After a long, hard set of preparations, full of prayers, fears, doubts, joy and awe – here we are, gathered together and worked for the glory of God: District superintendent Irina Margulis (Moscow), District superintendent Irina Mitina (Stavropol), Irina Khoroshunova (Novotroitskaya), Valeria Tsoy (Komsomolsk-on-the-Amur), Mikhail Khamgushkeyev (Pushkin), Pastor Vladimir Ditmar (Kirov), Maksim Skurikhin (Slobodskoy), Elena Uryupina (Stravropol), Polina Mazina (Novotroitskaya).
Our mission trip to Novotroitskaya (Stavropol area) and the Christian camp we held there in July, 5 – 9, were our response to God’s call we had heard during the Youth Forum of the United Methodist church of Eurasia-2016 in Saint-Petersburg. The Lord has called us to serve Roma kids, with our gifts and abilities and with our hearts. As I’ve shared earlier, the local Roma kids lag behind in basic school knowledge a lot. Our camp has drawn kids’ and their parents’ attention to extra curriculum education opportunities, they now have: since September, they will be able to take classes, mainly in Russian as well as other basic subjects to perfect their school performance. The camp area will also become a place of extra classes’ activities and the socialization of Roma kids.
It’s been awesome to witness the first fruits of our short-term mission trip:
- on the third day of our camp the number of the kids who came, doubled; to add to this, they were not just Roma but also Russian kids, who joined the camp;
- the children were happy to get to learn spelling and counting; it was obvious that they got to know many things during the camp;
- the folks participated in the Bible studies and some kids accepted Jesus as their Savior;
- the kids made friends with one another and were ready to help the volunteers.
It was obvious from the very beginning that we participated in God’s mission. Despite all the difficulties during the preparation, we still managed to organize ourselves and go. Our whole team has worked really well: no conflicts, just mutual support and care. We were merely called to be faithful and consistent. The team was truly ecumenical (Methodists, Pentecosts, Orthodox), which was also a part of God’s plan. The positive outcome, finally, pointed at the fact that we all had done God’s work. And, of course, both prayer and financial support, that our brothers and sisters shared, was the strongest testimony of Holy Spirit’s activities this summer and, hopefully, in the future.
On behalf of the whole team, I’d like to thank everyone who gave offerings for our trip. That is, Vnukovo UMC, Kvanrim UMC (Moscow), Pskov UMC, Singing Christians UMC, Andrei Kim, Zhanna Kim, Lena Kim, A. Gurevitch, L.Kirsanova, Marri Helen Taylor, Natalia Yun, Eduard Khegay. Special thanks for the great prayer support go also to Yulia and Oleg Starodubets, Artyom Golov, Vasylyna Babich, Dmitry Shcherbakov, Samara UMC, Sochi UMC, Aspiration UMC, Lugansk UMC and Pastor Alexander Shevchenko.
Praise be to God for His grace, faithfulness and generosity! It all has just begun! Please join us!
Pastor Vladimir Ditmar
Translate by V. Ditmar
Photos by Southt district UMC Eurasia