Monday, February 2, 2009

Latest Trip to Ukraine

I wanted to tell you about my latest trip to Ukraine. It was great, but too short! I knew it was going to be short - only a week - but I thought it would be much better than nothing. I was right on both accounts!

I arrived on January 8th with two of my sisters-in-Christ coming to meet me at the airport, Olya and Yulya. It was so awesome to see them as I came out those airport doors! What a strange thing it is to be homesick for people that aren't your physical family that live over 6,000 miles away! But as you know they have become my deep and spiritual family as I have been a part of bringing them to Christ over the last 8 years of work and involvement in Ukraine. I know I had been going through what is called reverse culture shock. I was adjusting to living in the USA again and being homesick for those I missed in Ukraine. So what a blessing it was to be back in Ukraine again, even though it was for only a week.

I found I didn't miss marshutkas (large vans that are used as buses to take people all over the place in Ukraine) travel as we traveled back to Kremenchuk. I got serious motion sickness and lost it all as I arrived in Kremenchuk with 15 wonderful friends greeting me when I got there! I ran to the bathroom and then came back to them! They had waited outside in about zero F weather for 45 minutes waiting for me. It was so wonderful to see them but I was so sick. I felt fine the next morning.

The next week, I was with my brothers and sisters in Christ as a group every night. I was with from 8 to 26 each evening. We had 2 devotionals, 2 worship services on Sunday and I preached and taught 3 times. I was in several homes and 1 orphan home. I was able to encourage and be encouraged almost hourly that I was awake. We walked and talked. We laughed and cried! For them and for me, it felt like I had never been away!! Except I was staying in someone elses home and not my own - that felt a bit weird!

While I was there we made final arrangements for our Bible Camp in August this year. For the first time it will not be at the Black Sea but at a Bible Camp that some of the members of the Church of Christ are building in Ukraine. It looks like it will be truly wonderful place for us to be and the cost will be a lot less than what we paid last year. One of the great disappointments for me, is that we are really struggling right now with Visa problems for our young University age sisters-in-Christ that want to come and be with us this summer in Des Moines, IA where I now preach. There have been many obstacles that have arisen that we did not anticipate. Please be praying for this.

Because our funding is way down from previous years because we now don't have as many full time financial supporters as in the past we are needing your assistance in a couple of ways:

1. If we are able to bring our young Ukrainians to the US to be strengthened in Christ, to strengthen us, and live with us, we are going to need funds to bring them here, then they will repay to the Ukrainian account as the work here. We will then use this money for Bible Camp. We already have 1 person that will cover the cost of travel for 1 Ukrainian sister. We need 3 more. OR we need several that will give some towards this. If you can assist us, please consdier the following:

A. One time contributions towards this that would be great!

B. Or if you can make monthly contributions from now through July, that too be a great blessing!

2. Our second need is funds for our Bible Camp and my travel this summer. Camp will cost us about $3,600 + this summer. IF our sisters from Ukraine cannot come, will you please still consider making the same kind of support just for our Bible Camp? This will be our 7th annual camp, and we really need your assistance with this! This has always been one of our strongest means of outreach, encouragement and growth over the years!

If you can assist us you can call me or email me. You can mail your contributions to:

Att: Ukraine Mission
Evergreen church of Christ
2207 Evergreen Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50320

Thank you so much for being a continued part of this ministry and this ongoing work of the Lord in Ukraine! You have blessed and continue to bless so many lives for the Lord!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Long Overdo

Dear Friends and Family,
This is long overdo and I will attempt to update it more in the VERY near future. Just so that you know, I am now the preacher/evangelist with the Evergreen Church of Christ in Des Moines, IA. However, I am continuing my interest and work in Ukraine on a part time basis. I will write more about this to many of you and also include the letter on this blog. I am going to Ukraine for a week in January and then for a month in August and the Evergreen Church of Christ is now my overseeing congregation. I would hope that you will continue to support this mission effort in the months and years to come!
In Christ,
Doug Berry

