Archive for ‘Ivankiv, Ukraine’

count down

1 Commentby   |  05.28.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

As thoughts keep roaming through my head I can quite grasp the fact I will be in Ukraine in 8 days. The words “There’s so much to do!” keep floating through my mind. First, finish two online summer classes which end the day before I head out while still maintaining good grades in both. second, preparing for a wedding a day after I step of the returning plane to Dallas. Third, I’ll probably make at least two Target runs before I leave. One suitcase, and not a clue on what to fill it with yet. Yet! There’s the beauty in this process, this journey has been constantly preparing me to leave and it started last fall when I turned in my WWW application. Then the semester course on short-term missions.  The continuous beauty lies in with God and how I need to put my trust in Him. My professors have been a helping hand in the process of journey. God has been the instructor and has let me learn what I need to before I embark for two-months half way around the world. So when I say that I don’t know what to pack that is just a simple metaphor to the bigger realization that God has already given me the knowledge and the maps (so to speak) to lead me. That’s what this trip is about. It is not about the American’s bringing God to people. It is about myself and my team mates letting God USE us in His novel that He has already written. He has already begun to work in the hearts of the children we will get to know this summer. That’s the beauty of it. He has already made this plan a long time ago. Now he is just using me to let His kingdom advance. I definitely find real beauty in that.

Reminders

1 Commentby   |  04.24.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

There is just a little over a month before my team mates and I head out to the Ukraine. To be honest up to this point I have not really been thinking about the work we will be doing but rather the idea of going over seas to the Ukraine. These past week I was moved by different people and their thoughts and ideas. First off, one person said “we have to submit to Christ.” Another said “we must be real and show our baggage. We must learn to share and let go of it.” A few weeks ago in chapel it was Justice Week. A week of chapel devoted to learning about injustice in the world and how me might do something about it. We watched a documentary on child slavery. It was compelling yes, because it is wrong.  But it made me very passionate about the way we treat those around us every day. We learn when we are younger to be kind to everybody. Yet we do not learn until we are older to LOVE everyone. I am ready to be done with this semester and to be in the Ukraine loving on the kids that will be coming to camp. I feel very passionate about the kids who are abandoned or abused for various reasons. First, these kids have yet to feel love from their parents, or have never had parents. I understand that every child needs to feel love. Being loved and to know you are loved are two different ideas that play in the same game of life. I am ready to learn how to love kids and to learn ways for the kids to know they are love and to feel that they are loved. Two months seems like forever sitting at my computer screen at the moment. Though I hope the two months I get to spend in the Ukraine will pass slowly but have fast effects on the kids we will get to love on. I hope time passes slow in the aspect that I will not want to leave, and not in the aspect that I want to leave.

Just as my thoughts and worries were growing to an all time high I was reminded by these recent storms that it is not my worry to worry. The storms this weekend have been a great reminder for me to slow down and live in the present. Each day we are moving closer and closer to the end of the semester, the end of summer school, and flying to the Ukraine. I do not like worrying, but it is a part of how I deal with stress. My feelings at the present are very ‘future’ oriented. I’m learning to slow down and live in the present before I miss it and it is in the past. I’m reminded by these storms to take a step back, It is not always in my hands. The reason this reminds me to calm down is because this past summer the reason I was hit by lightning in the first place was because I was trying to be helpful and was going after tents and people’s belongings that were flying off. If my youth minister and I would have gone to the vans with everyone else we would have been safe. I was busy getting ready to be a new freshman at ACU and never thought something would hinder my experience.  I keep looking back at this event in my life and keep trying to make meaning out of it. I could go biblical and quote Job 36:32 to explain it. Or I could learn to live in the present. This weekend I was caught in multiple storms. The first one I was driving and saw lighting. I burst into tears and had to pull off on the side of the road. The significance of this and the other encounters particular to this weekend is that I have a special reminder of our God who is bigger and stronger than me. He has hands that shape and create events that will be specific to each of our lives. These are just a few events that have shaped my understanding of God. My main reason for writing on this was that I’m excited for this summer but also that I was reminded to remember God’s presence everyday. This summer one of my hopes is to remember to be selfless and in doing so, something metaphorically like being hit by lightning may occur.

