[U’10] July 9, 2010 – “Thank God for Day Two’s”

July 9, 2010

Dear NHF family,

Thank God for “Day Two’s” . . .

Chae led us this morning in a devotional from Psalm 43, and encouraged us to put our hope in God, to remind ourselves, speak to ourselves the reminder to trust in He who shines light, and in whom our hope comes to strong fruition.

And with that, we headed back to the “You Are Special” VBS for the final day’s celebrations.  I think we say this every year, but every year, it continues to be true: there is something really special about the little ones here.  There is an affection that is unguarded, a physical closeness that isn’t tainted (for the kids or their parents) by an American suspicion of strangers, and a curiosity that is not hidden (yet) by concepts of shame or false-politeness.  The hugs come quick — we knew the VBS kids for all of 6 hours yesterday, and this morning, they were bombarding us with hugs, hellos, run-on sentences in Russian that none of us had any hope of understanding.  One girl, Katya, even told us that she had prepared some gifts for our team members, but left them at home.  !!!!!  I know, please, take a moment to melt!

The morning started out the same, with Lena the Christian Pied Piper putting on quite a show.  U10’s women performed a body-worship presentation set to Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise.”  Then we broke for small groups . . .

In the middle of small group time, Pr Sasha called the U10 members out so that we could walk with him to the plot of land next door.  Just by way of explanation: VBS is taking place in a polytechnic institute (a vocational school of sorts for students of high-school age).  The campus consists of 2 buildings; the 2nd building is separated from this one by a large plot of land, I dunno how many metres across, but about 100 metres long (from the street in).  This middle plot of land is what was granted to NHC by the city.  And you have to hear this story: last summer, y’all might remember that U09 was invited into Pr Sasha’s home for tea, and we saw the architect’s plans for their new church building.  At that time, they had submitted the application to be granted that plot of land, and were waiting for the 1st of a series of city-council meetings to discuss (and hopefully, approve) the application. 

All the odds were stacked against NHC.  The head of religious affairs in the city of Kremenchug basically told NHC, “You have no chance,” partly because the religious affiliation of the “powers that be” in local politics is Ukrainian Orthodox, and they were not inclined to do anything to show any favor to Evangelical Christians.  However, one of the pastors in NHC’s mother-church (Spring of Life Church) also sits on the city council, and he really talked up NHC to his fellow council-members.  The value of his honest conversation and verbal-promotion of NHC’s application equaled about $18,000 — $1800 per vote that would normally be “bought” (a/k/a, via bribe).  That is $18,000 that NHC did not have to pay; instead, the Holy Spirit moved and God’s will was done.  The land was granted to them earlier this year, and right now, NHC is waiting for one last meeting to finalize the deal and hand over the deed to the land to the church.  When this happens, NHC will mow the plot of land (now, sort of overgrown & unkempt) to evidence to the neighborhood that that land belongs to someone.  And then, slowly, steadily, with wisdom in financial planning and managing to somehow use the best brick materials (public buildings in K’chug may not be built with anything else), NHC will raise its Noah’s Ark-shaped church.  And every day, 1200 high-school students will walk past this church, between their two school buildings.  And NHC will reach out to them, befriend them, evangelize to them, and raise up leaders for the Kingdom in the coming generation. 


The new church-building will rise on Moscovska Blvd, at the corner of Mir Park (K’chug’s version of NY’s Central Park).  Moscovska Blvd is a main drag.  Standing on that plot of land today, intertwining hands to stand on the wall that separates it from the sidewalk to pray over the land and what the Lord will create and grow upon it, it was quite an emotional moment.  To have spent the past year praying with NHC for this land . . . to observe for ourselves its strategic and awesome location . . . to be able to set our feet upon it and rejoice . . . it was, in a word, INCREDIBLE.  There’s nothing our God cannot do . . . (and of course, this just feeds my own personal conviction that K’chug is going to be the epicenter of revival in Europe) . . .

Anyhow.  That was the interruption in our VBS-day, before our mini-Olympics began.  The children had to run around 10 stations (4 of which were manned by the “Amerikanski’i), and complete 10 tasks / challenges to accrue points.  They then used these points to “shop” at the Camp Store (and isn’t it just the biggest “awwwww” that some 10-year-old boys bought hair-ties for Julia?!).

At 3p, when the kids were gone, the VBS leaders from NHC and U10 had a wonderful lunch together — yup, the food remains just as tasty!  It was a great time to share encouraging stories with each other, and to hear of God’s goodness & faithfulness over this past week.  He is just so good . . .

We then cleaned up a bit and headed over to Mir Park, just up the block from the VBS site.  There, we got to hang out with the kids some more, as well as meet their parents, and invite them to Sunday School and church.  Please pray for the seeds that were sown over this past week . . . may an initial foray into a church community and hearing of God’s Word be fertilizer upon good soil . . .

We got back to home-base at around 8p.  We are wiped. 


It’s different.  Truthfully, I’ll say this: yesterday, our first full day here, was a hard day.  Spending an entire day with 50+ young kids.  Maneuvering about with only Luda & Sasha as interpreters (there was another team from Texas here this week, serving at a sleep-away youth camp led by NHC’s youth group & youth-group leaders, and they had first-dibs on the interpreters – nuts!).  Living in a world where air-conditioning is neither a norm nor a given, nor even a reasonable expectation.  Hearing about some changes at NHC, and some growing that some of our beloved teenagers are going through.  Jet-lag.  Yep, it was a hard day.

Today was tiring, but it was not hard.  Today was joyful, in a very solid and nourishing way.  The 50+ kids’ love for us was hard not to reciprocate.  Going interpreter-less made us more creative & giggly.  It rained like the dickens in spurts today, and everything cooled down.  A restful night and morning time with the Lord gave us perspective and understanding and compassion for our NHC friends, and for all those around us.

So tonight, we are wiped, but not downcast.  We are joyful and we continue to put our hope in God.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we spend our morning at the local orphanage — our third visit there now.  We’ll perform our skit again, and our team will probably split as we did last year — to have half do some crafts with the younger kids and the other half sit & talk with the older kids.  Please pray for our time with them.  I could go on and on in my list of specific requests, but somehow, that doesn’t seem necessary.  I feel the need to trust the Lord and say, “Please pray just as the Spirit would lead you to pray about our 2-3 hours at this orphanage.”

In the evening, we’ll have dinner with the NHC leadership.  Please pray for this time as well.  Fellowship times like these dinners are always so pivotal as the next layer of building blocks in our mutual sister-relationship.  It is important that this evening be covered by the precious blood of precious Jesus.

There’s also a chance that Saturday will be the day that Pastor Jeremey and Chae have a private sit-down with Pastor Sasha.  This also is a very significant time, both from a transition perspective, and from a mutual brotherhood perspective.  Please, please pray for their conversation & time together.

And for this night (it’s now 10.37p local time), please pray that U10 will get good rest.  The past couple of nights have been somewhat lacking in terms of quality & quantity of rest for various members of the team.  Let tonight be the beginning of 8 nights of incredible, incredible rest & refreshment & actual SLEEP . . . .

We love you, we miss you, we continue to rely on you,
c., on behalf of U10

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