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Journal for July 1-15 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008
My days are filled with packing my house, preparing for camp, working on my lessons for when I return to the US, packing for camp, and trying to get all money problems solved. The money thing is taking better shape now, thank the Lord! This is our 2nd week of Bible Studies and devo’s Monday through Friday and our plans are to continue them next week. We had 15 for our devo tonight and I fixed pumpkin muffins! I was going to fix pumpkin pies, but I couldn’t find that recipe – terrible!!! It’s my Mom’s recipe! I sure hope that I can find it! Each night, several are staying later and later – they don’t want to leave and I don’t want them too, even though I am pretty tired by night!
Wednesday, July 2
Our weather continues to be great with temps in the 70’s and at most low 80’s with at night around low 60’s! We have a lot of rain for a couple of days and then it clears up and we have some wonderful sunny days. Instead of Bible Study at my house tonight, we had a parent’s meeting at the church building at 7pm that took about an hour. Most parents have gone through this before, so our numbers were not large.
Thursday, July 3
My days are the same as are my nights. I try to schedule as many people into my day as possible, and still get all the other stuff done that I should do. We had our Bible Study tonight and food and fun afterwards, which really makes the days bearable!
Friday, July 4
No holiday celebration here, for the 4th of course. We tried to play Frisbee in the evening, but not enough people came, so we went to my house and more people came and we had a fun, impromptu dinner and evening. I was pretty blue tonight and I tried to keep it from showing, but people noticed and they did a good job of cheering me up!
Saturday, July 5
We had our Team Leaders Meeting for camp tonight. We had a lot to work with and ALL our Team Leaders were here and it went really well! The last to leave were Yura, Olya and Yulya as has been the case several times – I am thankful to have them! I took Yulya home at about 11:15pm and my car broke down on the bridge – it ended up it was my power train belt breaking! What do we do? Well, within 5 minutes a guy and friends driving an F10-150 – a BIG Ford pickup truck (I have seen maybe 2 of these in Ukraine – ever!) stopped and asked if we would like a tow across the bridge – and of course we accepted! Then he towed me back across the bridge and put the car at my place and will come and take it and fix it on Monday!!! Of course Yulya got home safe, too! Today is another National holiday here – they have a lot!
Sunday, July 6
Of course I had to take the marshutka (public transportation) to church back today – that was really taking me back to older times and I rather enjoyed it! After Sunday evening services 8 of us walked home and most came to my house again and we had a great time! I love these people so much!!!
Monday, July 7
Same oh, same oh. It doesn’t seem possible that what I am doing could be such a demanding these do, but it is! I also spent most of the morning getting my car fixed and it cost about $60 to get it all done. The banks were closed today – holiday weekend again! We had a good Bible Study in the evening.
Tuesday, July 8
Wow, it is just a week until camp!!! I can’t believe it! Frankie’s church and parents wired money to him to live on and for camp - $1000! We are now going to have all we need to cover all our costs! I backed out most of my teaching materials that I am leaving, Bibles, Books, Children’s Books, etc., etc. and at 3pm, with 4 of our guys helping me out we moved them to the church building. Maybe 20 boxes or more! We had 13 for our devo tonight and fixed Chocolate Chip cookies – using my LAST bag of chocolate chips! It’s all going away. I didn’t burn a cookie tonight! Yea! A lot of lasts happening here, but this is the last devo in my house in Kremenchuk! We have probably had at least 280 devos here in the last 6 years!
Wednesday, July 9
What was different today was that we went to the Orphan family to see them and encourage them. They are doing well and growing in their new faith!!! They are at peace and content as being new Christians! God is watching over them, protecting them and taking care of them! We had a good study. Afterwards, Artem, Olya and I went to buy materials to make Flags at camp and bandanas for each team. We will have a different color for each team and a camp flag for each team, too! We had 9 people at our Bible study tonight, and made my “famous” home-made pizza with the help of Olya and Artem! I do have to say it was really good! Everybody else thought so, too!
Thursday, July 10
I worked most of the morning on my power point presentation to make to Churches when I get back to the States. It went pretty well. At about noon, I took Anya O. and her mother to the hospital to pick up her grandmother and take her home. After that I did a bit of shopping, had lunch and then went to Alina’s to allow her parents to test drive the car they already said they would buy and then we had tea afterwards and I got home after 4:30 and spent nearly the rest of my time until Bible Study trying to finish most of the presentation. I also boiled some eggs to make hot tuna sandwiches. About 6:30 we had my very last Bible Study in my home with 9 people and then fixed the sandwiches – with a lot of help – afterwards. Probably my last large group meal, too unless we have something on Sunday afternoon. There should have been enough to feed at least twice that many, but we ate them all! The last of our group left about 9:30pm.
Friday, July 11
The last 3 days it has been raining – a lot! Working on the same stuff I have been working on. Alina came over at noon and helped all afternoon get my kitchen done and did a lot of other work as well. At 3:30 Frankie, Yura, Vika and I went to Anya O.’s graduation from the University and that was interesting and nice. We were going to play Frisbee but didn’t because of the rain – some came to my house and we played some games in the evening.
Saturday, July 12
The closets were my big project today and books and teaching materials – I took a load to the church at 4 for the Church discussion and then at 5 back home for a meeting about camp activities in the evenings. At 6:30 we played Frisbee, then people over here again until about 9:30 and I took some people home.
Sunday, July 13
After worship I took 6 to McDonalds for lunch and then we went back to the Church building to record Russian/Ukrainian songs at 1pm and we did this until 2:30. To my house with a half dozen again and then my first big stuff went out with Vika’s family getting my davenport, 2 arm chairs and foot stools out of my living room. At 6 we had a nice group of mixed older and younger with 18 present. One of our newest young people is Serge and he brought his mother with him this evening to worship with us as well. At 8pm, we had our last Team Leaders meeting before camp and finished up about 9 and I hadn’t had supper, so I went out with a couple of friends – Yulya and Alina and had a bite to eat!
Monday, July 14
I had a ton of last minute errands in the morning and Yulya helped me out with several things that I needed translation help with. At 1 we had about 15 people here and I did a free give away of many of my dishes and many things. It felt like a garage sale in my living room that was free. We did a drawing and people picked one thing at a time until it was all gone – it took over an hour to get it all gone! In the evening we went to our Orphan Family and had a pie and tea with them and a nice Bible study. Please pray for this family as they are going through birth and growing pains as new Christians often do. At 9:30, I went to a movie with some friends.
Tuesday, July 15
Today has been another crazy day of packing for camp and last minute things as I prepare for it. I have helped friends with errands with my car and now in about 20 minutes I will give my precious cat, Zhenya away! Oh, this is so hard! At 9:30pm we meet our bus to take us to the Black Sea Bible Camp and we will leave Kremenchuk about 10pm and return on the evening of the 26th. Please pray for us! I will be out of touch except by my cell phone. There is no internet in the small village that we will go to.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Journal for June 16-30

Nastya's Birthday
Natasha's Birthday
A few of us at the last day of our VBS Day Camp
Victor's Baptism!
Inna's Baptism!

