Prayer Requests

Blessings

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We are grateful for all of our many supporters – those who continuously pray for us, those who take the time to encourage us, those who donate supplies for camp activities, those who do their gift shopping through our mission store, those who help us with fundraisers, those who drive us to and from the airport, those who take care of our cat and mow our yard, those who make sure we come home to food in our fridge, those who come to serve along side of us, those who give financial gifts outright.  We are blessed by your efforts to help us do what God has led us to do, and we pray God will bless you in return.

Sometimes, the task of saving and raising $9000 every year can be pretty consuming.  I can truthfully say I don’t spend any time worrying that the funds will be there.  God always provides, and if there would come a year in which He didn’t, we know that would mean He has a different plan.  But we know we can’t just sit back and tap our foot waiting for people to give.   In fact, there is ministry to be done in the very act of fundraising.  So we spend the 11 months of the year we are here in the US working toward that end.   Sometimes, it wears me down.  Last Sunday, I’m ashamed to admit, a couple of dear friends had the misfortune of seeing me in the midst of a little frustration moment as I’ve been planning fundraisers to carry out over spring break.

Today we received word that a check arrived in support of our ministry – a rather large check from someone Ben knew well back in high school and I have only met once.  Two other families have given generous financial gifts to send us to this mission field.  Combined, these gifts total $2350. I’d have to make 195 wrap bracelets, about 83 hours, to raise those same dollars through mission store sales!  I don’t want to diminish gratitude towards those who have bought from our mission store.  Those sales have raised $2638 this year!  But I am feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness towards these families who have just purely followed God’s leading them to give abundantly.

We still have a ways to go to meet our basic need for this mission ($1385 at the time of this writing).  But there is a light at the end.  I hope that our spring break fundraiser (watch for announcements!) will close that gap, provide additional funds we can use to give Ukrainian refugee children scholarships for camp, and allow me to shift gears from fundraising to really preparing for the work God has called us to do. Is God leading you to be a Sender?  I promise you will be blessed for your obedience and role in spreading the gospel.  Financial Support Page


(thank you)

A Long-Overdue Update

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So… I’m sure some of you have started wondering if we still exist, are still going to Poland, and are still fundraising.  The answer to all of those questions is YES!  It has been a little crazy in the Porter family – mainly concerning some issues with Ben’s back.  Those issues aren’t resolved, but we don’t think they are going to keep us from serving in Poland again this summer.  So we’ve finally settled on dates (June 1 – July 1) and are watching airfare prices (which are not looking too great at the moment).

Here’s the 2018 service plan:

  • We will serve in Poland June 1 – July 1
  • We will travel to and encourage Christian churches in Poland, planted and/or supported by Polish Christian Ministries, as time and opportunity allow.
  • We will do everything we can to help with upkeep and projects at Ostróda Camp, including yard work, cleaning, preparation of cabins, fixing stuff, tech help, prayer room, and encouraging and supporting our friends who do full-time ministry at the camp year-round.
  • We will spend time growing relationships and serving the Holocaust Survivors who will travel from Israel.  Although some of these are Messianic Jews, many of them do not know Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  We will participate in worship and teaching sessions, plan and lead activities/crafts with them, and travel to different sites with them in partnership with a mission team from Georgia.
  • We will serve during the Ukrainian Children’s Camp alongside a team from Rhode Island  – teaching, baptizing and disciplining children and teens.  This year’s camp will include refugee children from the war in Ukraine.  Our involvement will include crafts, teaching and getting to know the kids in small groups.
  • We will plan and lead in a number of capacities during a week of Polish Youth Camp.  We don’t know much about the plans for this yet other than that there is no US church mission team, so we will likely have plenty to do!
  • We will connect with friends met in the past who have suffered infant loss, as well as looking for other opportunities to minister through Embracing Grace.
  • We will pray for unexpected opportunities to serve and minister – asking God to provide them, open our eyes to them, and give us what we need to act on them.

Will you please, as we are, cover all of these aspects of ministry in prayer before we even board a plane? 

We do still have a financial need to be able to do this.  Currently, we have saved, raised and received enough to cover a little more than our airfare.  But we need approximately another $3300 (as of the time of this posting and depending on the price we end up getting for airfare) to cover ground transportation, lodging and meals.  The money we would normally be spending on food, gas, etc. at home during the month of June, will certainly go towards this, as well as all other funds we can personally set aside, but we still won’t close that gap without the generous support of people like you.  We ask that you prayerfully consider being a “sender”.  Everyone knows I struggle so much with the asking.  But we can’t do this without you, and I know what a blessing it can be to play the Sender role in fulfilling the Great Commission.  In fact, we will pray for you to be blessed for your generosity!  See our financial support page for a current graph of our fundraising and for information about giving.

