Thank you to all who took the time to pray over the Polish teens as we brought that camp to a close. 27 of them came forward to make decisions to follow Christ. It was an incredible invitation time. It looked at first as though no one would respond. But then Karolina stepped out with tearful eyes. She came and prayed with Arek and we kept singing. When they finished, another came. One by one, the Spirit tapped their hearts and called them. It was beautiful.
The next day, the campers started leaving, and we were soon to follow. It was a hard goodbye. I held it together for the most part, but teared up as we pulled out and found myself losing the battle against emotions most of the way to Warsaw. The people we have now worked with for years (April & Andrzej, Dave & Sandy and our Ukrainian “daughters”) are harder and harder to say goodbye to, and its hard to leave a place where you know that the work you are doing seems to really matter. Then there are all of the new and amazing people that we met this year. It’s crazy how God can grow close relationships with people you just met.
I led devotions on our last morning at Ostroda Camp, so I’ll share here what God placed on my heart to share then. It is from one of my favorite Psalms – chapter 63, verses 1-8. God has brought me to these words to give me strength and comfort when circumstances have been bad, but this week I read them in a different light.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.
I pray that the people who came to Ostroda Camp this summer saw God in his sanctuary – that they beheld His power and glory, discovered that His love is better than life, and learned that only in Him will they ever be satisfied. I pray that as they return to their lives they will keep worshiping, and when they find themselves in tough times they will remember the One who is their help; cling to the One who upholds them. I pray that the time they spent at camp this summer will drive them to earnestly seek God all the rest of the days of their lives.
One more quick update: Ben was able to finish the sign, carving a second one to make the sign two-sided so it could be seen by both directions on the road. It’s incredible. I love how God has given him talents and skills and then opportunity to use them in ministry.
So… we’re back home now – recovering from jet lag and starting to get back to life we live the other 11 months of year. But our heart are still in Poland, waiting for us to return and continue in whatever way God will have us serve. 335 days and counting.