We are on our last week in Canada. Every moment has been precious, every meeting, small or large.
Just a great time of connection after such a long absence, and a blessing to feel the warmth and compassion of people for the situation in Ukraine. In a week Ukraine will have been at war for 4 months. Such a short time for so much devastation. And the loss of life continues with no end in sight.
Today June 20 is WORLD REFUGEE DAY. There are more than 6 million Ukrainian refugees scattered in nations around the world (although the majority are in Poland), and they continue to leave the country even though an equal number are returning—even returning to areas that continue to have bombing. The homesickness, the worry about friends and relatives left behind, emotions run high and perhaps override wisdom. And then there are all the “displaced” people—refugees within their own country. The estimates are over 8 million. In a country of 42 million people. That is a total of over 14 million people.
We still have another 2 months+ in North America but our minds turn more and more often to what needs to happen when we return. Whether the war continues or not in the autumn, there will still be people returning—people with huge needs, and not just the physical needs. How do you start over? Countries around the world are concerned about inflation and shortages, but I can guarantee that they are facing nothing like what the Ukrainians face this winter.
And so, continue to pray for Ukraine, both those inside and outside of the country. Pray especially that people with turn to God for hope and find peace in and through Jesus Christ. We will be focusing on that when we return as we think about ways to create Centers of Hope, similar to what Abe has trained men for the past several years. And the goal would be for the Centers to become Christian communities that would continue to reach out and touch lives for years to come.
And pray for us as we think and pray and ask how and where Centers of Hope can be started. Centers that address the material needs, but focus on the emotional and spiritual needs. Trauma counseling will be a huge need and we will be (are) researching sources for that.
PRAISE We had a special time sharing at Immanuel Missionary Church in Paisley this past Sunday—people who have been pray for and supporting us for many years.
And God has landed us in a “soft place”. As we were looking to come to Paisley and looking for accommodation we “accidentally” came to Port Elgin which is on Lake Huron. We “accidentally” ended up taking a better room than we normally would because the earlier option had disappeared and I didn’t have the energy to start searching again. And so we have a lovely room in a very quiet place with two deck chairs outside patio doors that look out onto a peaceful lovely small inner courtyard, where there is a wild bunny that hops by sometimes, and robins hopping around, and a couple yellow birds. So today we decided to stay here until the weekend when we need to go to Faith Church in Kitchener. We did so much sleeping already over the weekend and realized how weary we were. And several friends have given us money with the instruction to use it personally. So, for those who did, thank you. We have decided to make it a reprieve, even though we need to work everyday as we sort through plans for the coming months, including a visit to England in September before we return to Ukraine. But we also plan to go out and walk and fill our lungs with the beautiful fresh air here and just enjoy God’s creation. I think it will renew us so that we can arrive in Ohio ready to press on.
And beautifully God provided a place for us to stay in Ohio for these next two months. We were not sure what to do so I sent out a note last week to people in that area and within a couple days received several responses/offers! One of them was the Methodist parsonage in Damascus, my hometown. And we can use it the whole time! For me it will be special, just a short distance from my grandparents’ home, a couple more blocks to the house where I grew up. All of it familiar. Praise the Lord!
Just praise the Lord with us for these few days to recharge.
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