Monday, June 16, 2008
My life is going through more changes as our VBS Day Camp is now history and life slows down again – or so I thought. Just different is all. I have 5 main objectives in the next four weeks: 1) Prepare for the Black Sea Camp, 2) Spend as much time with people as I possibly can, 3) Have some evening Bible Studies leading up to camp, 4) Finish helping our Orphan family come to Christ and 5) Get everything packed out, given away, and ready to be out of this apartment and shipped back to the states! The first 2 of these objectives are right now paramount in my mind, but the others are just as demanding and have to be met as well! We didn’t go to the Orphan family tonight because they were busy and the parents gone.
Tuesday, June 17
We celebrated Ksusha’s birthday after devo tonight where we had 15. We had a good evening together.
Wednesday, June 18
I am having all kinds of banking problems in that my wired money that was supposed to arrive the first week in June still has not arrived – and this is the money we will pay for camp. As you will read this at the end of the month, I am sure that all will work out, but it is rather stressful! I spent the 2nd half of the day with Inna – one of my oldest student/friends. We had lunch together and went bowling together – I had been bowling in a long time and still remembered how! When I took Inna home, I saw her parents again after 5 years! Mostly I had seen her in Kiev where she has been going to the Univ. or when she was in town, she came to visit me and I never went to her parents’ home. It was really good to see them again.
Thursday, June 19
In the morning I went Sasha girl’s 9th grade graduation. It was nice and she sang a song in the entertainment part of the graduation time. In the afternoon, I studied. In the evening about 5 we (Artem, Olya and I) went to the Orphan home family village where there 2 twin boys had their 9th grade graduation. If you don’t know, students can either continue in school at this time or go to different colleges or technical schools. Many choose the latter route as all 3 of the graduates today will choose. Afterwards we were all hungry and Artem and I went to a pizza place to eat. I got home a little after 9. I am still working on the money wire transfer and they said that it will take at least 5 more days to work it out – my money is in Austria right now!!!
Friday, June 20
I am spending a lot of time on camp preparations. I spent some good quality time with a couple of my young people – I am trying to spend as much time with all of my young people as I possibly can to encourage them and just to be with them! The main event was school graduations took place this evening all across Kremenchuk and Ukraine. I went to school #11 for the last time for their graduation and one of our girls, Ivanna. When I walked up to the school, my first Ukrainian friend, Natalie – the English school teacher who left Ukraine to get married after the first few months that I was here – was at the school! It was fun and good to see her again! After the graduation I said good bye to several teachers and they were polite and kind. Another good bye.
Saturday, June 21
I haven’t been food or grocery shopping for some time so I went to the grocery store and market – both time consuming events. I had the bright idea of how to better give away my small items in my house. I was putting them in boxes in my living room and trying to get people to take them, but they wouldn’t do it! So I decided on Monday when our Bible Classes begin in the evenings (3 weeks of them before camp) I would do a “Christmas in June!” I had a lot of Christmas stockings left over from the holidays, so I hung them all over my living room – like I do at Christmas and started filling them with things for people to have. Every evening after Bible Classes and Devo, we will open them up and those that come, I will refill again! So some will get a lot more than others, because as they come, they get more! In the evening we had Frisbee and celebrated Nastya’s birthday.
Sunday, June 22
We had a good number at worship this morning. 4 of went to Prostor (like our Wal-Mart) had lunch together and bought a back-pack for Natasha’s birthday which we will celebrate tonight. I had a restful afternoon and then we had our evening worship and celebrated Natasha’s birthday at the church building and played games.
Monday, June 23
I had a busy study morning. Today I hung the stockings and began the process of going through my house step by step to empty it out as much as possible into the Christmas stockings. I sent out a text message to all inviting them to Christmas in June! Artem said it read the text 3 times because he couldn’t believe we were having Christmas in June! We had 10 for our first evening Bible Study. Everyone had fun opening their stockings and I cooked apple-jack pancakes for everyone! These evenings do look like that they will be late nighters!
Tuesday, June 24
I went to the market to buy extra food stuff for making tortias tonight – it is really improvising, because there are no true tortias here, but a kind of bread wrap that is similar, but a lot thinner. As I was starting to prepare supper, my kitchen sink fell apart – the drain rusted through and I had water everywhere! I took it apart and went to a plumbing outlet store that I know of – the ONLY one that I know of in Kremenchuk – and it was 5:15 and it was closed!!! So I washed dished that I had dirty and our evening meal dishes in my small bathroom sink and drained the dishes in my dish drainer moved to my bathtub! We had our devo tonight and Artem led the study on growing in our faith. Again we open stockings with 14 people here and several of us went for a walk after I cooked and we ate chocolate chip cookies! I have one bag of chocolate chips left! Pretty good timing and planning, don’t you think!?
Wednesday, June 25 – A Red Letter Day!
I continue to work on camp – I know a broken record! But it is coming along well and hopefully we will have a great camp! I also finished a chart that I have been working on about worshipping in song in our worship to God. I got to spend some extra time today with Zhenya and that was good. At 2, Yulya, Olya and I went to the Orphan family for our Bible Study! Victor is off from his work today, but the older kids were all working. I asked Inna and Victor if they were ready to be baptized and they said yes. So we went to the river, about 10 kilometers away, found a quiet spot and baptized them into Christ about 3:30pm!!! Yes, it was a great day and afternoon!!! We had 11 for our evening Bible Study that went well. Everyone enjoyed their stockings again. My tortias went over well and I took the last people home around 9.
Thursday, June 26
I went to the bank today and my money is still not there!!! So I wrote and then called the bank in the US, practically begging them to help me get it straightened out! They are not being a lot of help! They don’t seem to care! They said that I should go to my bank here and ask them to help too, which I will do tomorrow. I met Inna, who is the young woman that I first knew in the 9th grade when I was first here and is married and going to Spain to join her husband. We had lunch and a nice chat. It maybe the last time I see her for a long time! I have been sleeping only 4 to 5 hours a night for about a week and it caught up to me today. So I slept about 2 ½ hours in the afternoon. In the evening I was much better. We had 9 for our evening Bible Class. I fixed chili tonight and went to a late movie with a couple of our group.
Friday, June 27
I have been mistaken about the US bank – I have found out that they have been working very hard on this problem. I was telling a friend the other day that it seems like for people in the USA time is measured by weekends, where as we have daily and hourly pressing needs here that are not often realized by American friends and brothers in Christ. Often, we must move forward in actions with faith in God and also knowing that our US Brethren will act faithful in the future. So what about Friday? My life is full of camp, preparations for the future and people right now! In the evening we had a nice evening of Frisbee with 8 of us and 6 of those coming to my house afterwards until about 10:30.
Saturday, June 28
Since I am preaching tomorrow, I have spent several hours working on my sermon and today in finishing it up. We had no planned activity today, but again I was blessed to be with several of my brothers and sisters in Christ. In the evening we walked to the Lenin Square, where a large crowd was gathered to celebrate the Day of the Constitution. I had my sermon outline translated into Russian, so I could share it with the Church and with those that were not able to be there to hear it.
Sunday, June 29
I believe that my sermon went well and was appreciated by the Church. Our worship was good! Afterwards, about 12:15, I left for a couple of days in Kiev. I am visiting one of my students, Lilya who I have known since she was in the 9th grade. I stayed at a decent hotel and met her in the center, traveling by the metro. Today was another holiday – the Day of Youth and the center of Kiev was much more crowded than Kremenchuk’s was yesterday! We had a nice walk and supper together.
Monday, June 30
I rested and read in the morning in my hotel room and then met Lilya at 1pm in the center again and we spent the afternoon together. We said our goodbyes about 6pm. It was so hard to say goodbye. She is such a dear daughter to me! (Just a note, so you don’t have to wait to long to get the message – on July 2nd, most of my money and banking problems have been resolved.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Doug's Contact Information

