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!
I know it’s been almost a week since my last update, but there has just been no time to blog. Since our trip to the concentration camp we have…
- said goodbye to the team from Savannah, GA
- finished the time with the Holocaust Survivors and said goodbye to our new friends from Israel
- “flipped the camp” (aka lots of cleaning, preparing beds, etc.)
- welcomed a new team from Rhode Island
- planning and preparations for Ukrainian Children’s Camp
- welcomed 80 kids and leaders
- finished two very full days of camp
Our title of this camp is “New Me” – The Fruit of the Spirit with a garden theme I (Rachel) was privileged to teach the very first lesson, in which I introduced the theme and taught the first characteristic – LOVE. I made the kids recite the day’s memory verse (“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19), and they had to express love by giving me a hug, in order to leave the chapel for canteen. It might have been partially a selfish ploy to get a hug from every single one of these precious kids, but I’m not ashamed to admit it! 😉
One of my roles is to put together a picture video for the evening session, so even if I don’t have time to write much, I’ll at least share those. You’ll be able to see all the great things going on and pray over this week with us!