Car dashboard – reflection tool!

I always appreciate a good reminder. Of course phones and the latest apps give us many clever ways of doing this, but how about this reminder as we do a normal task.

You get in your car, turn the key (or whatever clever way you start your car!) and the dashboard lights up in a Christmas tree style! As it calms down you look to see if there any warnings? Problems with air bags? Battery level? Or no oil – that is serious! As you travel along, you keep aware of the fuel, your speed, your revs, perhaps glancing at the temp gauge.

This is the challenge – instead of just thinking about whether you need to look for a place to fill up with fuel or book in a service – how about making it a opportunity to take a look at your own life – your relationships, your attitudes, your faith and your health…

When I look at the dash it reminds me of the following areas and results in good reflective questions:

  • The oil light – am I still basing my life on God? Am I close to Him? What do I need to do to fill up?
  • The fuel indicator – am I having quality time with family and friends (people I love). If this indicates the amount of love, do I need to fill up – plan it and book time in?
  • The temperature gauge – what about my relationships with colleagues, contacts and others? People I need to forgive? Relationships to repair?  People need to encourage or be encouraged by? Anyone who is making me too hot who I need to stay away from?
  • Doors – who am I travelling with? Have I got a spiritual guide? People I can be accountable with? Those I am mentoring?

Of course these are just my ways of looking at these indicators – you reflect and choose your own. Others see the oil light as their level of integrity and honesty or their love of the Bible. Fuel indicator to think about their food consumption – how much bacon? or their physical and spiritual input? Temperature gauge could highlight emotional life or what annoys you. Seat belts could be ensuring God’s word is about me or relationship with spouse. Other indicators remind people of calling, of rest, of being a witness, of amount of work etc.

The idea is that as I travel I will reflect and ask questions to help me be more the person God has designed me to be… why not give it a try – what will the following indicators and gauges help you…

  • Oil Light
  • Rev Counter
  • Speedometer
  • Fuel Indicator
  • Temp Gauge
  • Lights
  • Seat belts
  • Trip Counter
  • Doors
  • Battery
  • Radio / Media
  • Clock
  • … anything else

 

New Term

In reality, this is not just a new term, but really the new year. for as many of us know September is the new January!

And because this is the start of a new year, we are spending a bit of time as leaders of the different groups to get each one just right.

Dates for activities to start (where known) are as follows:

  • Music Makers & MM Coffee Stop – Monday 10th September
  • Messy Church – currently plan for next one to be on Saturday 13 October
  • Kidz Klub Mini – the start date is yet to be agreed.
  • Kidz Klub – first Friday will be 21 September
  • Energize – Thursday 13 September
  • Y Link – Thursday 13 September

 

 

Final full day – wow!

We got to the church this morning and wondered how God had answered our prayers and would any children from the village come to church?

20 minutes later we were getting the pews from back store and putting them back into the back of the church. The place was full up as 18 children and a number of parents arrived.

Wow, thank you God.

The team went through the 5 days in a great way telling of their highlights and the highlights of each day.

We then sang the songs from the week with children coming up to front to lead the singing. This brought biggest smiles from all the adults.

After this Simon and Sami spoke about freedom and life and then we had the privilege of distributing Christmas shoe-boxes

At the end of the service an elderly gentleman stood up and questioned Sami as to why we do not pray to Mary. It was great that Sami was able to answer in front of all the guests in a friendly and informative manner. But this man would not stop and kept the discussion going afterwards. An interesting insight into the mind of those from an Orthodox background.

After another marvelous lunch Sami told us of the history of the work in Ukraine and we prayed together. We  then watched the world cup final. After tea we considered how God has gifted each one of us…

We are

  • Royal Priest Steve: Faithful friend to all.
  • Royal Priest Katie: Creative and compassionate
  • Royal Priest Dan: Gentle and enthusiastic
  • Roayl Priest Mick: Humble encourager
  • Royal Priest Ekua: Contemplative seeker
  • Royal Priest Simon: Visionary Innovator with a heart for God
  • Royal Priest Sami: Wise and passionate
  • Royal Priest Cornelia: Kind hearted and passionate for God
  • Royal Priest Seraina: Decisive smiler

One final task was to pack and then finish making our thank you gifts to the family of this home.

We get up in 5 hours to catch the early flight to Kiev. We then will spend 8 hours in Kiev searching for a Chicken Kiev before catching flight back home.

Thank you for your prayers and support – we may be coming back here again too!

