Jon from TSC leading worship in Ukraine
Jon from TSC leading worship in Ukraine
Today is our last entry on the trip. It is amazing how God has enabled us to accomplish so much in a short time. Today we took on some additional challenges because we had the time. The team tiled part of the kitchen floor and did some templates for making a section of moulding to complete the wood walls we constructed. Our plan was to leave all the tools that we brought over to the local workers as a gift. They loved them. Certain members of the team formed relationships with the Ukrainian workers and they were really sad to see them go because it’s God’s love shared between two people. It is awesome to see this type of close fellowship. These interactions are what missions are all about-it is and will always be about people, it’s not about the amount of tile we installed or the stairs and drywall. It is about sharing a common goal: the love of Jesus Christ and expressing that love to each another. My fondest memories are people that I have served with in the field side by side with God, that’s where He will be and is also where you experience a joy and peace you will never forget. In closing, we were so blessed to get to know the Crowe family and experience their hospitality. It is so exciting to know we had a small part in something that God will do in a big way at the cafe. I am so happy I was able to see and spend time with Pastor Neil and sister Noline. They are doing great and excited about what God is doing in Ukraine and Poland. They have never looked better or had more energy. Time Square Church, it’s an honor to have been part of the effort. Thank you, Blessings!
I can’t believe it but we have only one more day to work. This morning we rose early and met with other missionaries at the cafe to pray. God has assembled a group of people that have moved here with one goal in mind: serving Him. It is truly Christianity in it’s purest form and awesome to see. Today we split up into two groups, one group continued to do woodworking while the others built shelves to store items for a center to help the poor. We met some local business owners and they are excited about the cafe opening. The time has flown bye and we have only one more day.
Well it’s Monday and we’re back to work. The bathrooms and stairs are done. The drywall has a little more to go so we have moved on to doing wood working. I have been on a few BrickThink trips, but the last two God has really blessed us when it comes to accomplishing work…we are getting a lot done! I prayed for two months for God to assemble the team that He wanted to go and as the leader of this trip I could not have ask for a better group of men to work with. They work with so much energy and don’t take a lot of breaks. I am honored to have them and thank God for them. The team has bonded with the follow workers and we all are having a great time. They teach us Ukrainian and we teach them English. This cafe is going to be a great addition to the town and can’t wait to her what the Lord does. God bless and thank again for your prayers.
Today we had a day of rest and we sure could use it. Where do I begin to explain what an awesome day we had in fellowship with our brother and sisters…the team went to service today at the local church and our own John Valentin led worship in Russian. The locals loved it and I sent a video that I took. It doesn’t capture the moment exactly but will give you an idea. Next all of us gave a brief testimony of what God has done in our lives. Our host Bruce Crowe told us even on Sunday we were doing Brick Think work but instead of working on a building, we were building up the church. After the service we all gathered together for a potluck lunch outside. Next we jumped in the van and went to the city of Kiev for a day of sightseeing. What a beautiful city and very clean. Bruce and Debbie gave us a tour of the city from a locals view point and we took lots of photos. Vladimir, a member of our team is from Ukraine and you could tell he was enjoying being in his homeland. Tomorrow is Monday and we will be back to work. God bless.
It is Saturday and we only worked until 3. The job is coming along very well and we are making good progress. The tile work in the bathrooms just needs grouting and the stairs are almost constructed. On Monday we will start doing wood work on the walls and building shelves for a donation center that will help the needy. We are about to go for a boat ride on a river that runs through Ukraine. I am so blessed to be working with the team that God has put together; I really enjoy their fellowship. God has given us unity and joy that only He can provide.
We finally have gotten over jet lag. Today we all felt better; you could tell because we worked a long day and are making much progress. Sometimes it takes a couple days on a job to get the rhythm going and that happened today. We are blessed to have Vlad and John V with us because they help us cross the language barrier which in turn makes it smoother to work side by side with our Ukrainian brothers. These men are so kind and fun to be around. Last night after a long day of work Pastor Neil and Noline had a bunch of us over for dinner. I never knew that Pastor Neil was a grill master, but last night we had chicken and pork cooked to perfection. And as good as that was, the fellowship that followed was even better. That is one thing about being on missions…the time you sit with your brothers and sisters in Christ and just hang out and share and laugh is filled with zero distractions from home. Your mind is clear and free to relax. God has been so faithful to us this trip. He has given us so much to be thankful for: joy, wisdom, safety, unity and most importantly… His presence. Lastly thank you so much for your prayers. I feel them and they are being answered.
Again God has blessed us with getting a lot done. We have a coat of drywall almost on, a section of the stairs built, and we are almost finished tiling the walls in the bathrooms. There are quite a few missionaries in this one area we are in. They have all made us feel welcome. Everyday somebody helps to contribute a meal, today it was an Australian named Shane. He will be the future cook of the center we are working on. The building will be a multi-purpose site where they will have a coffee shop, pizza shop, and cafe. They will do discipleship also. And most importantly they will demonstrate to people the love of God, which is the best outreach any of us can ever do. I must say though, that out of all the countries I visited for Brick Think trips, Ukraine hands down has the most hunger and desire to want to know God. One of the members of our team let a young man working with us listen to Christian music on his Ipod and the man said he loved it and it gave him peace. I get so excited to be in a place where so many people are extremely open to listen and have a desire to hear the gospel. It makes me appreciate my relationship with God even more.
We started working on tile, stairs, and dry wall at the church. The water is shut off in the town and has been for a while so we went to a river and did a bucket brigade to a small water trailer and brought it to the job site. We met all the Ukrainian workers and they were very friendly. Some are Christians and some are not. The team split into 3 groups to work on stairs, drywall finishing, and tiling. We brought over lots of tools and a tile saw which they greatly appreciated. The first day of work God blessed us with a good day and a lot accomplished. That night we went to Pastors Neil’s for a cook out with the team and some of the people working with us. It was an awesome time of fellowship. God has blessed Pastor Neil and sister Noline with a beautiful home 5 minutes from their grandchildren. The Rhodes also have a new addition to the family named Buster. You can see him in the photo, he is a bit intimidating when he comes up to you because he is big- but very nice. All I can say is that Pastor Neil is loving where he is and a great moving of Gods hand is in this area as well as a hunger and thirst for God. As much as we miss him at TSC, I will assure you that God, as always, knew exactly what he was doing when he placed him and sister Noline here. We closed the day out at a Bible study at our hosts family home of Bruce and Deb Crowe. It was great and afterwards they wanted to hear John V do praise and worship music. He started singing praise and worship music in Russian and the locals loved it, they joined in and were singing and clapping. It was so great to be there and be a part of it. In closing, the Ukrainian people are very friendly and kind and we thank God as a team to be serving with them. Just a personal note: so many times people say “I want to pray and see if God wants me to go on such and such a missions trip.” God has already answered that prayer in his Word when he clearly instructs us to go out into all the world. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome it is serve Him and how He is with you in a big way when you simply say, “Here I am…use me.” Give yourself a chance to experience God in a new and powerful way, JUST GO!