July 10, 2009

do i see the sun or the clouds?

This morning at 4 AM just as daylight was beginning to break I woke up. I know this is rather early however, after 5 hours of sleep I felt refreshed and awake. I rolled out of bed into the kitchen to make some coffee as I do most mornings. Early in the morning is such a great time of reflection for me. The sun is coming up, it's quiet, still and the busyness of the day hasn't started yet - I just love it!

During this quiet time a few things came to mind: Am I a person of resolution or one who is full of excuses? Do I try to resolve a problem or do I immediately create reasons why something will not work? No matter what the situation is there is a choice to make. We make decisions everyday, what time do I get out of bed, what do I wear, what do I eat, etc.. you get the point. Do we make excuses for our behavior, do we rationalize our actions?

Today I could have stayed in bed and made many excuses about why 4 AM was too early to be awake, but I did not I rolled out of bed with joy and started the coffee. I even went for a run, I am not a runner, I am a wanna be runner so I should say I try to run or a make an effort to run, nonetheless I went. I took the stairs up eight flights when I returned, passing the elevator - this would have been a great time to make an excuse to take the elevator instead of the stairs, but I did not.

Believe me not all of my days begin like this, I would certainly like them to. I desire to see the sun through the clouds, soak up the beauty that is all around me and be an individual of resolution not excuses!

June 20, 2009

Sponsor a child for camp!!!

We are in the midst of planning a children’s summer camp in the village of Zdvizhivka, just outside of Kyiv. The camp will take place July 13-17 and the team needs your help!

We have a team of six preparing to come from the states, however they have not met their budget and we have not met ours in Ukraine. We are in a financial pinch and would love it if you would find it in your heart to sponsor a child to attend the camp. We are falling short about $4800 and therefore, offering each of you reading this an opportunity to help us out by sponsoring a child for the camp! Based on the number of children expected — 100 — we are suggesting a gift of $48.00 per child.

We will be transporting children daily from the city, providing lunch, crafts, music, sports, and the Gospel. We are continuing to look for qualified translators and other helpers who will donate their time, though we will have to pay their travel, accommodations, and meal costs. Of course, we would love to be able to provide a small monetary gift, but we have not made any promises!Prayerfully consider whether you might sponsor a child or two. Or even give a gift of ANY size to help offset the costs of this camp. From what we’re hearing, this is only the second camp ever in Ukraine to specifically invite HIV+ children.

Checks are tax-deductible and should be made payable to IFI, Inc. (International Faith Initiatives, Inc.) with a note on the memo specifying UMO camp. (Ukraine Medical Outreach) Please send donations to IFI, Inc., 5592 Pinecrest Circle, Noblesville, Indiana 46062.

We will be sure to let you know specifically which child you sponsored. And we hope to post pictures as well. (Though we will NOT be able to identify which children are HIV+ due to privacy laws.)

Thank you, in advance, for your prayers and gifts.In Christ,

May 18, 2009

Flock Together

I am not referring to birds of a feather flocking together - I am talking about sheep, God's sheep.

Over the past week or so I have been hit several times with the same message, so I ask the Lord what is it you are trying to tell me? The message has been about the shepherd and His sheep. Is he telling me I am the lost sheep, is He telling me to go after the one and leave the 99, is He simply expressing the importance of being a part of a flock? To this day I am not sure, but I know it will be clear to me one day soon.

I was asked to write a very brief children's story about a sheep. I first decided to research sheep to find out more about the animal. The one big lesson for me was that they travel in a flock for protection from their enemies. As Christians are we not taught to do the same. This is why fellowship is so important, why being a part of a church family makes a difference in your christian walk and why we have the strength to be able to face challenges in life. A church family provides support in so many different ways. I am reminded daily I cannot do anything on my own.

May 3, 2009

Diligence or Obstinacy?

Diligence is perseverance in carrying out action and Obstinacy is the quality or state of being stubbornly unyielding.

If the goal is to serve the Lord and do His will than that would mean I should have diligence to carry out the passion He has placed in my heart. If I am being obstinate and not in God’s will than I am not being an obedient servant. One’s heart always speaks to one’s mind; however both can provide the incorrect information. The mind if not focused on Christ can play tricks on you and the heart if strictly following feelings or emotions can be mistaken.

The enemy is very capable of distorting the truth whether it is in our hearts or our minds. We serve one true and holy God who desires to be close to us, who wants to direct our paths in the way we should go. If we trust in Him completely and have faith even as small as mustard seed the Lord will provide and He will lead us. Do not be held captive by man’s way remain focused on the Lord and His ways will direct you every day.

We do not have to have the answers we should just be at peace with the questions!

April 25, 2009

I'm Back !

Well really I never left, I was experiencing technical difficulties since last August.

So I find myself almost 9 months after my last blog trying to sum up what has been happening here. My apologies I will do my best to keep up with this blog as I love to write I am more than happy to share my thoughts and experiences with you .

I have almost been here a full year now and quite honestly there were days, even weeks where I did not think I would make it this long. Clinging to God's word, knowing the desire and passion to work with orphans has been on my heart for many years has given me the strength to press on each and every day.

I realize I am not a patient person and I would like everything that comes to mind to happen now. In life as you know things take time, it is not our timing, but God's timing as He is always in control.

A large lesson I am being taught is that it is okay to be still. It is in the stillness that we have an abundant opportunity to reflect upon the Lord and His word. Although it is difficult for me to just "be" that is when I am able to focus my eyes and mind on the Lord without distractions. Often I sit and plan my day what do I need to do or what should I be doing? I get so caught up in being busy I take my eyes off the Lord.

