Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Camp Update - INCREDIBLE!

Here's Tabitha doing a craft with the girls

Well James and the four girls (we've nicknamed them the Florida Girls) arrived back safe & sound from camp. They said it was amazing, incredible and God was very much working in people's lives!! Thank you so very much for praying! Everyone was so exausted that they pretty much ate, took veerrryyyyy long showers :) and slept & slept - so I haven't heard lots of stories yet - but will post more later. They had just one day to rest and then on Saturday they headed back out to camp for a five day English camp.

James said he counted 56 different youth that came to the camp (some came just a few days then left). This was more than we were expecting and James was excited to see that many of the youth that came were friends of the ones that got saved last summer. Micah (from FL) did have one incredible story of how she got up early one morning and was reading her Bible when someone came over and starting asking all sorts of questions. The young lady ended up praying to receive Christ with Micah! Cathi from Kansas is flying home tomorrow so please pray for protection as she travels (and Chris as he drives her to the airport). James, the Florida girls, and Summer Baird from Oregon will be coming back tomorrow evening and I can't wait to hear all their stories and see more pictures after they get a good 12 hours of sleep in them. One thing James did have time to share with me was one of the youth came up to James the last night and said 'Thank you James, if you had never come to Russia I would have never know anything about God or had a reason to live.' Just hearing that one little story (for me personally) made all the work and preparation of the last two months just melt away. Just one neat answer to prayer.. one afternoon we had a terrible violent thunderstorm and heavy rain for several hours - I called James to warn him it was headed his way - then the kids & I got down and really prayed that God would not let any rain fall on the camp.. the next morning I called James and he said they saw lightning and heard thunder all night but not one drop of rain fell at the camp during the night (but it rained for several hours in the town only 10 miles away!) Okay I promise to write more soon!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Birthday celebration at camp!

Well today is James' birthday so to celebrate I loaded up the kiddos and two very large cakes and drove out to camp.. what a fun fun FUN day! The kids were so excited to see Daddy again, visit in his tent (so fascinating!) go swimming, get to ride on a boat AND tube, and best of all (for David at least) get to shoot a BB pellet gun! He kept telling everyone he was 'the Lone Stranger'! (in case you don't know who that is.. he is somehow related to the Lone Ranger:)

Please be praying as the camp is going very well, but it takes lots of energy to keep 49 youth fed, learning and occupied. James looked pretty exausted and said that 'he was now officially too old to do this anymore' Ha! Cathi, Megan, Micah & Tabitha have been a huge help and the youth have enjoyed hearing their testimonies and practicing their English with them. Please continue to pray for physical protection and strength, continued good weather, and most of all that God would work in these lives. We really covet your prayers for the next few days!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

PLEASE be praying!

Okay what a week we've had!! We are used to having everything fall apart the day before camp begins... but when the chaos ensues it's still unexpected - if that makes sense...

Anyway, camp was to begin Saturday morning - late Friday night a terrible storm blew in - the temperature dropped 35 degrees and incredible winds blew four of the tents down. When we woke up Saturday morning it was 42 degrees! and many of the parents were calling concerned it was too cold/wet to start the camp. So James decided to delay until Monday (the weather forcast for all of next week is great!). So Saturday James, Cathi, and about 7 other youth went out to camp to help set up and make sure everything is ready and then camp will officially begin on Monday. (does this make sense?? :)

We have about 42 youth planning on going so please be praying - that is a lot of people to be camping out in tents beside a lake.

Here's a newsletter I typed up and then decided to just send out the regular newsletter in a month with pictures from camp. So, this newsletter has lots of mistakes, run-on sentences etc.. but at least it's information :)

Dear praying friends & family,

Summer and sunshine have finally arrived! Here's an update of the past few months...

Easter Outreach:
The week before Easter James & Andrei spent several days passing out the Gospel of John with a special Easter message on the cover. They spent one whole afternoon talking with a group of ten young men from Armenia about the Bible; they were very open and receptive and thanked them afterwards for taking the time to answer their questions. Two of the young men they met are planning to come to the summer camp. While James was standing on the street passing out tracts he just *happened* to see the Director of the nearby orphanage - the one where we do a Christmas program and give out gifts every year. He had told the Director if she ever needed any help to please contact him... as they were talking she mentioned that some of the older youth at the orphanage really needed help with their English and could James possibly come by once a week to tutor them. So James started spending every Thursday afternoon tutoring and talking with about 11 youth. The first time he went he was walking down the hall of the orphanage trying to find the Director when he heard "JAMES" being yelled down the hallway; he turned around and saw 15 year old Katya that had gone to summer camp last year. When James asked her why she was now living in an orphanage she told him that in January she was very sick and hospitalized for two months. She kept waiting for her parents to pick her up from the hospital but they never came to see her. Finally she discovered they had sold their apartment and moved away and told a neighbor to tell Katya they 'couldn't take care of her anymore.' She had no idea how to even contact them so she was now a ward of the State. When she finished telling James she then added, "When I was laying there in my hospital bed all I could think about was next summer when I could go to your camp again." It made me realize just how much the love and attention these youth receive at the summer camp means in their lives.

A Few Good Men:
One thing we have prayed for was the chance for James to really disciple a few men who could in turn be the leaders of the Bible studies and Youth Center. God has answered this prayer this winter as two young men Sasha - a 22 year old who grew up in an orphanage and was saved three years ago - began to take a more active part and begin seriously studying the Bible on his own and with James. Also Sergei - who was saved at last year's summer camp - told James he wanted to be more involved in ministry and evangelization. Sergei began witnessing to the people he worked with at the factory and also going on Saturday to an orphanage on the other side of Moscow to do a program with a group from YWAM (Youth with a Mission). Please pray for Sasha and Sergei to grow in their faith and become leaders - something that is very difficult for a man to do in this culture.

Prayer Requests:

We've got lots!!
-Summer Camps - July 1st - 10th
- July 13th - 17th (special English camp)
- July 19th - 29th (with Pastor Andrei from Mozhaisk)

-Traveling safety for the team that is coming to help at the camps: Chris Brudi, Micah, Megan, Tabitha and Cathi.

-Spiritual and physical protection for those at the camp. Pray that God will WORK! in these hearts and lives.

-Sanity (!!) and protection for Susan as she home-schools Rachel and takes care of the homefront while James is away. It's of course a non-optional law of the universe that as soon as your husband walks out the door for an extended absence that everything immediately breaks down, explodes or somehow disintigrates in your home. :)

-Please pray that in all we say and do our lives will glorify Jesus Christ. We need such wisdom and feel so very inadequate. I constantly cling to the promise God has given us, 'Faithful is HE that calleth you who also will do it.' We know God has called us to live out our life here in Russia so we know HE will accomplish the endeavors He has put on our heart to undertake.

Our deepest thanks and gratitude to all those praying and giving to meet our needs. I sometimes think about how wonderful it will be in heaven to introduce you to Sergei & Sasha & Katya and all the others who will be rejoicing around the throne of God because of your prayers and faithfulness! May God richly bless each of you!

Grace & Peace,
James, Susan, Rachel, David, Caleb & Johanna Joy

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