Our third week — the last of CMO 2023 — is complete. This report is admittedly very late, and I’ll spare you the excuses. But now that you’re here let's take a look back at Week 3!
The week began a bit earlier than most. After returning from a hot and grueling outreach in the Carpathians the previous Sunday and Monday, Tuesday would normally have been a day off for the team. This Tuesday, however, was different. We had been invited to participate in a special event at a local hospital for soldiers in L’viv. This hospital specifically deals with reconstructive surgery and prosthetics. Our family was asked to go from room to room in the hospital and sing for the soldiers, many of whom are unable as yet to leave their rooms due to the extent of their injuries.
View the full Week 3 photo album on our Facebook page!
The event was organized by our friends from Radekhivski Hospodyni, and it also included an outdoor concert and barbecue. While the concert gear was being assembled on the hospital grounds, we started our journey down the long hallways inside, accompanied by some of the staff and volunteers. As we entered each room, our family introduced ourselves to the soldiers and sang one or two Ukrainian songs. While we sang, the volunteers served barbecue and Nathan and Bill waited in the hallway, helping to carry gear and manage kids coming in and out of the rooms. Once we finished our songs, Nathan and Bill distributed Good and Evil books to the soldiers.
Wednesday and Thursday took us back to the Carpathians for our annual hike to the top of Mt. Parashka. While not a tall mountain by most standards at only 1268 meters (4,162 feet), Parashka is considered the highest point in our oblast. Climbers who reach its summit are rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
Our trip began as always with a hot and sweaty train ride from L’viv to the northern Carpathian town of Skole. The trail head for Mt. Parashka is located just across the tracks from the station in Skole. After a quick stop at a local grocery store for some last-minute supplies, we began our ascent.
The hike typically takes between 4 and 5 hours, and today was no different. I’ve not made this ascent since 2019 (4 years!) so I was a bit curious to see if I “still had it in me.” I’m happy to report that I did! So did Nathan and Bill. The hike is intense — especially the first couple of hours — but all went well. We summited around 5pm and took a few minutes to relax and shoot some photos.
We hadn’t been on the top long when a light rain began, and we hurried back down to our campsite, which is a hundred feet or so lower than the summit. The night passed uneventfully, and the next morning we made our descent and took a bus back to L’viv.
Friday and Saturday were filled with more local outreaches in L’viv, including tract distribution and Bible surveys. The latter has become a CMO staple in recent years, and it always yields interesting statistics as we quiz people about their opinions regarding the Bible. The short takeaway? Most people have a Bible, few read it, and most say they would like to read it more. What an opportunity! We haven’t yet compiled the stats from this year’s surveys, but we hope to have those ready in an upcoming report. As always, everyone who completes our survey is given a free copy of Good and Evil on the spot.
Sunday was the highlight of our week. Once again, our friends in Radekhiv had invited us to participate in a music festival, this time raising money for the Ukrainian Army as well as marking “City Day” for the town of Radekhiv.
In addition to our CMO team, we were also accompanied by a group from our church in L’viv. These folks have assisted our family during previous outreach concerts, and they certainly played a big role this time as well!
Our family sang eight songs: some Ukrainian patriotic songs and some Christian songs. We sang mostly in Ukrainian, but a couple of the songs were in English with translation provided via a link that attendees could access on their smartphones.
After the concert had ended, Nathan, Bill, and other members of the team gave away copies of Good and Evil to everybody who wanted one. The concert itself was only one part of the festival, and there were people milling all about eating, talking, and taking part in other activities. Over the next hour or so, we were able to give away ten cases of books! That evening, we returned to L’viv with full hearts, praying that God would use our work to draw these precious people to Himself.
As we woke up Monday morning, it was hard to believe that CMO 2023 was over. We had one final day to pack our things and get ready for departure. On Tuesday morning, we left for Poland at around 5:00am, the earliest time permitted by the local curfew. Our border crossing was long and boring as usual, but we made it to Krakow safely. Nathan and Bill flew out Wednesday morning, and I made my way back to L’viv.
Thank you for reading this report and for supporting our team in prayer! We hope to have a project recap out soon, and this will provide more statistics and general info about what was accomplished during the summer.
How you can pray
- Pray for the salvation of those who heard the Gospel during CMO 2023.
- Pray that many people would respond to our “Good and Evil invites” and request copies of the book.
- Pray for smooth logistics as we mail out hundreds of Good and Evil books, both to our distributors and to individuals.
- Pray for new Bible students to sign up for our course.
- Pray for new doors to ministry as we look to the fall season in Ukraine.
- Pray for a swift end to the war, and safety for those of us living in-country.