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Acorn Missions and entrepreneurship have a lot in common ... June 2014
Rumors of the War in Ukraine
August 22, 2014. News. Malcolm Clegg. Central Eurasian Partners - UKRAINE.
Not only is there a war in Ukraine with thousands dead, there are rumors - lots of them ... More »
June 2010."Slovak Families Sponsor African Children" INTEGRA GROUP - SLOVAKIA.
February 2010. "The School Rent Question is Decided!" CS LEWIS SCHOOL - SLOVAKIA. The CS Lewis & Narnia Schools had been concerned
February 2010. "Miracles and Blessings" YOUTH FOR CHRIST - POLAND.
June 2009."I Learned to be Honest" PR SLAVEIKOV - BULGARIA.
Should I Bury My Grandfather – Alive?
June 30, 2009. Interview with Allan Bussard
INTEGRA - SUDAN. "My grandfather wants me to bury him alive," Manut, a young Sudanese Christian, told Allan Bussard. "He says he's ready to die, that his time on earth is done. If I don't carry out his wishes, grandfather says he will curse me and my children."
Manut, a Christian, felt trapped. He had only two choices: he could honor his grandfather's request and be complicit in his murder, or could refuse to follow his grandfather's wishes and risk his displeasure and the curse. Manut knew that curses in Sudan have an effect. As the eldest grandson, he also felt pressure from the extended family. "He asked for it," some of them said, "so we should do it."
As Allan saw it, this was a faith issue. Manut needed to be willing to risk the curse in order to do what was right.
Allan works with CEP ministry partner, Integra. Much of his work involves small businesses, providing work and training for various people in Europe
and Africa. But, as with other CEP partners, God grants unique opportunities to build into the lives of believers and non-believers through Integra
endeavors. In fact, the overarching goal of CEP is that, through various projects, the gospel will impact people in significant ways through a wide
variety of outreach methods.
A Changing World, Calling for Creative Strategies
What did Manut decide to do with his grandfather? Allan hasn't yet heard the end of that story. You can be praying for this young Sudanese man and others, who may choose to walk in the way Jesus reveals, bringing Him glory as they live out their faith.
Spasenie Spring Tour
May 25, 2009. Mike Choby
SPASENIE BAND – EASTERN EUROPE. The Spasenie spring tours of Eastern Europe went well. We did full band concerts and combined orchestra concerts in Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova, as well as school concerts in Belarus and Moldova.
The pics are from concerts in Odessa and Kiev, both in Ukraine.
This is the first time we have played in Moldova. Adding a new country for school concerts is exciting! I think these concerts are some of the most important outreach efforts we can be doing right now. We have played about 40 concerts in schools, all official assemblies. Pretty cool stuff.
As for the combined orchestra concerts, there is still a lot of attention coming from the general public, and we continue to reach out to a broad audience. These concerts are in cooperation with public orchestras, a real privilege for us. Please pray that these would continue, as they are still bearing fruit.
As for me, I will be in the states for the rest of the summer, working as a summer maintenance helper and doing some music with the JPUSA band, "Maron". Carolyn and I have a new Greenchoby CD, with a CD release party on June 14 at St. Lambert's.
Spasenie is planning to be in the US from mid September through early December. We are hoping to visit every region of the US. Please contact me for details.
Spasenie's Ukrainian Easter Tour
April 15, 2009 – Translation from post to Spasenie website
SPASENIE - Kiev, UKRAINE.
"Anya" April 12, 2009
Guys, thanks for the concert in Kiev. It was great to celebrate your little anniversary. My daughter came along and for the first time saw and heard you. It's a long wonderful story, but in short: after the concert we had a talk and I found out what was really on her heart. Yesterday, she invited the Lord to come into her life Thank you, "saviors", that you so openly and truthfully praised God last night. Our lives have been changed thanks to you.
Response from Band member: Thanks, Anya. It's for moments like these that we work.
SPASENIE - Kharkov, UKRAINE. Pastor Peter Kovalenko April 13, 2009
My dear brothers, Our huge thank you for your visit to our church in Kharkov! You gave us not only a concert, but also a worship service praising our Lord Jesus Christ! Your faithfulness and commitment was picked up by God's children here and has left its mark on their souls. Blessings on you and God's favor!
