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Dan showing a film in the village
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Spectacularly good camp

IMG_4809Camp 120 is over for another year.  113 people came out to the island to be with us and it was an amazing time.  We had more couples than ever before… and more little kids than ever before.  We had more amazingly talented musicians and singers than ever before.  (Four of them are renowned in Ukraine.)  We had hot weather, a touch of rain and wind on the last two days… making for a rough crossing for ferrying passengers home.  We had four speakers who were responsible and challenging and made me glorify the Lord.  We had a waterslide on which no one died… and a Tarzan swing on which no one disemboweled themselves.  We had a non-poisonous snake in the girls toilet cubicle and two snakes which crawled into a tent during the night.  We had one “pukey” who toughed out the night and one child who on the last morning caused some consternation when he struggled to breathe for about an hour.  We had several people learn to wake-board.  And we had lots of people reveal God’s work in their lives as they served and loved.  It was a spectacularly good camp.

For me, the most memorable moment was probably killing and skinning the sheep.  Rivaling that moment was hearing Slava and Mariana’s young son spontaneously break into “song” during a guitar intro someone was doing for the talent show.  It was hauntingly beautiful, partly because it was such perfect melody of classic Ukrainian sound.

I think I made eight trips in the boat to pump fresh drinking water into six barrels (300 liters all told).  Keeping 100 people hydrated was fairly easy in the end, but I was still surprised at how often we had to go for water! 

 

The economy of Ukraine is still thrashing around trying to decide if it’s still alive.  I just got back from a trip downtown to pay for the rent of the hall we use for Sunday gatherings.  At $15 a week, it is pretty reasonable.  (Luba, the director of the club, is a friend and believes that we do a lot of good for the community, which is nice.)  We talked about the winter and about whether the hall would be heated.  The chances of that are slim-to-none.  Money has all but dried up and the prices of gas will be exorbitant for many, the local government included.  Olya Kolesan, a 40-year old unemployed lady in our church, comes over one day a week and we provide her with odd-jobs around the house.  The government gives her less than $10 a month in unemployment benefits… which they haven’t paid in three months.  Ordinary people are already feeling the pinch… but these jaws are yet to really clamp down hard on the country. 

IMG_4807We have bought tickets for an Australian visit.  We leave here in September, returning in February.  Right now, the plan is to spend half our time in Sydney with the folks at Gymea People’s Church and the other half in Brissy with family and the church that meets on Bribie.  While we are away, several of the men will be teaching and preaching and Shane will use his administrative gifts to keep things together.

The photos:

#1 and 2.  The waterslide:  worth doing despite the risk of someone breaking their neck!  People came off with all sorts of bruises and scrapes and one or two nasty cuts… but they loved it!

IMG_4793#3.  The Rzhyshchiv beach from where we took off Sunday afternoon.  It doesn’t get too much more crowded than this.

#4.  Towing Andrei and his passengers out to the island.  His 2.5 hp motor was super efficient on petrol… but for the last trip on Sunday, I towed him out and helped him arrive 20 minutes earlier than he expected.

#5.  The three “seniors”: Oksana, Pris and Koren.

#6.  The spud peeling crew.  The kitchen again did the job this year, despite the extra people.  We had a schedule for workers, but so often people just volunteered as well.  It was impressive to see.

#7.  Sergei and Tonia.  Tonia wears a new ring as she considers how to answer her suitor.  Sergei came over from Russia, where he fled to avoid being pressured to join the separatists.  He’s a pleasant young man we enjoyed getting to know.

#8.  Too old for cricket, they said.  Maybe they were right.  I pulled a muscle in my left side bowling and was run out for 8 because I was shouting “go, go” to my partner who naturally heard, “no, no”… cause he’s even older than me.   :)  Besides, he doesn’t speak English!  For two weeks after, every time I sneezed or stretched wrong, I involuntary doubled over in pain!  It made for an extra interesting sermon Sunday.

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