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6th Ukraine Trip: 21st May Day 3

It is half past eight in the morning and the sun is really shining. A little after nine, we were nine of us seated at the table enjoying a wonderful breakfast prepared by our hosts. Then we excitedly leave to go to church. And how apt that excitement was. Six trips in and this was the first time we got to attend the church service!

At church, the worship was led by a team of teenagers, confident and annointed. Our committed translator, Nikita, did a great job translating the pastor’s message as well as our own as we shared with them as well. Mattijs shared the word of God and great insight on how to go through hardship in life, which is so relevant to all of us. His highlight was to transfer the focus of our lives to Jesus. We might have heard it often but when we are dedicating so much time and energy in a thought and we often still end up stuck. We were encouraged instead to renew our minds, fixing our eyes on all Jesus has done, and what the Bible says about the things of this world, including our problems. By doing that our perspective shifts, our problems lose their power and we can fix our eyes on things of eternity.

Lívia, also shared her testimony. It was an incredible witness to how God restored her life and really is the King of peace, hope, new beginnings. Though her upbringing was challenged by difficulties, the joy and perseverance of the Lord by where she stands today was a true testimony of the power of God in her life which all could relate. God does not waste resources and that includes hardship and pain. He uses the experience to connect with others in the same situation and we were able to encourage them by our presence there, lives, experiences, and by praying for them. I remember after the service, some cute old ladies coming up to her and encouraging her with a hug. Oh, how faithful our Jesus is.

After the service we had time to listen to and pray with our dear brother and sister that are soon headed to Italy to support churches there. We prayed for the harvest to be plentiful, and that the Lord of the harvest would send out more workers. That these dear friends would be provided for a be a blessing in the next place God had called them to.

Meanwhile I taught a little girl how to play table tennis, and in a little over half an hour I proudly say she drove a nice serve! Little did I know another young girl came up to me after drawing a picture of me. Precious. I remember Jesus saying He loves children and how we should have childlike faith (Matthew 18:3-4), “And He said: “3 Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Everyone under that roof has a story, heavy-laden and tiring stories, but how refreshing to see that there is still childlike-faith and mature-faith, both going hand-in-hand. I was looking at a church, people in a community united in such a time as this, going as far as having a table tennis set up… isn’t that precious? Nothing goes unnoticed by the Lord.

After service, we had a quick tour of Krakow before heading to lovely Anastasia and Victor’s home. Along with a delicious Ukrainian spread, including homemade Russian Honey Cake (with 13 layers!) we were accompanied by each others presence quite literally – more than 18 of us was it? In a cozy living room, a sofa facing the dining table, everyone touching elbows and really getting to know one another. Best part of the evening for me was the spontaneous worship, getting to know another Anastasia who with her husband Max are worship leaders. I excitedly inform them that Henk and Mirjam are also worship leaders! Of course some time later we broke into song. It was a sense of heaven. Two different languages? No problem. We somehow could understand each other even if not the exact words as the room grew incredibly Spirit-filled. We all knew WHO we were singing to. It was such a great end to the trip, with worship (in song) but also having a posture of worship throughout.

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