My heart is a bit broken for the village of Camanyayaruga after the day I have had. The day started out great, and I was on my way to my first day of childrens' ministry in Ukraine. When we arrived in the village, we were immediately stopped by the officials asking for our documents. After showing our documents, we thought we were safe to start our childrens' program. Only two games later, some teachers walked by our small group of kids playing duck, duck, goose, and as far as I could tell (since she was speaking in Russian), the kids respected her but were slightly scared of her. Before I knew it, all the kids were quickly scattering in different directions. My translator, Masha, then informed me that this lady was very upset with us and did not think we had proper permission to be even talking to the kids even though we were doing nothing wrong on public property. More teachers and even the principal soon approached us with equally angry reprimands. They told us about 5 or 6 people who had to give us permission to do anything with the kids although the police had already cleared us. After losing all the children, our hands were tied. We had no other choice but to just leave.
This is the same village that the Mississippi team provided a medical clinic for just last week. The doctor in this village is a believer, and he is persecuted for his beliefs on a regular basis. The village is having a hard time letting go of the past and moving forward. Before we could leave, a mother of one of the children came to us and was very ugly to Keith(the missionary) and the rest of our group. She was spouting off lies that were absolutely ridiculous. The entire experience was frustrating for the sole reason that I couldn't understand what anybody was saying. In order to deal with the situation at hand, everybody was speaking in Russian leaving me completely oblivious to what was going on.
Not once was I threatened in any way or felt that I was not protected by God, but I couldn't help but ache for these people. They basically kicked us out of the village, and we will not be able to even go back. The hardest part is knowing that I won't be able to share the love of God with those precious children. These kids were so excited to play with us and find out what we were all about. I didn't even get the opportunity to share the Bible story or craft with them. Satan may have won the battle today, but God won the war a long time ago!
My prayer for this village is that God will move in their hearts and soften them to the next group that attempts to witness to these people. I will pray that God will open doors and not allow any officials, parents, or schools to be able to say the word no. I will pray that despite the closed doors we experienced today, that God will move in mighty ways in the future! I may not get to minister to these kids this summer, but I will continue to pray that God will move mountains!
Every day I am reminded that NOTHING is impossible with our God! Slavabohu!
Until the whole world hears,
"I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you ... That's how much you mean to Me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you."
Isaiah 43:3-4 THE MESSAGE