Cell Phone: 011-380-96-564-4311
Home Phone: 011-380-536-791-737
Internet Number in the USA to call me: 931-442-0937
USA contact: Steve Jefferson: 931-433-0189

June Newsletter

Dear Family in the Lord
I have such appreciation and thankfulness in the Lord for you as you have so faithfully been with me over these last 6 years! What a blessing you have been to me and this ministry. Praise God for the love and service you have rendered to Him!
Moving Forward
We have just finished our 2 weeks of VBS Day Camp here with an average attendance of 14, with a low of 7 the first day and a high of 18 with ages ranging for 3rd grade to 8th grade. That is pretty good for us here! We have 8 of these young people that will go to the Black Sea with us this year at our Bible Camp there in July.
I have 5 main objectives in the next six weeks: 1) Prepare for the Black Sea Camp and carry it out, 2) Spend as much time with people as I possibly can, 3) Have some evening Bible Studies leading up to camp, 4) Finish helping our Orphan family come to Christ and 5) Get everything packed out, given away, and ready to be out of this apartment and shipped back to the states! The first 2 of these objectives are right now paramount in my mind, but the others are just as demanding and have to be met as well.
I have bought my ticket back to the USA for July 31, and I will first go to Fayetteville, TN to be with my overseeing congregation as we finish things up there and say good bye to those very wonderful and faithful people that have been with me all of these wonderful years. From there I will probably visit some congregations that I have been in contact with about ministry work. Please pray for my future work in the Lord’s Church.
About the future work in Ukraine, I am still planning on coming back in the summers to direct and be apart of Bible Camps. Please continue to support us in this work. Also, very important, please let us know of your intentions to continue to support us, so I can make future plans! Thank you so much!!!
Looking Back
I want to back up about 6 years! I started this work as the only worker on the field. Over the last 6 years we have had numerous short term summer workers join us as well as 4 full time workers that came for at least 18 months at a time. We have had 3 full time native workers working with us as well.
We came working in one school and over the years we have worked regularly in 6 schools in Kremenchuk and surrounding villages and cities. We have literally taught thousands of children over the last 6 years in their own schools. One School Director told me that he was glad to have me come back and work in his school, because I taught and did exactly what I said I would! He said I was always welcome to come back again!
We started working with Gregory in a small prison work that we continued to support over the full time of my work here. The prison work has grown to serving about 150 boys and we made sandwiches for them every Sunday for 6 years. We made approximately 35,000 sandwiches during this time! We also developed work in 4 orphanages as well, again teaching literally hundreds of kids during this time. We have been actively involved in Bible Teaching and in benevolence to these children.
We have also assisted in the work and development of 5 churches of Christ over the last 6 years, with different degrees of success.
As you know, our main outreach has been to school and University age students, also with the goal of also reaching parents through the young people. We have used teaching at schools, Singing, Devotionals and worship services at my home and at the church building. We have used Bible Clubs growing from 1 a weekend to 4 every weekend. Again, 100s have been taught the truth and 42 have been saved, including 8 parents! 82% of these have remained faithful and we are working with 3 of them to restore them and bring them back to the faith. Also a very large part of our work has been our summer campaigns, Bible Classes and Bible Camps. We have had 5 Black Sea Bible Camps and will have our 6th this summer before I return to the States.
The only goal I have not fulfilled as I wished was my learning of the language and being able to teach in it. Language has been one of my biggest struggles in being in Ukraine.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 1-15 Journal - Featuring VBS Day Camp

