Andrii & Ellissa Petrenko
Ukraine | Discipler through Sports Ministry | Christian Football Union of Ukraine | thepetrenkofam.com
In January 2021 Ellissa joined Andrii in his full-time ministry in Ukraine. Andrii served as a coach at the local soccer Club “SportKids” near Kyiv, Ukraine. As a precondition to being part of the club, the kids must participate in Bible study during practices. All the kids had the opportunity to hear the whole story of the Bible from a very early age. We had the opportunity to influence not only the kids but also the families and the community as a whole.
In February 2022, the full-scale war changed everything. Ellissa was 38 weeks pregnant and the Petrenko family ended up in Budapest Hungary where Ellissa give birth to their baby girl Emiliya Petrenko. In March and April, they were partnering with local churches and helped refugees from Ukraine find a safe place in Hungary and Europe.
God led them to start a soccer ministry for Ukrainian refugees in Budapest. 100+ kids participated in the program since April 2022. They used the same approach to teach kids Bible using soccer as a tool.
Andrii’s experience in local ministry helps facilitate the Christian Football Union of Ukraine (CFUU). CFUU is a partnership among Christian coaches that provide football courses and training for spiritual and holistic development. CFUU is a platform for competitions, camps, and partnerships among more than 34 active soccer ministries in Ukraine where around 1800 players participate on a regular basis. Andrii’s heart is to teach other coaches to be more effective in conducting the spiritual program for their players and help coaches to be the best version of themselves on the field as a coach.
After the war started we were able to provide coaches with needed resources to serve kids and families in a time of war. In the Summer CFUU was able to run 23 day-camps for 1,050 kids. Another 1,300 kids participate in programs of the Christian clubs on regular basis and are able to find encouragement from their coaches.
The ministry he partners with, SportQuest, has focused on empowering people to live their life with vision, to discover their purpose, and to serve a greater cause than any one organization — one that brings eternal change to our world. Learn more about SportsQuest here.