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Rotary Club hears about trip to Ukraine

by Anakin Bush | June 1, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun Larry Cox speaks to Fulton Rotarians about his recent trip to Ukraine. He traveled to Ukraine with members of the Christian Fellowship Church in Columbia.

At Wednesday's Fulton Rotary Club meeting, Rotarians heard from a local about his recent visit to Ukraine.

Larry Cox moved to Callaway County to work at the Callaway Plant, which he retired from a few years ago.

His journey to Ukraine began at Christian Fellowship Church in Columbia. In 1995, the senior pastor at the church traveled to Ukraine with his wife as missionaries.

When the war in Ukraine began in 2022, the churches "became the social work agency," Cox said.

The Christian Fellowship Church began raising funds for Ukraine, and then dispensed that money.

In August, the pastor at the church asked Cox if he wanted to go to Ukraine with him.

The pastor -- Mike Acock -- announced the trip two months later. He asked if anyone else wanted to go, and 37 people signed up.

A total of 19 people traveled to Ukraine in May.

Once in Ukraine, they split into three teams to meet different needs.

He described to Rotarians what he saw once in Ukraine.

"It is rich in natural resources. There's fields, there's farms, there's generational housing -- and by that I mean there were orchards everywhere. There were fruit trees, there were gardens," Cox said.

Cox's team traveled to the city of Dnipro in Ukraine.

While there, he saw buildings that had been destroyed by missiles in the middle of the night.

At the beginning of the war, the church Cox visited in Ukraine was housing 500 people. It is now housing 20-30 a night.

"What we went there for was to do a spiritual, pastoral retreat for the staff. Now, how do you do that and who in the world am I to come along to people who have suffered like this and be able to offer anything," Cox said.

Cox and his team took the church staff on a retreat and heard their stories.

"I cried more tears in four days than I cried in 20 years," he said.

Cox said it was overwhelming to hear all of the stories about what people experienced during the war.

He said that the church is continuing to financially support Ukraine. They are also looking into how to bring Ukrainian refugees into the country.

"There will be some of these refugees brought here. There will be continued support for the churches there in the Ukraine," Cox said.

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