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A look back on our 2017 season

At the close of one day begins a new day. At the end of one week, a new one begins. With the completion of one mission trip, begins the first stages of another one. But just as each day does not resemble the days that come before it, so too does each mission trip differ from those that came before.

This year our work in Belarus began with uncertainty. A fire broke out during or first night in Belarus and the shed that housed much of our tent camp inventory burned down. Close to 100 sleeping bags, a bounce house, numerous tents and many other badly needed items were lost. The items lost had been painstakingly collected over the years. We had to quickly make a decision regarding the team situated there—should we break them up and send them to various other camps, or continue on with the camps planned in that location with what was left of our supplies? The team decided to proceed with the camps as planned. Our Belarussian brothers and sisters were moved to help us and loaned us some of the more vital items needed for camp.

Looking back, we see God’s hand in everything. He leads us, allowing hardships to come our way, and with His help we were able to overcome them. This tent camp was able to host two different waves of campers, totaling together 140 children. The one thing that we were not able to proceed with this year, was the camp for children with special needs. But we hope to be able to have them with us next year—if we are able, God willing, to equip the camp with the necessary items needed for such children.

Likewise, we were able to host four other camps in orphanages. Combined, we had some 210 children in those camps. Three other groups were sent out to establishments for children with special needs. This was not our first year back in those institutions, and so the children were very impatient for our arrival. In one of these institutions more than 100 children would gather together in the evenings with our volunteers. These gatherings would last long into the evening, because the children did not want to leave. We also hosted another tent camp on the shores of a lake. Half of the children gathered there were children from the streets, and the other half were from an orphanage. Unfortunately, the weather was cold during this camp, but God was merciful, and no one became seriously ill. What’s more, none of the children wanted to depart despite the bad weather; as God’s love and friendship kept them warm.

After our camps finished up in Belarus, a team of 17 volunteers continued on to Russia. God blessed and protected us during this final trip as well, despite many reasons for concern during those final weeks. Driving through villages and towns, we were able to bring the Good News to many. The children we met enjoyed the bounce house and the time spent around the campfire at night.

We are thankful for your prayers and financial support. Without prayer and God’s merciful support of your giving, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. We ask you to continue to pray as we make preparations for our next trip. We realize that we do not live in simple times, and that is why cannot continue without your support.

May God bless you!