So I have a new love of photography with my new camera! Here are a few favorites from our July camp in Nikolaev. Faces that continue to stick in my mind….
My beautiful friend Mary Lynn came to join the fun!
Before I left for our recent camp in Nikolaev I had a sense in my spirit that I was supposed to bring along my Russian Bible to give to someone. At first I didn’t really want to bring this specific Bible with me, as it had belonged to my roommate Lena, and it had sentimental value. But for some reason I knew I was supposed to bring it, as perhaps God wanted me to give it to either Nastia or Natasha—the two girls I had met the previous summer and who I knew were anticipating my return.
When I got to the camp and was reunited with Nastia and Natasha (pictured left)and started talking to them about the Bible- both girls told me they had one. Hmmm, I thought to myself…I wonder who the Lord wants me to give this Bible too?—As I had felt it was to be someone very specific. Now I was left to wonder who it would be…..
About 3 days into the camp I met Lina. Tall, beautiful, 18-year-old Lina. Lina’s story is not as ‘typical’ as many of the kids I meet in orphanages. Her parents died when she was very little and she was raised by her Grandmother. A little over a year ago her grandmother died- leaving her and her brother wards of the state. They were soon sent to the nearest internat (orphanage) in Nikolaev to live and finish their education.
One night Lina wanted to hang out with me, so we just sat and talked as she painted my nails. I was able to ask her about her life as she asked me about mine. She asked if I would sing to her, so I sang her a few of the worship songs I know in Russian. I could tell that she was really focusing in on the words that I was singing, so when I finished, I asked her if she believed in God. With tears in her eyes she shared that she used to pray and believe -until her Grandma died, and then everything became so confusing and she felt abandoned by God. I then was given the opportunity to share about my faith and how Jesus is able to be my comfort, even when I feel totally alone and abandoned by others. I asked her if she had a Bible or if she had ever read it before- to which the answer to both questions was no. I asked her if she would be interested in reading the Bible, and her voice resounded with an affirmative yes! “Well,” I said, “I have a very special Bible that I think God wanted me to bring especially for you!” We spent the next hour or so talking and by the end of our conversation, Lina was ready to pray and accept Jesus into her life! It was such a beautiful thing to be a part of and I felt so honored that the Lord allowed me to play a role in sharing the Gospel with sweet Lina.
The next day I presented Lina with her Bible. I told Lina that the Bible had once belonged to my friend and roommate Lena, and so this Bible was extra special for me to give her. I told her how Lena had also grown up in an orphanage and had no earthly parents to call her own- but how Lena was able to turn to the Father in Heaven for guidance and wisdom. I shared with her how my friend Lena had been given a wonderful husband and how God has blessed her as she has looked to him and walked with him—and how I thought that God had specifically wanted the Bible that had once been Lena’s to now be hers. With joy and excitement Lina received her Bible and was ready to start reading it! After the first quiet hour she came out to report that she had already read the first 5 pages of Matthew (where I had told her to begin).
My hope is that Lina can come and visit me in Kiev during her fall break and we can continue to talk about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Please keep this sweet young woman in your prayers- praying that she would come to know and love Jesus with her whole heart and trust him with her whole life.
“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1: 15-17