Our afternoon 6th-8th grade Bible Class with Frankie teaching.
Olya (Univ student and teacher) in the middle of 2 campers
It's dinner time! We had 2 snack times and dinner every day!
One of our devotionals during camp!
This was a special time every day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008
Worship was at 10am – a long service to 12 today as a visiting American had a long sermon – good but long! Then I had a meeting with our workers for camp. We have 6 women from the Church that are teaching Bible Classes for the first time!!! I am very proud and excited for them! We have a great group of ladies working with us this year! Then we made sandwiches for the boy’s prison and had chili at my house for 6 of us. At 2 we went to the Orphan family home to celebrate with the Katya, who is 6 years old today! I got back from there about 4:30pm and had my English Bible Club at the Church building at 5pm. That ended well – that was the last class for this study. Then at 6pm, we had a good worship service and I got home about 8.
Monday, June 2
We started our Day Camp from 8 to 4:30 today with 7 students (ages 3rd grade through 8th grade). We had no idea how many to expect! It’s a fewer than we hoped for, but hopefully it will grow! We changed our schedule up because of the kids schedule and started our Devotional at 10 and our first class at 11 with just one class in the morning instead of 2. We had lunch and our 2nd class at 2:30. In between we played a lot of games and had a lot of fun!!! We finished with a devo at about 4:15.
Tuesday, June 3 – Jenise’s Birthday (daughter) and Yulya’s 4th Spiritual Birthday today, too!
Today we had 11 at camp and we did it all over again! A good day. Then at 6 we had our devo with 13 people. People stayed around until 9:30.
Wednesday, June 4
Again Camp with 14 today! We are growing. We moved our starting time to 9am. Camp is going really well. I took my first evening off after camp – no plans tonight!
Thursday, June 5
Camp had 12 today, but our 15th new camper was with us! We have had just great help from the church ladies and our young people! It has been a great blend and mixture of workers and has gone really well. Tonight at 6:30 Artem, Olya and I went to the Orphan family for a Bible study and we had all 3 older kids and mom and dad there. First we had our traditional tea and cookies. Then we got into a very serious Bible Study. Artem and Olya shared their conversion and faith stories, we looked at the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. We talked to the twin boys who were baptized 2 years ago at camp very serious about coming back to faithfulness. We were there until almost 10 and I didn’t get home until after 10:30.
Friday, June 6
Olya insisted that she would come and work at camp all day today, if I would take the day off and rest! Last night I was soooo tired! So, I got her to camp (our camp has been at the church building). There was plenty of help and they did fine. I then went to the market (I hadn’t been in over a week!). Then I came home and took a nap!!! Then I fixed lunch and ate. Then took another nap! I told you I was tired! I did take time to work more on camp stuff. There is always so much to do with the Bible Camp! I went back to the Day Camp at 4 and we finished up there – they did great without me! I guess that is good – sure it is! At 6 we had Frisbee with a great turn out of 16 people and we played 3 really good games – I played the first 2. Then we had a meeting at my house to look at another camp site in the same town on the Black Sea that we were at 2 years ago. It is a lot better place and offer than anything else we have seen and decided to change our plans and take it. We will leave on the 15th at 9pm and be there for 10 full days before returning on the 26th. That leaves me just 5 days to finish up here before moving back to the US, but God will provide a way! The last of our young people – Olya and Yura left my house at 10:30pm.
Saturday, June 7
It seems strange not preparing for Bible Clubs – last weekend was our last. With the Day Camp, there was just too much to do. And now I have one day to catch up on a week – really 2 for there is next week and our Day Camp. Sometimes it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I know that the Apostle Paul felt that way – 2 Corinthians is full of that for him – even though I do have to say that the trials that he went through were a lot more severe than mine!
Sunday, June 8
A good morning of worship. At 2:30pm Vika came to me very distraught and crying. Her grandmother, that has been living with them, passed away. I spent some time with her and wanted to go to the family, but families are very private here and it was not the thing to do. In the afternoon, I also went to where Ksusha was working (her grandmother too) and tried to speak some words of comfort to her, but she was dealing with it ok and was very busy at work. I spoke to our evening service about God’s comfort.
Monday, June 9
We got off to another good start with VBS Day Camp. We are up to 16 registered and had 15 in attendance. Most of the time, we have had nearly all our campers coming back every day. Many times they ride across town and walk to us – sometimes 30 to 45 minutes. One of the girls who is in the 5th grade comes by 2 buses about 45 minutes away to come to our camp every day! In the evening, Artem, Olya and I again went to the Orphan family for our Bible Study. Tonight we studied many passages in the NT about Baptism and what God commands of us and the blessings He brings to us when we are Baptized into Christ. At the conclusion of our study, Inna (mother) said she wanted to be baptized! Then Victor (father) said that he wanted to be baptized too! The first we expected, the 2nd we were all taken by surprise. I think that Inna was more surprised than anyone else! I tried to encourage them to do it now, but they insisted that they wanted to be baptized on Sunday. I have been strongly encouraging them to come to church services, even though this is difficult for them with a large family and a small car. They said that they would come on Sunday, then we would go to a local river and baptize them! This is such a joyous evening as we have been working towards this for nearly 2 years!
Tuesday, June 10
