In our most recent e-mail from Dave Hatfield, we learned that the camp is asking for us to bring some of our work experiences to the table. We are both very excited about using our God-given spiritual gifts for His glory in a new way – after all, that’s why He gave them to us, right?
Ben is going to be helping establish a new website for Ostroda Camp. This is something that they have needed for a while and Ben mentioned being willing to help the last time he was there in 2009. He will continue to help maintain this site after we return to the U.S. Please pray that God will lead Ben to develop a site that will expand the ministry of the camp and lead other to a relationship with Christ through it.
Three of the summer interns are working with the local public school teaching English classes to Polish children. I (Rachel) get the opportunity to spend a couple of days with them in the school, observing and helping with the lessons. Then I get to speak from my years of teaching experience to give recommendations for how Ostroda Camp can form a relationship with this school for the future. How exciting! Please pray that God will speak to me and lead me towards recommendations that will be successful from both the educational and ministry aspects. Join me in praying that God will blossom this opportunity into something that brings many Polish children to know Him.
Finally, Ben and I are going to be able to lead some activity time with the Holocaust Survivors. One activity will be a “craft” time, but we want to make sure that it isn’t just VBS crafts for adults! We are currently thinking that we want to help the campers create a sort of scrapbook journal of their return to Poland – a place where they can capture pictures and memories, receive notes from the people they’ve met and journal their thoughts as they hear and experience God in many ways. If you’d like to donate any scrapbooking supplies (paper, scissors, glue dots, stamps, embellishments, photo corners, etc) we would certainly put them to good use! Hobby Lobby gift cards would be great too. The camp is also in need of tennis balls, badminton birdies, and a 50 ft rope for rock climbing (I’m guessing this one isn’t for the Holocaust survivors camp, but you never know!) If you feel led and are able to donate any of these items, please contact us!
It has truly been amazing, humbling and a blessing how quickly we have receive both prayer and financial support. We’re only a little over $400 away from our goal and have the peace of knowing that a number of people are fully committed to praying for our mission trip. We want to take a moment to thank these people who have responded to our letter with a signed prayer covenant, financial donation, or “liked” our page on Facebook to show their support. We know that there are many more out there who are supporting us in prayer as well. To all of you…. thank you. My God bless you as you have blessed us.
Grant & Donna McVay
Dan & Karen Smith
Mike & Michele Sheley
RCC Basic Sunday School Class
John, Dave & Debbie Soucie
Glen & Cynthia Sands
Kevin & Rita Jacks
Ben & Julie Little
Mark & Kathi Davis
Wanda & Ervin Stutzman
Brianne & Eric Sheilds
Jane & Brock McMullen
The Rockville Christian Church Missions Committee
Pat & Janet Fahey
Ray & Charlene Boyce
Phil & Diana Carew
A few donations have been turned in to the church directly and we do not have names by which to send our gratitude. The church has reported to us about $350 in donations that we don’t know who to thank for – so if your name doesn’t appear above, please don’t be offended! If you wish to remain anonymous, we understand, but we want to let you know as well as much your donation is appreciated.
We welcome all the prayer warriors we can get and are still not quite at our financial goal. Please visit the prayer support and financial support pages for more information if God lays it on your heart to be part of our home support team. We will publish a post as soon as we know that we have met our goal, so as not to collect unnecessary funds. Any surplus we do end up with will be given directly back to Global Missionary Ministries and Ostróda Camp.
I (Rachel) have my passport! I have… my… passport.
Read that with extreme excitement first, then more tentativeness as the realization that I will indeed be traveling to a foreign country very soon – one that doesn’t speak my language and has customs, heritage and foods with which I am very unfamiliar. I’m excited about serving my God – He’s done so much for me, how could I not be? I’m excited about reaching out and sharing His love to others, especially these who have such a history of pain and tragedy. I can hardly wait to see the things He will do in the lives of the holocaust survivors, the camp staff, our own lives and the message this trip sends to our children as well.
To be honest, I’m a little nervous. Other than a brief encounter with some French-speaking areas of Canada as a child, I have never been outside of the country. I realize traveling to Europe isn’t exactly the same as traveling to a third-world culture, but it is still well outside my comfort zone. I speak publicly almost daily in my job, to students and now to my colleagues, but when I think about speaking to this group (even just in conversation) I feel very unsure and incapable.
