Steve and Toby Hopper have faithfully served on staff in various churches across the US, including Calvary Church. As a pastor’s wife and mother of three boys, Toby was familiar with saying “yes” to tasks her roles demanded. But she was resistant when asked to join a group going to the Ukraine. Toby knew that loving on orphans and troubled Ukrainian youth would leave her emotionally spent and empty, but she felt God encouraging her to go anyway.
Serving at a prison in the Ukraine, Toby’s heart connected with the young boys she met there. She thought, “What if these were my kids?” She saw the great need and was moved with compassion.
That short-term mission trip to Odessa, Ukraine in 2001 was a stepping stone for Toby. Steve eventually recognized that God was moving them to serve as full-time missionaries. Since then they have helped to train over 4000 pastors and leaders across the globe, most frequently to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
And it all started with one trip to the Ukrane. Toby says, “If you don’t go on such trips, you might miss touching the lives of the people that only you can touch.”
by Sharon Young