For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
For most of my life, I thought of this Scripture as a good anecdote to life—specifically about my future. But now, it’s our lifeline. Some translations says He gives “plans for good, not for disaster.” There are times in our lives when we feel like disaster could be just around the next corner, but He says the opposite is true (if we are walking with Him).
Something that we have noticed int he last months is that the “path” or the “way” we go seems strange to us. In OUR minds, it often appears like the path in the picture above. If we are WALKING WITH HIM, however, the perspective of our flesh, simply doesn’t match the truth about the path He leads us on. The path he leads us on is a path that goes directly to the outcome He has planned. With our fleshly eyes, though, it can seem non-sensical and twisty-turny beyond comprehension. It’s truly a walk of faith to believe that He DOES know what He’s doing and where He’s leading and WHAT He wants the outcome to be. It’s also a matter of faith to believe that His plans and purposes will come to pass. No matter what our fleshly mind thinks about it.
We came here to Ukraine with a bullet list of what we were going to accomplish. I can honestly say to you that that bullet list has hit the circular file. We are retooling it according to what we see HIM doing here in our midst. So much of what He is doing is just having us live our lives here abiding in Him and looking for opportunities to reach out with His love and with the Gospel fo Jesus Christ. Sounds kind of like the life of any believer, anywhere, huh? Exactly.
A couple of Saturdays ago, we found ourselves hosting 19 orphans who were on their way to America for a hosting program. They were to arrive at our house at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning and were to leave our house about 2:00 a.m. to head to the airport Saturday morning. And they didn’t really want them to sleep because they wanted them to sleep on the plane. Oh…it was also the morning after Mary was returning from the USA on Friday afternoon. We set into motion prayer and planning. Basically, we planned a camp for the 15 hours they would be with us. We planned games, we planned crafts, we planned movies, we planned snacks and meals.
Here are some highlights of what happened that day:
- They arrived at 9:20ish a.m.
- We gave them all a Russian language “Jesus Storybook Bible.” It’s a beautifully illustrated Bible that includes Genesis through Revelation in a storybook format. Some of the kids couldn’t have cared less. Several read them throughout the day. One girl sat and read it from cover to cover on Saturday and was so pleased to make sure we knew it before she left Sunday morning.
- We showed the Jesus film for children. It began with only a handful of the kids watching and all the other people in the room were entertaining themselves and talking. When we got to the death of our Savior, there were 14 or 15 kids watching with careful attention and two caregivers. When I say they were watching it, I mean they were transfixed on what was going on. By the time Jesus was hanging on the cross, one girl was wiping tears and saying that it was “enough” repeatedly. It was breaking her heart. We then told them how much God loves them and that they can have a relationship with Him too.
- We sang worship songs together.
- We watched a couple of children’s Bible story videos. Most of the kids were interested. We also pointed them to the stories in the Bible and they seemed pleased to be able to connect the dots.
- We talked about the Lord’s prayer and read it together in an easy to read/understand format. We challenged them to read it every day while they are away.
- Of course there were meals, lots of snacks, sports, games…
To say that it was a FULL and a FULFILLING day is an understatement. Here’s the group (plus some of our kids are mixed in — and one of the kids was fast asleep on the couch and we didn’t have the heart to wake the little guy). The text at the top says, “How God loves you! Summer-2013.”
Last Sunday… we got to go to some friends’ house for lunch. And it was a beautiful time of fellowship and, of course, the meal was wonderful.
There are lots of other things going on right now and we’ll update again as soon as we can. But here’s some pics of the family to prove we are still alive and kicking.
Thank you all so much for your prayers. It’s a blessing to know that so many are “holding the rope” for us in prayer.
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