The first few days were really hard for me... I didn't feel like I was learning anything, I was overwhelmed by my inability to communicate, (as my understanding and ability to speak Russian is much worse than I thought and my English is apparently too fast and too quiet.)
Monday night after the first whole day with the campers I went upstairs to "the big room" where we do worship times and meetings and play games at night... I tried to play UNO... Ukrainians play UNO very differently...
I was so humiliated by my incompetence in every sense of the word...To play the game, to speak the language, to be a missionary, to teach English... I was so done with being in Ukraine. I wanted to come home. I went to the bathroom and got in the shower (to be clean and to hide my tears) and sobbed, and sobbed. I told God that I wanted to come home, I wanted to wake up and have it all be a bad dream; I told Him "I thought that I was supposed to be learning and growing on this trip, and I'm not!" I questioned whether I truly believed in God, if I was really supposed to be here... I wouldn't be surprised if I was so at my wit's end that I questioned whether I really liked ice cream or not. ;)
After this I texted my mom briefly and got the wise advice of "go to sleep"
Upon waking I was still in a funk... (I couldn't even look at pictures of my family and say their names without struggling not to cry.) God slowly began to work on me... I don't remember exactly which day but somewhere within the first three or four days God helped me to adjust more and depend on Him. I had some blessed encouraging moments from different people at camp... Times of prayer and reading God's word. I was still not excited to be there, (I was exhausted most of the time as well) but God helped me to have a better attitude and to develop relationships with different campers.
Being in Odessa the past five days I am realizing even more what God was teaching me in that and the things He continues to teach me. I am seeing more of my pride, and desiring to be approved of by humans and finding my worth in how people view me, (or how I view myself.), I am seeing how I pridefully want to "have people I specifically am leading to Christ" instead of being content to watch and pray for other people's relationships, I am seeing how I am lethargic in sharing the gospel clearly and directly with people.
In daily, momentarily, taking my eyes off of myself of "high self esteem" and "low self esteem" and fixing them solidly on who I am in Christ; (the chief of sinners, saved by grace and chosen for a blessed inheritance in Jesus Christ my Lord.) I can not worry about "brownie points" in how many people I've directly shared Christ with or how many people came to me today asking me questions about the Bible study... Maybe no one comes to me the whole time, maybe no one wants to talk about the things of God... My job is to speak the truth in love, be willing to love even if they don't love me, to be available for them and pray for them and the people who are able to minister to them... This is only by the strength of Christ. Only He can fill me with passion for His gospel to be spread, only He can provide the opportunities and only He can give me the right words to say at the proper time.
These are ways that you can be praising God and praying for me this next camp week (leaving Odessa on Saturday for Kherson.)
I am looking forward to this next camp, to see how God will be working in my life and in those around me. I look forward to utilizing the things I have been learning.
When I am weak He is strong and I need to be reminded to pour myself out as a fragrant drink offering so that He can fill me with Himself... It is scary, it takes a lot of trust, the question of "what if I give all I have and can't push on?" comes to mind.
He has proven Himself faithful so many times, He will be faithful in this as well.
*I know there is so much of my life these past two weeks that I haven't covered and will certainly try to whether on here or when I get home, but if you have any questions in particular feel free to ask in comment or drop me an email. ;) I always tell stories better when I have questions to answer.
PS. I hope this all makes sense, if not, PLEASE ask me to clarify!
Lots of love,