Orthodox Liturgy and Ethiopian Macadamia Nuts
April 13, 2009. Ken Christie
INTEGRA - Bratislava, SLOVAKIA. Ministry with Integra has been full. Finishing up umpteen details on comprehensive business plan to import fair trade coffee from Ethiopia has been stretching and exciting. Integra will be the first direct importers, roasters, and distributors of fair trade coffee in Easter Europe! Please join us in praying for the almost $40,000 investment funds needed to start. But even more, pray that the Ethiopian farmers who grow this premium coffee will be freed from poverty.
Also, the Orthodox Liturgy study is printed and sales are getting under way in Serbia. My good friend Toma reports that God is bringing many
opportunities to get it out - like the theology schools deciding to use it with their students and a Serbian Orthodox church in London desiring 200
copies. This is a picture of the cover; if you want to see more, go to www.liturgija.net
But beware - the site is all in Serbian : )
Our macadamia nuts from Kenya have been another story. We have run into continual snags and hurdles that have kept the product from getting to markets in Europe and in America. Securing the export license, transferring funds to purchase raw nuts, finding plastic bags strong enough to hold the vacuum seal, getting rid of rats, obtaining organic and fair trade certification have all been issues. But we preserve considering the poverty of rural farmers in Kenya and knowing how much a guaranteed price and a stable market will help. This is a picture of the finished product - please join us in praying it actually gets to market!
May 1-3 our family will eagerly join with a few others (mostly teens) from our local church on a service project to a Baptism ministry with Roma (Gypsies) in central Slovakia. Right now the kids are getting a drama ready and Karol and I are knee deep in helping organize housing and food and planning the weekend outreach. It's exciting! More to come afterward...
A key prayer request for us is that God will provide significant scholarships for Daniel and Catherine to attend a local international school for their high school years. Education continues to be our biggest challenge and we sense this is an opportunity from God. Assembling and submitting the applications is our job now; we will hear results by the end of May. Please be praying that God will provide the education scholarships we need to be able to stay here in Bratislava.
A Life-Changing Impact
March 31, 2009. Lisa Clark: Interview with Wiolleta,
YFC - Wroclaw, POLAND. When YFC volunteer "Klaudia" began meeting with "Roza," she felt discouraged. "I don't know how to reach her," Klaudia explained to other YFC staff. "Our meetings are often a monologue with me doing the talking." At the beginning, Klaudia and Roza spent lots of time at movies, an activity that required no interaction.
Other One-to-One staff and volunteers began praying for Klaudia and her unresponsive charge. "Lord, break down the barrier of silence," they asked, trusting God to work.
God answered those prayers. To Klaudia's delight, Roza began taking the initiative in their relationship, even calling her mentor to ask when they could get together. Klaudia began helping Roza with homework. After they watched films together, they talked about them. Soon, Roza began asking Klaudia questions about life and issues she was facing.
The end of Roza's story has not yet been written. Thanks to Klaudia, though, Roza has a chance at a happier and healthier life.
Stealing a Smile
March 31, 2009. Lisa Clark: Interview with Andrzej,
MISSION TO THE EAST - CENTRAL ASIA. When "Marat" came looking for work at the construction company Mission to the East missionaries set up in Central Asia, he spoke no Russian, the language the company worked with. But because friends recommended the eighteen-year-old village boy, the company decided to give Marat work. During the first two weeks, the young man could communicate with most of the workers only through a translator. Still, the work crew managed to coax a smile out of him by the end of that time. The boy was adept with language and began to communicate more in Russian after spending two months at the job; closer relationships followed.
It became clear quite early on that Marat was accustomed to stealing and cheating. Believers at the workplace explained that they didn't steal because of their faith in Christ. Marat, quite naturally, couldn't understand.
One day, Marat returned from a nearby store happy. "God gave me money," he told Andrzej (pronounced "An-jay"), a Polish missionary. "When the woman gave me change, she gave me too much."
"Hmm. Maybe," Andrzej responded, "but I don't think so. You should probably take the money back to the store."
"No! No!" protested Marat.
A week later, Marat returned from the same store. "That shopkeeper cheated me," he told Andrzej.
"Why do you say that?"
"She shortchanged me!"
"Maybe God was giving her money this time," Andrzej responded.
Sometime later, Andrzej and others began explaining to Marat why God wanted them to do what was right. They even began to look at the Bible together. About six months later, Marat was ready to receive Jesus into his life. Now, this young man who God placed among Polish missionaries at just the right time truly has a reason to smile.
