It was a bitter sweet moment on Wednesday night when after my last sermon the Church asked me, Kim, Scott, and Hayley to come to the front so they could lay hands on us, pray, and send us out to minister in Ukraine. It was definitely the close of one era and the beginning of another. The plane ride was uneventful, uncomfortable, but uneventful none the less. I had been warning the team of the long car ride to Rivne after the flight and how hard it would be to stay awake but that we needed to try so that we could get over our jet-lag as soon as possible. It didn't work we were all zonked out at one time or another, literally unable to keep our eyes open. When we finally got to our guest homes we all slept like babies wrapped tight in their blankets for about the next 8 to 10 hours.
We all got up and around and went to pick everybody up and found Scott out in the deacon's garden putting pantihose on the sunflowers. I knew, right then, this was going to be a good trip. God blessed Hayley by letting her stay with one of the pastor's daughters that is also a college student and about the same age. And Kim and I have the privilege of staying with Pastor Valerie and his family. They are all sweet people and taking care of us very well.
We went to a pizza shop for lunch and again we couldn't escape the American media that is always playing in the background. It was not until I started traveling that I realized the power of suggestion that media has on the rest of the world. I hate the fact that American is the instructor on subjects like materialism and promiscuity, but that is in fact our gift to the rest of the world. The pizza was good however, and the conversation even better as we talked about how the Lord moves a heart and gives direction to his people.
We came back to the Pastor's house to find ladies mashing potatoes in the kitchen and men firing up the grill. All the leaders of the Church were gathering for a special meal for us and to talk about some possible changes that are coming to the Church. The Church is a part of a Brotherhood of Churches and it is hard from one Church to step outside the box and do something different. It causes many questions and sometimes ridicule from the other Churches. We talked about the reason for change; that it should not be just for the sake of change but for the furtherance of the gospel or goal of the Church. Traditions are not bad until they hinder the growth of the Church and at that point must be changed for the furtherance of the gospel. We discussed for about 3 hours and with full bellies when to our respective homes for the evening.
I know there are good things to come as tomorrow we will be speaking in the Churches and encouraging them with God's Word. Please pray for a moving of the Spirit as we preach and teach this coming week.