I put these 3 days together, because nearly everything was the same about our Day Camp. It continues to go well and we hit a high of 18 on Tuesday! The teachers are doing great, we have had great help from our young people and the kids – on the whole – are doing great. We have had a couple of boys that have caused us some bad headaches, but that is normal, too! On Tuesday night we had our devo and as usual, that went well. Frankie led the devo this evening.
Wednesday, June 11
Wednesday morning, Frankie and I spent the morning at the funeral of Vika, Ksusha and Nadya’s (Ksusha’s mom) grandmother and mother. After the funeral, the family practically begged me to also come to the funeral dinner, so I did taking Frankie back to the church building to help with the camp. I returned to the camp, after the dinner about 1pm. Our Church ladies and young people did a good job of keeping the camp going while we were gone.
Thursday, June 12
Thursday was our last day of classes, as we plan to have a fun day on Friday! We had 14 today at camp.
Friday, June 13 – Anton’s 4th year Spiritual Birthday
One of the things that I haven’t mentioned is that several of our young people are going through exams at this time and are working around their exams to help at camp! I am very proud of how hard they have worked. These are such difficult and demanding exams – both at the school and university level. Today we went to the park for the morning and played outside games. Then after lunch we had games inside – we were going to have outside water games, but it rained – no fun having water games in the rain – you want to have them in the sun! In between I had to try and find a color cartridge for my printer. I thought I could just go to the store where I have gotten one for the last 5 years – but no, that would be too easy! They were out and didn’t have one! So I went to 4 different stores and NO ONE had one!!! What is going on here??? So I had to make our final rewards in black and white – ok, but not what I wanted to give to the kids! Back to camp. We finished with a nice devotional and awards presentation of best boy and girl campers. But everyone received a gift package put together by the ladies of the church and the kids really seemed to like that. We also gave each child either a full Russian Bible or a Children’s Bible Story Book – whichever they wanted. In the evening 10 of us played Ultimate Frisbee and that was good, but I was pretty exhausted afterwards! Then people came over to my house until about 10.
Saturday, June 14
Today is Ksusha’s 18th birthday! But is a sad, sweet day for her as she is still mourning her grandmother’s loss. Again, it is a day of recovery for me after Frisbee and a long week of camp. I worked on our Bible Camp again and more – there is just so much to do with this!
Sunday, June 15
Today was to be a glorious day, but it fizzled out. Again, I have had Father’s Day away from my kids. I don’t know where I will be next Father’s Day, but at least it will be someplace where my kids can easily call and talk to me! Victor and Inna, of the Orphan family didn’t come and bring their family to church today as they had said they would. I found out that Victor was called into work. So also, they won’t be baptized today. This was a real discouragement to me. I worry for them! Maybe tomorrow evening. My afternoon was long. Jenise, my oldest daughter did call at 5pm and that was nice. At our evening services we had 12. I had bought a gallon of fresh strawberries and took them to the church building with me and then after services bought ice cream, and we had them together. Then a thunderstorm hit and I took people home in 2 car loads – 3 decided to walk! It was really raining hard. At 10:30 Ben also called and Janessa and Butch left messages on my answering machine. So I did at least hear from all my kids today!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Journal for May 16-31 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008
I didn’t mention that I spent considerable time yesterday filling up 5, 6 and 10 liter water bottles – all that I had in the house with water – and that’s quite a few as I used to get all my drinking water this way. Because they are going to turn off all water in all the city until Monday! Isn’t that wonderful? I am not sure why. Some say maybe it is because they are going to clean the sewer systems out. Well, true to form, we had no water when I got up this morning. Interesting, huh? I worked on our add for the upcoming Day Camp the first of June. I prepared for a class that didn’t show up at school 10 at 2. We had Frisbee at 5 that just 5 people came to and that’s not enough to play ultimate Frisbee with!
Saturday, May 17
Again no water. We had 2 and 2 for our Bible Clubs today – our last ones. Sad. An end of an era. Everything slows down this time of year as the Universities and Schools come to and end and prepare for exams in June.
Sunday, May 18
A good day of worship and fellowship. We made sandwiches for the boy’s prison. Then 6 of us ate together. Then we went to Potoki orphanage for the last time – I probably won’t be in Kremenchuk next Sunday and after that schools are done and the orphanages basically shut down for the summer or take the kids to summer camps for the summer months. We had 5 at our Adult beginner Bible Club at 5 at the church building and we had 14 for our evening worship. By the way, we got water back about noon today! Early but good. I am not complaining!
Monday, May 19
For us our weather is really turning hot – low to mid 80’s. At 2, Olya, Yulya and Vika and I went to Bugkivka for their annual spring celebration. It’s always on May 19. This is the 5th time (I think!) that I have been to this event. We watched them play games, get awards, and have a concert. They also fed us with buck wheat which is a tradition – they do a very good job of fixing it! We got home after 10pm. They went till midnight, but we didn’t want to stay that long!
Tuesday, May 20
I’m working on the day camp and camp. I went, with translation help, of course, to the director at School 11 and she said we could pass out invitations to our day camp in the hall way between classes, so we will do that later in the week. Devo with 9 people tonight.
Wednesday, May 21
I visited School 9 today to ask about inviting kids and the new director said yes, but come later – tomorrow we will come! I prepared for English club plus worked on a number of other things. We had only 3 at our last English Club. We were able to make contacts that we would have never made any other way, and yet we saw no Bible studies or conversions out of this class. 2 of the students have come to some of our other Bible Studies.
