Sunday, July 12, 2009

More of the Camp at the Black Sea

Greetings again from the land of Bulgaria. I apologize for the lack of updates, but the internet coverage here is spotty at best. We are staying at a camp with bungalows scattered across the grounds, but the only access point is in the main office. From my room, I get one bar (or none) of signal so its always anybody's guess whether the pages will even load all the way. As for uploading pictures and video, the process is almost torturous!

So, I am writing this now in WordPad without internet. Then, I will go over near the office where the signal is stronger to actually post it and upload the accompanying pictures. I would do it all from there, except that the mosquitos (and other insects) would eat me alive during the process!

On to the camp itself... Our time here has been amazing! God is working every day and each of us has had many opportunities to be used by Him in service. Every morning, during our VBS time, one team member performs a drama as a character in that day's bible story. Then the groups split out into games and crafts. Finally, they take part in various workshops organized by our team members. Also, our teens take part in the morning classes with the Bulgarian teens, and each of our teens is speaking once during the week. The rest of our time is spent in helping the Bulgarian leaders manage the camp and, more importantly, building relationships with the children. The kids range in age from 5 to 17 and we make it a point to spread ourselves out and touch them all. They have thoroughly embraced us as friends and are already beginning to dread our separation in two days... so are we!

Today, Vance and I taught on the Passover meal and tied it into Communion. Then, we delivered the gospel message and gave an opportunity for any non-believers to receive the Lord. Two young children accepted Christ! Then, every kid wrote their name on a sticker and some added things they wanted to give up to God. All the stickers were then placed on a cross we had on display. It was such a sweet time to watch them going forward to the cross and soberly placing their names there.

As I mentioned earlier, the relationships we are building are such a huge importance. Just yesterday, I had two different opportunities to minister one-on-one with teenagers who were really struggling with spiritual issues. I was able to bring God's word to bear in both instances and encourage them. It was such a joy, not only to be given the words to speak, but to see the emotions on their faces change through the discussions and watch them walk away with joy! We are truly dependent on God here and He has not disappointed. I pray daily for strength and energy in spite of the lack of rest and God has provided. We are averaging 4-6 hours of sleep a night, yet God gives us the ability to serve all day long without wavering. Yesterday, a preteen girl lost an earring in the street and was crying. We began searching and spent about 20 minutes looking before stopping to pray for a few moments for God's help. 20 seconds later, we found the earring! That's just a small taste of how God has been working in our midst.

Tonight, Joey will be sharing God's word in our evening service and I will wrap up the teaching tomorrow night. Pray for the Holy Spirit to direct us and for open hearts and ears to receive what He wants to say. Continue to lift up the team for strength and health. We have had several people fighting sickness but all seems to be well today. Every one of us needs God's strength though, both physical and mental/emotional. We leave on Sunday to return to Sofia, so pray for traveling mercy as well. Finally, pray for our trip home as it is long and we will be worn out. We are continually grateful for your prayers and support. Please add a comment to this blog as well as on our Facebook pages or via e-mail. Comments to the group are read aloud and offer much encouragement. God bless you all and thank you for supporting us so that we can be here in the middle of the amazing things God is doing!

Слава на Бога (Slava na Boga... Glory to God)

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