Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ukraine Team Update ~ 07/10/18

We returned to Raleigh Tuesday afternoon at 2pm after being gone for 16 days. Upon reflection, many thoughts have run through our minds as we journeyed homeward on Sunday by train from Lviv to Kiev, where we spent the night in a hostel. Monday morning Terri had the blessed opportunity to visit a dear Ukrainian friend who she had not seen since 1995. Not only a great time together, but made even better when Terri discovered her friend had become a Christian in 1997.  Breakfast followed her visit as we were joined by Yevgen, Development Director, and Yulia, Executive Director for CCX Ukraine, before a brief walking tour which lasted until we left for the airport and a flight to London.  We left London Tuesday for RDU, a not so short 7.5 hour flight.

(Our team with Yulia and Yevgen, overlooking the Dnipro River in Kiev)
We have been blessed beyond description in many ways. The dedication of the Ukrainian staff, their love for Jesus, their desire to make Him known, their love for each other and the students, and their desire to consistently present to the students what awaits them when they become brothers and sisters in Christ.
As we all observed, Ukrainian students like to discuss, reflect and consider the Truth before making decisions.  Many have come to summer and/or winter camps for several years. We are certain that they have been given much to think about in the days and weeks that follow.
God’s love for them, His Word explained and shared with them, and a true picture of what life can be when one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior were consistently and lovingly presented to them.  Many have significant doubts and deep questions.  
We left many new friends as we departed from Ukraine.  We left certain that God’s Word will not return void.  We feel that we were privileged to “plant seeds” that others will water and see mature. God knows when that will occur, we do not, but we have full assurance and faith that it will happen.

(Eric with Maxym, a rather large Ukrainian college student from his small group)
We felt your prayers, as well as prayers from friends and relatives and churches across our country, throughout our trip.  With thankful hearts we thank each one of you for sustaining us, in every way.  
To God be the glory, great things He has done and will do in the lives of these precious students.
Because He Lives!!
John (on behalf of Eric, Terri, Catherine, Austin)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ukraine Team Update ~ 07/06/18

Today was a lot of fun for us as a team. The whole group (maybe 150 staff and students) from the CCX Camp we are helping to facilitate traveled into the city of Lviv with the challenge of a scavenger hunt, collecting as many photos as we could of bizarre activities around the city. Retro clothing in stores. Human train on the trolley tracks. Befriending someone and their dog and a photo with the dog. And all kinds of other humorous and fun moments.

Laughter, cultural conversations and friendly joking in my group is helping to make us comfortable for deeper conversations about Jesus. This morning we studied John 9, and a few students stated plainly that Jesus must not be God because he does God’s works rather than his own works. Then we were able to talk about the fact that eventually the blind man who is healed by Jesus says “Lord, I believe,” and worships him—actions reserved only for God. These are the kinds of seeds the Lord is planting in the lives of these young, bright students for whom Jesus gave his life. 

Please pray for continued openness in these gospel conversations, and for our endurance as we walk with them this week. And pray that some would enter the Kingdom even this week!

We miss and love you!

For God’s glory,
Eric, on behalf of Austin, Catherine, Terri and John

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ukraine Team Update ~ 07/05/18

Dear friends,

As I write this, our Ukrainian students and British and American teams are dancing the night away in traditional Ukrainian style. It's the end of our second full day of camp, and the Ukrainian students have put on an amazing event celebrating Ukrainian culture with skits, songs, poetry, and, of course, dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. 

The students arrived at camp on Sunday morning, and over the last two and a half days, we've been getting to know them in Bible study and discussion, over silly games, and in casual conversations. We have been impressed by the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the students. In my group, there are several agnostic students who approach Scripture with a significant amount of skepticism, but they continue to participate in Bible study (for some, this is their 4th CCX camp!) and ask perceptive questions about things like human nature and Biblical history. We've also had some great informal conversations with students. This afternoon, for instance, one student asked to chat during our free time and shared his thoughts and concerns about the war in Eastern Ukraine and his hopes for Ukraine's future. 

Please pray that in the second half of this week of camp, the Lord will show us how to love these students well and will make our actions and our conversation winsome. Please also pray that the Lord will provide good, natural opportunities for us to have conversations with the students about Jesus, and that He will give us the words to speak. The days are really full, so please continue to pray for rest and stamina for the members of our team, as well as for good opportunities to make contact with loved ones at home. 

We are so grateful to know that you are lifting us up in prayer!

Catherine Wood