Yesterday marked the start of our VBS Athens camp here in Ukraine. The day started out with registering 63 children, mostly from the villages. It was a good turnout with a lot of our HOM teens leading small groups, called Oikos groups. Each teen at HOM has been given the responsibility of taking care of approximately 8 children for the day & they have been doing an amazing job! All of us feel very proud of them as they've taken their responsibility very seriously. It has been awesome to see them leading some of the smaller kids through discussions & keeping them all in line. Please pray for them as they have a big task each day including the possibility of leading a child to Christ. It's very exciting to see new leaders being born! Our Day 1 started out with some singing & a lesson about how God loves us. It was a very hot 36 degrees Celsius outside so it was a difficult day for all of us including the kids. We had fans & a mobile air conditioning machine going the whole day but still we all felt drenched from sweat. Needless to say, we prayed for better weather for today! When we woke up this morning for Day 2, we went outside & it started to rain! The clouds covered the sun but it was still warm outside! It was a huge answer to prayer! The rain also stopped shortly after our morning gathering, just in time for us to do games outside! God has been very good to us. However, please continue to pray for Crystal as she has some heat rashes from the day before & the weather is still warm.
Day 1 & Day 2 have been very good with the children getting very excited about the songs, sharing different ways that they see God at work both in the camp & around them. We heard that one of the kids during the sharing time today, shared how God protected & saved him from injury/death when he was walking to school one day. He was looking up at the sky & didn't notice that the cover of a sewage hole was open & fell in. There were a bunch of sticks inside which could have severely injured him, but his backpack straps got hooked to something inside the sewer which prevented him from falling in the whole way. This was how he sensed God protecting him & taking care of him! These are the kinds of things that the kids here have experienced & it's awesome to hear about how they see God in all of this!
So far the camp has been going well with Dan & Crystal doing the Bible stories & memory verses, Pauline doing crafts & Colin & I doing games. The kids seem to really be enjoying themselves! One of the little girls from the village today asked if she could come to camp again next year because she was afraid that when she turns 9 next year, she would be too old! I suppose it shows that the children love camp!
On one other note, please pray for Colin as he started to have some stomach issues today. He was unable to help lead the games in the afternoon & had to lie down. Later this evening he threw up & felt nauseous. He has also had some chills & feels a little bit weak. Please pray that he gets a good night's sleep & that he is able to participate tomorrow. We were able to obtain some antibiotics that we would normally get in Canada but pray that God is the ultimate healer of both his knee & his overall illness.
As a side note, this is Tiffany writing this entry as Colin is currently ill...