I’m also learning that bumps in the road like fund raising are a part of the experience.

This is real life

1 Commentby   |  04.22.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine, Uncategorized

To be entirely honest, the realization that I will be in Ivankiv, Ukraine for the entire summer hasn’t quite sunk in yet. When we had our prayer time on the 14th I stared down the little star in Eastern Europe that represented our teams location and was trying to force myself to understand the distance, the time, the cultural difference. It didn’t really work. Being told many times not to approach this summer with expectations on the significance of “my” role or how difficult/easy it will be, I really only have one emotion right now. I am excited. I am excited to see God’s work this summer as he draws children to himself. I am excited to see missionaries passionately trust in God as they work and give wholeheartedly of themselves. I am excited to see the selfless love of Christ flowing out of my teammates. I am excited to see kids receive that love and be healed (even if only a bit) as they are drenched in and refreshed by it. I am so excited at the idea that just one other priceless human being might get to experience God and be forever transformed by Him. Will this summer throw me some hurdles that trip me up and knock me down? I’m actually laughing thinking about how quickly that is probably going to happen. However, I know God is greater. My prayer for this summer is that the people we interact with in Ukraine would come to know and believe in the unconditional love God has for them, and that His love would align them completely with the way of the cross. I pray that everything we do be centered around Jesus and glorifying him. I pray we live out each day aligned with the thoughts, feelings and purposes of God’s heart. I pray that this summer wouldn’t be about helping others to relieve our own guilt, but out of compassion and love for our brothers and sisters. That. Would. Be. Awesome.
As for me personally, I know Aslan is definitely on the move and that this summer will bring me some clarity in regards to God’s purpose for my life. Perhaps He will call me to join him in foreign missions or maybe even just teach me a bit more about saying “here I am, send me,” and really meaning it.

Love for Ukraine

1 Commentby   |  04.20.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

Sometimes I cannot believe I am going to be spending 9 weeks in Ivankiv, Ukraine this summer! And the idea of spending time loving and sharing Jesus with His children is so amazing! I am so incredibly blessed by this opportunity and so excited to watch the Lord at work.  There are times when I get nervous and question whether I am really ready for this challenge, it is out of my comfort zone for sure.  But then I remember having faith is throwing yourself into situations God has called you to and completely trusting Him, so that is what I am doing now.  I know God has this mission trip in mind for me this summer, it has been on my heart for awhile and the ways it has all come together cannot be overlooked.  I am so extremely blessed and so ready to love these children with the love of the Lord!

Jeremiah 29:11

manna for today

29 Commentsby   |  04.20.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

My story is similar to Josh’s: after months of pursuing other trips and avoiding Europe, I finally ended up with an internship in Ukraine. I couldn’t be more excited–God placed this desire in me to travel, to get out of my comfort zone, to see the world in a different light, and it’s coming to fruition in just over a month when I travel to Ukraine.

I can already see the challenges that I will face this summer– the fatigue, the language barrier, being away from everyone who is close to me– but I also anticipate God working in ways that constantly amaze me. I can’t wait to see what He has in store. At this point, I’m trying to let go of my worries and trust that He will provide.

Two years ago while working at summer camps, I learned something incredibly vital. Exhausted on all levels, I thought I could only make it one more day, though we had two weeks left. One of the directors said to me: “You only need to make it one more day. When God gave manna to the Israelites, they were only allowed to take a day’s portion, just so they would trust in His provision. We always pray, “give us today our daily bread.” It’s not about being prepared for the whole summer or even the whole week. It’s about depending on Him for the strength and wisdom that you need today.” Especially during finals, things are hectic and it’s hard to not be worried about preparing for this summer. But I know that in the midst of it all, God will renew my strength.

