I Heard It Through The GrapevineSorry we have not written in a couple of days. Friday night, we welcomed Tony, David, and Greg to Donetsk and got in late. Saturday, we moved to Krasnoarmeysk and have just now been able to locate internet access.
Friday was another successful day at Karlovka. We talked about the treasure of Heaven using the story of the man who found treasure in the field and the pearl of great price. One 16 year old who seemed "too cool" for us at first was really engaged today. He asked, "What made you decide to believe in God?" What an opportunity! We let them decorate the frames we brought with their pictures in them, and they loved it. We all signed them to give them a souvenir to remember us by. After that, we spent time with them watching a movie (apparently a weekly privelege for them). We didn't understand much of it, be we got to be with them.
After that, we headed over to Lynn's. We presented her with a pot she mentioned really liking as a token of our appreciation. After that, we had a blast with our Proletarski crew. We gave them bookmarks as one of their end of the week prizes, and we thought it would be great for the boys to get some soccer player bookmarks. The city of Donetsk has a very good soccer team, called "Shocktor." That's how we pronounce it; it looks more like "Waxtep"in Russian. We accidentally gave out soccer bookmarks with players from a rival team! The look on the boys' faces was priceless.
After that, we welcomed our newcomers, who arrived safely (with their luggage). Thanks to their hard work, as well as the invaluable assistance of Eleni Merrylitos (we support her and Alexander as missionaries in Athens), our luggage is now out of Istanbul! It is in Athens, and it should arrive tomorrow night in Donetsk. Again, we have been told that before, so we definitely maintain "cautious optimism." We have also decided that we will pitch a new reality show in which mission teams are dropped in a foreign country without any supplies and have to lead 4 VBS programs! If a show existed, I am convinced our team could handle it.
We left bright and early to get moved into our houses in Krasnoarmeysk and get to the orphanage at Novoshelone. We have two wonderful houses with plenty of space (although working out a restroom schedule has been fun!) We have 9 men in one and 8 women in the other. The two ladies who keep these houses are also cooking lunch and dinner for us, and the meals have been delicious. Lydia (in whose home the ladies are staying) has a garden with grapes hanging all over the arbors (hence today's title). It is a great situation, and the houses are close together.
Our first day at Novoshelone went well. Some of the kids remembered us and our songs! The overseers there are very gracious, and they were excited to see us. In the afternoon, half of us went to Good Shepherd (an orphanage in Macheevka) to provide a picnic for the kids there. This also have us a chance to see Vitya, the young boy we met at Proletarski last year. With a new, stable home environment he has learned alot. He has even memorized the books of the Bible! The other half of our team enjoyed a picnic here in Krasnoarmeys, comeplete with a kids Bible Class and adult Bible Class. A few visitors were present, and it was a wonderful evening.
This morning, we had 42 in worship service (which meant several stood in the hallway)! 4 visitors were in attendance, and many came later for the children's program. After worship service (where we focused on the way Jesus taught the woman at the well and how we should be teaching others this week), the kids presented skits for us. This is the group Julia (Sasha's wife) has been teaching, and she is doing a wonderful job. They even sang two songs in English - I'm Happy Today and Jesus Loves Me. They performed skits for us, and several of their parents came. This gave us a good chance to network with some neighborhood parents who do not normally attend worship service. Tomorrow, we continue at Novoshelone and begin our campaign. We will try to get back to the internet cafe (the only one in town) when we can. However, it is often used for "CounterStrike" tournaments with Ukrainian boys, so we can't make any guarantees. Thank you for your prayers and comments!
So glad to hear everyone is doing well. We miss you at home, but are greatful to you spreading God's word. Sounds like you are making an impression. Keep up the good spirits. We will continue to pray for you all. What is the weather like? Your not missing anything here except 95 degree temps all week.
It is good to know that you all are well and doing such a good work for the cause of Christ. What a memorable trip...sounds like there have been many opportunities to count your blessings and realize how blessed we all are to live in America. God is so good... and it is so good that you all have taken the time and effort to do what is takes to not only TELL the story of Jesus- but to let others in another country far romour home SEE HIM in your lives.
We pray that you all stay safe, healthy, and optimistic. It would also be great to get your luggage sometime before you leave. But remember that ALL things work together for good to those who love the Lord...and we know that includes all of you.
You are in our prayers...
Reed & Tricia Thomas
Hanging on every word... worship service must have been an excellent encouragement to all. I am so proud of the work each of you are doing, but I sure do miss "MY BABY GIRL". Please tell her how much we all love her and talk about her(all good) daily. She is in our thoughts, heart and prayers every moment of everyday. Tansy's MOM
Hi all. Glad you all made the transission to your next destination safely. We are all doing well. I asked David this morning if he thought GrandDaddy would get his luggage today and he said, "yes". So, hopefully so. But like you said in one of your blogs it is just stuff.
That is cool about the soccor bookmarks...something the boys will always remember.
Good luck with working out that bathroom schedule. I know that by itself can be trying (if not interesting).
That is cool that you all got to hear them sing a couple of songs in English.
Everything sounds great on your end.
Ken, Tina, Sarah & David
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Mt. Juliet Church of Christ
1940 N. Mt. Juliet Road
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
Mt.Juliet, TN 37121-0248
Sunday Early Worship: 8AM
Sunday Bible Study: 9:15AM
Sunday Late Worship: 10:15AM
Night Worship: 6PM
Wednesday Bible Study: 7PM