The OM team in Odessa started small in 2006 with a couple from South Africa, Stefan and Hensie van der Merwe. For the first three years the work of the team centered only around church planting initiatives until 2012 when the Van der Merwes met Slavik Puzanov, director of a local charity foundation called “Heritage” working mainly with orphans. Soon after this OM got involved with ministry reaching out to more than 4000 children living in orphanages in the Odessa province. Slavik joined the OM Odessa team ranks in 2014 and in 2015 he took over team leadership. Today our team consists of 6 full time OMers.
We are also blessed with many volunteers, short term participants and interns serving with us throughout the year.
Our ministry in Odessa involves partnerships with 18 churches with volunteer teams reaching out to orphanages, an afterschool center for at risk children, church planting initiatives, work with and training of volunteers, outdoor and summer camp ministry for orphans and much more.
Since 2014 we are also involved in, as are the other OM teams in Ukraine, with ministering to war affected. This includes humanitarian aid to IDP’s and to the warzone, psychological help for wounded and returning soldiers and their families, legal help, housing and evangelical outreach.