Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wow what a great and big wordlwide family we belong to.

Hi friends, so sorry we didn't have time to scribble a blog yesterday. We spent the day in the blistering sunshine at the black sea camp. When I say blistering our complexion resembles something between cerise and lobster red for those familiar with B and Q paint range.
The camp has been a holiday home for many many 100's and 1000's of children and young people over the years. Many of them have not experienced a holiday like that by the sea before. It is a stunning place of natural beauty.

Here young people have heard of the greatest news on earth for the first time, the unconditional unrestrained love of God in Jesus Christ. In this truth we all discover our true identity. On top of the cliff top upper level of the camp is a cross, which no doubt can be seen by ships way out in the black sea.
 The camp has been a refuge for the hurting, balm for the distressed, and a haven for those rocked off their feet by a fallen and broken world. It was our privilege to just go and spend some time with the children and friends from church. Our fun started with an extended time of  volleyball. A game with the children, and then with some rather more aggressive Ukranian gentlemen who took things rather more seriously than we had signed up for. Thankfully Peter's BBQ came just in time....
Cooked on the charcoal, he had a small mountain of marinaded chicken and pork which could've kept us going for a very long time (days, maybe weeks rather than hours).

Lunch climaxed in toasted marshmallows, before a communal game of UNO with the children. It was absolutely brilliant. Little ones who maybe just a year ago were too shy to say a word, or maybe even look at us, were giggling their heads off and yelping with delight when they made us pick up cards. It was amazing to see how well they are developing and growing up, even translating for us so that we understood the jokes. All of it was kind-hearted gentle and caring of each other. They are a huge credit to their house parents and a delight to be with. The children then wanted me to go up to the top of the camp with them, so we had a race up the several hundred steps to the swings. I hope my knees may just about recover in time for my summer holidays. When it was time for us to go, the children were so keen to tell us how much they would miss us.

During the evening I had the massive privilege of spending some time with Julie and Alfie Mosse. I have met them briefly a number of times in Odessa, but it was so wonderful to spend some time getting to know them much better. They are a faithfull and talented couple who have been pioneering supporters of the Odessan church. They have a wonderful passion for the gospel, and the local church, a transparent honesty and integrety. As missioners with Send international, Alfie is a professor and Julie with her masters is an expert in teaching English. They are currently supporting a church plant initiative with their gifts and warmth. Talking with them was one of those occiassions where affinity and shared passion was so quickly established that there was massive mutual encouragement. Our hope is that we will be of mutual help as we pray together with one heart for that fledgling church. Please join us as we pray. The establishement of a new gospel work in that area, would be massively strategic.

Today was back to work in the basement, and I believe we achieved more today than any of our working days here so far, praise GOD. I hope to give you a full rundown with pictures on Friday before we leave (*time and internet providing). Suffice to say, we now have a number of areas looking much more habbitable. Star turn of the day goes to Emlyn who was working with a sledge hammer and axle grinder trying to remove one extremely thick piece of structural metal from the floor of the room we are about to start work on. The banging and chiseling started before lunch, and went on during and after. The whole place shook with every blow of Emlyn's persistance, but still the thing wouldn't budge or bend. SO ... he resorted to yet more grinding until the sparks resembled something on bonfire night. I think he was a little bit miffed when John Davenport took all the glory with the final, vital fatal sledgehammer blow. Don't be dissolusioned Em, I'm sure you losened it a lot, those hours of work must have done something other than produce the worlds greatest pyrotechnic show.

This evening I had the wonderful privilege of spending time with the baptist minister here in Fontanke. Here is my wonderful brother Sergey Kirchun
He gave me a guided tour of his wonderful church building, which is being built by the sacrifice and commitment of his congregation. Sergey is a faithful brother who depends in faith for the things that he has, and the blessing God is giving to growing His church in Fontanke. It was a really special time of fellowship as we shared stories, laughs, and experiences of pastoral ministry. I was so encouraged to hear of how he is training men to preach, handle the text well, and youth leaders to love their bibles.
Our tour included ...
The classroom where preachers and youth leaders are trained.

The first hall the church met in on this site (after the house they met in crumbled down the cliff into the sea)

and the area where they collect clothes and food for Crimea region and those in need.
 The church hope to turn this in to a small living area / guest appartment for refugees or pastors, as their limited funds allow. Pray that God will provide please for this church, and thank him for such a great, gracious and humble man who depends, leads and encourages this gospel community to live by faith. I was hugely encouraged and challanged by my time with this lovey guy and his incredibly generous heart. Our evening drew to a close with a precious time talking to God about how much we appreciated being brought together... two guys from very different situations but with the same gospel ambitions and same wonderful providing God.

That's all we have time for today, thanks so much for sticking with us. Chat tomorrow,