And this is a picture of the week’s winning injury…Mick begins a tear of his hamstring; possibly caused by playing drip drip drench!

Final Camp Day

Today’s theme was about following the makers instructions.

Ekua made a cake with dust, leaves, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Simon and Dan played a great game of Ukrainian netball. Although Dan was leading after a throw to something yellow, getting it though Simon’s legs and repeating sitting on a chair Simon had sat on, but he was then sent off by Simon for sitting on a chair with one of his legs in the air!

Instructions and rules are important…!

The day continued with the much requested water games, the ten commandments written on yellow lilos, and a brilliant empty tomb craft… Photos will appear in later posts.

In the evening we travelled to Chernovtsy and enjoyed worship there. Steve gave testimony, Simon shared more about what partnership means and Sami and Cornelia joined with  pastor Andrei and his wife Maria who sang brilliantly. She is not visible in video as she is playing piano behind the largest red rose heart.

 

The evening finished with ice cream in Jolly’s

Today is day off so time to get up bit later, to go to big market, to university where there was at least ten groom & brides, to lunch and evening grill at Pastor Andrew’s.

Please pray for the children and their families to come to church in morning.

Blessings

 

 

 

Freedom

People of God are led by Moses through the Red Sea

Today was a day of freedom. It was also a hot day – only when the sun went behind a cloud was it cold enough to go out into the main open area and play the great variation of duck duck goose, drip drip drench – each person begging to be the victim!

So we told story of Passover and Red Sea crossing and we illustrated with the Sticky Chair sketch and the donut story.

In the afternoon we were surprised when a man arrived to give out candy floss to all the camp. Apparently it is his ministry to go to any Christian camp and give away candy floss for free… And he was called to do this by God!

The day at camp ended with us using the chains made at the start of the day in a powerful illustration.

 

The day continued with plenty of time to engage with many of our team and hosts. Steve and Dan returned to the football pitch whilst the rest of us worked out how to make two lilos look like tablets of stone.

Then it ended with an emotional goodbye to our hosts Mimi, Illyanna, Tania, Damaris and Annamaria as they left us ‘home alone’ to go on holiday to Greece . They are all so keen for us to return next year! This request is mainly from Mimi who we primarily saw briefly driving us around or cooking us marvelous grills… We will all miss Tania too as she had become an important member of our team.

Tomorrow is final day of camp and a church service in evening.

  • Please pray for ongoing strength, energy and health
  • For the children to have great memories from the camp and for God’s spirit to speak into their lives.
  • For families to hear of the great time their children have had at the Baptist church (where the heretics are according to the local Orthodox church)
  • That God will use our week here to break down a bit more of the hold there is over this community.

When Dan shouts ‘vacă’ everyone lie on back with feet in air!

Great to see new faces at the camp today. Just yesterday we were reflecting on the stronghold that Orthodoxy is within this area, and so to see more families coming and engaging even in just a very small way is so uplifting.

Once we had played the normal selection of fresh games we began by making them all slaves and forcing them to make bricks… And they had to be good quality… Although Pharoah Steve became very generous.

The slaves cried out and we heard and demonstrated the first 9 plagues… Remembered by playing the classic game of Plague Coming…a bit like captain’s coming… But with Nile, frogs, cows and storm being among the instructions.

We had a good time of singing then we encouraged the children to write or draw their favourite things. These were placed on the ground and the cross made from handprints was put above then to show that Jesus should be more important…

Jesus is more important

Such a great camp and every member of the team is brilliant… The pastor and his wife and family, The family we are staying with, with their the daughters, and Sami, Cornelia and their children,  brother and his children. The whole team came over to ‘our place’ and or hosts fed the large group with much left over. Such a great family.

Games and chat followed this until the teams came out. One thing to be thankful for: on Ukrainian TV there is 15 minutes of adverts during half time!

The rest of the team are fascinated to see the look on our faces in the morning… We are teaching about freedom – how can we not be joyful?

PS Ekua ‘pill in bottle’ won a game this evening!

 

 

We cry out

Katie

Today was another great day. All the children who came yesterday came back today and we had 3 new faces!

The theme today was how do we cry out to God and how we  listen to him. The children seemed to really understand and engage in the sessions especially when making string telephones and taking the opportunity to make a personal response! Our relationships with the children are growing and communication barriers are being broken, even with some them trying to speak English to me.

This evening all members of the joint mission team  had the opportunity to go to a Ukrainian Castle! We then shared a meal together at pizza restaurant. The scenery, food and company were all amazing! I feel blessed to be a part of a brilliant mission team who are passionate about sharing the word of God.

