Day 6 Friday Well, as I am typing this the team is en route to Budapest. Soon they will be back home in America and I hope that this experience will stay with them long into their lives. I know that they had an impact on the Roma people, the believers here and the many others they had contact with during the week. I am thankful for the opportunity to have spent this time in Rakhiv with them.
Please pray for the team over the next few days as they travel back to Mississippi. There will be several tight connections with airplanes and late nights involved in gettting home. Also, keep them in mind over the coming days as they process all they saw and did in Ukraine.
Their safety as they travel.
That they will not have difficulties at the border.
That they will arrive with all their luggage intact.
Some pictures from yesterday.
Day 5 Thursday The forecast called for rain on Thursday but today we have been blessed with another day of sunshine and clear skies! Praise God. Today is the last day the team will be out among the Roma's. The medical team will see one or two more patients this morning and then join the kids team this afternoon for a final time in the park with the kids. After we play in the park with the kids we will do some prayer walking around Rakhiv. We will finish the evening with a worship service at the church followed by dinner with the believers.
It has been a good week and we are thankful to serve a mighty God who works among the Roma's. Pray with us today:
That the team will have a last burst of energy to accomplish the last tasks set before them today and tomorrow morning.
For rest tonight.
For the many patients the doctors have seen this week, that they will find the true source of healing in their lives.
That the children the team has loved on and played with will know the love of their Heavenly Father.
For health and safety for the team in their last day in the city.
Some pictures from yesterday.
Day 4 Wednesday Praise God we have another day of sunshine and dry weather! The forecast is calling for rain tomorrow, but we are still praying for a clear and bright day. The team is moving a little slower today as they are experiencing so many things that challenge the strength of their bodies, minds and spirits. Today will be nearly identical to the previous days for the team. The doctors will be doing some follow-up visits with people they saw earlier in the week and will hopefully be making a trip higher into the mountains to visit some of the more cut off Romas who live there.
The kids team is doing a wonderful job of being flexible with their planning and execution of the plans. They have been getting together in the morning to plan games and Bible stories for the day and then are adjusting the plans as they engage with the children each day. It has been difficult to maintain order and attention among the Roma children as those are foreign ideas to them! By the end of the day the team is laughing at the interaction they have had. Their joy to be here is contagious and I know the Roma children can feel and see the love even if they cannot understand the words. The team will be heading back out to the camp today for more water balloon games and stories.
When the teams reunite we will try once again to clean up at the school and do some more prayer walking around Rakhiv. We are honored with your prayers for us today. Some specifics to pray for are:
Safety for the medical team as they go to some of the poorer more secluded areas of the camp.
The kids team as they work with so many children who they cannot communicate with verbally – that they will not become frustrated with the children.
That the team members will be a light to the Roma people.
As we prayer walk, that God will bring to mind needs and people who we can intercede for.
Our time as a team over dinner, that we will be able to express what God is doing among us.
For Joseph, Olessia, Vadim and Tonya as they continue to do ministry among the Roma people.
Here are some pictures from yesterday.
Day 3 Tuesday And so begins another beautiful day in Rakhiv. It was beautiful out this morning when I went to get breakfast for the team; the fog was drifting slowly down the mountain sides as the sun began to warm the sky. We are praising God for the weather! He is the God of answered prayers. Today's schedule looks very similar to yesterday's. The medical team will head out a little earlier to make a stop at the local pharmacy for some additional medications. They had a wonderful and very difficult day yesterday as they saw patients. Many stories were shared of pain, suffering, sickness and the lack of clean homes, water and food. I know it broke their hearts not to be able to do more. Today, they will continue with home visits to the believers of the camp and hope to have the opportunity to speak to others that are around.
We had about 70 children join us at our kids camp! What a wild and crazy crowd. The team was awesome as they played games and told Bible stories. The big hit of the day was the water balloon launcher and the big parachute! The kid especially liked when they managed to catch a balloon on with the parachute without it bursting - so they could throw it back at those launching the balloons. It was difficult to see these kids with their dirty clothes and bodies, their runny noses and coughs. The team allowed God to show His love through them. The Roma children loved having their pictures taken and posed with nearly every member of the team and then some. They are beautiful children who are in dire need of knowing the love of Christ.
After the kids camp we will join together as a group to prayer walk different areas of Rakhiv. Please join us as we pray today for the Roma's and Ukrainians who live here. Then this evening the team will be joining a Bible study that happens on Tuesday nights in the Roma camp.
Specifics prayer requests for today:
That the medical team will be able to find the medicine they are in need of for one of the people they saw yesterday.
For their safety as they drive (smashed, I might add) out to the camp.
Wisdom for the doctors as they evaluate each patient; in what to say and how to help them.
The kids team as they will have more kids today than yesterday (as word spreads of the Americans in the camp).
For a loving attitude towards the Roma children and an ability to communicate this love to them.
For continued good weather.
Our attendance and participation in the Bible study tonight.
Health and safety as we travel about Rakhiv.
Enjoy some pictures from yesterday and Sunday.
Enjoying dinner after a good day of working.
Time at the kids camp! What fun we had.
Church on Sunday.
Day 2 Monday Good morning! We woke up to a wonderful sunny day here in Rakhiv. What a blessing. I just wanted to post a quick note to let you know of our schedule for today. The medical half of the team will be leaving at 9:45am for the gypsy camp to begin seeing patients. They will be making home visits to some of the believers in the camp as well as offering their services to other members of the camp. Vadim and Ulya will be translating for Dr. Lee, Dr. Rod, Barbara and Katie. They spent some time last night going over their medications, what they had and what their plan was.
The other half of the team will be putting on a bible camp today for the kids around the Gypsy camp. Natasha and two other translators will be working with us to help translate the Bible stories, instructions and anything else we might need. We have to go out to the school where the camp will be held at 12:00pm to do some cleaning and picking up before we can start the camp. The kids team is thankful for the sunny day because then they can play outside with the children.
Late this after noon the team will rejoin together to begin prayer walking the village of Rakhiv and some of the surrounding area. This will be about the same time you all are getting up on Monday morning. We would love to have you join us as we pray today. Some specifics for today are:
Opportunities for the medical team to see many patients.
For the crafts to come together for the kids camp today.
That the team can be useful to the goals of the national workers.
For health and safety among the team today as we are split up and working among so many different people.
For the economy of Rakhiv and the struggles of its people to provide for their families.
That God will work miracles among the Ukranian and Roma peoples of Rakhiv.
Day 1Sunday is well under way here in Rakhiv. The team arrived last night - earlier than anticipated! They had a smooth trip across the border and arrived with all their luggage mostly intact (there was one bag that got ripped). They were tired and managed to make a break for the beds as quickly as possible!
After a leisurely morning we went off to church with Josef. It was a wonderful time of worship with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Rick gave a wonderful message about the call of Christ in our lives. There was a time of special music by one of the Gypsy children and the team shared a great rendition of Amazing Grace. After the service, we ate a wonderful lunch prepared by the member's of the church. There was so much food, I believe that everyone ate as much as they could and we still had lots left over! We are off to an afternoon of naps and resting before we begin orientation this evening.
Please pray for:
A restful afternoon for the team.
Josef and the team as they map out the direction of the week and the work that needs to be done.
Health and safety for the team as we travel out to the Gypsy camp.
Hopefully, pictures will be coming soon. Check back for more ....
We are looking forward to Temple Baptist Church from Hattiesburg, MS arriving in Ukraine. They will be serving the Roma people in Rakhiv from July 9 - 19. Check back daily for photos and prayer requests. We are excited you have joined this journey with us.