As I mentioned last week, Wayne and Cassie returned from the Ukraine. In the beginning the thought was that our sister church in Bila Tserkva (about 30 miles southwest of Kiev) would have their new campsite completed and our team would join them to put on a camp for kids. Then about a week before leaving, they learned they would instead be working in order to get the camp ready for kids to come later. So, out went the playdoh and in came the work gloves and clippers.
When I think of a camp, I think of cabins for sleeping...a larger area for meeting...a kitchen and eating area...maybe a nice outdoor rec area. That's pretty much what Wayne found last year when he went and worked a camp with them. But that one was just rented for the time they were there. Now they have their own...or rather they're building their own. One day they'll have it all, God willing. But for now they have just the skeleton of it.
The sleeping cabins... Wayne's the guy in jeans walking in. The ladder got you to the only place there was cell reception!
It was ironic to me that last year it was mostly guys on the trip...Mark and Amy's two sons, Alex and Nick, went along. They got to play with the kids. This year it's construction and God put together a group of girls to go. I'm so grateful to say that Amy said the girls did a great job clearing the soccer field...literally by scooping up one shovelful at a time and clearing out the weeds, grass and rocks.
The youth pastor from our "niece" church praying at the camp (our sister church has planted a church!).
The Ukrainian youth girls took what he was sitting on, these huge pillars made of brick and concrete, hammered the bricks apart, sorted the materials and made...
Ukrainian building supplies...
Wayne and Mark had another job...digging trenches. This is where the language barrier can be a little frustrating. They were shown with hand signs to dig a trench but couldn't quite get the idea of what it was being built for. Later they realized that they needed not only lines for plumbing and electricity (neither of which was available this trip), but they were mostly building retaining walls for the pad that the cabins were sitting on. Some of the columns were left intact and lifted by crane into the trenches and then re-filled with dirt. They are amazing at using what they have to do what they need done.
It's wonderful what the Lord can do when His people get together. Our team went really not knowing what they'd be doing, not speaking the language...and returned missing friends already. Wayne came home talking about what we could do as a family next year there. What supplies we'd need and how much Russian we can learn between now and next summer. Cassie is helping me with my pronunciation of what she's picked up already. The trip has grown her, changed her, firmed up so much of what God has been showing her. Aisley just came over my shoulder to say, "I can't wait to get there and see everyone." Brennan is so excited to finally go.
And me? It's just the answer to a prayer begun over 8 years ago for God to reach my husband and give him a heart for the global church that he might lead our family into missions in some way. That's all. Now it's easy to see how He has prepared Wayne all of his life to do this very thing. So, I'm so grateful to God they went...I'm grateful that He saw fit to bring them home again...and I am crying even now in gratitude that He might give us a heart to go again. We are no different than anyone else, stuck in this day-to-day distraction. Every now and then, though, by His grace, our eyes lift to the end and we remember why we've been left and what we're to be about...
And Jesus came and said to them,
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."