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Wince

I just talked to a young 30-year old.  I’ve known him for about 4 years.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sober.  He comes around every so often and has this extremely intense look about him as though he is trying to control his world through force of will.  He looks you in the eye and in so doing, issues a challenge – “stare me down”.  Today, I was able to suggest that he needed a rehab center… and we just so happened to have one.  Who knows if he’ll end up coming once he’s sober… but I definitely hope that he’ll come.  I’ve long thought that mIMG_1679aybe God was calling him and that was the reason he kept on visiting us.  But I must admit that when I opened the door and saw him swaying there, I think I winced.

The students are due to start studying again officially today– the 1st of September.  In fact, I can hear the loudspeaker and some poor girl singing.  Wow!  Anyway, the start of the new school year means that the youth groups will pick up again and we’ll get a new batch in – some of whom God will call to Himself.  We are losing several of the old guard as they go off to study in other cities… there are benefits of living in the capital where there is work more easily found and many institutes.  And yet, there are also benefits of living here.  But being able to spend years teaching and discipling the students isn’t one of those benefits.

Marie

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Today I remember that I don’t like saying goodbye to my girls… especially when it is goodbye for months.  This is the third time I’ve had to do it and I really don’t like it.  I guess I’m not that different to most of the fathers in the world.

After a delightful two months, Marie left us to go back to Oz.  She will work with Josh for the next six months, saving for her next step in life. 

Jesse is enjoying studying at Brisbane School of Theology and working in the church and community with some quality people.  He feels busy, which is perfectly fitting for a student.   IMG_7473

Monday nights are usually “family nights” at our home.  This last Monday, we went out to the cliff-top at Grebeni, which overlooks the Dnepr River.  It was a beautiful evening for a bbq picnic and we loved the quietness and beauty from this lookout spot.  God has given Ukraine some really beautiful places.

Camp 120 2016

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106 people.

Tenting on an island for five days.

Being challenged by the examples of people who obviously love the Lord and His people.

Being challenged by the teaching of God’s Word.

Enjoying relaxing together and, at times, enjoying watching the young people do crazy stuff.

There was a beautiful attitude of willing and spontaneous serving that was in evidence.

There was an atmosphere of God-focussed-ness that filled our night-time campfires.

It was maybe the best camp yet in the last 11 years.

We are thankful to God for the safety He gave and for the lives that were changed by the week!

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First Day of Summer

IMG_6934Today is a public holiday in Ukraine.  Trinity.  Our church isn’t big into celebrating all the second tier holidays like Pentecost or Ascension or Trinity.  But we don’t turn our noses up at public holidays! 

Pris and the girls and I got up early today and had breakfast on one of our islands.  It was windy, but still pleasant.  We headed back home at 10:30ish and found our jet-lagged guest still sleeping soundly.

This weekend is wedding number two for our church this summer.  Our Tonia married Sergei at the perfect wedding venue in the village where the reb centre. (Rehabilitation Centre), is located.  And now Larissa will marry an American who came to Ukraine a couple of years ago for a visit.  (He just woke up and realized he was late for a ring buying appointment!  Agh!  Jetlag!!!)

The church is doing well.  I’m humbled as people who are obviously shining with the love of Christ express appreciation for my simple Bible teaching.  I know that my preaching is simple, full of grammatical mistakes in Russian, and western, but if people are hungry for God’s voice, I’ve learned that they will hear Him through the distractions as His Word is taught.