Sunday, October 23, 2011

Retreat Restoration

My second week in Missions was spent in Hungary. Upon seeing Budapest I made a snap decision- I needed to come back someday! I loved it. The city is beautiful, and I appreciated seeing some of the sights, as well as getting my Visa for Ukraine!
On Thursday morning the de Vuyst family and I left for Vajita, Hungary for a 'Spiritual Retreat' held for the missionaries and partners of CRWM, located in Europe. We stayed at a Christian college, International Bible School, in the guest lodge. It was a great location, especially for the missionaries with young kids, being able to go outside and enjoy nature, as well as a nice main building to hang out in.
There was about 30 of us altogether, I Believe. It was so great to meet all the different missionaries, they were all kind, sincere, a blessing to meet, and there was great conversations happening hourly.
The conference had the same format for most of the four days.. Breakfast- singing praises- then Dale Cooper- Calvin Chaplin- gave a talk every day on different topics... I thoroughly enjoyed the words he said, the stories he told, and the sincerity he bestowed. Then there was a time for us to get into small groups and discuss question related to that days topic. Then we had a time of prayer. We also got to hear from all the missionaries about their work, experiences and what they found most satisfying, and most challenging in their missionary position.
I praise God for the wonderful people I met, who love and serve God faithfully, how encouraging, and a blessing to see.
The highlight of my trip was probably hearing Dale's talk on Hope and trust. This topic lead into a discussion about fear. It really hit a sensitive spot for me, and I am reminded that I still live with fear. I would love to share something he said to us..
"We need to cultivate hope in God. See that God is Big. Have a BIG God.
God is great
God is also good.
God is directing history (My story! All of it- the trumpets, Ashes and Tears)
History has a destination, a goal.. to be with the LORD forever..
Take every moment as a gift from God & be thankful, praising God."
Perfect love, drives out fear. 1 John 4:18
..plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope.. Jeremiah 28:11
Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you. 1 Thess 5:18
I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
So, it was a weekend of conversations, praises, prayer, challenges, laughing, fun and encouragement.
I also had the opportunity to have conversations with some of the students from the college. They taught me different things about their backgrounds, shared their testimonies, and I felt completely blessed.. and excited to relate to some international young people. Very cool. So, I made some news friends as well, some I refused to say goodbye- just see you later. :)

"These hands are yours
Teach them to serve
As you please and I'll reach out
Desperate to see all the greatness of God
May my soul rest assured in you"

Monday, October 17, 2011

And one more!



"I only speak English"

I only speak English, I can't even boast of knowing French- the other language of Canada.
It seems like many people I meet here know multiple languages, much of this comes from a variety of languages being in every day use here. But anytime I hear someone speak English I realize how lucky I am to have grown up in a English speaking country- because much of the world is starting to learn English.. some know grammar better than I.
So, I admit, the language barrier is hard for me.. to not be able to communicate is kind of sad for me- it's not part of my personality to be quiet. But, I know that I will learn some Ukrainian words and be able to communicate at least more then now, ha.
Pus, it is wonderful that some people do know English.
I met two girls who came to the youth night, and they knew English quite well, and I really enjoyed talking to them... I can see myself building a relationship with them and hope to see them at future youth nights.
Oh, the first youth night! Right.. I should update on that. It went okay.. there wasn't too many youth, but, hopefully and prayerfully more will come in the future. Other than that, I just had an introductory meet. Showed pictures from home.. told a bit about myself, and then we played a game.
I really hope to have part of the youth nights be a time of Bible Studies.. but, I also know the language barrier will be a huge obstacle. Also, there is a variety of church backgrounds. But, I am determined to give it a try, and see where it leads us!
Other than that- I went to my first church service on Sunday. It was nice- Sarah translated the Russian sermon for me. I also got to meet some of the members, and even if there is a language barrier, they all seemed welcoming!
Today was the first time I ventured around the town center by myself- I feel like I have a decent idea of how Mukachevo runs. And had my first interesting experience with an older man sitting on the bench beside me trying to figure out where I was from, and intrigued that I spoke English.. we had a conversation that when I reflect on realize I have no idea what was being said.
I thought I would also post some more pictures.. some are of the town, others of my apartment repairs, and lastly a great shot of Matthew and Elizabeth!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Planting a Seed.

Hello readers!
First off, if you are reading this you are most likely one of my supporters and have encouraged me in my journey to and in Ukraine. So, first I want to say a HUGE thank you once more to all those who have said a kind word, donated financially, and prayed for me.
I left for Ukraine October 10th at 5:30 AM British Columbia time and got to the de Vuyst home on October 11th 8:30 PM Ukrainian time. It was a long trip, but it went fast as my imagination ran wild with thoughts of what my life would be like in the following hours. One hour past after an hour, and prayerfully my nerves stayed in tact!
From Prince George to Vancouver to Frankfurt (that was a longggg flight!) to Budapest. I then meet up with George (I work alongside him and his missionary family) at the airport and traveled the few hours to the Ukrainian border and eventually made it to Mukachevo!
By the time I made it to Mukachevo my head has drooping, my eyes struggling to stay open- but the excitement of the de Vuyst kids- Abilgail, Matthew and Elizabeth- along with Sarah were up waiting for my arrival. It was wonderful to be able to eat a meal with the family and get to know them immediately. Heading to bed every night seems backwards to me because I feel quite awake- being 10 hours different!
I have spent the last few days living with the de Vuyst family, seeing different parts of Mukachevo, meeting local people and this morning I attended Women's English Book club. The center of Mukachevo is interesting- with bright colored buildings, cobble stone like roads- which is pedestrian zone only.. which is great! The streets are filled with shops, food markets and churches. I love European architecture and the center of Mukachevo fulfills that!
I met my room mate- Csilla on Wednesday night. I absolutely loved meeting here and immediately enjoyed her company. She is sweet, funny and a great conversationalist, and fluent in English! I am so excited to live with her, after our flat is repaired in the next week. I asked God for the possibility of a room mate, and feel so completely blessed to have the chance to live with Csilla. He really answered my prayers. :)
Tonight is my first youth night at Mukachevo CRC.. I am excited, nervous, ready! I ask myself a lot of questions, but know I won't know the answers until I experience the group. I pray for God's guidance, wisdom and confidence. On the schedule? Some ice breaker games, introductions, discussion and socializing!
A friend shared this verse with me the other day when I mentioned my concerns for my leadership here and she presented me with this
"Jodi, if I could give you any advice... in reading 1 Corinthians 3:6.... "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.... " we need to learn to trust that we are given opportunities to "plant seeds" and trust that God will make them grow... we may not always see the results of our planting, but know that God has prepared the soil ... we plant the seed... and God will nurture the growth!!!"
I ask for your continued prayers! I have felt the prayers being raised in my behalf, and I am so blessed! I am praying for you as well.. a close friend of mine writes email prayer updates.. and I would like to do the same by including them in my monthly missions updates, as well, I would like to know if you have a prayer request.. so I can pray more specifically for you. Feel free to email, fb, or call me! I believe in the power of a praying community.
I will be sending out email, and physical copies of my missionary updates every month.
I'll attach some photos of my trip thus far!
More later :)