The men and women started the day as a single team to share in the opening events at the Women's Camp. The camp grounds looked like a beautiful nature preserve.
The highlights included a small lake and stream, large meeting hall, women's barracks, outside pavilions for small meeting groups, and separate toilets for men and men and women (two new buildings added since last year). We learned that a caretaker lives on site year-round and saw that there were small well kept gardens throughout the meeting area and there were even a couple of friendly camp dogs roaming the area.
After camp activities got fully under way, the men departed to start their ministry of visiting and sharing the love of Jesus with churches in the region.
This was a small church having around 70 members total. During the church service with around 50 villagers, each of us was asked to introduce ourselves and share a short message of our love of Jesus.
Following the service, we got a special, specific request for prayer from a mother attending the service to pray for salvation for her son Taras, age 25, serving with Army on the Western front as a tank driver.
We saw God work greatly during this time. Be believing in faith with us!
The ladies headed off to camp and the men made a ministry trip to a village by the name of Lyubeshiv.
The Women's Camp began with singing and worship followed by a lesson by Donna on "The Birth of Christ.
This was the first day of crafts and the Ukranian women thoroughly enjoyed working with the colorful materials that had been lovingly prepared and brought from America. Although directions were provided and a prototype finished product shown, the Ukranian women created unique crafts never envisioned beforehand.
Marilyn taught at the Women's Camp again this day and included Bible Study, group discussion, crafts, and another Parable skit.
The men's ministry first traveled to the nearby headquarters of a local refugee organization: "Refuges from Crimea and the East." The organization is staffed solely by volunteers and has helped about 2,000 refugees to relocate from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.
We met with the founder and head of the organization, Elena Cherenkova, who is herself a refugee from Eastern Ukraine.
Elena says refugees are showing up weekly and they currently are struggling to find temporary housing for about 40 refugees who have no place to go. Elena said lots of folks talk with her and tell her they would look for solutions, but one of the few who has actually helped so far was our host, Benjamin.
We were privileged to pray with Elena and Lily, that God would provide for their needs and for the needs of those fleeing the war zone.
We then departed for our next destination, a local church that meets in Ludsk, just a short distance from our hotel.
We learned that the church had initially been formed with a passion for ministry to the blind but that they soon began to see the broader needs of the peoples and now had programs for all elements of the community.
We learned this church was started seven years ago with a membership of ten. Membership is currently 33. They have been here in this location one year following a renovation of the space for their use last October. Most members are age 35 and younger with only two members near 70 years old.
Youth ministry in the neighborhood to engage youth through crafts and sports
Teen Ministry entitled "Patriots of Jesus Christ" to include a Patriot Summer Camp
English Club ministry that has bible study in English.
Ministry to support widows in their community.
They are also already at capacity for their one room church and need room for growth. There is another empty space available across the hall from them but they do not have the resources to purchase and renovate it.
We ended in prayer for God to provide for these so please continue in prayer with us:
1. Needed sponsors for their summer camp,
2. Help in getting food to the Eastern war front - especially to the MIA families there,
3. Guidance and resources for growth of facilities to support their ministry, and
4. Salvation for the parents of one of the members named Kate who was meeting with us
This was the last full day of Womens' Camp and Donna and Marilyn did a recap of their teachings earlier in the week and did a Q&A with the women.
The men began the 1 1/2 hour trip to Roznychi. We again enjoyed the pastoral views along the roads reminding us of the rich farmlands and the simple farm lives that most of these people know. We finally arrived at the Roznychi Baptist Church to meet a pastor of the church, Petro Matviichuk who we all called Peter.
This morning was the close of the camp with some group discussions, many praises, exchange of gifts among new and old friends, many hugs and fond farewells.
The team attended church together at Central Baptist Church in Ludsk. We were lucky to have one interpreter with us so we could figure out what was going on in the two hour service. Natasha had been June's interpreter in Women's camp and did an excellent job both for June throughout the camp and for the entire team during the Sunday service.
We praise God for our time to serve the people of Ukraine during this trip and ask that you continue in prayer with us as the Lord to continues to faithful build his church in this region after we're gone.
Will you pray how the Lord might lead to the reach them to, either by prayer or going?