Thursday, May 22
Went to School 9 and handed out, with the help of Yulya translating and a school assistant, invitations to the Bible Day Camp! That went well. Prepared for the afternoon at the Orphanage and those classes went well with Olya, Yulya and Natasha. At 8pm we went to the Orphan Family study – late because they were working in the fields. When we got there they were still working. They were haying the old fashioned way. There was an extra pitch fork – and I had done a lot of this as a kid – so I pitched in and helped for about an hour. I probably shouldn’t have as I hurt my lower back and am in a lot of pain. We left without having a Bible Study and they were still working.
Friday, May 23
I struggled with a lot of pain in my back this morning, but I decided that I had some things that I had to do. So, Sasha R. – older buy and preacher in Komsomolsk – went with me to School 11 and 10 and handed out invitations for the Day Camp. I have probably handed out over 350 so far! We will hand out at one more school - #1. Olya and Yulya have agreed to do that one! I had lunch with Buddy Baker and Jerry Morgan today as they are in town. They are missionaries that bring clothes, food, special needs, etc. to 10 orphanages in our area. They do a great work! I came home and rested my sore back – it is a bit better. At 6 we were supposed to play Frisbee but it rained! It finally has cooled things down!!! So 3 came here and we played cards. I also packed 2 suitcases of clothes and books that Buddy Baker will take back with him and to Fayetteville for me! This will be a great help! We (fellow card players) met Nastya at the train station and took her home and then took the 2 suitcases to the Church building for Buddy to get on Sunday. Then Olya and Yura and I came back and played another game of Phase 10, finishing up about 10pm.
Saturday, May 24 and Sunday May 25
Natasha (a year old Christian and a 27 year old student) has been asking me for some time to go and visit her family, so today I went with her to village, 100 Kilometers away – 60 miles, to visit her family. Her main family in the village consists of her Mom, her sister and a niece and nephew. They were all really nice and I enjoyed spending the time with them and walking with them in their village. They were really nice to me! We came back on Sunday afternoon and were back in time for evening services where I preached. Then I had to get ready for my trip tomorrow!
Monday, May 26 and Tuesday, May 27
I left the house at 6:30 in the morning to pick up Ksusha, Vika and Zhenya for our trip down to the Azov Sea to check out a site for Bible Camp. We have had so many unpleasant surprises over the years of campsites we have not seen, so I decided that we would look at this one! This trip was 500 Kilometers or about 300 miles and took us 6 hours to get there, with getting lost a couple of times in big cities! But it was a nice place for Ukrainian camp sites and the Sea is only about a 5 minute walk away and the water was warm! The Azov Sea is not near as deep a sea as the Black Sea. It is located on the South eastern part of the country. Overall, we liked the place a lot. On the way back we stopped in another city and saw a Kosak museum that was really nice and we also stopped for dinner – so it took us about 8 hours to get back. We were back in time for devo and we had 10 for devo tonight. The travel on both days was hard on my back, but I believe it is getting better.
Wednesday, May 28
An extremely busy day of catching up after being gone for 4 days. At 5pm I had a meeting with my new teachers and workers from the Church. I have 6 ladies that have volunteered to help teach this year at the Children’s Day Camp that have NEVER taught before. So we have a lot of work that we are doing with them. By late afternoon, I was wanting a break, so I called Artem and Ksusha to see if they would like to go and see the new Indiana Jones movie with me – and translate for me! They agreed, so we got tickets and went at 6:30. It was pretty good and Ksusha did a good job translating most of it for me!
Thursday, May 29
Worked a lot on the day camp today coming up – it starts Monday! I am working on getting it all ready. At 6, Olya and I went out and had a good time and Bible Study with the Orphan family and got home around 9. What I don’t often write about, in all these trips that I take to the villages, to schools, to this family (about a 20 minute ride) I often have great opportunities to talk and share with my young people that go with me. For example, Olya and I have been working with this family for a long time now and we have some great conversations going and coming! I am really proud of her work with this family!!!
Friday, May 30
Again, I am still working on camp for Monday. I had to go to the bank today. I almost hate this time, because it seems like I have to always wait 30 to 60 minutes just to get in to take money out. But – I try – to wait patiently knowing that this is going to happen! I had to pay for utilities today, phone and run a hundred errands besides get to the market and store. It all sounds so mundane but it all takes a large amount of time! We had 9 for Frisbee tonight at 6 – which is really a good number for our first game (1 persons didn’t want to play). Then a couple left and there 7 us left. 3 girls and 3 guys besides me. So they decided to play girls against guys. Now the girls are really good, but the guys are just a lot more athletic than the girls. I played with the girls – I’m not athletic at all! (By the way, my back is much better – hope it will still be that way after tonight!) The guys beat us, but we had a lot of fun! Afterwards, all 7 of us went to my house to look at the Azov Sea pictures, eat and talk about camp! We were together until 10:30 when all went home.
Saturday, May 31
(By the way, my back is not hurting this morning!!!) I picked up Artem and Sasha girl and we left for the airport in Borispil by Kiev to pick up Frankie Villegas who is coming in to work with us for the summer! We are so thankful and excited to have him with us! We got back about 4:15pm (this is about 550 kilometers trip and about 7 hours or so of driving) to a welcome party at my house, ate, got him to his apartment that he will be staying at this summer, and I got home exhausted about 8pm.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Special Note

