Due to extensive media coverage, most probably have some awareness of current events involving Ukraine.

However, this tells very little of their story. Years of Soviet occupation and artificial famine has given rise to some of the highest rates of alcoholism, divorce, abortion and suicide in the world. This has left most of the populace with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Since 2007, SON Network has had the joy of working alongside the remnant of the Lutheran church in Ukraine to bring the Light and Hope of the Gospel to this often overlooked and underserved country.

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Country Snapshot

Area: (almost four times the size of Georgia; slightly smaller than Texas), total: 603,550 sq km (233,032 sq miles), land: 579,330 sq km (233,681 sq miles), water: 24,220 sq km (9,351 sq miles)

Population: 43,952,299 (July 2018 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.04% (2018 est.)

Capital City: Kiev

Independence Day: 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); note – 22 January 1918, the day Ukraine first declared its independence from Soviet Russia, and the date the short-lived Western and Greater (Eastern) Ukrainian republics united (1919), is now celebrated as Unity Day

Ethnic Groups: Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 est.)

Languages Spoken: Ukrainian (official) 67.5%, Russian (regional language) 29.6%, other (includes small Crimean Tatar-, Moldovan/Romanian-, and Hungarian-speaking minorities) 2.9% (2001 est.)

Note: in February 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that 2012 language legislation entitling a language spoken by at least 10% of an oblast’s population to be given the status of “regional language” – allowing for its use in courts, schools, and other government institutions – was unconstitutional, thus making the law invalid; Ukrainian remains the country’s only official nationwide language

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 72.4 years / male: 67.7 years / female: 77.4  years (2018 est.)

Religious Groups:
Eastern Orthodox 48.3%
Catholic 7.1%%
other 3.5%
non-believers 41.1% (2011 est.)

SON’s Work in Ukraine

Pastor Scott & Lena Yount

Scott Yount has been serving as a missionary in Ukraine since 2014.  Scott teaches the Bible at the local orphanage for children with disabilities.  He helps organize and lead Bible camps for children with special needs.  Other ministries includes visits to the school for children with hearing disabilities, organizing Night to Shine, a prom for children with special needs in partnership with the Tim Tebow Foundation, Bible studies, youth group and much more.

He is an ordained TAALC Lutheran Pastor. Growing up in Elk Grove, California, Scott first went to Ukraine to help run a camp for children with disabilities in 2007 with God’s Hidden Treasures.  He began full time ministry in Ukraine as a chaplain with God’s Hidden Treasures in June of 2014 serving there for six and a half years.

In 2017 Scott married a beautiful Ukrainian women named Lena.  She has a Master’s Degree in special needs education and helps out with summer camps, Night to Shine and many other ministries.

Scott attended Azusa Pacific University and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies and was the tenth student in university history to graduate with distinction in Biblical literature.  He received his MDIV from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  He served three years as the Associate Pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Iowa.

Scott and Lena are excited to be associates in ministry with Spiritual Orphans Network as they seek to bring the joy of the Gospel into the lives of orphans and children with special needs in Ukraine through compassion, care and community!

English Bible Camps

SON Teams often come back to North America with a renewed sense of vision and understanding of what it means to do missions in their own context of ministry. Historically, English Bible Camps in Ukraine draw over 120 students at a time and are often held in local public schools!

Regional Learning Center

In Early March 2019, SON Executive Director, Pastor David Breidenbach; NALC Bishop Emeritus, John Bradosky; and NALC Assistant to the Bishop for Missions, Rev. Dr. Gemechis Buba hosted the first Regional Learning Center conference, focused on discipleship, for pastors from all three Ukrainian Lutheran Denominations (DELKU, SELKU, and ULC). Plans for annual conferences have been well received and the second annual conference will take place in March 2020.