wife and I are privileged to have sent our daughter on two summer missions trips with SportQuest -- the first at the end of her junior year in high school to Costa Rica and the second after graduating from high school to Belgium. We wanted her to use her God-given abilities – in her case basketball – in an environment where she can be a blessing and encouragement to others. We looked at a number of organizations and prayed that God will give us a sense of peace and direction. There were several key reasons why we decided to go with SportQuest. First of all, they are clearly missional -- the theme of Playing with Purpose is clearly in their DNA. Secondly, they were responsive. Throughout the process of learning about the organization they were always the first to respond back. Though SportQuest is located in Indiana, they were able to put me in touch with a local staff member in California who was kind enough to meet up with us for a cup of coffee during the investigation process. Thirdly, they are serious about safety. I appreciated how much attention they put into ensuring the safety of their missionaries. On her first trip to Costa Rica, they arranged to have her fly out of California to the East Coast with another athlete so that she would not have to fly alone. Once they touched down they were met by SportQuest personnel and taken to a local hotel where they could spend the night before flying out to Costa Rica the next morning. Once in the designated country, SportQuest provided a week of training and orientation so that each athlete is prepared physically, mentally and spiritually for the work ahead.

    Fundraising is always a major concern and challenge. However, we've found that SportQuest walks with you throughout the process, providing wonderful tools and ideas to journey the fund raising process in faith. We also appreciated the updates when gifts were sent in so that we knew where we stood on the fundraising side throughout the process.

    We've been thoroughly blessed by our relationship with SportQuest. We've seen our daughter's love and passion for God grow through her time with SportQuest over the past two summers. As a parent, there is no greater joy "than to see our children walking in the truth" (3 John 4). Thank you, SportQuest, for helping our daughter walk and serve with passion and purpose.

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