Our 2014 summer ministry in Eastern Europe has ended. During our time there, we traveled hundreds of miles by van and train through Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland. We hosted two camps—one for some very special kids in Romania and one for families in Poland—by partnering with career missionaries and two teams of North American volunteers. Everyone involved saw God work through and in them as Christ’s love was shared in word and deed with believers and unbelievers alike.
All in all, we couldn’t have asked for time better spent. We’re thankful and humbled by the opportunity to build God’s kingdom in this manner. And we’re grateful for your prayers. For Gene and I, hosting two summer missions trips like these involves:
- putting a gazillion details in place and then practicing cheerful flexibility as those details change.
- working alongside a multitude of personalities, some of whom have never met until we land overseas.
- assisting volunteers who find cultural immersion a challenge.
- staying in nearly a dozen different accommodations (the hotel rooms we stay in are nothing like hotel rooms here—enough said).
- living on sleep deprivation due to heat, street noise, hard mattresses, ministry intensity.
- living out of a suitcase for five weeks and washing clothes in a bathroom sink or on a shower floor during that time (the clothes never really feel clean).
- continuing to address the workload that doesn’t stop back home while trying to be fully present and engaged in our time overseas. On one occasion, my husband checked his email and discovered that two volunteers in Canada scheduled to fly to Poland for a different camp than ours had gone to the wrong airport for their flight. Big kudos to our administrative assistant and our US office staff who worked out the details so this duo could fly the next day. A few days later, circumstances suddenly changed for our board chairman’s wife so she could join her family in flying to Hungary for a kids’ camp, and again, that meant immediate communication back and forth to put those details together last minute.
It would be dishonest to say I felt joyful every minute along the way. The truth is—I had a few hard times where crying out to God for wisdom, patience, and strength was the only thing I knew to do. On a couple of occasions, I hit a place where my physical, mental, and emotional reservoir ran dry. That’s where your prayers rescued me.
Because you prayed, I experienced the fulfillment of Psalm 29:11—“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
And so, I want to say thank you for your role in the ministry that happened in people’s lives this summer—North Americans and Eastern Europeans alike. Eternity alone with reveal the results.