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Summer Days

193C4126-B603-4014-83AD-3EB03731DDBEShane on one of the last tripsIt’s been over a month since I posted… how did that happen???

Camp is done and dusted again for a year. We had about 100 people attend and once again experienced God’s blessing on so many levels.

The theme of the camp was “Glorifying God Through Suffering”. And God sure tested Shane and Jemi again and again prior to camp. The tentative joke was that next year we must have as the camp theme, “God’s wonderful blessings”. So many things occurred which fell into the “trials and tribulations” category. But still, God did bless in so many ways!

I am “boat-boy” for camps. I make several trips back to Rzhyshchiv to pick up or drop people/produce off. I also do daily water-runs in which I pick up about 400 liters of deliciously sweet water from a place down river. This year, Shane’s boat broke down on the Monday, (our big transport day). Thankfully, we’d just found a good 20-year old motor from Europe which we attached to our boat the day before and IMG-0323once again, the “old faithful Soviet relic serviced us for the entirety of camp. Admittedly, we still had some hiccups with the motor along the way… but God blessed, and we were eating the traditional end-of-camp meal in our kitchen by 6:00 Saturday evening with a working boat in the dock.

The four speakers at camp this year were used by the Lord to bless a lot of people. We also seemed to have a large group of people who were continually sacrificing all week to make camp run smoothly. And the weather!!! Perfect weather all week. Aaaaah…

Oh! I did come down with sunstroke mid-week… an interesting and unexpected experience which put me flat on my back for a few hours with tremors, a fever and a strong desire to not move an inch. It sounds absurd, but determining the cause was a tricky one. I hadn’t been in the sun for much. I’d been drinking a lot. I wasn’t overheated. Shrug. But for some reason, it was in God’s plan for me to be at half-strength for a day and a bit. For anyone interested in experiencing it for themselves… I’d advise a pass on this one.

It feels as if we’ve not heard of a covid sufferer amongst our friends/acquaintances for yonks. A few months ago, about 400,000 people were “active cases” in IMG-0331Ukraine. The last couple of weeks though, we’ve been at about 10,000. That’s a big decline. And even though masks are still in vogue… the attitude of 99% of people is “Jamaica, man.” We shall see what the future holds…

Pris is doing well. She felt like there was a definite positive response to the platelet-rich plasma injections she received and is keen to do it again in a few months to see if she will again experience improvement. We are so grateful to the Lord for the generosity of His people in seeing that we have money for these things. Suffering is good for our hearts in so many ways… but it’s also wonderful when God wills an end to suffering.

1622797723988401We talked a bit last night about the future of our kindergarten and school. We have a lot of challenges to overcome, but the expectation is that we will have a kindergarten in the church this year. I’ve learned that the biggest key to the success of any ministry is the people involved… and God has prepared some special people to serve in this area! I’m delighted… and excited to see things progressing.

Dima, one of the guys who left rehab back in late May is back with us again. May this be his last rehab ever! He and the other guys will be with me tomorrow as we continue work on the church building and grounds. I think there’s 12 men in the first stage of rehab right now. We are becoming more systematic in what we cover with the guys while they are in the first stage. For the first five years, we’ve primarily relied on intense Scriptural immersion and have generally managed to cover most important subjects. I think we’re heading in a healthy direction – even though I love the relational approach we’ve been known for.

We were due to accept a young 19-year-old this week. His father, a man who had gone through rehab before in another center, had been doing drugs with him. His father eventually went back to rehab a few weeks ago and the son was meant to come here. Instead, the son went to church on Sunday and convinced the father to leave rehab. A Christian brother went round to the apartment the next day to try to convince them to do God’s will… only to discover the father weeping over the dead body of his overdosed son. Agh! The poor man! It turned my thoughts to my own son and the special grace God has shown us. How grateful I am. And how much I feel for this father who is no doubt devastated at the repercussions of his sin.

May God have mercy on us.