Also, this is the bare minimum cost of spending the month on the mission field.  There is so much more we’d like to do.  Our mission organization, PCM, is raising funds to cover costs for all of these camps, including scholarships to give as many kids as possible a life-changing experience at church camp.  So any funds we can raise beyond our initial need will go towards these important goals.  There will also be expenses for craft and activity supplies that are not included in our fundraising goal.

Ok.  So this has turned into a really long post.  Hugs to those of you who are still reading!  Watch for updates on fundraising events as soon as I figure those out!

Love & Gratitude

Ben, Rachel, Anna & Ethan

We’re Still Here! 

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My apologies for the very long stretch between posts. My computer will not turn on. At all. This is a major problem. Especially since it isn’t actually mine.  I wonder if Jill Wiram or Phil Harrison will see this post. 😬😳😣 But beyond that, my lesson for the upcoming camp is on it.  It might sound silly, but will you take a moment to pray for my computer? I need it constantly for the next camp, as I also use it to do the daily picture video.  There are other computers I can borrow, but having my own would be best.

Over the days since I last wrote, we have finished our time with the Holocaust Survivors,  “flipped the camp”, said goodbye to the first short-term team, and began preparations for the Ukrainian Children’s camp starting Saturday. If you can only pray for one thing, forget about my computer and pray over the kids who are soon to make their way here, many of whom are refugees.  If you can pray for two things, pray for the next short-term team currently on their way.  (If you can pray for more, please include my computer. 😉)

Here are some pictures from the last few days!

2 Weeks!

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Two weeks from today we will be on our journey back to Poland!  The whole family is ready and it is a daily topic of conversation as we begin preparing our teaching lessons, crafts, encouragement for the church leaders we will visit, gifts and lift it all up in prayer as always.

We know from experience that a good number of ministry opportunities will pop up during the time we are in Poland. Our God is way too cool to be limited to a list of our plans!  But here is what we are expecting for our 2017 trip to Poland.  Prayers are welcome and appreciated!

  • We will serve in Poland for the month of June (give or take a day or two)
  • We will travel to and encourage Christian churches in Poland, planted and/or supported by Polish Christian Ministries.
    • Kosazlin Messianic
    • Kołobrzeg (Piotr Karel’s church supported for years by RCC!)
    • Biąlogard
    • Gryfice
    • Polczyn Zdrój
  • We will do everything we can to help with upkeep and projects at Ostróda Camp, including:
    • yard work
    • cleaning
    • preparation of cabins
    • fixing stuff
    • tech help
    • prayer room
    • encourage and support our friends who do full-time ministry at the camp year-round:  the Korytkowski Family, Oksana Bilous and Kyle Duba.
  • We will spend time growing relationships and serving the Holocaust Survivors who will travel from Israel.  Although some of these are Messianic Jews, many of them do not know Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
  • We will serve during the Ukrainian Children’s Camp alongside a team from a US church – teaching, baptizing and discipling children and teens.  This year’s camp will include refugee children from the war in Ukraine.  Our involvement will include crafts, teaching and getting to know the kids in small groups.
  • We will connect with friends met in the past who have suffered infant loss, as well as looking for other opportunities to minister through Embracing Grace.
  • We will pray for unexpected opportunities to serve and minister – asking God to provide them, open our eyes to them, and give us what we need to act on them.

Let’s GO!

One More Important Day

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IMG_1916Tomorrow is the last day of the Kreo Camp for Polish Teens, and our last day in Ostróda.  Tonight, Dr. Isabella Drake, the scientist who has been challenging the campers all week, came to some important illustrations.  It’s late and I’m very tired, so I won’t go into the whole explanation, but the short story is that she came to see things a little differently today.  She gave a science demonstration that illustrated the gift of forgiveness through Christ and highlighted important truths about relationship, love and purpose in life.  Tomorrow will be a lesson on the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, as well as an invitation time.  I know there are a lot of kids really doing some deep thinking.  Please pray that God will work in their hearts and that this camp will become a point in their life story where they first came to know God or grow in their faith.

If you haven’t already seen them, here are the picture slideshows for this week (so far).  Watch them and pray over these young men and women with me as we bring this camp to a close.

