Thursday, August 6, 2009

Heading Home

It is our last night in Kremenchug, which is so hard to believe. In some ways we are ready to come home and in other ways we are not ready. At the Spring of Life day camp today, some of us were interviewed by Christian TV. That was cool. We had a special time with the Ukrainian team after camp today where we ate together, shared songs and stories together, and gave gifts to each other. Some of our team has felt a bit under the weather these last days and some of us are not getting enough sleep. Please pray for health and safety on the way home, and that we would be blessed by the experiences we have yet to share. We have many stories, photos, and videos to share with you, and cannot wait to tell you the many ways we have been blessed, stretched, changed, and loved while we have been here. There are hundreds (if not thousands) more photos that have been taken besides what you have seen on Smug Mug. We will do what we can to share at least some of those in the days and weeks to come. On August 23, our team will take part in both worship services at FBC. There is no way to accurately describe what we have experienced here during that time, but we will do our best to make it so. We cannot thank you enough for the many ways you have supported and encouraged us during this venture. We Love You and so look forward to being with you again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Manuelovka Village Daycamp

The team at Manuelovka village is Jared (games), Terri, (crafts), and Haylee, Emily, Joe, and Burke (working with small groups). Our camp has gone very well. We have just over 30 kids. This number, while not very large, is extremely high compared to how many they have on any given Sunday (usually 4). We have had the opportunity to teach them American songs (Banana Song, Hippo Song, and Our God Is So Big), and we have also shown them the Adam and Eve skit. When showing them pictures of my family, I realized just how inflated their view of America is. They asked questions like "Did I have a Mustang?", "Was I rich?", and "Do I have a mansion?". It made me realize just how lucky we are. Even though I don't have the things they asked me about, they were things that I see or use on a regular basis. For those kids they were just a fantasy. We have been able to teach each other lots of things during our time together.
(written by Burke)

Spring of Life Church Daycamp

We are having an amazing week here at Spring of Life day camp. Each of us have found one or more close friends who are going to be really hard to leave. Joel is doing a great job of setting up games and trampling little girls to the ground (she's OK). Kelsey has found herself many friends as she makes up fun crafts for all of the kids. Steph, Emily, Sarah, Jess, Amy, Roxanne, Forrest, Bekah, and Matt are having a blast bonding with their small groups. Who knew you could makes such good friends with children (and adults) who don't speak your language. Annie is being such a great help with organizing things and taking pictures. It is going to be really hard to leave these wonderful, loving people, so we decided not to...See you next year!

P.S. We really do have to leave on Friday.
(written by Emily and Sarah)

Shining of God's Glory Church Daycamp

At this camp weather is a major factor. We are totally outside and Tuesday's rain had us wondering what to do. Our Ukrainian partners found a building and, Praise God, rounded up the children and led them to where we now were. We have consistently had 35 day campers and our team has shown great unity. Megan and Erin play rhyming games with the girls, Dave teaches handshakes to the boys, Stephen is great with the games, Josiah is our bouncer who keeps the boys in line, and Becky is bonding with the translators while trying to explain her crafts. It reminds us of the Bible passage where Paul says no part of the body is more significant than the other. Our team has shown unity in Christ through this experience. (written by Dave and Becky)

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Day of Day Camp

Today was the first day of three concurrent day camps that we were a part of. One was held at the Spring of Life Church and the other two were held at daughter church sites. Things went well at all three sites, and everybody seemed to have a good day. All of us have our certain jobs to do and we are getting to know our Ukrainian brothers and sisters (and each other) more every day. We attempted to start uploading some photos today, but ran out of time and the internet was not working properly. Hopefully tomorrow sometime I can get more photos posted and more information written. Thank You SO MUCH for your continued prayers and support. We appreciate it (and you) more than we can say. This has been (and will continue to be) an amazing experience for us. Just for the record, I have not taken all of the photos that have been posted. Some of them have also been Jared's and Terri's. There are many more pictures that will not get posted before we head home as it takes a long time to get them uploaded. At least we are able to get some photos and information to you while we are here. Please pray for the children that will be coming to our camps tomorrow, that they will see Jesus in us and understand Him more. Pray for our teams that are working together, that we would have unity and one spirit. For those of you who care to hear about it, I have all kinds of personal stories to share from this 9th visit to this very special place. We'll save that for some face to face time, OK? For those of you who know them, I did see Pasha and Tanya the other day, along with their boys. It was good to see them and visit with them, too. Blessings to all of you. Thank You for the comments, too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Photos Of Our Team

If you are interested in seeing MORE photos of our team and the things we are doing, please click on the link that is on the upper left portion of this blog...just to the left of this post. There are hundreds of photos posted there and you are bound to find many shots of your loved ones.

Church Service

This morning our team was in charge of the service at Spring of Life Church. We were told we had a two hour time frame to fill. At first, we wondered if we could fill that amount of time. No need to worry! Thanks to the addition (at the last minute) of three Ukrainian worship songs, a woman singing a solo, and a baby dedication, our service lasted two hours and forty minutes. The service included solos, duets, drama, testimonies, slide shows, group singing, a "bell" choir, a children's message, and Jared's sermon. We sat on the platform in the front of the sanctuary facing the congregation. Thankfully, air conditioning has been installed in the sanctuary in the recent past, so the room felt quite comfortable. Our group did a wonderful job and we were blessed to be a part of the worship time with our brothers and sisters here in Kremenchug. There's something quite amazing about singing a song together with them in two different languages. I imagine that God must be so pleased to see the unity among His children, who might be considered quite different. But as one Ukrainian man said today in the service, our hearts and emotions are the same in spite of the differences we find in our lives.

We will begin the day camps tomorrow at three different sites. Please pray for good sleep tonight, safety, health, good preparation, the children we will work with, unity among the teams, and the ability to see God working in, through, and for us.