Providing Help, Hope, and Dignity to the Vulnerable
March 31, 2009. By Allan Bussard
INTEGRA - Bratislava, SLOVAKIA. Soon, residents of Liethnom in South Sudan won't have to hopelessly watch loved ones die of curable diseases before their eyes, cut off from the rest of the world during the rainy season. A riverboat will provide them access to a hospital and treatment for their sick and injured.
In Bratislava, Ivan, a former drug addict, has recently started a new job as a mechanic at Oil Partner, a quick oil and service station. What's so remarkable about that? Ivan, along with the rest of the workers of the highly profitable business, are all ex-drug addicts, without a high school education or job skills. Other employers wouldn't even consider giving such young men jobs.
Alla and Yulia were considered "women at risk" in Russia. They, and many others like them, faced lives of daunting responsibilities with meager resources due to circumstances wholly out of their control. Today, they are the proud owners of a design shop, through which they are now able to meet their financial obligations and care for their families.
Recently, a group of landless Ethiopian peasants devised a plan. From the forty cents they earn each day, the workers contribute a few cents to invest in businesses. With the investment profits, they plan to send their children to school. This education, in turn, will give their children prospects for a better life.
In Kenya, 245 children have hope. All destitute-some without family members to care for them-these youngsters now have a home, the opportunity to go to school, or both at the Children's Garden Rescue Home.
What do these people have in common? They are all part of projects developed by Integra, working from Slovakia and branching out into eight countries in Eastern Europe and Africa. The Integra logo is composed of the upper and lower halves of the word "Integra," disjointed at the beginning, but united at the end. When the second syllable of the word "Integra" is stressed, the organization's strong dedication to integrity is unmistakable. When the accent is placed on the first syllable, another side of the group's commitment emerges: that of helping people live integrated lives.
Beside the logo on the group's letterhead are these words: "Creating economic opportunities for a life of dignity for the vulnerable." They accomplish this goal through education, market access, and business investment. Integra's vision is not about handouts. Just as the most effective way to provide food for a lifetime is to teach a man how to fish rather than merely handing him a fish, so Integra desires to help people provide for themselves for the long haul. This involves more than simply teaching people sound business practices. Through teaching, encouragement, and accountability, Integra seeks to "help groups at risk gain business skills, to create job opportunities, to decrease dependency on outside assistance, to strengthen economic development, and to build democratic civil society." They want to build successful and sustainable small and medium enterprises with clear corporate social responsibility strategies, practicing business transparently and ethically, and contributing to the development of their communities. Some of these businesses, they hope, will be profitable enough to help support Integra's philanthropic activities.
Along with these important goals, Integra is committed to the spiritual transformation of people. They want to help "individuals grow toward their full potential as beings created in the image of God," and "communities become characterized by Shalom, Justice, and Grace," bringing hope and healing to those around them
Learning to be a Missionary can be Fun
March 31, 2009. Lisa Clark: Interview with Milan,
THE NAVIGATORS - D3 - Sofia, BULGARIA. Tanya was the first student to accept the invitation and attempt the adventure. She came to a continent, a country, a city, and a university she didn't know. Why? A missionary had spoken at her Navigator fellowship meeting in Indiana, telling students about an American university in Bulgaria. The U.S. students could go to study for a semester or a year and be one of a very few believers. Carrying their faith and their commitment to Christ along with them, they could ask God to use them. So Tanya, by faith, courageously answered the call.
What she found were great opportunities to get to know students, who were gathered from over thirty countries. She was out of her cultural comfort zone, but so were many other students. She could interact with her peers like no professor or university administrator could. Natural friendships provided her with opportunities to share from her life with others. To cap it off, she was able to travel to a number of European destinations. She didn't have to spend any more for her semester abroad than she would have at home.
The next semester, Jessica took up the challenge of studying and ministering overseas and won a number of deep friendships in the process. Some of the friends she invited to a small campus Christian group's meetings continue to attend even though Jessica has left.
Natalie, the next student to take on the challenge, was able to connect with some of Jessica's friends (and even to live with one of her former roommates).
Far better than a summer mission trip, a semester abroad in Bulgaria allows students a natural way to get to know others and live as a light for Christ. The local D3N staff provides support and mentoring while the students grow in their faith and ability to minister to others cross-culturally.
