‘Wise Carpenter’ was started by Vitaly Andriiets in 2017 as a workshop: a place where Christian men could share their experience of working with tools and studying biblical wisdom. Since then, the organisation has developed into a ministry which helps churches create similar spaces where they can disciple boys and young men.
However the work was interrupted by the conflict and like many Ukrainians, Vitaly and his team initially paused their ministry and poured their energies into the war effort. Using a van purchased for them by UCM, they helped evacuate more than 1,000 people from areas with active fighting; received and distributed 10 tonnes of humanitarian aid; and supported the Ukrainian armed forces by delivering equipment and medicine to the front lines.
Back to work
In May, as the initial phase of evacuation and aid distribution eased off, Vitaly chose to restart the work of Wise Carpenter. 'We've decided to turn our attention back to the primary focus of our ministry,” he explains, “discipling and training boys to grow up to be wise men. So many boys have either lost their fathers to the war or their fathers serve on the front lines. Our ministry has become even more necessary to Ukrainian communities.” The team has repurposed the van to use it for ‘mobile workshops’, which they can take to any location.
A typical mobile workshop event lasts about five hours, and includes playing games with tools; doing basic repairs; talking about the love of God the Father; and reflecting on the topic ‘Becoming a man’. The boys make things which they can take home, and also receive their own New Testament. At the end of the session, the team shares food and conversation with them and their parents. Vitaly says, “It is always a joy and a privilege for us to talk with the boys about Jesus Christ and how He has changed our lives. And when we discuss the question ‘When do we become men?’, they always have interesting thoughts and answers to this question.”
The dream becomes reality
Vitaly especially wants to offer these events to churches who have received internally displaced people, as he recognises that their resources are stretched by the current crisis, and that these young people in particular are in need of support and guidance. Setting an initial goal of conducting at least 16 mobile workshops during the summer, the team has already completed 10, and has more planned. They also wanted to see at least 5 churches open their own branches of Wise Carpenter workshops; so far 4 have started preparations to do so. “To our joy,” says Vitaly, ‘this ministry has become a very powerful resource for preaching the Gospel, teaching boys skills, connecting with parents and children and working with them further.”
Faith for the future
Vitaly’s faith that God’s hand is on the work is shown by a recent order he made for 150 aprons for future workshops. He says, “We believe that the workshops will grow in number as our ministry becomes even more relevant in times of war. Our dream and goal is to open Wise Carpenter's workshops all over the country, and for this we need to work fruitfully and prepare now to have results later.” UCM is privileged to be partnering with Vitaly to give what support we can as God grows this ministry.
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