Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanksgiving- November

Celebrating with our American missionary friends, we were truly thankful
Thank you to our hosts, Dawn and Butch (the couple below) for their open hearts! :)

Arkadiy's Mom Came to Visit:

Arkadiy's mom came to visit us for a week! It was wonderful!

Guys Soccer- November

The guys soccer:

American English Center- Photos

God opened the doors for Anneke to start working and serving six hours a week at a secular English school! It provides great opportunities to build relationships with people and minister to them.

IMM- International Mission Mentory School

GRADUATION! Congratulations students!!!!

Orphanage- November

Our time at the Orphanage in Prednistrovy :)

Discipleship- November

Dasha and Katya are two of the three girls that Anneke meets with once a week.

English Club- November

The English Club:

Small groups, fun interactive games, building relationships, and sharing about what God has done in our lives!

Bible Study - November

Meet our Bible Study group :) Some of you might recognize some of the students from camp. On the left is Alyosha, who became a believer at camp. :)

You might also recognize Ira, in the stripy shirt, she still has not made a public confession for Christ, so please keep praying for her.

Pictures of the Church - November

Pictures of the church that the Huffman's and us are busy planting in our neighbourhood...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dear friends and family in Christ Jesus:

Summer is almost over and the weather is a little bit cooler, finally. It has been a long and eventful summer. And before we talk further about what is expecting us in the future let us go back in time and look at what the Lord has done, giving Him all the glory.


Well, both July and August were busy months. A lot of things have happened and now thinking back it seems as if two years have gone by and not two months. A definite highlight to us as a family was the fact that Pieter, Anneke’s brother came to do a youth camp. He flew into Odessa few days earlier and we were able to have a good time of family fellowship together.
Camps went well! Youth camp has been a definite blessing. Even while meeting with the campers before the camp and gathering their applications it was obvious that the Lord was putting together a very unique combination of believers and unbelievers for this camp. It seemed as there was no time needed for the campers to break the ice with one another, they just clicked together almost instantly. It was interesting, like always, to observe the way the Lord worked in the hearts of the unbelieving campers and warming their hearts up to Him. When the invitation was made 12 stated that they would like to follow Christ. We are rejoicing for the work that the Lord has done in their hearts and the hearts of those who have not received His sacrifice for their sins but were challenged about the choice they would have to make: to choose the path of forgiveness and salvation or the path of damnation and destruction.
Family camp was very different and challenging in a way. We really struggled to get families this year. And I guess the most difficult thing was that the families who would sign up would change the amount of members that they would take with or just completely cancel out. Few days before camp about 16 campers canceled out and it made the camp really small, however we do trust that the Lord has brought the ones that he wanted to see in this camp. God has blessed us with a good camp. Two people made a public confession to follow Christ, praise the Lord for that!
The pictures above: from left to right, a group photo of the family camp, a group photo of the youth camp :) If you have fast internet, also see the "scrapbooks" at the end of the posts from this month to see more pictures of the camps

Follow up:

Camps have two major goals among all other goals: 1. to help the local ministry (us) to establish the relationships with the campers 2. to share the Gospel with the campers. Both of those goals were achieved at the camps we had this summer now we are to follow up on those relationships and keep on using them to help the young believers grow and to keep sharing Christ with those who heard about Him at camp, who have heard His Good news yet for some reason did not make this step toward Him. We use various things as the means to follow up: picnics, one on one meetings, Bible Studies, English Clubs etc. (Pictures soon to follow- of the reunion picnic we had, Bible study, English clubs, etc :)

Bible Study Group

We have resumed our Bible Studies and it has been good to be able to get together with the “old” believers, “new” believers and those who are still seeking. We had two meetings so far and we have explored the necessity to study the Bible for all of us and the character of Christ. It was accepted well. It is encouraging to see those who still seek the Lord coming to understand Him more and more. Next month we will have a photo for you :)

One on One Discipleship:

As the camps are over we are slowly but surely getting back into the routine of meeting with people one on one so that we could grow in the Lord together. It has truly been exciting to get together with those whom we haven’t seen/haven’t met with for a month and a half/two months but also it is a joy to meet with those who have just started their walk with the Lord and to help them grow. The number of those people that we have to meet with is challenging but we have worked it out with our team and now every camper is accounted for.
(The picture on the right... Anneke, Roxanna and our brother Pieter!)

Baking lessons ministry:

Anneke will start a “baking-lesson” ministry twice a week with some of the girls from camp as a means of follow up. She will plan to have these baking lessons with four specific girls- Lidya, Vika, Nika, and Katya from camp, (if others join, that will be super). While they cook and bake together, they will also go through discipleship materials on growing in Christ. Three of the four girls gave their heart to Christ before/during camp, and one of them still have not made a decision, so it will be really interesting to see how God will orchestrate this all. (The photo on the right is of Laura and my WONDRFUL Small group at camp, from left to right... Alyona, Zhenya, Anneke, Ira, Nastya, Lidya, Nika-holding down on the bag, and Vika)

International Missionary Training Program

Another school is about to begin (School year in Ukraine and all of the countries of the former Soviet Union starts on the 1st of September) along with another season of the Missionary Training Program. God has brought students and put together teachers and we are delighted to be a part of the training process of this young men and women. Arkadiy will be teaching two courses: Discipleship and World Religions. There are still a lot of preparations to be done.
(The picture on the right is from the last group of students that went through the IMM)

Insight into the Christian struggles…

As we have mentioned before we had a very exciting youth camp but when it was over we had a crazy few days of preparations for the family camp with people calling all the time and scheduling, rescheduling and canceling their participation at camp. The phone would ring all the time. I guess both of us got more tired in between camps then after the youth camp itself, it has been crazy. When the time of camp came we were asking ourselves how will we go through the camp, we don’t have any strength left. Our eyes were fixed on the Lord and on His principle
in 2 Cor 12:9 (But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ) and while our eyes and hearts were fixed on this principle our minds were wondering how will the Lord do it? And to tell you the truth, now looking back we have no idea how He did it, but He did it, He gave us strength, wisdom and patience needed! To Him be the glory for His great faithfulness and love for us!

