The Final Countdown

UBI just got their wireless internet installed, so we were able to post some pictures. I hope to post more tomorrow morning. Today was wonderful, and it was easier since we have settled into a routine for the week. We picked up Sasha and took him with us to the orphanage at Novoshenalone. Although the director was in Donetsk today, we were able to introduce him to several teachers and children. He sat in on one of the classes to observe how our team conducted children's classes. We are leaving him with several children's Bible class materials, and it is our hope that he can continue to work with these children on some kind of regular basis. This would be a wonderful way for the church to reach out to youth who desperately need the love of God. After that, we proceeded directly to our favorite Krasnoarmeysk restaurant (ok, so technically, it is the only one we've found that serves food which doesn't need to be reheated, and it serves it in under an hour.) We've learned that a Ukrainian meal is rarely ever "fast food." One of our challenges has been finding a way to order food and eat without using too much daylight. But, we've been able to eat more local food this week (as opposed to packed lunches) and I think our team is starting to enjoy borscht, cutlets, and other Ukrainian dishes.

After lunch, we picked up the City Councilwoman. She took us to a local children's activity center. The "Pioneer Scouts" program, which was in place during the Communist rule, is much like our Boy Scouts program. These centers were designed to give children a positive outlet. The Councilwoman was beaming as she showed off the jewelry and crafts these children had made. The center is just down the road from the church building, and it was a wonderful afternoon. Before we left, the councilwoman promised to arrange an extensive tour of Krasnoarmeysk for a future visit. She wants us to visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, etc. In the past, teams used such a format to spread word about the campaign at Krasnoarmeysk. Maybe we can do that in the future. Before dropping off the councilwoman, we presented her (as well as the mayor and former mayor) with framed pictures of our visit on Monday. She was delighted.

After that, we spent the remainder of the afternoon canvasing the area with fliers advertising the Bible Class times. Sasha made sure to include the regular service times on all the literature. We handed out every piece we printed off, and then it was time for our evening class. Tony Huddleston led an excellent discussion of handling trials in life. We looked at passages from Job and 1 Peter for inspiration. The church members were vocal during the study, and they have definitely endured some trials! It is our prayer that things will continue to turn around for them. We were served "tea" after class (practically an entire meal), and we had some great fellowship.

David Burka mentioned Nancy Hackney in the comments section yesterday - the ladies at this congregation stil remember her as well as every other member of the teams that went over in the mid to late 1990's. One of the ladies, Vera, who still attends services (and speaks fairly good English) studied with Nancy before being baptized. She has been attending UBI Chapel as well during the week. She makes the long ride to Donetsk every day to study at Blagovest (an organization that prints Christian materials and teaches Bible classes). One of the other ladies who greets us every day with a smile was converted by Maxine Cato. They still have pictures taken with Anne Craddock, and they all remember Steve Hale's excellent leadership on those teams. In fact, it is the inroads made by these individuals that have allowed us to re-establish a positive relationship with the government here. The impact of these trips can be more powerful than we ever imagined.

As we prepare to leave home tomorrow, the posts may be short. We have a great deal to digest about this trip. The need in this mission field is apparent, and we will have an entire year to prayerfully decide what we can do in the future. The era of the mid-90's was a fruitful one for American missionaries, but the novelty of Americans seems to have given way to an apathy, much like the kind we see in the States. Gospel meetings and Bible lectures no longer regularly draw the crowds of people they once did, and yet there is still so much good that can be done for the Lord's work here. While we have had modest attendance at our evening Bible classes, the time spent encouraging this congregation and helping Sasha begin his ministry has been invaluable. As a congregation, we have made a tremendous investment in this work, and we will continue to learn the best ways to help these brothers and sisters in the upcoming months and years. I cannot begin to describe what a blessing this team has been. I have been referring to it as an "all-star" team, and if you know the members, you know that is true. Their flexibility and positive attitudes are what made this trip successful. The schedule changes so often over here, it can drive you crazy sometimes! Thank you for your prayers and support, and please continue to remember us as we travel. We love you!






Comments:
Hey guys, we love hearing from you and we miss you all dearly. Great to hear about your work. All is going well here. As you can see by my name I am Sec 1 & 2, plus unofficial guru of the checkbook! My love to Amsterdam when you get there! Come home safely. Love carole aka jack of numerous unskilled trades.
 
Andrew, please hurry home..David S has moved us out of our nice classroom and relegated us to the dungeon......


David B
 
It is amazing what the Lord is doing through you all! I have thought of you a lot and pray that you will have a safe journey back. Be sure and eat some sausages! Mmmm!
Love,
Melissa B
 
It is so wonderful to hear of all
the great things that you have
done over the past few days. I am
so encouraged when I read of how
tirelessly you all working there.
I know that the Lord is blessing
your efforts, and that much good
is being accomplished.

A special note to Andrew: I am
very proud of your work and leader-
ship in this mission effort. You
are so fortunate to be able to work
with such a talented and strong
group of Christians. I am also
glad that you have been able to
make this trip with your dad. (Even though I know you didn't get
to see him too much!)

I'll be praying that everyone will
have a safe trip home.

Love,
Ann (Andrew's mom)
 
You all have done such wonderful work over there. I pray that Sasha will have continued success. It sounds like he, through you all has great soil to plant in. I dido what Teresa said yesterday.

Daddy, glad you could call and talk to Momma, Teresa, Hannah and Seth. Daddy, holler at us when you you get back!

I pray for all of you to have a safe journey home.

Love,
Tina
 
Good morning,
I don't know if you will get this before you leave or not, but I'm praying you all will have a safe trip home. I hope you can relax and enjoy Amsterdam before your long flight back to Memphis. I know you all have got to be exhausted. I am so proud of the things you have been able to accomplish and pray that Shasha will be able to keep it going with the children. Love to you all, especially David. We miss you.

Melva
 
Its been great reading your daily comments. Glad that you are going back to places that Mt J has been before. That will encourage the brethren. It was good to see that they remembered Nancy H.
Encourage, enjoy, come home safe.
- Wayne
 
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Mt. Juliet Church of Christ

Physical Addrees:
1940 N. Mt. Juliet Road
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

Mailing Address:
P.O.Box 248
Mt.Juliet, TN 37121-0248

(615)758-2274
Fax:615-754-2351
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Sunday Early Worship: 8AM
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Sunday Late Worship: 10:15AM
Night Worship: 6PM
Wednesday Bible Study: 7PM


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