Conference Mourns Mission Trip Tragedy in Ukraine

Date Posted: 7/10/2012

On July 10, The Texas Annual Conference and the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church learned of an accident that occurred in the Ukraine involving mission teams from the Houston area. Both First United Methodist Church in Sugar Land, Texas and Lakewood United Methodist Church, Houston sent church members on the mission trip to the Ukraine to repair a church facility. On Tuesday morning, the roof of the church building collapsed, causing fatal injuries to David Nevotti of FUMC, Sugar Land. A member of the student ministry of the University of L’viv, Illya Onoprienko, was also fatally injured during the collapse.


David and his wife, Cathy, have been members of Sugar Land FUMC for 16 years and they have three grown children.  David was deeply involved  in the Men's Ministry of the church as well as being very active in the Questor’s Sunday  School Class.  According to Kip Johnson, director of missions for SL FUMC, "this was his first international mission experience and he was so excited about serving God in the Ukraine." Adds Johnson,"David was in sales and he was a real people person - always interested in learning new things, and always interested in each person's story.  He will be deeply missed."


In addition, Rev. David Goran, a United Methodist missionary serving in L’viv as a student ministry director, was seriously injured. Rev. Goran and his wife Shannon are missionaries of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church and sponsored by several local churches within the Texas Annual Conference.


First United Methodist Church, Sugar Land and Lakewood United Methodist Church have been involved with the Ukraine mission for several years.


Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Texas Annual Conference says, “It is with deep sorrow that we share this tragedy. We, of course, mourn this loss of one member of our church family, but also the loss of the young man from Ukraine, who was our partner in mission. May God be with his family and the Nevotti family to surround them with love. We also pray for healing for our missionary, Rev. Goran, and for all those who are suffering as a result of this tragedy, including the communities at the University of L’viv and FUMC, Sugar Land, and Lakewood UMC.”