God Knows What He’s Doing

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22F6570F-B3B7-4E0F-BFF2-3C3CD48EDD90This 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.

Repurposing the “Wailing Wall” backdrop we made a few years ago for this year’s Egyptian theme.

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!

You can find the growing collection of pictures and videos from this week here.

Final Preparations & How You Can Help

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How-Can-You-HelpIt’s SO weird to still be in Indiana in June.  For nearly a decade we’ve spent this entire month in Poland.  With this year’s trip is a little later and shorter, so we’re watching Facebook memories pop up every day… arriving in Warsaw 3 years ago, leaving Chicago 6 years ago, welcoming the Holocaust Survivors 4 years ago, traveling to Kołobrzeg two years ago.  So strange to not be doing those things right now.

But it’s getting close!  We leave in just one week and have tons to do.  I took today off to really focus on Poland preparations.  I think we have crafts for the Ukrainian Children’s camp planned and communicated among the team members from multiple places, and I have most of my lesson prepared for that camp.  There is still some work to do on crafts for the Ukrainian Youth Camp and I’ve just barely started preparing that lesson.  I talked to my Mom tonight about plans – it’s so exciting that they are coming and helping with that camp this year!

Thank you to the couple of you who have reached out to us recently asking if there is anything we still need.  If you’ve been wondering the same thing and are interested in further supporting this mission, there certainly are a couple of ways you could do so…

  1. Pray for me (Rachel) as I prepare the lessons I will teach during each of these weeks.  Pray that the Spirit will lead me (and the others teaching) to say what these kids need to hear, to convey God’s Word in a way they will understand, so they may leave camp with a new or renewed relationship with Him.
  2. This is very short notice and would have to be done almost immediately, but we do have several supplies we still need to buy for camp activities.  Some of them I need to show for and buy in person in an actual store, but there are several that could be purchased on Amazon.  If you want to help, check out our Mission Supply list here.  If you buy off this list, the items will be shipped directly to us!  But you’ll need to do so no later than this Saturday (June 8) for us to get them before we leave.  We need items to arrive by June 12.
  3. Since our house is currently on the market, we might need some additional help taking care of it and keeping it looking nice while we are gone. I have not yet fully communicated with all of the people who typically help us out, but if you’re willing and able to lend a hand please let us know! If we have prospective buyers coming to see the house while we’re gone, we might need to call on some reinforcements!

As always, we are so very grateful for all who have been Senders,  helping us get to this point for yet another year.  Thank you for all of the prayers, encouragement, funds, and supplies so that we may GO!   The countdown is on!