Isabel: When a Sense of Responsibility Fails
March 31, 2009. Lisa Clark: Interview with Mira,
DAYBREAK COUNSELING CENTER - Wroclaw, POLAND. "Isabel" was depressed, deeply depressed. Thoughts of suicide flooded her mind, unrelenting and intense. She was a leader in her church and had a strong desire to help drug addicts; why had these dark thoughts invaded her mind? She sought out Mira Otremba. Perhaps she could help Isabel find relief.
Mira Otremba, hoping to identify the root causes of Isabel's despair, guided her through "Renewing the Foundations." A surprising discovery emerged.
Isabel's mind raced back to a moment in her childhood. She was outside, playing with her friends, when her alcoholic father came home. Drunk and reeling, he threw up in front of the small band of playmates. Little Isabel rushed to her father's side. She knew she had to help him, though she felt shame and embarrassment from his behavior.
That memory was key. This early, overdeveloped sense of responsibility played a large role in Isabel's life. When she met drug addicts as an adult, she felt she had to help them. Her sense of duty gave Isabel a feeling of control. So "able" was she that she married a drug addict. Disappointment in herself crashed down when her husband committed suicide. Still, she had little choice but to continue; she had a son to care for.
When her child became a teenager, though, dread filled Isabel. What if he also became an addict? She couldn't bear such a devastating turn of events. A spinning, horrible sense of her loss of control over her son seemed to smother her.
Lausanne Conference Consultation
March 7, 2009. Reported by Central Eurasia Partners, UK.
PARAKLETOS - Mexico City, MEXICO. In early January, Pavel Raus attended the Lausanne Care and Counsel as Mission first consultation in Mexico City.
The Lausanne movement was established in 1974 by Billy Graham to encourage the accomplishment of the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all parts of the world. This consultation was planning for the 3rd Lausanne conference in Cape Town 2010, and brought together psychologists, pastors and counselors from all continents to discuss the need for counseling ministries to strengthen today's church and reach out to hurting people. This new initiative within the Lausanne movement is seen as an opportunity to touch people with the Good News in their struggles and suffering.
In many parts of our world, like a very atheistic Czech Republic, people today consider Christianity as irrelevant, but they would attend a seminar about marriage and relationships because that is of interest and value to them. Then they can hear the Gospel, presented in a relevant and deep way, which they may then consider as a valid option. The whole consultation was very encouraging because of the unity of the participants in their desire to bring this new need to the attention of church leaders and hence encourage the whole church to bring the whole gospel to the whole hurting and broken world.
Children's Lives Do Change!
March 31, 2009. Lisa Clark: Interview with Milena,
C.S. LEWIS SCHOOL - Bratislava, SLOVAKIA. Milena Uhlikova, Deputy Director for Administration, explains that students grow "in harmony with themselves and with each other." She tells of the community service projects each child is expected to take part in. By cleaning up the area directly surrounding the school, for example, children learned a sense of personal responsibility. "They're not just here to receive, but also to give." Some of the students have reached out to the disabled. Others have volunteered to work with younger children, teaching them how to sing.
One boy, Peter*, along with five classmates, decided to care for kids from socially disadvantaged families as their community outreach project. But Peter didn't stop there. Since he enjoys boxing, he decided to personally help four Roma boys, aged ten to fifteen, by coaching them to box. As a motto for the group, Peter chose "Love, Respect, Discipline." His idea was to help the boys under his tutelage to grow in character through sport. Because of Peter's influence, the oldest Roma boy has decided to take a step in putting his life into order by completing his basic education. Others have caught Peter's vision as well. He recently accepted two other young men as co-trainers. His desire is to invite other kids to join the small group.
God has also used school-related activities to help Tomas*, a boy who struggles with stuttering. At a Christmas Open House, designed to present the school and its programs to approximately 800 visitors, Tomas "came alive," Uhlikova explains, as he helped to introduce the idea of Fair Trade. Tomas also worked to create a film about the school with a friend. To Uhlikova's amazement, when Tomas moderates, presenting the film to others while holding a microphone, he speaks without a stutter.
The Slow Process of Recovery: Katerina's Story
February, 2009 - Reported by Central Eurasia Partners, UK.
PARAKLETOS - Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC. Katerina* has been meeting with Pavel for counseling for the past five years. Painful memories of sexual abuse at home and at school as she was growing up left her emotionally aloof, unable even to connect with others through touch. When Pavel first heard her story, he came away from their sessions carrying the heavy pain that burdened her. "How, ": he wondered, "can I show this woman the love of Christ?" He prayed and imagined how Jesus would help Katerina if He were counseling her. It took two years before she was willing to have another person even touch her. Pavel can see God healing the wounded places in Katerina's heart.
