First things first…let me say sorry for not getting you an update sooner about my upcoming trip to Kiev, Ukraine. I have been so busy. Between meeting with people and raising funds, planning for weekend services and youth events, connecting with youth, coaching some summer football, speaking at summer camps and oh, GETTING ENGAGED…I have been a pretty busy guy the last two months. However, I do have some information to share with you about my trip.
First things first: the total for trip ended up costing $2,900.00. I will meet the team in San Francisco on July 30th and fly out the next morning. I will return home on August 16th. I have raised nearly 80% + of the money needed for the trip. If my totals are correct, I need about $600-$700 more and I have less then two weeks to finish raising that amount. I am trusting and believing in the Lord for the remaining needed to go. I was going to try and do a garage sale this weekend but that won’t work out now. Please be in prayer for the remainder of my finances to be raised. I also need to purchase some small trinkets/gifts to be able to give to our hosts and new friends in Eastern Europe as well as a memory card for my camera (or some one with a digital camera and large memory card that I can borrow). THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR GIVING FINANCIALLY TOWARDS THIS TRIP. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE AND FOR YOUR DESIRE TO BE OBEDIENT TO GOD DIRECTING YOU TO GIVE. What blows my mind is that there have been 2 or 3 different people who have given financially towards this trip, and I’ve NEVER even met them. I love it. God is so good.
Please also be praying for health and that I would stay healthy before and during the trip. I get home late on the 16th and have that Sunday to adjust before school, football and “life” starts on Monday the 18th. I won’t have much turn around time and heck, I’m young, so maybe I don’t need it J. Please be praying for wisdom and provision as I plan and prepare for being absent from 3 weekend services and 2 youth services. Pray that I get the support and leadership needed to cover my areas of service and that the impact of the ministry happening will continue and not be affected.
A lady I have never met before found out I was going to the Ukraine. She is the mother of one of my fiancé’s co-workers and she is from the Ukraine. She isn’t a believer, but she is very excited I am going to her “home” and she bought me two books: one is a phrase and language book, the other is a history and culture book. Please be praying for her, her name is Karen and I am believing that the Lord can use this connection to point her towards Himself. When I get back I plan on making a picture book of the trip and sharing with her how God worked in the lives of the people at her “home.”
Two weeks ago I was speaking at a camp in Santa Cruz. This was a camp of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders (yeah, it’s as crazy as it sounds) and one night I shared a story about an orphaned little girl in Korea that was adopted by an American couple. The story says this, “Out of the corner of his eye the man saw the little girl standing off to the side. He walks over to her. Then he does something that’s incredible. She’d never experienced this before. He reached out to her and took her face in his hands and said, “This is the child I want. This is the child I choose. This is the one we came for.” Picture this moment. She’s sitting there. She’s filthy, dressed in rags. By her own story she has lice in her hair, boils on her skin, her teeth are rotten. It doesn’t matter to this guy. He looked at her and said, “You’re precious to me. I accept you just as you are. My love for you is right now. I don’t care about the other stuff. I accept you just as you are.” This story had a huge impact on many of the kids and it fit well with my message that night. It was especially meaningful to one little girl named Olga.
The students were divided into groups and those groups rotated each day between activities and one of the activities they did each day was to make their own drama to share with the camp that night. The first couple of groups did skits using the Bible stories we had talked about at camp already. But Olga’s groups made a skit of the story I had told about the Korean girl being adopted and Olga, she played the girl who was rejected and left abandoned. When the drama leader asked her why she wanted to play that little girl she basically said “because that’s my story…I was the one no one wanted.” God worked in amazing way in Olga’s life that week. She was “tougher” to love, but totally worthy of it and she was such a precious example to me of the youth and youth workers I will get to spend time with in the Ukraine.
Less than 1% of people in Europe are born-again Believers today. There is a huge need to equip and empower the local church leaders to serve and share the Gospel. God is not done with the Ukraine or Eurasia and scripture tells us that God knows us by name and has called us to be reconciled unto Himself and that He is a gracious God who is in the redemption business. I am so excited to be apart of this conference and missions trip and my heart has been so humbled by the opportunity to go and love others and point them to Jesus.
Please be praying for my remaining finances needed, for my others needs, for the team of us going, as well as (and most importantly) be praying for those coming to NYC Eurasia.