Explorers Full of Wonder
Sunday night we had our first meeting as “Explorers.” There are hearts that want to know more. We want to meet this desire in fresh new ways. What is out there that we can still learn? Are there new things that can continue to shape our lives? Are there wonders about God that remain undiscovered by us?
We ended our time with a picture of a hand holding a sparkler. Do you remember the first time you held a sparkler as a child? “What was wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world,” said G.K. Chesterton. Remember when things delighted us and filled us with wonder? Jesus said to receive the Kingdom of God like a child. We enjoy watching a child be amazed. Maybe it makes us sad that it is not so with us anymore. Life has taken its toll and we forget what it is like to be enraptured with things. It was my prayer as we gathered into groups that I would be reminded to “wonder” again. The kingdom of God belongs to those who have an unabashed faith and an open delight in the love of the Father. There are things we can all still discover about God as we explore and be amazed at.
Loving on some new kids
Yesterday was the first day of new outreach! Several people who work with us have felt the nudging of the Spirit to reach out to the children in our town who are living in some pretty desperate situations, in deep poverty or homes with substance abuse. Every Monday afternoon, they will spend a couple of hours with them, feeding them a healthy meal, doing some fun activities, and sharing the love of God over their lives. The hope is to bring light and love to the parents of these children as well. This is new and unknown territory for the team. There will be challenges ahead. They are taking these steps in faith and we ask that you pray for them as they get involved in these precious lives. We have begun this in partnership with a new sponsor – “High 5 Give 5.” Thank you to an old friend, Bettina, (who helped us start the Widows Care program several years ago with World Challenge) who is willing once again to invest with a new outreach.
We are continuing our Club 180 student nights, which take place on Wednesday evenings. Dima and Lena are now in charge of it and we have a newly married young couple, Vitya and Anya, that we would like to train to be the next leaders. It has been a joy to watch Anya’s journey. She first came as a student and slowly turned her heart towards the love of Christ. She is growing into His image and serving those around her. It seems so natural and normal we can forget what a miracle it is to be “called out of darkness and into his marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9
Desiring to help people connect with God in deeper, more meaningful ways, we are creating a few weekends throughout the year that give time and space for quiet and rest. These are times of silence, times of prayer, where all outside distractions are put aside and hearts have the opportunity they need to hear something from God. We just held our third one the last weekend of February. It’s a new experience for most of us, I think, to allow this amount of quiet for our souls, but it is really a refreshing time to just ‘be’ in the presence of our Maker.
Time in Texas
We had a tremendous time in Texas. It is always such an encouragement and so much fun to meet with new friends, old friends, and, of course, with family! We look forward to how God will continue to bless these relationships as we all work together in his kingdom. One of the highlights of the trip was the board meeting we had in Dallas with most of the board members of MIR. It is an extraordinary thing to be a part of a group that all desire to hear and follow God’s leading. We are not a business board with agendas to accomplish, but a group of people put together by God to listen. We were reassured and heartened by the response that this truly is the desire of every person involved. The prayer together was a strengthening and comforting time.
We hope you are blessed by the creative efforts of our team member Sveta, who designs these quotes/scriptures, our brochures, advertising, social media compilations, and other odd jobs. 🙂