Ben and I discussed choosing a verse to carry us through this mission trip. He immediately went to 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
I remembered then that he had referred to this verse after his first trip to Poland, saying it described perfectly how he felt as he preached his very first “real” sermon in front of Russian Jews. I once heard someone say that when we tell God that we can’t do something, His response is “I know you can’t, but I can.” The scriptures are full of countless examples of God using the most unlikely of people – fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes… he didn’t exactly pick his team from the A-List. In doing so, people saw HIM. These Israeli Jews don’t need MY wisdom, they need His. So… I guess that means it’s OK if I don’t have any! Cool.
Goodbye, comfort zone… I have my passport!
I’ve never really understood the connection between fund raising and a thermometer exactly, but if you’ve been watching our financial support page, you’ll know that our temperature is rising fast! We have less than $1000 to go to cover all of our expenses for this mission trip. We will let you know when we reach that goal so we don’t have unnecessary donations. If we happen to go over, we will return funds submitted later and/or increase our contributions to funding the operations of Ostroda Camp.
Thank you very much to the very generous donors we have made this process go smoothly despite rising transportation and lodging costs. God has laid it on hearts to support this mission financially so quickly that we haven’t even had time to be tempted to worry about receiving all of our funding. We are confident that God will provide the remaining financial need as well.
We received good news yesterday and bad news today. I always like to start with the positive….
Between our own savings and a generous donation we received yesterday, we were able to secure our airfare before the prices went any higher than they have already climbed. This is a HUGE relief. We were able to send a final flight itinerary to our contact in Poland, Dave Hatfield, so that he can continue working on all of our arrangements for travel, housing, etc. We are very grateful for the faithful couple who felt led to contribute to our trip and made this possible. Although I’m not sure they want to be publicly recognized, we want to say thank you.
Now for the bad news…. we had already been informed that our accommodations for a portion of our trip would have to be changed due to a huge price spike in hotel cost caused by the Euro Cup, which Warsaw will be hosting toward the end of our trip. We will be housed in a church rather than spending triple the money on a hotel room for the days we’ll be in Warsaw prior to our flight back to the U.S. However, the Euro Cup is apparently causing an increase in a lot of other prices as well… food, transportation, etc. which will still affect us and are not avoidable. This has caused us to have to raise our total fund raising goal by a few dollars. The amount is estimated, so any extra money that we might end up with will go directly back to Global Missionary Ministries and Ostróda Camp.
Despite the bad news and the fact that asking for financial support is not fun, we are getting very excited about our opportunity to serve in this way. Having plane seats with our names on them makes this all the more real. I (Rachel) have to admit a bit of nervousness as well, having never been out of the country (unless you count Canada). But I know from experience that giving in ministry will cause me to grow as well and will change someone’s life… and for that I will leave my comfort zone!
When Ben traveled to this camp in Poland a few years ago for short-term mission work, our daughter Anna was five years old. We talked to her about why Daddy was going to be gone for so long. Later, when someone was talking to her about missing her Dad, Anna told them “My Daddy’s in Poland telling people God loves them. People need to know that.” Wow. This brought instant tears to my eyes because it meant that even in his absence, Ben was ministering to his own daughter in a powerful way. He was setting an example for her to share Christ to the world, and she was understanding that.
We hope to continue teaching our children about the importance of ministry, missions and telling people about Christ through this journey back to Poland. Being away from our kids for more than two weeks will be hard, but in the end we hope that it will leave on them a more lasting impression. Perhaps, when they are older, short-term missions can be something we do as a whole family.
When Ben and I first talked about returning to Poland, this time together, it seemed a little crazy. I mean both of us going means raising twice the financial support and figuring out who is going to care for our two small children for over two full weeks. Seems tricky at best. But before I’ve even been able to finish this site and start sending it out to start raising support, God has started to answer those concerns. We think we already have a tentative plan for childcare that will allow them to spend some quality time with grandparents and come home with great memories. Today we learned that a couple in our church has received some unexpected money and wants to support us financially. The amount they are contributing, when combined with what we have been able to save ourselves, will put us already half way to our goal.
Just another reminder that what seems like a mountain to us, is nothing for our God.