I can’t wait to see how He provides this summer… He amazes me.

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs

3 Commentsby   |  04.19.11  |  Ivankiv, Ukraine

God has already been at work in forming this internship for me. I prayed for complete direction on where to go and I trusted God entirely. Let me tell you a little bit about my story of how I ended up where I am going.

I first was signed up for Singapore working with a church there, I felt OK about it. I wasn’t sure that that was where God wanted me, so I was slightly uneasy. I wanted to go somewhere in Asia, I knew that, I wanted to experience a culture that was vastly different than mine, something I had never experienced before. I had been all over Europe when I studied abroad last semester and LOVED it but I wanted to experience a totally different culture. So I was set on somewhere in Asia. Well one day in chapel, an ACU student spoke about an orphanage in the Ukraine called Jeremiah’s hope where he went. I was inspired by the pictures and the stories he told. I have always wanted to work with orphans, and that’s where I believe God has called me to be for my entire life, so why not start now! So I emailed Larry and told him I wanted to work at an orphanage. I received a reply and he said there was a wonderful orphanage called Bethel in China that I could go to! I was ecstatic! Perfect! China was the country I originally wanted to go, and Bethel looked like a great place to be.

So I was on board for Bethel, and felt pretty good about it. I loved my teammate Stephanie Frakes. We were a perfect team because we are exact opposites! I thought we complimented each other well and looked forward to going to China and working at the orphanage with her. Stephanie had already been accepted as an intern at Bethel, and since I had came on board a little late they had not accepted me as an intern. Time went on and as I emailed Bethel they never came back with a definite answer. Ever day of class Stephanie would ask “Have you heard from Bethel?” and I would sheepishly have to say “no”. During this time of uncertainty, I gave my internship to God. I had an odd sense of peace about it, I knew that I would end up at the exact place that God wanted me to be.

I felt like the time had come about two weeks ago for the decision to come about. After about two months of uncertainty I knew that the time for decision was right around the corner. I was thinking if I am suppose to go to Bethel in China then they will email me with the go ahead, if not then another option would rise up. That week Larry emailed me and said that I should pick a different place for my internship. He suggested the Ukraine to work in the orphanage at Jeremiah’s Hope. I felt long ago about two months ago that I might end up there after I heard the student speak in chapel but it was vague, a kind of tug on my heart that God had given me, yet I didn’t want to listen. I could not listen, there was something there, but it was too hard to define, my own wants was clouding my judgment. I didn’t want to go back to Europe. I had already been there, and I wanted to experience something knew. I would have rather picked Africa or South America before I picked somewhere in Europe. I knew that if Bethel didn’t work out that Larry was going to suggest the Ukraine. It was a weird sense, Larry had never mentioned it, but I had a feeling I was going to go there, a feeling only God could have given me. That’s where God wants me to be this summer. Through a series of wonderful God orchestrated events, I am going to a place that would have been last on my list, but it is first on God’s list for me.

I truly am excited for the work that I will be doing at Jeremiah’s Hope. When you know that God is behind what you are doing you have a renewed vigor. I see my internship as an act of service to my God. I want to be a wonderful blessing to the kids that I come in contact with this summer. All along the Lord was with me in this process. One of my new favorite verses that speaks to my journey so far in my internship this summer is:

Proverbs 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

The Lord has been directing my steps from the very beginning. I know that if it were not for Him I would not be going to the Ukraine this summer. I would have followed my selfish desires and gone to a place that was more exciting for me. God has worked in my heart and there is truly no other place I would rather be than in the Ukraine serving in likeness of Jesus. Seriously, you could give me any place on this Earth and I would pick the Ukraine, because I know it is God’s will for me. I thank God so much for what he has done already and I eagerly wait for the future as I follow His path.