Prayer Requests for the month of September:

*For the follow up ministries
*For the preparations to teach at the Missionary Training Program.
*For the baking lessons that Anneke will have.
*For Maxim and Slavik, two newborn Christians that Arkadiy tries to get together with.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Family Camp 2008

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Youth Camp 2008

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dear friends and family in Christ Jesus:

Time is flying fast and the hot month of June is behind us already. We are grateful for this opportunity to share what the Lord has done in our lives and in the lives of the people that we ministered to this past month.


Overall the month of June has been a good month. On the 7th of June we went to Armyansk to explore the possibility of serving together with the local Church that Artem Kurdov comes from. On the way there we stopped and visited the family of one of the guys whom our team serves. His family lives in the nature reserve and it was just nice to be there. From there we rushed to Armyansk to get to a meeting with the pastors of the local church. What a surprise it was to us to know that the pastor of this church went to the Bible School in South Africa! Few other pastors have been to South Africa as well, serving together with the Churches there. Also it turned out to be that we have a lot of common friends with them as well. What a pleasant surprise! We discussed the possibility of their church members attending the Missionary Training Center and a possibility of the students to go through their internship at the rehab center that the Church (in Armyansk) has; helping and discipling former alcoholics and drug addicts.

1st:Our team in front of the famous park at the nature reserve
2nd:Our team in Armyansk (with the pastors of the church)
3rd:Arkadiy and Anneke :)

In the month of June we went to the school where we had the basketball camp and offered them some help at a day camp that they have been having. They let us come 2 times each week to help them! It went well! They are opening up more and more to cooperate with us and we will see what God has in mind as far as this relationship.

Summer Camps:

Summer camp preparations are pretty much over just small things left here and there. Thank you so much to those who have been praying for the recruitment of the campers. The youth camp is full and the amount of people who would still like to go is huge. Only with the people who are on the waiting list we could have another full youth camp. Thank you again for praying for that. With the family camp things are moving along but rather slowly. We got about 6 families registered so far and few potential ones. We praise the Lord for those families which are coming and we trust God to bring more.

Bible Study Group:

Bible Study has been going good. As we wrote to you before, we got through the book of 1st John. After we were done with it we asked the group what they would like to learn about God, themselves and the world around them in the month of June. We got a lot of different and interesting topics. Arkadiy and Mark would alter weekly in sharing God’s truth on some specific topic. It has been a delight to see students learning from the word of God of what the Lord has to say about a specific matter.

One on One Discipleship:

That has been going well, however the main difficulty is that most of the people had their exams in the month of June. In Ukraine the month of June is the exams time. But we still were able to have our meetings and we have thoroughly enjoyed almost all of them. A great disappointment was a brother whom Arkadiy disciples. He started choosing to believe the wrong things. He knows the truth he just does not want to follow it. He tries to fit the things in his theology that don’t belong there and are controversial yet he chooses to believe them.
Arkadiy still pursues meetings with him trusting the Lord to take the veil off his eyes and help to him to come back to his senses.

Opportunities are everywhere…

And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

Last week we got a call from our ministry partner who said that he met a lady who was interested in the English Clubs we do and he gave her Arkadiy’s phone number. Few minutes later she called and told Arkadiy that she teaches at the local University and asked about the work we do here in Odessa. Arkadiy said that we don’t have English clubs in summer but we have English camps and asked her whether she would be interested in getting some application forms. She said yes and so we met. At that meeting she read through the forms and listened to Arkadiy talk about the camps for 5 minutes, told Arkadiy that it is all understandable and then she asked him: “ok, that is clear, so now tell me what do you believe?”. Arkadiy shared the Gospel with her for 2 hours; she had a lot of questions and was very interested. She has never heard before despite the fact that she has been going to the Russian Orthodox Church all of her life. Praise God for that opportunity! Her name is Oksana. Please keep her in your prayers.

Prayer Requests of July:

Please pray:*For more campers for the family camp

*For the final preparations for the camps
*For Oksana, that God would keep drawing her closer to Himself
*For the hearts of people who will come to the youth and family camps
Camps dates are:
Youth camp 16.07 – 25.07, Gospel Night on the 23.07
Family camp 5.08 – 14.08, Gospel Night on the 12.08

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Retrospective (May)

Aviation camp has gone well. Arkadiy had 4 Romanians as his roommates and it was a lot of fun. One of them spoke good English, another one could knew 20% English, the other one knew about 40 words in English and the forth one did not speak any English at all. So that has definitely spiced up the adventure. God gave Arkadiy an opportunity to share Christ with them on few different occasions in private conversations. That has been a blessing! Thank you so much for praying for the opened doors! God layed Velu (name of the guy) on Arkadiy’s heart throughout the camp. He is a fine young man who studies psychology and who came to camp to prove to his friend that it won’t have any affect on him. Well, he was wrong. He went back home a different man who started seeking God purposefully. Isn’t God amazing! Overall camp was full of opportunities.

We took a trip to Arkadiy’s hometown recently to apply for a new international passport for Arkadiy, to remove Anneke’s wisdom teeth (there were two left) and to check Arkadiy’s right eye. It has been bugging him for a long time. It was a good trip and we were able to accomplish all things within a very short period of time! God is good! Concerning the eye issue things aren’t that great. There is a stitch that did not dissolve. And it irritates the eye. They told us that we basically have two options: 1. Live with it 2. Or have another surgery done. So we are praying and thinking about it.