Most people have heard, and seen, headlines depicting horrific examples of current life in Ukraine. This, however, is not one of those stories. This is a narrative of compassion and humanity through one man’s journey to Ukraine.
David McKay Jr. lives in a quiet area of Rockingham, and, through his job, provides home maintenance and repair.
McKay feels the Lord led him to this job so that he would have the opportunity and freedom to conduct mission work when he was called to do so.
His desire is to work for the Lord. He went on his first mission trip with Second Baptist Church of Hamlet to Guatemala for a week of construction work and was excited to go on another assignment.
When the war in Ukraine first began, McKay signed up with Baptists on Mission to go.
He anxiously waited for the call.
Two friends he had previously went on mission trips with signed up as well. His friends got the call to go twice — but for him, nothing materialized.
McKay thought, “The Lord doesn’t want me to go.” So, he just put it out of his mind.
Then one day he received the phone call he had been waiting on. This is McKay’s account of that call.
“One day I was going to Wadesboro to work, and my phone rang,”McKay recalled. “I glanced at my phone and saw the word ‘Spam,’ so I didn’t answer it.”
Later, he listened to a message the caller left that said “This is Brenda, from Baptists on Mission. I wanted to contact you and see if you were still interested in going on a mission trip.”
“I called her and told her I was still interested, and she said ‘I’ve got a medical team that needs a driver, and I haven’t been able to find anyone that has an international license. Would you be willing to go?’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am!’
“She proceeded to tell me the cost and asked me if that would be a problem. I said, ‘No ma’am!”
There was no one else from Richmond County in McKay’s group. There was a doctor from Cary, a nurse from New Bern, a nurse from Pennsylvania, a pastor from Hickory, and an interpreter from Florida.
On June 27, 2022, McKay flew from Raleigh to Atlanta, Georgia, to Paris, France, and then to the destination — Budapest, Hungary.
When asked if he was afraid to travel to Ukraine, McKay said, “Not at all, I wasn’t one bit afraid; I had a peace about the trip the whole time.”
Upon arriving in Budapest, it took the group two hours to get through customs. They were picked up by a van and taken to the main road. There, the group picked up a Hungarian cook who was to go with them to provide meals and wash clothes.
McKay, who had his international license, said although he drove, he could not read the road signs, so the cook read them for him. Periodically she would tell him to pull over and get gas because no one was allowed to get more than seven liters (1.8 gallons) at a time. They wanted to have a full tank once they reached Ukraine.
After another two hours spent with border agents, McKay and his group finally arrived in Berehove, Ukraine, a city of about 23,000 people (comparable to Rockingham/Hamlet metropolitan area), located in Zakarpattia Oblast (province) in western Ukraine. This is near the border with Hungary.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series on McKay’s mission trip to Ukraine.