Ahhh… the satisfying feeling of sore muscles and tired feet! 🙂 The Savannah team that is with us this week has been charged with making new beds for the rooms in the main building. They have developed and are carrying out an organized plan to make thirty-something new beds in the 9 days they are here. We have jumped in to help as much as we can. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will largely be spent on this project through the daytime hours, but we will join the Holocaust Survivors during their meals and evening session.
I do have an important prayer request. The Ukrainian children and counselors who will be joining us for the next camp are currently in the process of getting their visas and paperwork in order to be able to travel here. There are so many refugees coming into Poland from Ukraine right now that the process is even more cumbersome than usual. We heard today that two of them were already denied visas to come. 44 more of them will be trying to get permission to enter the country today. Please pray that God will take down any barriers that would prevent someone who needs to be here from coming. He knows their hearts, minds and circumstances and we are confident that the red tape is no obstacle to an almighty God!
I finally got our photo gallery up and running to show you all that we’ve been doing. You won’t see many pictures of the dear people we are here to love and serve, though. We have been asked not to post pictures of the Holocaust Survivors to social media. If you want to see them, you’ll have to join us for an in-person presentation at some point!
After a quick recovery from overnight travel, we jumped right into preparations for the arrival of our dear Holocaust friends. Cleaning, preparing bed linens and welcome cards, and lots of other things to be ready to welcome them from Israel. We each had some special tasks.
Ben worked hard today helping the team from Savannah constructing new beds for the camp. Anna and I decided we really wanted to make the prayer room a priority for this camp as well as other camps for the summer. After all, nothing that goes on here is of human doing – It’s all God working in the hearts and minds of those who He brings to this place. So prayer should be our most important activity. We arranged furniture, hung Scripture cards, Anna made decorative paper flowers, and we set out Bibles and a journal. The journal has the names of each person attending and leading this camp, so we can pray over them by name and journal specific needs and thoughts as we get to know our new friends. Several took turns in the room today, including Anna! 🙂
Another project was preparing a small gift for the Holocaust Survivors. In past years I have made beaded bracelets for them like the ones I sell as a fund-raiser. But I wanted to do something different this year. So I made a lanyard to hold their name tags, symbolic of our time together. The red ribbon represents Poland, and there is a Star of David charm for Israel, and an American flag heart to represent love from the American team. Sadly, I never came up with a good way to represent the Ukrainian interpreters that are the bridge that brings us together.
So after two days of preparations, we waited with anticipating for their arrival. There was much excitement and “Shalom” greetings with a warm embrace and a kiss. It was great to see some familiar faces and welcome many new visitors. In catching up with Haim and Geula whom you may recall if you’ve been following this blog over the years, I was thrilled to learn that Geula recently became a Christian! (If you’ve followed this blog through all of our journeys, you recall that last year I learned of Haim’s baptism after his first experience here in Ostroda.) Please praise God with me and pray for them as they learn what it means to be both a Jew and a follower of Christ!
We had our first meal together and a short session of introductions. Now it’s off to bed for everyone to rest from their journey and work. Tomorrow is our first full day to get to know each other and poor some love into these dear people. Please pray for us to see the opportunities and know the right words and actions that will open their hearts to the message of Jesus.