Thursday, July 13, 2017

Day 8 of trip, Day 4 of VBS Kids' Camp in Ukraine

Today was a rainy day! Mitch said that they got lots of hard rain. Because of the rain, some campers didn't come today. But 15 new children came, and a total of 150 children were there. You are going to want to read all the way to the bottom for a great compilation video Mitch just sent me.

{Vica helping lead exercises, I tried following along the hand motions they are doing and, well, I'm just not that talented. ;)}

{This one is in English. So much energy!!}

{Oksana, Heather, and Nazar, aka "the cutest kid in camp" He walked up to Heather, and asked, "Why are you always telling us what to do?" He pointed to Mitch and asked AJ, "Why is he speaking English?" He got huge eyes when AJ said, "He's from the United States." Then he went up to Heather and said (in Ukranian) and said, "I know you are speaking English!" He also loves to hold hands. So sweet.}

{Morning Exercies}

Due to the rain, they held sports camp in the gym today. It looks like they had a lot of fun!

{Playing hoola hoop tag}

{tug of war in slow motion, featuring AJ and Maxim}

{Championship round}

{Victoria gave her testimony during the Bible time. Oksana said, "Vica rocked it! She spoke on the kids' level and it made sense to them." Editorial comment: this was Mitch's paraphrase of Oksana's comment. He admitted upon review that she doesn't use slang. ;)}

The team was not able to meet with the president of the college today as he had some other important meetings instead. They left gifts and a message of gratitude for him.

 {Miroslav and Svetta at camp}

After a brief rest at home this afternoon, the team headed out to the village with Sergiy and Luda. They were doing a one-day version of the same VBS they have been doing all week in Horol. It rained a little before they got out there, but praise the Lord they did not have to cancel the trip! They met at the playground area of the elementary school. They played some games, had a snack of juice and rolls, then the Bible time.

 {Luda summarazing the 5-day VBS stories into one day. The themes are 1) Creation, 2) Fall, 3) Ten Commandments, 4) Life of Jesus, 5) Zacchaeus makes a decision}

This is the boy, Ruslan, who I asked prayer for a few days ago for the infection on his foot. Even though he had surgery to clean the infection, he was out playing soccer today! His bandage got a little wet, and Sergiy helped do a dressing change. 

 And then they played some more games before saying goodbye.

Just as the team was leaving, this large storm rolled in behind them. Vica and Nazar took these photos and sent to me. 

I asked Mitch a bit more about the discipleship that they are doing there. Our obvious goal is to share the Gospel with the children, and hopefully with their parents. The culture is different so the way they respond to the Gospel is different as well, or it may be different than what you American readers remember as a child. When Pastor Grigorii is sharing the Gospel with people, he is careful to explain the cost of following Christ. He gives them much time to process the information and make a careful decision. If someone does decide to follow Jesus, it is hard to make that step in front of their friends. (As compared to here, where I have often wondered if a child might raise their hand because their friends are doing it.). When a child (or an adult) does want to follow Christ, Pastor will pray with them. Discipleship is an on-going process. Mitch said that Pastor Grigorii is faithfully preaching the Gospel often--even during morning devotions with the camp volunteers. He does not assume that a person is a true follower of Jesus or that they don't need to hear the Gospel message again.

Mitch has had a couple opportunities to talk with friends there about the high cost of following Christ, even through very difficult trials. As an American, I've felt that it is easier to trust Christ when my life gets difficult because I turn to him for help when I don't know where else to go. But I think that's because most of my problems are emotional. When the problems become financial, and it seems that gain can be had by immoral means, the cost of following Christ becomes more difficult in seasons of trial. 

Tomorrow is the last day of camp. They finished their craft, so instead of craft time tomorrow there will be a special closing rally. The parents will come to the closing time, and the children will do a special presentation for them. The kids who do not have one will be presented with a Bible, provided by 2nd Half for Him from Calvary. Also all the children will receive a gift bag. 

Tomorrow evening they have decided to go back to the village for the regular Friday night event that Sergiy and Luda do there. They rearranged their weekend schedule so they could do this. Pray again for soft hearts in these youth to hear and receive the Gospel. Pray for the ongoing work that Sergiy and Luda are doing, in hopes of planting a church there.  

We are so thankful for a good week of camp so far, with so many children coming to hear the Gospel. Today, four children made a decision to follow Jesus! We are thankful for Victoria being able to share her testimony with the kids. We are also thankful for another good trip out to the village.

Prayer requests:
  • For the last day of camp tomorrow. Pray for the harvest to continue!
  • Pray for our team as they say goodbyes to the beautiful children they have met. Goodbyes are hard.
  • Pray for Pastor Gigorii as he labors to preach the Gospel. I love to pray for spiritual protection, for his marriage, for his children, and that he will have all the resources he needs to do the work that God has given him.
  • Pray for Mitch, who will be speaking to parents tomorrow during the closing rally.
  • And please keep praying for Oksana, AJ, and Zhenya.

{Google photos automatically created this compilation for Mitch. It turned out really great! I've had some trouble with Google photos over the past few days--multiple troubles with the app, uploading videos to blogger, etc. It has made me wish I'd been with WordPress all these years. I'm over it now. LOL.}

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