God is faithful to change people, but it can be a slow process. Pavel and Julia are willing to stand by and support people like Katerina no matter how long it takes.
Letter from the Director
December 31, 2008 - By Blaga Popova.
PR SLAVEIKOV SCHOOL - SOFIA, Bulgaria. Another year has passed by, and after all the holidays and vacations the New Year has begun. For students and teachers this period is right in the middle of the school year, end of the first term. It is time to evaluate, and verify what work has been done.
This school year God has answered our prayers for more kids, and the capacity of the current building has been reached. This brings us to our new task of looking for a new building, or staying in the same building and keeping our enrolment the same as last year. This would mean turning away students due to a lack of space. I do not know the answer yet, but I believe God is trustworthy. The new students have adjusted very well, and at this point the classes are going strong. The next couple of weeks will be very challenging due to our upcoming finals.
In November we celebrated our school patron's day. The students with the help of the teachers prepared a concert dedicated to Petko Slaveikov. We rented a big hall and 15 minutes before the event it was half empty, which worried me. Five minutes before we planned on starting we were looking for extra chairs and space, by the end we had a packed house. Over 250 people came and the feedback was very positive.
In the beginning of November we had two days of training for all the teachers. It was led by Graham Coyle from Christian School's Trust England. The
theme of the seminar was the motivation and the proper process of disciplining in the teaching field.
The training went by with many personal experiences shared by Graham Coyle, spiced up with fresh and unmistaken English humor. In result of the training all participating teachers were inspired and motivated to give their best in the future.
With all of our achievements and encouragements, there are also the upcoming challenges, problems and needs.
- First of which is the need for a bigger building. With the expansion, we can focus on advertisement, and enrollment of new students as well as getting a high school license. Please pray for the steadfastness of this process.
- The teachers, students, and parents also need special prayers of support more than ever due to the national financial crisis.
- Finally, is meeting our financial goal so we can finish the school year. The fiscal deficit of the school is $ 60,000
I believe God will lead us, and I doubt he will leave us in the middle of the road. This is his school, and the students who graduate will leave not only with knowledge, but also with a new view and attitude towards our society, which Bulgaria needs desperately. God bless you!
Bridging the Gap Between Poland and USSR
December 2008. Lisa Clark: Interview with Adam,
MISSION TO THE EAST - Wroclaw, POLAND. Adam gazed out the window from his seat on the slow-moving train through the rolling Polish countryside. The lush forests held wide their branches for woodpeckers, cuckoos, finches, and jays as they chattered and sang. In the dense brush beneath, hares, deer, foxes, and boars roamed freely. This was the land Adam had grown up in, the land of his family and home. Now alone, he was heading to a strange land. Soon he'd be crossing the border into the Ukraine, Poland's neighbor.
The trip, Adam knew, was not pleasant. The train cars themselves were designed for functionality, not comfort. If rolling along steel tracks with total strangers for hours on end was wearisome, then the border crossing was downright disagreeable. Barbed wire, guard-towers, and a wide strip of raked sand all signaled the train's imminent stop. Border crossings were a necessary evil when traveling from one country to another, even if they were allies. Trains coming into the USSR from Europe faced an additional inconvenience, though: switching the train's wheel trucks. Because Soviet tracks were twenty-four centimeters (roughly nine and half inches) wider than those used in Europe, an elaborate process of exchanging the wheels on a train to accommodate the wider gauge entailed an extended wait.
Still, those were minor nuisances. Adam felt his stomach lurch even before the train stopped for another reason: Soviet frontier guards and possible KGB representatives would inevitably search the train. And Adam was hiding something. As a Polish believer, committed to spreading the Good News, he was taking a great risk to smuggle Russian language Bibles into the Ukraine to give to secret contacts. He dreaded the consequences if caught.
The volumes were discovered quickly. Twelve hours later, Adam was still wondering what his fate would be. The train he had been riding had long since departed and he sat in a small office with nothing to do but wait. And pray. Finally, he dared to ask. "Excuse me," he said to a guard. Surely good manners wouldn't hurt. "Can you tell me how long I have to stay here?"
"They don't know," one of the soldiers answered. "They're trying to decide whether to send you back to Poland or on to Siberia."
