If you ask Lindsay Kravtsova about the why behind what she does as FCA Ukraine’s Assistant Chief Director, her voice will pick up speed and tone will rise with urgency. Behind the words, you can read the passion in her speech and uncover Kravtsova’s genuine ardor for relationship.
She tirelessly serves FCA Ukraine staff, coordinating retreats to revitalize ministry workers. There’s mentorship, and strategy assessment to deepen and advance women’s ministry, all while emerging from her own whirlwind year.
Her heartbeat is women: equipping, guiding and encouraging them to discover their own God-given design. This hasn’t been easy, as Ukrainian culture is still breaking out of a carbon-copy mold where uniqueness is an exception, not the norm. Women long for authenticity, but struggle to be themselves.
“In America we think, ‘I’ll be different,’ but here, you had to be like everybody else,” said Kravtsova, regarding the former ways of life in Ukraine. “If I’m your mentor, you’re going to want to look exactly like me instead of wanting to find out who you are.”
But the church concept, she explained, is one body operating out of different abilities from the individual. That’s why Kravtsova’s so ardent for women to embrace their identity in God.
“It’s different and designed instead of us all looking like cloned sheep,” she said.
“God was really showing me that He is God and I am not.”Balancing femininity with sports is a fine line for women in Ukraine and is, at times, abandoned. The acclimation into life as a wife or mother often befuddles when identifying as an athlete was at their core.
Women’s ministry broke off into its own entity in FCA ministry as a concentrated effort to develop the crucial spiritual pillar of identity in Christ.
Kravtsova delves into cultivating relationships with female staff and staff wives. When she wanted to ensure local coaches and athletes had a tangible example how to conduct a Huddle, Kravtsova led a group study using FCA’s Bold and Beautiful resource, which was recently translated into Ukrainian.
This is the calling God’s laid on her heart, offering the freedom of Christ to women who, in turn, give similar guidance to other women. Underneath this calling comes an assurance of God’s handle on the hard things.
“It’s a marathon, no matter if I go out in a sprint or not, and God doesn’t require my help,” she realized. “It takes the pressure off—I don’t have to save everybody and that’s not even what I’m supposed to do; I’m supposed to plant and water and God will make it grow in the ways He needs.”
This freedom broke open a new path for Kravtsova, who will be transitioning into a new position come August as the athletic director for an international school. It’s a daunting yet exciting challenge, giving her direct impact to the coaches in the program and the Ukrainian community.
Lindsay Kravtsova (left) and women from Ukraine's women's ministry.
“All these things coming together was something God definitely orchestrated,” Kravtsova said. “For me to do something I love with athletes and coaches, and be with my kids in our family world, it’s the best mix.” She will, of course, continue her work with the women of FCA.
Originally from Iowa, she came to Ukraine for a semester in school, where she met [current Global Regional Coordinator] Andriy Kravtsov. When they married, she made the move to Eurasia.
Kravtsova never considered it a sacrifice to move to Ukraine, but she did recently end up considering the cost.
Last year, her mother fell ill, and many months were spent traveling to and from the States. When her mother passed away, it was one in a series of three deaths within two years for the family. Many nights passed in deep longing to be with family.
“God was really showing me that He is God and I am not,” she said, realizing the beauty of sacrifice when it becomes a tangible, true effect.
“It’s like when somebody gives away a sweater they don’t care about, but then somebody gives away their favorite, something their grandmother made them.
“The sacrifice of me being [in Ukraine] feels greater, but I know that it’s worth it,” she added. Experiencing God’s presence in greater depth and acknowledging what she and her family have received in faith from God, she’d go through the sadness again.
This upside-down overflow of God’s presence fuels her passion and keeps Kravtsova pressing on.
“If I couldn’t do [FCA] in some capacity, it would feel very debilitating,” she said, “because it’s what encourages me.”
For more information on FCA Ukraine or how to get involved, visit fcaworld.org.