Hello Everyone! This first week at CMO has been fast and furious. Praise the Lord for His mercy and grace in allowing us all to arrive safely and on time. Ben and Karen win the award for the most excitement. First, before they left to come to Ukraine, Ben was chasing a cow and got his knee all twisted up while trying to jump over a hay ring. Then, when they arrived in L'viv, none of their bags were there. They had to go back the next day and get the lost baggage. Lastly, when Karen went to get out of the van, she fell and twisted her foot on the curb. Despite their injuries they both were able to go to the villages to help hand out film invitations. Real troopers! …. but I am getting ahead of myself.
I arrived Tuesday night at 9:00pm thoroughly tired and hungry. (Ben and Karen had gotten in the previous Saturday). What a joy it was then to find a meal waiting for me that Nathan's wife Katelin had prepared, and a fresh loaf of banana bread made by Abby Steele! Needless to say, the meal and some banana bread were consumed very quickly. 🙂 Ralph, Nelson, and Cornelius (or Corny as we all call him) all arrived Wednesday evening. Ralph, Ben & Karen, and I are staying at the ministry center (nicknamed the MC), while Corny and Nelson are staying at an apartment a little ways away.
Thursday was spent going to two villages that were about 2 and a half hours south of L'viv and handing out film invitations for the films that we showed on Sunday. Hosanna Steele and two of Nathan's daughters, Lydia and Melissa, came along. Thankfully none of us were bitten or attacked by any of the dogs! One of the cool things that we were able to do after finishing passing out invitations at the first village was to wade in the river that ran through the middle of town and cool off. That was so refreshing!
Friday we had orientation all morning and the plan was that in the afternoon we were going to do surveys with people, then street preaching. Well, we got one out of the two. The surveys went great! We had four teams:
- Team 1 Joshua, Ralph, and Abby Steele
- Team 2 Nathan, Nelson, and Hosanna Steele
- Team 3 Tolik and Corny
- Team 4 Ben, Rebekah Steele, and I
Ben, Rebekah, and I's team was the "English team" which means that we didn't have anyone on our team that could translate into Ukrainian. We had an absolute BLAST! I was surprised at how many people could speak English or if they couldn't, filled out the survey themselves. For each person that filled out a survey, we gave them a Good and Evil book and a starter packet to the Bible First correspondence course. The scariest thing that happened that day was that Ben and I accidentally "stole" this girl's phone. This is how it happened… While we were giving these two girls a survey, apparently during the exchange of us giving them Good and Evils and one of the girls handing back the clipboard, she accidentally handed over her phone as well. I thought it was Ben's phone and he thought it was mine. So a couple people later, after we had finished all our surveys, he handed me the phone and said, "Here's your phone." I said, "That's not my phone; I thought it was yours." Then we both looked at each other and were like "Oh NOOO!" So we started walking back trying to find the girls, and praise the Lord, the girl called her phone! Ben answered it, we were able to find her and give back the phone! It got a bit scary there for a minute though! Anyways, we had a good time laughing about it afterwards. Next, we were going to do the street preaching and chalk drawing, but just exactly when we got everything set up it started to rain. And it kept raining. After sitting for about 30 mins in the rain with a tarp covering all the equipment it was decided that we would have to do the preaching Saturday. It was still a great day!
Saturday in the morning we went touring! We went to the Armory Museum and then up to a lookout observatory on top of the highest point in L'viv. That was REALLY cool! In the afternoon we did street preaching, music, and chalk art. We also were able to hand out a lot of Good and Evil book tracts. Sunday we went and showed two film showings at the villages that we had handed out the invitations at on Thursday. Josh got sick Saturday night and was not able to go with us to show the films. We left at 10:30am Sunday morning to head to the villages. Since Josh always drives the van and he was sick, Ben drove.
Something cool that happened at the second village we showed the film at was that when we arrived at the place where we were to show the film at, it was still locked. We waited for a while, but no one came to unlock it. We were trying to call our contacts, but no one was answering. Right about that time, two ladies and their kids came walking up to see the film. When they saw that we needed someone to come unlock the door, they started calling around to see if they could find somebody with a key. Sure enough they did, and within a half-hour the door was unlocked! What was cool though is that every time we enter a village we are always the outsiders so to speak. But while they were helping us it was like they were on our side we were one of them! Also, I had so much fun playing with their little kids! Camping went well despite the fact that it rained most of the night. Thankfully, I don't think any of us got that wet. On Monday we went and handed film invitations for next Sunday at a village a little further down the road. We got that knocked out and then made it safely back to L'viv. We are all praying that God will heal Josh quickly so that he can be back with us. God is faithful. Onward we march to make Him known!
How you can pray
- Praise the Lord for those who heard the Gospel Sunday in the villages of Strilky and Lopushanka-Khomyna!
- Pray for a successful showing next weekend in Rozluch.
- Pray for open hearts and salvation for those who heard the Gospel during our survey and chalk-art outreaches on Friday and Saturday.
- Pray for safety as we travel to the city of Rivne for a three-day outreach beginning tomorrow (June 19).
- Pray for health for team. Specifically, this would include Karen's ankle, Ben's knee, and Joshua's recovery from a stomach illness. All appear to be on the mend, but prayers are appreciated all the same! And of course, pray that those who are healthy will stay that way!
- Pray for good weather for our surveys and open-air preaching this Saturday. There is rain in the forecast.
View the full Week 1 photo album on our Facebook page!