July 16, 2010

Today was the last day of our leadership camp.  I was awake early around 5 am and decided it would be neat to catch a glimpse of the sun rise over the House of Mercy grounds.  Today will be the day we bid our farewells after the kids lead in singing and pratically put their skills to work in leading singing, working the powerpoint, leading games and cooking lunch.  We were impressed with their developing leadership abilities and it was great seeing our cooking team cook those pizzas and salads with unity and cooperation.  They worked hard and showed great team spirit.  Those leading games did a great job and it was fun watching their water balloon game. Eric and Koyla did an awesome job leading singing. As I watched the sun rise a whole lot of emotions swept through me and the warm rays of the sun assured me that indeed God's presence is here and He definitly is at work.

It is quiet right now but soon the voices of children will fill the room with their voices of song and their excited laughter.  In our final wrap up session it was so encouraging to hear their words of thanks and appreciation  and feel their arms wrap around you with hugs as they say, "thank you for coming; thank you for teaching us!  It was hard keeping our eyes dry!

There is much to thank God for in these past few weeks. Later today we will pack up and then cook our meal for the staff and kids.  Yes, the heat will be challenge but what a joy to be able to serve them.  The biggest challenge will be to bake those Hong Kong style egg tarts.  And can't wait to cook that curry chicken.  In the end it will have been fun and worth it all.  We will head out tonight around 11 pm to be sure to get across the border in timeso that we can catch our flight from Budapest to Frankfurt, then to Toronto and back to Calgary.  I know that we have all been challenged and inspired in so many ways.  For all of you who have been praying for us thanks so much for your partnership in touching lives for Jesus.  We could not have done this without our God and your prayers - so THANKS!

And so we say: Next year in Uzhgorod; next year we will see you House of Mercy!

We will arrive in Calgary Saturday evening around 8:30 pm.

With loving memories: the 2010 Ukraine  Team

July 15 Day 4 Week 2

On this 4th day of the discipleship/leadership camp most of the teens and older group took responsibility to lead or apply what they had learned in some practical way.  Those from the skills option either led singing or worked on the powerpoint.  Those in the food lessons prepareed lunch.  Those in the "leading games" option led games.  Eunice and I spent the day leading the House of Mercy staff retreat. The day ended with a pizza party.

a great start to the day with crepes for breakfast

Olya and Monica leading singing

Maxim and Josef on powerpoint (Eric far right)



Josef - games

older group skills option made deviled eggs

and grilled cheese sandwiches

Toma and Sasha at lunch

pizza party

learning Ukrainian phrases

parachute games - wrap the present

parachute game - chicken soup

Final Day

Please pray for a strong finish as we come to a close for the discipleship/leadership camp. Pray for those who will be taking leadership roles in leading singing, games, and cooking lunch.

Praise God for the awesome work that He has  been doing in our midst.

Praise God for answered prayer for God's leading for the staff retreat.  It was truly a time for spiritual encouragement and being led by the Spirit to discuss needs and set goals for the coming year.

July 15 Reflections

Wow! It is hard to imagine that we are nearing the end of our two weeks here.  So much has happened!  I have been overwhelmed by the great need that I have seen in the Ukraine.  The poverty and desperate situations of those in the Roma (gypsy) camps where people live amidst the garbage heaps with rats the size of cats has challenged me.  How can people live in minus 20 degree weather with houses with walls crumbling or with roofs constantly leaking when it rains or with no water supply.  The children who have been brought to the House of Mercy have been able to see the great love of God shown by the believers of the House of Mercy who truly walk the talk who go to the  Roma camps to fix houses, cook meals, distribute food boxes, and share the love of Christ to these people.  They have opened up an orphanage to rescue kids from unimaginable situations ravaged with alcoholism and abuse and showered these children with love and affection.  They set an example of what it means to share the love of God as Jesus had done (to reach out to the orphans and the poor).  They children here see such demonstation of love and they are so filled with love and generosity as well.   In our spiritual gifts lesson, many said they would like to encourage others and Josef said he would like to help the poor.  They help you out in a heartbeat if you had a need. I was so touched by Josef who used his birthday money to buy me a gift of a carving of a eagle.   After our visit to the castle, he stopped off at the sovenir stand to buy this gift for me. I could hardly stop the tears!

After visiting the children`s hospital, I again was floored by the great need of the hospital.  How can a regional hospital for chidlren function with only one ambulance.  They have a second one which is so costly to operate that the hospitals donate it to each other just to get it off their hands.  How can a surgeon operate in 40 degree heat in an operating room without an air conditioner!  The walls are in great need of repair.  This hospital built in the 1920`s has so much repair work needed one wonders where to begin.

You cannot begin to fully comprehend the need here by just reading this blog; you have to be here.  You cannot fully understand the need here by looking at the pictures on this blog.  You have to see for yourself.  My prayer is that if you are reading this blog the Lord would move you to visit here and ask God what you can do!