Eventually Adam, the Polish Bible smuggler's fate was decided. His Bibles were confiscated and he was forced to return to Poland: one small victory for the Soviets. Later, though, God would have the victory. Adam was undeterred by his experience. God continues to use him in Poland and further east.
Food Crisis in Kenya, Integra Helps Orphans
December 2008. By Caulene Bussard
INTEGRA - Nairobi, KENYA. The post-election conflict in Kenya has calmed down, but children, especially orphans who are the most vulnerable of the
poor, still feel the impact. Food prices have almost doubled.
"I don't know how we will manage. The kids need to eat, but food is more and more expensive," says Moses Ngungu, the director of Children's Garden Rescue Home. "What used to last for a month is barely enough for two weeks."
The other urgent need is water. The orphanage can no longer buy it from the city and the children are using the dirty water from a nearby river. This causes many water-borne diseases and rashes.
The sustainable solution for the food and water crisis is to purchase a piece of land for growing vegetables and raising animals. The land would also provide a place for a borehole for water. Integra's goal is to raise enough money for this project ($90,000) by the end of 2009.
ARKA - Wroclaw, POLAND.
Israel 08: How can Israel not be the highlight of the year?! Our biggest group ever went to Israel this August - 54 people from Poland, Kazakhstan, USA, Canada & GB. With every trip our itinerary gets better, so the trips are a GREAT experience whether participants are believers or not. Why not come with us next time and bring a friend?
Sports/Language Camps 08: The summer English/sport/evangelistic camps went very well again this year – in total 174 children attended three camps and each camp was a blessed experience for those involved. God provided again an excellent team of native speakers from USA, GB & Holland. A special THANKS to those of you who sponsored many orphans or children from poor families, many of whom rarely have a holiday. For some it's the experience of a childhood.
Arka Schools: This year our 3 schools have a total of over 160 children. Again it's a record enrollment to contexts where children can hear & experience the gospel daily in a natural social environment.
Central Eurasian Partners: There have undoubtedly been significant steps forward for CEP, a network of indigenous ministries which I coordinate. It is now an officially registered charity in both GB and USA! In both countries we have initial administration in place to receive funds for our nationally led mission initiatives, as well as to start advertising opportunities for people to come and serve with those initiatives.
Volunteer Development Centre: I have scaled down my involvement with the Seminary where I have taught for many years, though I presently still teach there. This has given me extra capacity to help initiate a training center in cooperation with many of the youth ministries in the country, aimed at practically training young volunteers. It is aimed both at believers and non-believers. Our first two weekends have had an attendance of about 30 young people-so basically we've had an encouraging start...
Bible Study Groups: It has also been an exceptionally encouraging year for our Bible Study groups. Juls and I at present lead/coordinate 6 groups with over 50 people, Catholics and Protestants, many studying the Bible for the first time.
Mission to the East: The plunge in the dollar and the pound, combined with significant inflation in the region has greatly influenced labourers & initiatives in the region. Mission to the East has been particularly hit. Some of our Polish missionaries have returned home this year due to insufficient finance, others are considering following…this is one of the urgent reasons for looking for new Partners who will "strengthen the cords".
Opportunities FOR YOU!!!
Camp Arka 2009 - As usual at this time of year we're looking for volunteers who would join us on sports/language/evangelistic
camps next summer. Dates are anytime from June 17th-July 12th. All ages welcome from 1-3 weeks to befriend children and teens, have lots of fun
and show them Jesus.
Israel - August 2010 - We already have 21 signed up for our next Israel trip. Still 29 places if you want to join us for the
"trip of a lifetime"
CEPartners - Presently our network of indigenous mission agencies numbers 9. It would be GREAT if some of you receiving this
letter would be interested in partnering in some way with any of these various initiatives!... orphans, businesses, women at risk, education,
teaching English, art festivals... Or maybe you could be an ambassador, recruiting others who could come alongside and help? Please consider it
and let us know if you're interested, there are lots of ways to get involved!f
Report From Camp Arka
September 30, 2008 – Reported by CEP UK
CAMP ARKA 2008 - Wroclaw, POLAND. Summer camps for 2008 were held at "Górnicza Strzecha" in Szklarska Poreba. A record number of 175 children attended over the three weeks. The ARKA school teachers who led the camps, assisted by a team of young people from the US and UK organized a wide range of sporting events, English classes and activities, along with a daily "Bible Hour". They had many opportunities to share the gospel with the children and to help and encourage some of the teenagers in their young faith.
