There is so much to share from the last three days. A few quick prayer updates first… I am thrilled to announce that the group of Ukrainian children and counselors who were working to get their visas were all approved! This means that just two of the group of 50 have been denied passage into Poland. Keep praying, though. They aren’t actually here yet! Second, please be in prayer for us as we travel to Stutthof Concentration Camp with the survivors tomorrow. This is a very solemn day. Pray for us to be able to offer anything they need – an embrace, a tear, an ear or just the paying of our own respect and honoring of those who were lost during the Holocaust. Also, Anna and her friend Lidia (camp directors’ daughter) will be attending this trip with us this year. This was a tough decision that we took seriously, but believe that they are ready. Please pray that God will give us good judgement to protect them from anything that might be too much for them to see at such a young age, but also that God would use this to fill their hearts even more with compassion and knowledge of truth that will help them grow up to love and value all people.
Friday – Shabat Shalom! Friday was another day working on beds, and an exciting one because we were able to start moving them into rooms. Ben and I were privileged to be among the first rooms, and I can tell you that these new beds are a significant improvement. I don’t feel like I’m sleeping on the floor anymore! Shabat began at 5:00, so we enjoyed an evening of dressing up, reading Scripture, eating and breaking bread together and dancing. Following the Shabat service, our friend Haim shared his testimony with the Americans. He shared many things, but one story that stood out to me was a detail he shared of being at the concentration camp. He was a small child and was kept in a barrack with all the other children. His mother had been sent to work in the kitchen and would hide pieces of potato peelings in her clothes to sneak to him later when she was allowed a few minutes to see him. He said that the smell and the taste of potato peelings still triggers the memory of eating those scraps.
Saturday – We got to take a break from work at the camp and travel to the beautiful cities of Sopot and Gdañsk on the Baltic Sea. It was hot and very crowded (Saturday + Catholic Holiday of Corpus Christie weekend), but we still had an enjoyable day . In the evening, we were able to hear from Maxim, who is one of the leaders of this camp with the Holocaust Survivors. He gave his testimony of how he came to know God and become involved in ministry in Israel. Maxim is a good man who loves God and loves people. Please join me in praying that God will bless their ministry beyond measure.
Today – This morning Ben and I traveled with Dave & Sandy Hatfield to visit a PCM supported church that needs some encouragement. It was an enjoyable day connecting with a new congregation. We hope our visit laid a foundation for future growth. Please say a prayer for this church and for wisdom in how PCM can best help move them forward. The evening session back at the camp was “Savannah Night”, in which the American team from Georgia was able to share about where they are from and why they came. They shared their great love for the people, sang with them and gave gifts. I spent part of the service praying that God would use their love and generosity to penetrate the hearts of the Holocaust Survivors who might have previously been closed off to all things Christian. Then we got to hear Oksana’s testimony. I’ve heard her story before, but I never get tired of hearing it. God is using this young lady in a powerful way.
Now… I. Must.Sleep.