We are prepared for another busy, exciting day tomorrow when we will look at how God is a ‘Great Big God!’

Please continue to pray that we can continue to build relationships with the children and that we are able to rest well in the evenings and be prepared for the next coming days.

Steve

Today was a great day. The sun wasn’t in “destroy” mode, so we managed to survive all the games.

I made a new friend today, called Misa. He was new to the whole group, but after all the activities, specifically asked Tanya to translate that he “will come back tomorrow”.

We also played Russian Pool, which consists of MASSIVE BALLS and tiny pockets, and had the most amazing home-made drink, which consisted of mint, lemon (need I say more?).

The castle (Khotyn Fortress) was quite thought-provoking, mainly due to the horrors downstairs!! It consisted of extreme torture devices that must have been used to either interrogate prisoners or for some twisted form of “entertainment”.

It made us wonder if Christians were ever persecuted in devices like these…. 🙁

And how would we face such extreme torture? Our prayers go to those crying out to God today as they are tortured.

Important, Valuable, Precious, Unique

Ekua

Our theme of the day was that you are precious, important, valuable and unique. The first day of children’s camp was very successfully centered around this theme. I enjoyed the games we played and the children took to the activities very well.

I’m really enjoying being in this team. God has brought together people with amazing skills who each bring something completely different to the table. I am so thankful that we all get along as this would be a very lonely experience for me.

Dan

At times today I felt like I had never worked with children before. From the moment we arrived at the church, the children were excited but equally cautious. I could definitely relate.

The language barrier presented a significant challenge but our team members from Romania and Ukraine were fantastic. We have had such an amazing welcome and support from the family we are living with, it has been uplifted. Tania, the oldest of the daughters, has been a particular source of help, support and laughs.

Although it took some time today, I feel like relationships are building between the team, the Romanian/Ukrainian and the children are growing. It was lovely, albeit wet, to play a game of drip drip drench in the afternoon and be drenched by several children. I took it as a sign that they like me… I hope…

We finished the day with a game of football in the local park. Mick, Simon, Steve and I played alongside a group of young lads, with Mick and I opposing Simon and Steve. I think the boys were dubious of us initially, we were able to have some positive interactions (in broken English) with them. It was also pleasing to score a goal, with my left foot I might add, which seemed to impress the  locals. We hope to see them again later in the week for another game.

I’m feeling more ready for tomorrow. Please pray for energy and enthusiasm to continue.

Finding our feet

What a long day. Left this morning at 8.20 (6:20am UK time which it still felt like!) for the first of three services. Ekua, Mick and Dan gave great testimonies, Simon spoke and everyone else sang well. Sami also spoke at each church. These were churches where he and Cornelia worshipped at for 4 years – they left 17 years ago.

After the first two services (over before CBC started) we had a great fellowship lunch.

Final service was at 3 then another fellowship meal, with massive layered cake (see below)

We got home and pizza arrived soon after! My we ate well today.

Then 4 hours of prep to get ready for the morning. But we think we are ready to introduce the life of Moses – from birth to murder! Thinking of how we are all significant and that each person continues to be valued and loved even when they make mistakes. Really grateful to Tanya and Damaris for their help in preparation and translation.

Tomorrow I will get others in the team to blog and share their feelings and thoughts.

Tired but a great team.

PS we love the outside baptistries

 

Day 1 – so good to be a part of God’s family

When you don’t know what to expect you know you will have surprises.

First surprise was that Steve was waiting for us at the correct airport and the correct terminal.

Upon arriving in Kiev the first thing we noticed was the smell of garlic (not really) but we were keen to see the phones in the hands of the Ukrainians. Once social media had been checked the phone I could see, as I peered over his shoulder said 2-0 with just a few minutes to go.

A short wait in Kiev airport then we were back in the air with UIA on our way to Chernovtsy.

Upon landing we got our next surprise as the terminal looked and seemed like a village hall. No one was going in to the building though… why we thought.

Then came our luggage, climb onto the truck and retrieve your own!

We met Sami and travelled the short journey to Molnytsa.

The final surprise was our arrival at the place where we will stay. ‘This is an answer to prayer’ someone commented. No, none  of us had prayed for fine accomodation, this is simply a blessing from God given by a great family.

It’s now past midnight and we have an early start as we travel 40km to the place where Sami and Cornelia lived 15 years ago, then to two other churches. Simon may be preaching at some of these (in addition to Sami) and others will be sharing testimony.

God is good