U09 Update: July 28

July 28, 2009

Another day of street outreach coming up. Morning devotional from philippians 2.12-18. Pls pray for us.

2.02 AM (local time)

funny … We were so tired, we spent some time praying for two ppl we encountered during outreach today, then decided to close up for the night. That was at midnite. Sasha & luda went to bed while we decided to briefly take care of some team things. 2 hrs later, after stories, guffaws, jokes & tears, we’re. finally hitting the sack.  Hee.

Today was a day of immense blessing. First thing this morn: both james & I feel better (tho my shoulder still burns & is occasionally a distraction); james is back to 100% & I’m @ about 90%.  Praise God; thx for your prayers; pls keep praying for our last 2.5 days here.  Morning devotionals from philippians 2.12 et seq…

Then, jk found her “lost” camera. We re-enacted our joy for u on camera.

Then, we had midmorn coffee w/greg & patty – 2 can/amer missionaries serving in kr’chuk & part of nhc’s congregation. Their insights supported what we already know to be true: nhc is a grounded, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving church; the true Gospel comes first & social justice follows; every cent goes to ministry & outreach to non-believers; nhc loves kr’chuk so much; their dreams aren’t vapor but r truly God-given and will come to fruition b/c of their faith & persistence in praying tog, constantly, as 1 body unit.

Then, we rejoined nhc, “power man,” and the drama team from dn’trovsk for lunch; more blessed fellowship. We’re not kidding (& we suspect u won’t believe it till u experience it urself, and that’s ok): there is no language barrier when ppl r in Christ. No one laughs @ language skills or lack thereof; there is constant exchange in both eng & russ of “how do u say…?”; continual support of learning ea other’ language; and yes – INSTANT rapport. How many ppl do u meet, w/whom u can joke & slap ea other around & lean on ea other, w/in 30mins of meeting? In Christ, we are already familiar, we already know what there is to love about the other, we already know that we will be accepted. It is so warm here, and we as jaded americans & they as cynical ukrainians would be able to discern the fakes here.  There are none. Jesus connects, and He doesn’t let us let go.

Then, we embark on the adventure of driving around town, looking for a place to set up & evangelize. Can u even imagine this? Bizarre, & amazing, & the strangest but hugest blessing. We are so blessed & moved by pr sasha’s faith, boldness, courage … His methods are unorthodox, yes, but who cares?  We don’t.

Interesting: today, our team met fear & blessing in the same place. The drama team’s skit today had a scene where satan enters in & wreaks havoc. This was performed 2x today. Both times, a young man w/epilepsy was in the park, & both times, he fell to the ground in an epil seizure at this exact pt in the skit. It was scary to see; and then to understand the manifestation of the enemy: wanting to cause a scene, distract from the skit, embarass the young man, injure him, etc. Yet, we are thankful for this experience bc it grows our faith: we recognize that if satan is active, that’s bc Jesus is here & He’s doing something worth getting into a tizzy about!  That is thrilling for us as we look out over our beloved city. We r also thankful for the reminder that the spiritual realms r real & that real stuff happens there, not only battle but Christ’s eternal victory. And, we are thankful for the reminder that Jesus heals; He’s here & He may have allowed these 2 fits so that this man can be a living testimony to His healing in the near future. Our hearts of compassion for the afflicted were grown; our understanding was expanded; our faith strengthened by watching members of the drama team just descend on him in fervent prayer after finishing the skit … All of these pieces come together as blessing; we are not afraid; rather, we join up on God’s side to fight for these ppl.

At the same time, we know we’ve seen something unusual so pls pray for the Lord’s protection of our minds & hearts as we are grown & stretched.

Then, we moved to … McD’s.  Oh, brother.  No, not to eat – there is a big plaza in front of the mcd’s, so we set up there @ night & did the whole thing again. Had some great convos afterwards w/audience members.

Each conversation pierces the heart: hopelessness, lack of faith, faith in things/gods other than God, addictions & deep deep despair @ times. The brokenness in ppl’s lives slaps us in the face bc ppl open up to us if we only ask.  If we only ask …

And yet, there is a clear sense that all this brokenness is being exposed precisely bc Jesus is getting ready to enter in to sweep away the broken shards. It’s so clear to us that this is the case; I don’t know how else to convince u of it except to tell it to u plainly. For every story of abuse, there is a clear picture of reconciliation. For every story of despair, there is a clear image of Christ preparing to wipe away tears. For every story of lack of faith, there is a strong sense that God will lift the veil. We feel it, we encounter the moving Spirit each minute; we ourselves r physically carried by it. Pls know it to be true; and pls pray for revival and Thy Kingdom come to kr’chuk.

We have so much on our hearts tonite, so many faces & names … And the idea of tomm being our last day here is utterly heartbreaking to us.  Real friendships r being cemented (not just made).  We are members now of this church too. They love us so much, and we love them so much too. Yes, there is comfort in knowing that bc a rel’ship exists, “see u soon” is a happy reality … But one never really wants to leave and be forced to say that.  Would u be offended to know that we want to stay here?  Would u be happy to know that we wish u all were here?  Would u be blessed to know that what blesses us here & makes us feel so at home is also possible in tarrytn, at our new hope?

Still, tomm is another day of new & merciful blessings, & we honestly can’t wait for the nite to be over so we can see everyone again.

Pls cont to pray for us, for the other teams, for beloved nhc, for this beautiful & anointed city.  Pls also pray for God to guide us gently as we look to transitioning home.

We love you, dear nhf, & we’ll see you soon, our dear shining lights (phil 2.15).

C, on behalf of u09


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