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Do you know Ed Dickson?

A Canadian Named Eddie

That question was asked of me over and over this past year by a number of my pastoral colleagues. Each one told me the same thing, “You need to meet Ed.”

Their stories about his work in Ukraine over the last two decades made him sound legendary. Looking through his pictures on Facebook two things stood out. Ed is always smiling and the people that Ed is with look very happy to have him in their lives. So, we finally setup a meeting for the first week of September on WhatsApp.

First off, his friends know him as Eddie Spaghetti. How can you not like a guy with a nickname like that? Over two decades ago he moved from Canada to Ukraine to serve the Loads of Love organization. He fell in love with the country and one special Ukrainian. Natasha is his wife of 20 years, and they have three daughters.


When you talk with Ed it’s impossible not to catch his contagious enthusiasm for the people and especially the kids in Ukraine. Ed was born into a Mennonite family on a tomato farm in Leamington, Ontario. He received a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and worked as an Associate Director at the University of Guelph.

In 1993, he committed his life to serving God. In 1996, he was called into full-time missions in Ukraine.

He became the Overseas Director for Loads of Love Humanitarian Aid and Mission Society, a registered Canadian charity based in Chatham, Ontario, and have been helping extremely talented orphan children and planting churches in Ukraine since then.

They have almost 40 full-time staff in Ukraine and many volunteers who have worked with them for over 20 years.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, their trusted staff and partner churches have delivered groceries and medicine to over 15,000 people in desperate need! They are helping churches with supplies (mattresses, generators, etc.) right now to help them house and help refugees.

They have already evacuated over 500 people from bomb shelters in extremely dangerous areas, and have helped to move over 1,000 orphan children from dangerous areas to safety in Poland, Romania, Germany, Holland and Turkey.

This past summer, over one thousand beautiful children attended one-week Bible camps. From Lviv in western Ukraine, right across the country, to Poltava. Each child had amazing crafts, inspiring stories, and refreshing activities every day, all week. Many of the children were from families who have had to leave everything behind because of the war. For the kids, it was one of the best weeks of the year.


Ed and his team at Loads of Love have been blessing precious Ukrainian children each Christmas for over 20 years. In 2022, they took over 3,000 children, mostly orphans and refugees, to ten McDonald’s locations, where Ukrainian kids go wild with joy over a Happy Meal. As the children treasure every moment, they watch an amazing presentation of the birth of Jesus. Ed calls this their “McJoyful” outreach that has reached over 70,000 children in 23 years. And it doesn’t stop there.

Ed connects most of the children to local partner churches so that they can continue to be discipled and grow in Jesus. All it takes is $10 Canadian to give a Ukrainian child a Happy Meal, a full presentation of the Christmas story, cover all their transportation that day, and more.

Is There Hope?

People wonder if there is any hope for Ukraine. Ed answers emphatically, “YES”.

While his team was helping people after a horrible attack on the town of Kryvyi Rih, a young boy came and wanted to help. Soon after, he brought all his friends to help with him. They served people for three days.

Ed says these are the children of hope, who believe, like Ed’s youngest daughter Stefi, “Good always wins”.

Ed travels to frontline towns like Kupyansk, with the sound of artillery every five minutes, or less. People living there are thankful that they received bread, as well as full sets of groceries for over 300 families. Clothing. Soup mix.


In his travels he meets Ukrainians like Irina. Her husband died last year. She lives with her son and grandson. She’s been struggling with hip problems, and then, tragically, broke her leg. She used every bit of money they had to pay for the operation she needed. Her son is unemployed due to the war, a single dad, with a baby son. They were unable to pay for their utilities and even proper food.

Irina was on the edge of hysteria when Ed and his team showed up with groceries, and for several minutes didn’t say a word. Ed actually thought she was unable to speak. Then, suddenly, calmly, very slowly, she said, “Yes. This, is a treasure for us. This, is wealth for us,” as the tears streamed down her face. Then she looked up at them and said, “Thank God for you.”

A New Beginning

Each time Ed returns to Ukraine he walks across the border from Poland into Ukraine. The moment he is on Ukrainian soil he is reminded that it’s not only about visiting home again. It is a new beginning. “Reclaiming,” he says, “step by step, what we have lost. It is about hope. Hope that this war will end. And it’s a step of faith.”

I’ll write more about my connection with Ed next week and share about our involvement with McJoyful 2023. In the meantime you can check out his Facebook page and meet Ed and some of the people of Ukraine.

Please leave a post below.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Barbara says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Ed, his wife and youngest daughter when I was invited back to Arnprior for the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the church, there. I also had only heard about Ed, until that occasion. Mike and Sue Nardozza, formerly from our congregation in Dorval, Quebec, had been working with Ed for several years untill the war started. Ed is certainly an outstanding servant of God, doing an awesome job there in the Ukraine. His joy is contagious and his dedication to the people in Ukraine is bringing forth fruit that will count for eternity.

  • Bob Jones says:

    That’s great you met Ed. And I connected with Mike and Sue about Ed as well. Loving work being done in a traumatic situation.

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