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

Click to play Family Camp 2008
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Youth Camp 2008

Click to play Youth Camp 2008
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook