Reunited, and It Feels So Good!Last night, we celebrated "Christmas in July" as 15 bags made their way from Athens to Donetsk. We really were like kids opening Christmas presents as we got everything out of each bag. The good news is, we got them just in time to leave many of the teaching materials with the Christians here, which they will truly appreciate. We also had gifts for many of the people here packed in our luggage, so it is wonderful that we can give those to them in person. Thank you for the concern and prayer about our luggage adventure. The lady at the airport was quick to tell me in Russian that "10 days isn't very long." She was probably right, but I'm glad we didn't have to wait too much longer. Our ladies worked for hours and hours before we left on putting together a tremendous series of lessons and crafts. I am so glad they will be able to be put to use here.
Today, the opportunity opened up for us to visit another orphanage to do Bible Classes. We are blessed with a large team, so a few of us traveled and hour to "New York" (that is really its name). It is a suburb of Dzerzhinsk (pronounced "Duhr jeensk"), and there were about 30 wonderful kids there. Our cab had a flat tire on the way, and I think our driver set a pit crew record for changing it! We will only be able to be there today and tomorrow, but those are 30 more children that can hear about Jesus. The rest of the team worked with the Novoshelone orphanage, which met in the ampitheater outside. Those classes continue to go well, and the kids are picking up a lot of the details in these stories.
After a quick lunch, we prepared for a very special visit. The former mayor (who worked with Steve Hale and others years ago) and the councilwoman we spoke with yesterday came over to the house. Our hostess, Tamera, cleaned the house and prepared everything beautifully. We presented them with gifts and discussed past visits. Sasha even inquired about ways the government could help the church here expand its facilities. They have set up a wonderful tour of the city for us tomorrow, and we are looking forward to it. We even sang one of the Russian songs we have learned for them (hand motions and all)!
Tony spoke tonight about the plan of salvation, and did an excellent, thorough job. We had more children in our children's classes than the previous evening. It really is refreshing to see those kids playing and laughing outside after our worship service. They are reaching out to those children, and it shows. We are about 4 minutes until this Internet Cafe closes, so we will sign off now. Again, thank you for all the comments and prayers - we can't get enough of either (but especially the latter).
The Lord blesses in mysterious ways. What a blessing to show all of your talents with the challenge of no luggage and materials. Then the blessing of being able to leave the great gift of already prepared materials for them to use later. He continues to show us that things do work together for His glory. And who can beat Christmas in July! Brings a whole new meaning to that statement!
Daddy, when you get back you'll have to teach us the Russian song (w/ the hand motions). -->very cool!!!
God has already blessed you so...
May God keep you.
Ken, Tina, Sarah & David
I am so impressed with all of you with the obstacles you have had. But you have kicked Saten behind you and carried on. I have enjoyed hearing from you Andrew and your comments about the children. We are so proud of you and your dedication to the Lord. We miss all of you and pray for a safe trip home
The luggage arrived. Hip hip hooray.
I was so excited to get a call from Tansy today and want to hear more about POP-ROCKS.
Not to give away my age, but I remember growing up and hearing stories of how Christians we not able to advance with education or career opportunities in a socialist type society. Your report on the advancement and suggested aid to Christ's cause in the area produces a real since of "Awe".
God continues to bless you and all you are doing there. So many doors have opened since that first trip 2 years ago--and you are walking through them with love and courage. Many are praying for your success there and your safe return home. I can hardly wait to see pictures and hear your stories! You are wonderful servants. Love in Christ, Myrna
I am very proud of all you goig the extra mile to spread the word. May God bless all of you and bring everyone home safe to their families. A special hug for a special son in law Greg and I cant wait to hear all about the trip. Much love and prayers for everyone. God Bless. Nani
It was so good to hear David's voice again today, isn't technology amazing? I am so glad you got all your stuff. It is just stuff, but it makes like easier, even though you all were doing great without it. I'm glad you can give the peanut butter and other things to the people there. God does work in mysterious ways, we just don't understand. I'm praying for your safe return home and that you all can stay healthy.
One of the cool (or challenging, depending on how you look at it) things about mission work is that you live like the people you visit and learn to adapt to all the cultural changes of that place for however long you're there. (i.e. you eat the same food, face the same weather, sleep with the same disturbing noises...) Even though it must have been hard for ya'll to be without your luggage for so long, perhaps it gave you a better taste of the lack of supplies and resources some of the Ukranians live with on a daily basis. And perhaps the Ukranians came to appreciate you all more for just being yourselves--even without the material "stuff." Many of them probably didn't even notice that you didn't have as many crafts as you would have liked or that you wore the same clothes over and over again because they are so accustomed to NOT having those privileges to begin with. So in a way, your loss of luggage may have been a blessing in disguise.
Reading your blog has helped pump me up for my own mission trip I'm about to participate in...so thanks! Now I expect all of you to read my Mexico blog since I have faithfully read yours (ha ha, j/k!)
Make the most of your last few days!
Pat, Tony, Andrew and all,
Glad your luggage and materials arrived in time to be of use.
You are such devoted Christians to leave your families and the comforts of home to teach these children and others of Jesus' love for them.
There is no way anyone can be around you guys/gals and not learn, appreciate your show of love; and have fun while doing so.
Knowing personally there is power in prayer,I know you have had a successful trip.
Safe traveling and we look forward to hearing about your trip.
Love to all, Margie
It is the first day of School. Trey misses you.
Daddy or I will check on your annual.
Today, I realize just a bit more you do have your wings and are using them well. I still makes a mother's eye's glow and heart skip a beat. I love you and miss you my baby girl. Mom
this is your brother and it was my first day of the high school and i thought you might want to know my classes..
1.world geography,3---coach purvis
well thats it i hope you aprove haha i hope you are having fun believe it of not im kindof missin you so i will see you when you get back.....
Tansy- I talked to Teya and she is still feeling tired, but has rested up from the time home and the long drive back to Kansas. Riley loved her Birthday. She had a cake here and I got her some Backyardagans stuff, but I am waiting until you get back to send the "Riley 2" care package. mom
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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