You can also be in prayer for Ben as he continues to work to finish the new camp sign and get it up before our time is up.  Saturday morning we leave for Warsaw, and Sunday we fly home.  Although we are exhausted and spent, we can’t believe it is time to leave already.

Making Preparations for a Big Day

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Tomorrow, we will host a 45th Anniversary Celebration of Ostróda Camp.  We’ve been busy making preparations for this big event – making sure the grounds look great, designating the roles each of us will play and practicing a special song for the grand finale.  (I promise I have been working just as hard, but no one has taken my picture to prove it!) Ben has been challenged with a special task that I think he is especially gifted to do.  He is making a new sign for the camp using the logo he designed last year!  The hope is that the new sign will be able to be up for this milestone event.

The celebration will include 4 sessions, one for each decade.  The first is the 70’s, with music and interviews of people who were major contributors to the camp during that time.  Then 80’s and 90’s and ending with the “New Millennium” and a banquet.   I have personally witnesses the impact this camp has had on hundreds of people in the five years I have had the privilege of being involved, and I know how much camp influenced me as a child and even in my college years.  I can only imagine how many lives have been changed because of this place since it was established in 1971.  I am happy to be part of the celebration of such a great ministry, and look forward to what Ostróda Camp will bring in the next 45 years.

One quick prayer request… I posted the other day that I’ve been messaging my friend Iwona, though I haven’t been able to see her in person yet.  If you’ve missed previous post about Iwona, she is a lady I met because of our shared experience of having lost a baby at birth.  I’ve been meeting and writing with her for several years.  Today she sent me a message that she is meeting with a young lady who recently lost a baby.  She asked that I pray for God to give her the right words to share.  They are actually meeting right now at the time of this post, but prayers would be wonderful anytime.  Pray for God to grow seeds that are planted and bring healing to this young lady.

 

 

Here and Rested

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We’re here!   Our 26 hour journey back was exhausting, but went smoothly – van, plane, train, bus, plane, train, foot, train, bus, van….geesh!  We were happy see Sandy waiting for us at the airport to help us get to Ostróda (thank you, Sandy!), and happy to find the entire Korytkowski family came to pick us up at the bus stop.   Then there were hugs from Oksana, Sasha, Tanya, Maxim, Kazik and the returning members of the Savannah team.  It felt like coming home in a sense.  We arrived during the final session for the Holocaust Survivors’ camp.  We were so sad that we weren’t able to spend time with them this year, but encouraged to hear that it was a good week.  Most of this year’s group were new people we’ve never met, but Oksana told me this morning that one of the ladies had been before and was wearing one of the bracelets I made and gave them then.  She was asked about it during the week and shared with the whole group that she wears that bracelet to remind her of the good time she had when she was here.  ♥ That makes my heart so happy!

Worship this morning at Ostroda Christian Church (Picture credits to Sonya Haywood - stolen from her Facebook page!)
Worship this morning at Ostroda Christian Church (Picture credits to Sonya Haywood – stolen from her Facebook page!)

 

This morning we said goodbye to them and worshipped at Ostróda Christian Church.  Ben stood and gave his greetings to the congregation from us and Rockville Christian Church.  (I just love that… just like in Paul’s letters).  Pastor Zbigniew welcomed us back and said that he thinks we belong as much to them as RCC.  Awe.  How sweet.  It was great to see the familiar faces of the congregation, but sad that there were so few of them.  Our group (us along with the team from Savannah Christian, the interns and interpreters and Korytkowski family) probably tripled the attendance.  Please pray for this congregation.  I think they are fighting some struggle and need the prayer support of their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Pray also for Beata, a wonderful lady in the congregation that we’ve met several times.  She helped organize the event we held a couple of years ago on losing an infant, and helped with last year’s Ukrainian Children’s Camp.   She is currently fighting cancer and is in the hospital. I was very sad to learn of this recent diagnosis and the terrible road she’s had of late.  She is just in her mid 40’s.  Please pray for her.

The remainder of the day was mostly R&R, which we really needed to regain some of what we lost during the trip here.  This included Ethan getting buried so deep in the volleyball court sand that Kyle (new camp staff) had to help dig him out!  We did collect trash and linens around the grounds, but that was no big deal.  After dinner we gathered in the chapel to watch Woodlawn (great movie, by the way). Now it’s time for sleep.  Andrzej has a LONG list of work projects for us tomorrow as we prepare for the arrival of the Forever Young group and the camp’s 45th Anniversary celebration!