I can’t believe that it’s been six weeks! By now I’ve worn every skirt in my closet at least twice. The time really just flew by, especially this week! We were blessed with our newest teacher, Dan Chrystal, a pastor from a local church (Bayside). He welcomed us by taking a selfie with the whole class (Clearly he’s got a sense of humor)! He fit right into our crazy, God loving family! He displayed so much love and went deep into scripture with us. We became so attached to him that we even added him to our BBS group message! I’m excited to see him again at the Saturday English service on March 14th! You can read more about who he is and his view on relationships here: https://lostartofrelationship.wordpress.com
This week was actually our second week of outreach. This week something magical happened! Dan had every single group huddle up before we went out to minister, and he had us all pray over one another. This truly illustrated the power of prayer. Unlike last weeks discouraging experience, this time God truly worked in us. We had a bigger turn out, worship with them was much more powerful, and some of the elders even sang along with us! I never thought that a bunch of strangers would have such a huge impact on my heart.
In other news, Bethany Bible School went to Mexico this weekend! Taking a bus full of bible students was completely insane! God did not let it go to waste. Even as we were driving, we made several pit stops and God used those short five-minute breaks to shine His light. A man at one of the gas stations stopped Mary Dorofeyev and asked her “Who are you guys?” and she responded, “Oh, well we’re just a few students from Bethany Bible school…” in response, he said, “There’s something about you guys, you guys give off a good vibe, a positive energy!” It was encouraging that even strangers can see that God is working in us!
Once we got to Mexico, we went straight to business! We unloaded and started setting up at Casa Hogar (this is a kids orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico). Meanwhile, a few others and I went around the neighborhood and passed out 300 flyers inviting parents and their kids to the carnival we had planned for them (the secret was to tell them there was free food, since who doesn’t want free food?!). The turnout was remarkable! We made sure they were all fed (they absolutely loved the cotton candy and popcorn!) and having a good time. We had several stations that the bible school students ran: they made wire rings, bracelets, balloon swords, and face painting station. There was also a jump house, and an amazing puppet show to teach them the story of Jesus. (Making wired rings was my station and let me just say, those kids are so good with crafts, they ended up teaching ME how to make them!). Mexico was a HUGE success; absolutely no regrets! I wish we could’ve stayed longer than a day, but hey, we did stop by San Diego on the way home!
On our way home, we stopped at La Jolla beach and had a beach service (mind you, this was on Valentines Day so there were couples all over!). We hauled out the piano, whipped out the guitars, and the cajon and had an amazing worship session! (I would not mind doing that randomly here in Sacramento!). Close to midnight, we went to a local church in Hemet (about an hour away from La Jolla) where everyone welcomed us with open arms! I have never been fed so well in my life. Our hosts (Serge and Valentina Abramovich) treated us like royalty! They took in eight people like it was nothing to them. I actually plan on going back there to visit them! I have a new standard on how to treat my guests from now on! The whole time I was thinking of how blessed we were, because we got amazing people to care for us! And as it turns out, EVERYONE had amazing hosts! It must be something about Hemet (Sacramentonians! Take notes!).
Honestly, this week has just been a blessing! Dan was an amazing teacher, the bus ride was filled with amazing worship and open discussion about God. Learning The Bible with Siarhei Padniuk was amazing! The kids carnival was a success, and the beach service was also a hit! I just simply cannot wait to see what our next BBS trip will be like!
#TestimonyOfTheWeek: Our second week at elderly ministry was definitely a day to remember! We came prepared to see our usual group of elders and started off with a sermon and a short testimony. Then we asked the audience if they had any of their own testimonies that they wanted to share. There was a woman there with missing legs that shared on how she had lost her legs through diabetes (her name was Luz). By the time she finished speaking, we were all in tears. She was a Christian that didn’t understand why God would punish her like that. She had been praying her whole life to be used and she felt like her prayers were going unheard. One of the girls in our outreach group, Anna Chipak, was able to connect with Luz because she was in a similar situation with her mom. God was able to use her to bring comfort to Luz. Not only did it bring comfort to Luz, but also to Anna’s family. Luz just lit up knowing that God used her story to encourage someone. All glory to God!
– Oksana Kambur