Well… we’re home. It is wonderful to sleep in our own beds again, eat some much-missed favorite foods and start seeing friends and family we’ve missed spending time with. But it’s also a little hard to adjust back to life off the mission field. Don’t get me wrong, I believe all of life is a mission field. Our regular jobs and lives give us daily opportunities to share God’s love if we are looking for them them and acting on them. Ministry doesn’t stop just because the time period dedicated to mission work is over. But it’s different. As I start looking at my work e-mail, scheduling doctor’s appointments and making my grocery list, I can’t help but wish I was still in Poland – with so many of those “real life” tasks on hold while we think of little else but sharing God’s truth. The lesson here, for me anyway, is to not let the duties of day-to-day life take center stage – to wake each morning thinking first of ministry and second of all those things that need to be done.
Since I didn’t do a great job of blogging during the children’s camp, I thought I’d post a short summary of the days we spent with those precious Ukrainian children and their amazing counselors. Our theme for the week was The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved it because the series tops my list of favorite literature (I even have a map of Narnia and a lamp-post in my house!). The kids and I had just finished reading the entire series this past winter, so the timing was perfect for them as well. We showed the movie (dubbed in Ukrainian) the very first day and then built upon the analogy throughout each day’s lessons and campfire talks. The US team and interpreters dressed in costume for each night’s “Evening Counsel” (session) and when we lead the morning Bible lesson and campfires.
All the while, Ben was hard at work building a larger-than-life wardrobe. On the final day, it appeared on the stage for the last lesson and invitation. The kids were invited to be part of “Aslan’s Camp” – to walk through the wardrobe into Narnia, a whole new world with God. Every child ended-up walking through the wardrobe, and then the Ukraine counselors talked and prayed with them – whether they were making a confession of faith or renewing their commitment to follow Christ. Of course, there are always those who go forward just because everyone around them is doing so, but God knows where their hearts are. Two things about this bring me great joy. First, seeing the oldest teenage boys being the first to come forward with tears in their eyes. When a 14 year old boy gets emotional in public, you know there is something serious stirring in his heart. Second, in contrast to watching the alter-call at the Festival of Hope, I love knowing that each of these children is returning with a counselor who can continue to be involved in their spiritual walk.
I’ve created a photo gallery for this camp. Pictures speak a thousand words. If you want to see more, click here!
Again, we want to thank all of our family and friends who made it possible for us to go spend this month in full-time ministry. We hope you will continue to pray for the growth of seeds planted. We also ask for your prayers about the future. We are in this for the long haul, but had considered taking a year off from actual travel to Poland. After hearing Holocaust survivors, other missionaries and the Ukrainian kids all ask us if we will be there next year, we’re thinking God may have a different plan. We are now feeling it would be very hard to sit out a year, and quite possibly disobedient. So pray we will listen and obey.
It is very hard for me to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the Children’s camp, and even harder to believe that we fly home on Thursday. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by.
I must have been running on adrenaline and instant coffee today as I taught my lesson because shortly afterwards I completely crashed for a couple of hours. I’m still very, very tired and it is very late, so this will be brief. I apologize for not having posted more updates. The day is just so packed with always getting ready for the next event.
Ben finished the wardrobe he’s been working on so hard. It has been moved to the stage and will serve as a striking symbol tomorrow for the final message about life with Christ. He was grateful to have the help of our new friend, Anton to get it finished . Since I (Rachel) am writing this post, I’ll say that it is incredible. It will also be used for another Narnia themed camp in a couple of weeks with over 100 kids.
Please be in prayer for these kids as they spend their last day here. The language barrier makes it hard to know what they are all thinking and feeling, but I just have this deep sense that this week has had a big impact on a few of them. For whatever reason, Ruvim and Ananstasia are particularly on my heart. I suspect there could be a reason for that, so I ask you to pray specifically for them.
Here are some pictures, so you can pray for these sweet faces – pray that God will speak to their hearts as they enter their last day here. And prayers for us as we have to say goodbye and leave our home-away-from-home. We head to Warsaw Wednesday morning.