We are learning more and more all the time that sometimes, often, in fact, God’s leading is just in the next immediate steps. We may think we know the final destination, but then we are surprised as God reveals the next turn. Back in October, we wrote that we had thought that we would take a much-needed break from traveling to Poland, but then had felt the nudge that we still had a role to play. Desiring to always be obedient, we began fund-raising and saving, knowing that if God redirected us we would have many good avenues for those dollars to further a variety of ministries. A lot has transpired since October. It became evident that what God was asking us to do would actually happen sooner rather than later, take place here at home, and would be incredibly difficult – emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. This situation is ongoing and we will continue to play our part as needed. Of course, He has taught us much in the process and drawn us closer to Him as He always does.
Now, after much prayer, discussion, and Godly counsel, we hear God saying to step back and let go, to rest and revive, to devote some time to family, and to put funds that would have been spent on airfare to some other great uses that will grow God’s kingdom this year. We know this may not be the only unforeseen turn in the road, and we always want to be ready and prepared to obey when opportunities arise, so a portion of the funds raised so far will remain in our ministry fund waiting to be put to good use and earning interest in the meantime. The majority of the funds will be distributed…
- to provide scholarships for about 20 Ukrainian kids & teens to experience a life-changing week of camp
- to support our friend Sasha who serves a military chaplain in Ukraine
- to support Send Me Ministries as they share the gospel with Holocaust Survivors and Jewish people in Poland and Israel
- to support our friend Becky who has an opportunity to serve on a short term mission to Africa
- to support our friend Abigail in her mission trip to Nicaragua
- to support our brother and sister in their work with Africa New Life
We’ll be happy to provide details individually if any of our supporters would like to see evidence of that money flow, but we assure you that this money is God’s and none of it will be used for ourselves.
It may seem crazy to think that God’s will is for us not to go, but we really believe that to be true. Although God gives us the privilege of being part of what He is doing, it does not depend on us. His Word will still go out and will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11). He knows we need rest, Jesus modeled it for us and the Bible is full of examples. Right now we feel He is giving us permission to take time for that.
We are prayerfully considering returning to Poland in 2021, when the Ukrainian children’s and teen camps will be operating on their own for the first time. Will you pray with us and for us to have insight into God’s leading in the future? Although we will stop actively fundraising for a time, we will continue to accept donations and pass them on to fulfill ministry needs like those listed above. We are incredibly grateful for all of our supporters, and we still need your encouragement and prayers!
This year’s mission is certainly off to an interesting start with some crazy unexpected twists. First, we received confirmation last Tuesday that Ben’s passport was not going to arrive in time for our Thursday flight. The Department of State let us know that processing times had increased and his would still be another week at best (if we paid additional funds to expedite it). This meant that we had to pay for an additional airfare and quickly change plans. We’re still waiting to hear if the flight insurance we had purchased will refund the cost of the first ticket, so that’s something you can be praying for! Ben will now fly on June 20 with my parents and arrive in time for the Ukrainian Teen Camp. That same day, I fell about 6 feet off a ladder while trying to do a little home improvement to increase the marketability of our listed house. Instead of getting the window trim painted, I spent the day in the ER. Although bruised, sprained and strained, I am incredibly happy to report no broken bones and that I was still able to fly out with the kids on Thursday.
I’ll be honest, leaving Ben behind for the first week of this trip has been pretty hard on us both. We are life and ministry partners, and being split up just really stinks. But we’ve had several confirmations that this wasn’t a fluke or unanswered prayer. I think it may be one of those instances where God’s answer to our prayers is “no” because He just knows more than we do. Being home meant that Ben was able to attend an elder’s meeting he would have missed, visit a student in the hospital, get some extra days in at work (which may prove crucial later in the summer), take care of a home repair that may have been quite costly if he hadn’t been there to discover it, and be there for our niece and nephew’s baptisms. Those are just the things that have become evident so far. It seems crazy to think that God’s plan would be for Ben to miss a week on the mission field, but then perhaps we need reminders that the mission field isn’t just in other countries. God knows what He’s doing.
Here in Poland, the kids and I have now spent a day preparing with the rest of the team, have welcomed the Ukrainian kids and completed our first full day with them. They are so sweet and full of life. I had the privilege of teaching the first lesson today. Our theme is Exodus to Freedom, where we are teaching the story of Moses leading the Israelites out slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land and connecting the parallel to our own slavery to sin and the freedom that comes when we let God rescue us. Even in this short time, there are signs that the Message is resonating with them! Please keep praying for the Love of God to penetrate their hearts and minds this week. Several of them have mentioned “The Americans” (which is more than just us, for the record) as one of the things they are excited about or thankful for. I don’t know why they find us so intriguing, but I have no doubt that God can use that to get their attention for a far greater purpose.
Enjoy today’s camp video and please pray for each of these sweet faces you see – including the adults!