We have received commitments from 2 families for $50 each ($100) for our camp needs for this summer. 2 others have told me that they are going to talk to their local congregations about our needs. This is very much appreciated!
Let me remind all who read this that our needs are at least $500 for our VBS Day Camp at the beginning of June for 2 weeks and at least $2,500 for our 2 week Bible Camp in July.
We have 2 of our young Christians here that have told me that they are each going to donate more than $100 towards camp this year ABOVE what their cost of camp will be, so we can be sure and have camp!!! That is over ½ of the money they will make for an entire month!
Will you please help, too? Thank you!

Journal for May 7-15

Wednesday, May 7 and Thursday, May 8
I am lumping these two days together because they were “lumpy” kind of days! I really struggled with being productive these 2 days. Oh, I prepared for English Club and we had 4 – what is going on with that??? And it is Ukrainian holiday time and nothing much is going on. There is plenty that I could do and need to do. I have always felt that I was a pretty good self-motivator, but these days – wow – not so much. On Thursday evening at 5 I went to our Frisbee playing area and 9 of us had a good time for about 2 hours or so, but I was pretty worn down – no energy. I know that I am struggling with life like endings here and waiting for new beginnings – caught in the middle of time. The known trials of saying good byes here and the future unknown of where I will be and what work I will be doing. I constantly have to tell myself to stop worrying and turn it all over to the Lord. I could not carry the burden of life if it was not for Him!!!
Friday, May 9
Today is Victory Day – the day “The Great Patriotic War” came to and end in Europe or what we know as WWII. I expected a parade today, so I went outside with my camera and waited in the park, but nothing came. It was a bit cool, but a pleasant morning to wait in the park! So later I went shopping and then went home. I am still not much in a study mood, but am doing much better today. We met at 6 to play Frisbee again, but only 6 came – probably because of the holiday. So, I invited everyone home with me about 7 and I fixed hot tuna sandwiches and made peanut butter cookies, we played cards and had a great time together!!!
Saturday, May 10
Bible Clubs were pretty much a flop today. In the morning I was working on lessons and computer started acting really weird! I couldn’t do anything buy highlight text! Finally I opened the internet and tried to write an email and it all of sudden started working ok! Well, we had 1 for Adult Bible Club and 3 for the Teen one. End of the school year is a big reason for this as everyone is SO busy!
Sunday, May 11
As we sat down for services this morning and had our first prayer and couple of songs, Andrey announced that I was preaching. I had said last Sunday that I would like to preach again next Sunday and finish my text of 2 Cor 5, but it was translated as I was going to preach! It was a very good thing that when I was preparing last weeks Sermon, that I work on the whole chapter – so I got up and preached somewhat impromptu and all said that it went really well! After services we had our monthly fellowship meal with more people than ever before! Then Sasha girl and I spent the afternoon together – with Yura (guy) joining us later on. It was a really good time with Sasha and I. At 5pm we had our Parent Beginners Bible Club with 6 students (Sasha 9th grade translated) – we have had 3 baptisms out of this Bible Club. At 6pm we had our worship with 17 present and I preached and we had a good service. Some stayed around afterwards for tea and cookies and we went home about 8:30.
Monday, May 12
I had too much on my mind to have a day off today. I worked on my charts – I have decided to use them as our main study for our July Bible Camp. I did more study – again on Woman’s Role in the Church. I made granola cereal around other things. Sergie needed help so I spent a couple of hours helping him. I ate at McDonalds! I haven’t done that in quite a while! Sometimes a day just flies by and this was one of them. I picked up Olya at 5:45pm and we went to the Orphan family for our Bible study and that went very well! Olya and I afterwards picked up Yulya and I treated them to McDonalds and they bought happy meals and just delighted in them!!! We went to my house at 8:30 and joked, ate and played cards until 10:30pm and I took them home. I ended up in bed finally about 11:30 – but a really good day!
Tuesday, May 13
This morning I spent some time in emails, spent more time personal study. After cleaning up, I worked on my devo for tonight from 1 John 2:15-17 – do not love the world. Now I am again catching up on my journal. I had a busy afternoon, part of what was working on camp things. Our numbers were small for Tuesday night with 9 people present.
Wednesday, May 14
Again, I spent a lot of time on camp. I also spent time on lesson preparations. Then at 2, Yulya and I went to Bugkivka, our village 37 miles away and studied with 2 of our 11th grade girls and 1 8th grade girls. 2 of our 8th grade girls want to go to camp with us for sure, and MAYBE the 11th grade girls too, if they can finish their entrance exams into their desired universities. It is looking like we will have between 30 and 40 to go to the Bible Camp at the sea with us again this year. This is such an important time in the lives of these young people because it gives them Spiritual encouragement and hope to carry on and brings many to Christ for the first time! Our English Club had 7 tonight – a little better than last week.
Thursday, May 15
I did some shopping for food, etc. this morning – yup I have to do that for some reason! I spent a couple of hours getting ready for our studies at the Orphanage in Svetlovodsk, about 18 miles away. I had to fill up with gas today – translated into American money the cost is $4.71 a gallon now. It is almost 3 times more than what it was when I first came here! Sasha Revaykin went with me, for he will take over the leadership of teaching these classes after I leave. 3 of our young Christian sisters that are working here, also want to continue to work here. Look at my Blog site for this journal and pictures!