Psalm 27: 14 "wait for the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strong."

In the stillness of this day may we walk with our Lord and know He is our strength, may we all embrace the stillness of each day!

August 5, 2008

Praises :)

I think I mentioned in my email newsletter a girl by the name of Nadia? Nadia came to the youth outreach during our June VBS to play some sports. She just loves to play softball, a girl after my own heart. Anyway Nadia is 15 and tested to attend college this fall in Kiev, she was not a believer when she attended the youth outreach in June. Well God is smiling as Nadia has accepted His Son Jesus into her heart! She made several friends at the church and we all have stayed in touch with her. Inna and Kevin Bohn actually invited Nadia to come to camp with them and Nadia agreed, here is how Inna tells the story of Nadia's salvation.

We took her to camp with us and were praying for an opportunity to talk with her about Christ. Yet, she came up to me on the third day of the project and announced that she had received Christ. I asked her when and how it happened. I was quite surprised to learn that it happened on the train on the way to the project. She was going together with two Christian girls from Kiev university campus, and they asked her if she was a Christian. They shared Four Spiritual Laws with her and she prayed to receive Christ into her heart. It was quite amazing to see Nadia transform and grow right before our eyes.

After my lecture on fear Nadia confessed to me that there were some things in her life she was fearful to try because of what others might think about her. One of them was singing in front of other people. She decided to make a step of faith and sing a song with a couple of other students at the evening meeting. After that she kept singing and performing in skits at our meetings. Another fear she had was speaking to strangers. Interesting enough, Nadia shared her new faith during the evangelistic outreaches with more people than anyone else at the project.

There was a special prize for a student who would prove to be the most passionate evangelist – a pair of evangelist's shoes, and Nadia got the prize! The shoes were too big for her though and she gave them to an African guy. What amazed me even more was the fact that the second day (three days after she became a Christian herself) I saw her sharing the Gospel on her own with two young men at the beach, although she was supposed to be paired up with a more mature Christian since it was her first experience (see the picture). We were so happy to watch Nadia learn to spend her quiet time with the Lord, sing and pray to Him, share her faith and make new Christian friends with other students.

Nadia attend church this past Sunday and brought her mother with her, she will also join in a Bible study for girls her age. To God be the Glory!

August 2, 2008

running water what a blessing!

July was a very busy month for me. One team came in from America as another one left. I was asked to help with a camp outside Odessa in a village near the Black Sea, I had a friend coming to visit and stay with me for a week and my tourist visa was getting ready to expire. What's a girl to do.

Camping near the Black Sea was an absolute adventure I will never forget. A group of us traveled to the village by van from Kiev preparing to conduct a Vacation Bible School there, no problem. The plan was to host the VBS and then enjoy a bit of rest at the beach so we would camp for 12 days total.

We arrived at the camp site in the dark, again no problem we will shine the headlights so we can set up the tents right. Camping Ukrainian style - imagine weeds about two feet high we were told to begin packing them down, I am thinking are they for real why not locate an area that has already been cleared, seems logical to me? Nope it was no joke, so I begin packing down the weeds and setting up the tents. I really have camped before just never like this! This was the true down and dirty camping. We did not have a cleared camp site, there wasn't any running water to speak of except the sea, a toilet do we really need one, and shower well that is what the sea is for. I was in for a life changing experience and I knew it as soon as we arrived at the sea.

By day two I was ready to find the bus station or train station and call it quits. I was near the beautiful Black Sea with about 15 Ukrainian people and could not communicate for 12 days this would be a record for me. About two days into camping I had a mild break down and a girl named Ania began speaking in English to me! Thank you Lord! Ania was such a blessing, I was happy she was there. Needless to say I stayed at the camp for 10 days and took my first train ride back to Kiev Monday July 21. A city that is about an 8 hour drive by van took 14 hours by train.

The train is a unique way to travel as well. We departed Odessa at about 7 PM so we would have to sleep on the train. Getting on the train and walking to our seats was actually exciting. The train has open compartments with four beds in each section. While you are sleeping it is basically a slumber party on the train as you can see everybody as they sleep. I slept fairly well on the train, but I would not choose to travel by train if I had an option. I always thought a train would be faster than a car, but it is not, it actually takes longer. We arrived in Kiev the next morning about 9 AM on July 22.

I took the metro back to my apartment. I had to make one stop before I went home. I stopped at a local shop to purchase a razor, I was looking forward to getting home taking a nice long bath or shower and shaving my legs!! That is exactly what I did and I felt like a new women.

I had one day before my house guests would arrive so I had to get a few groceries items. July 23 at about noon I met my friends at the train station, this turned out to be a day of rest for all of us, as we were all so tired. Two days later July 26 I would depart and go to Budapest Hungary which was two fold: I had to renew my tourist visa and I was able to visit with another friend there. What a blessing it was to be able to do that.

I am back in Kiev now, my friends are all gone and I am preparing for a medical clinic in September. This past Thursday at the office I received communication that our bike outreach scheduled for August 10 has been cancelled. The region in Ukraine has been terribly damaged by flooding. Our church is trying to put together a team to go help with the relief efforts. As of right now you cannot get a vehicle to the villages, everything is being taken in and out by helicopter.

I am so thankful for running water and a toilet. It is the little things in life that make me happy. Through all of this I do feel as if I am able to relate better to the children living in the streets and the homeless population. The Lord is good and is always near.