Thursday, March 1, 2007

Ministry Updates January 3, 2007

Today’s huge victory…Sarah and I got the trash to the trash truck. Granted, Ernie and Anna just disposed of our trash on Saturday, but today Sarah and I were sitting in the living room and we saw the trash truck and we heard him ring his bell and we were off and running. We gathered our trash and made it to the truck in time. Now, you may not think this is significant, but it has been a struggle. We had had many failed trash disposal attempts, so it was really wonderful to finally be successful. It was also nice that I saw one of my neighbor friends, Valya, the grandmother of one of the boys in my Kid’s Club class. She and I had a brief conversation, most of which I actually understood.
Bible Lessons—I was using a book that was teaching English with the lessons but I decided to try a different method. We acted out the story of the Good Samaritan before we learned about people who are our neighbors. The kids had fun acting out the parts and then we talked about the story. I think they learned a lot more from it than any of the other lessons. When we learned the days of the week we talked about creation. It was surprising to me that they all agreed that God created the earth. We talked about Sundays and I invited them all to church. One boy asked Inna, our translator, in Russian if church is interesting. She assured him that it is. None of my students who do not already attend our church came this Sunday, but hopefully they will in weeks to come.
Ladies’ Ministry—One need that I have seen and have been praying about is a ladies’ ministry at the church. Honestly, it came about through conversations I have had with some of the women and girls at the church. I have two other ladies (Tanya and Lewda) who also really want to have this ministry, so the three of us are working together to develop a program. We have prayerfully decided to have prayer and Bible study together and then just a time for fellowship and crafts. We are hoping this time will be a ministry to the ladies in the church, bringing them closer together and helping us all to grow in Christ. We also hope that the crafts can be used as an outreach to non-church ladies. During our first meeting we only had four adult women and one little girl (Lewda’s granddaughter), but I think it was a wonderful meeting. In a more recent meeting we had 10 ladies!
Second Kid’s Club—Our Saturday English and Bible Kid’s Club is going very well; we have completed our first eight weeks. Sasha and I talked about offering another Kid’s Club as an outreach from his church. So, we started a second Kid’s Club on Saturday afternoons. The first meeting went well. Although I am using basically the same program, it was different and I really enjoyed it. Going into our first lesson I was a little concerned about adding a second program on Saturday. I was sure I would be just exhausted by the end, but I am so glad we added it. I know the Lord really blessed the time and, in the end, I was excited and encouraged, not tired.
Looking Ahead—I am excited to report I am going to have two Christmases this year. First, I will celebrate with my American friends on December 25 and then with my Ukrainian friends on January 7 (which is Christmas in Ukraine). I am so looking forward to all the gifts for the children at the orphanage and youth center. I am also excited about the Christmas parties for our English classes and the programs at church, the orphanage, and the youth center. It is going to be a busy but exciting time. For the New Year, Ukrainians set off fireworks. I will be celebrating the New Year a full seven hours before the ball drops, which seems strange. Also, after the first of the year we are planning a field meeting. It will be sort of like a retreat, and I am really looking forward to that time with Bill and Oksana, Ernie and Anna, Sarah, and Bill and Betsy Tarr (WGM missionaries on the west side of Ukraine). I am sure it will be an encouraging and fun time together.
Thanks so much for your love and prayers. Please keep praying!

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