A Night to Remember with Spasenie
July 28, 2008
Brest, Belarus – SPASENIE. About 50,000 people came out to enjoy the city anniversary festival, Brest City Fest. Spasenie and another group, Martin Luther played on the main stage, on the main night. Spasenie played the last set of music, right before the fireworks. Wow!
Spasenie is very popular in their hometown, and is on the radio. Many non-Christians are familiar with their music. It was amazing to see all these people singing along, and enjoying Christian music.
We prayed for a clear night, and God was merciful. The rain that eventually came didn't start until our set and the fireworks had finished!
Spasenie Tours Sakhalin Island
July, 2008 – Reported by Mike Choby
SAKHALIN – SPASENIE. Sakhalin Island has it all: mountains, forests and sea. Oil, gas, minerals, fishing, but the money doesn't stay here. At the festival in Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, the capital city, there were 3 bands and 2 solo singers on the tour. We played for 7 hours to thousands of people, most them not Christians.
The churches in Sakhalin were praying about this tour for 2 years. 15 concerts, 6 cities, praise God! Photos from an outdoor festival at night shows evidence that Sakhalin has a big Korean population. Normally, it's rare to see Asians in Russia. Beautiful diversity, multicultural churches, and yummy food!
Pasha and I get our licks in during an out door festival. Our hosts treated us to a picnic at the beach. We often ate salmon and shellfish right from the sea!
Losing a Car Key Builds Faith
July 7, 2008
INTEGRA - Belgrade, SERBIA. Did you know that inside many car keys is a security device that will not allow the engine to run if it is missing? Neither did I. But God used the missing of such a device to answer our prayer that the light of Jesus would be apparent to our dear friends, Alberto and Nada Galindo. What a joy to see God work—well worth the extra $190 it cost us.
While visiting their family home in June in a village 75 miles north of Belgrade, Daniel was unlocking the car and the key came apart. Though surprised, Daniel simply re-assembled the key and told me when he returned it. The next day I started the car and the engine wouldn't run. We checked the fuel filter (gas spraying all over), air filter, fuses--everything we could think of. One of the mechanics Alberto called suggested the problem was likely with the key. Then I remembered what happened to Daniel.
So, we started the search for a small, round, shiny piece that looks much like a tiny watch battery. The problem was it likely dropped into the mud-filled gutter, which had been soaked with rained and driven over twice. After looking a bit, I stopped everyone and prayed aloud that God would help us find it. Then we continued on in earnest. With strainer and garden hose in hand, we sifted through several gallons of muck.
Along with broken glass, rusty nails, and chewed gum, we found nothing but a small, rectangular magnet-looking object that didn't appear at all like a tiny watch battery. I showed it to Alberto, he stuck it in his pocket, and we searched on. After a couple of hours, nothing showed up. Extremely tired and discouraged, I wondered if I should have prayed out loud.
With no other options in the remote village, Alberto called a tow truck (that's when the $190 disappeared). Our plan was to attempt to buy the missing piece the next day in Belgrade.
Early the next morning, before our next hunt began, Alberto got on-line and did some searching. He "stumbled" on a picture of a key with a small, rectangular, magnet-looking security device, very much like the one he just "happened" to still have in his pocket. You guessed it: it fit perfectly into the key and the car the engine purred.
Now, I don't know why the key came apart in the first place; it never happened before. I don't know why it fell smack dab into the mud, got rained on and driven over. Nor do I know why we didn't recognize that we had found the right piece, or why I had to "waste" $190. But I do know that the Galindos saw God work and answer a specific prayer, though not in the way expected. It just may be that this experience stimulates them to trust God the next time they face a crisis.
God does respond to prayer. That's why we invite you to continue praying for the Galindos and others we interact with through my work with Integra and in our daily lives that God will reveal Jesus in ways that stimulate a response of faith. Your prayer is especially welcome July 7-18 as Karol and the kids help out with an English camp with neighborhood kids. We desire to reach out to the kids with the love of Jesus.
One more prayer item is for a larger apartment. Our two-bedroom place is getting small with two teenagers in the house…and it continues to shrink as we think about the start of home schooling next month. With the weakness of the US dollar and the high cost of rent in Bratislava, our options are limited, if even existent. Please pray that God will provide a roomier, healthy, affordable apartment in a way that brings him honor.
Thanks! The prayer of friends and family does make a difference as we attempt to illustrate God's kingdom through the normal activities and interactions of life.