While we Wait...going back to Ukraine?!?!

"Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up."  "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."

It will likely take months for any sort of closure to be had with Katya and Karina, and with the current government consolidation efforts that have shut down all adoptions from Ukraine for the time being - maybe longer than we imagine.  Even if the girls did change their mind in three to six months, it is possible that the restructuring of the government won't be ready to process again anytime soon, and when they are - it will be a mad dash to get on the schedule by all those who didn't make the cut-off date.  Their decision put things obviously out of our hands, and the shutdown has put it out of everyone's hands - so we wait, but we do not wait without mission and without assignment!  It struck me last week that we could sit idly (well how can we be idle in a family of 10 - but you know what I'm saying) to see how the adoption story unfolds.  We could use this as an excuse to save all our money and restore the financial well with the amount needed for another adoption attempt.  And we do have that as a goal, but not at the expense of continuing to serve today.  We are confident that if God wants us to adopt in the future, he will provide the means to do so - again. We could use this as an excuse for not being actively involved right now, citing that we are waiting for this story to come to resolution before we embark on anything else.  We will not allow this to stifle our desire to serve God by loving and serving orphans in this region.  He seems to have ignited a focused love and attention on this region and people by design, and so we will not grow tired or idle in doing the work God has prepared for us to accomplish - we will go, serve, teach, and love these forgotten children. 

So yes, I (Jeff) am headed back to the Ukraine on July 30th, returning on August 7th.  I will not be near Kherson to visit Katya and Karina this time (maybe for the best - hasn't been long enough yet).  Long story short, we have been connected with an orphan care evangelism and discipleship ministry to the Ukraine, Latvia, and Belarus children.  Anna and Gracie have applied for passports, and we plan to send them and Dad into the orphanages for ministry work in November (they will make a detour to Kherson then).  This is with New Life Ministries, based in Apex NC of all places.  They have been serving orphans in this region for over 22 years and have led thousands to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  I am overwhelmed by all that God has done through them and the opportunity to participate with them in the months and years to come.  This has been a remarkable story of foreigners bringing the truth and hope of the gospel into the region, discipling and caring for nationals, who are now taking the gospel to their own people and reproducing a spiritual family from inside their own culture.

I am going to be participating in the August New Comers' discipleship camp.  This will be the ministry's 18th summer conducting what is the biggest and longest, most in-depth camp of the season.  The "Building the Disciple's House" teaching program carries each camper through a topical Bible study series beginning with the basics of Salvation, Faith, the Authority of Gods Word, and the Deity of Christ.  Then moves into practical application topics like Forgiveness, Thankful Hearts, Christian Identity: Who I am in Christ, and others.  The day includes an opening teaching session, the main lesson of the day, small groups, and other activities.  The campers have homework each night in preparing them for the next days lesson, and memorize a scripture passage each day connected to the lesson.  My involvement will be to lead a small group session each day with a group of boys, assist with homework and scripture memory, and encourage the national leadership team through personal testimony and Bible teaching.

This is one camp of several.  There is a June Bible Camp for Orphans, a July Advanced Discipleship Camp for leaders and staff, and an orphanage outreach ministry conducted each month in 9 orphanages using an evangelistic musical translated completely into Russian.  In addition, the Fresh Start component of the ministry assists orphans who are aging out of the system with a safe place to live and assistance in developing life skills and respectable future. More on Fresh Start can be read about here!

Here are some stories from June of this year... worth a detour and quick read, wonderful things are happening through this work.

Ieva - 18 yrs old
June 2011 Orphan Camp Report

God has provided the funds for my trip, I am not asking you to consider a donation for me (although I covet your participation with me through prayer) - I am asking that you read the ministry letter below, look at the face and brief histories of the children listed here and consider God may be prompting you to provide a way for them to come, hear, learn and be changed through the work of this camp.  They cannot come if they are not sponsored.  They cannot be sponsored outside of generous giving from individuals.  Despite the June 8th deadline mentioned, these campers still need sponsors, and the deadline has been extended throughout July. 


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