CCLC Missions

June Johnson, Ukraine

w                      Written May 14, 2022

                              Easter weekend discussions tend to skip Saturday.  Friday and Sunday get the press.  The crucifixion                                       and resurrection command our thoughts.  But don’t ignore Saturday.  You have them, too.

 

Questions – I have so many questions. How come God? Why did You allow it to happen? Why do so many have to suffer?  Why have You allowed this war to continue for so long? How does this bring You glory?  When will this awful end?  What now? 

Mine are not the same questions the disciples asked that Easter, but close.  They too were sad, confused, and fearful.  Their plans too had been completely dismantled.

 

Silent Saturdays.  The day between the struggle and the solution; the question and the answer; the offered prayer and the answer thereof… For His reasons, God inserts a Saturday between our Fridays and Sundays. 

 

It does so feel like that Saturday for me.  This time in life – in ministry – it feels like a silent Saturday.  It has sunk in deep that nothing will ever be like it was. Returning to how it used to be - is impossible. Today is a messy, frustrating, uncomfortable place. Tomorrow remains clouded with colossal questions.  Everything has changed.

 

Saturday’s silence torments us.  Is God angry?  Did I disappoint him? … Why doesn’t He act?  What are you supposed to do until He does?

You do what Jesus did.  Lie still.  Stay silent.  Trust God. 

 

In all the questions; through the unknowns; discarding fear; choosing truth; help me do that Lord – to be still & trust. 

 

And God did help me, He sent Greg.  Bless him for being willing to haul in 2 suitcases of wound care supplies and I am equally grateful for Greg being ready to listen, ask questions, brainstorm and give advice.  With so many thoughts and questions inside, being able to simply voice them was a gift he gave me this past Thursday. 

 

The plan had been in the works for some 6 months, that Greg (my CMF supervisor) would first stop in to see the CMF missionaries in Germany and then come visit me in Ukraine.  I still hope that he will come to Ukraine someday but this time round I sure was glad to see him in Germany.

 

Another of the families that Greg will visit during his time here is Tyler & Shalynn Crawford.  They are CMF missionaries working who have been in Germany for 12 years now.  They started in campus ministry and now work with a local church to expand its ministry. It was this family who ‘padded’ my initial landing with advice and an airport pick up.  A few weeks ago, they stepped forward to help me again.

CMF had their annual board meeting on May 9th and to prepare for that, the Crawford’s visited me to take video footage of the work happening here.  A lot of folks came together to put this clip together.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

https://vimeo.com/706513125

 

His silence is not his absence, inactivity is never apathy.  Saturdays have their purpose. They let us feel the full force of God’s strength.

April 26th was another full day of wound care and translating for wheelchair consults.  The day of my original planned departure had already been crossed out on my calendar.  3 weeks prior, I understood that my leaving after Easter was going to be too soon.  Therefore, after consulting with the leadership here and the home office, I changed my departure date to day 89 (June 10th).   

 

I doubt you will be surprised, however, that we are already exploring how to get a German visa so that I can stay longer than the allowed 90 days.  If God grants me this visa, then I will change my departure flight again.  When do I plan to return to the US?  I don’t know.  I leave it to God to figure out the plans; my job is to be obedient.

 

Different hats - My time is not spent on wound care alone.  Helping to translate between English and Russian is a frequent request –be it at the pharmacy, grocery store, doctor to patient or conversation between friends.  Secretarial work is another way I can help – be it a letter to a doctor, preparing a letter for customs or filling out a document. 

 

Beyond these, I also try to keep up on getting receipts & photos for the funding sent into Ukraine from the Ukraine Relief fund.  It is so cool seeing the faces, places and hearing the stories from those who are facilitating the relief efforts.   I plan to get out a letter soon to everyone who has given to the Ukraine Relief fund.  I want you to at least have a glimpse of what God is doing through you. The ‘dark’ background of what is happening makes what God is doing through His people even more beautiful.

 

It's not all work – Such sweet things have happened. Dora, an older German lady who has befriended me, gave me another book to read. Weekly she brings random (but useful) things from her house, and I have fun finding someone in the group to bless.

Last week Inga & Inga picked me up.  First, we crossed off the list my need of an iron and then we took off through the countryside and eventually pulled up to a house. The front door was opened by a smiling wrinkled face welcoming us into her magical land. The 2 Inga’s and I ooo-ed and aaah-ed over all the beautiful work. It was a private fabric store where the lady taught quilting.

 

My hobby is hand quilting.  Nothing fancy but I enjoy doing it and it distressed me a bit when I realized my current project was going to be finished soon. The possibility of finding more fabric seemed impossible until the other week when Inga asked me if I needed anything.  My answer and brought us to this day. However, seeing no jellyrolls or fat squares in sight, I knew I needed help pulling colors together. It made both Inga’s smile when I turned the day around on them and asked them each to put together 6 colors.  I have all the fabric ironed now for 2 more quilts and am ready for the 3 of us to have a cutting party.

 

I am thanking God for:

- how He has given us favor in the eyes of Europe.  In doing so Ukrainian refugees have been/are being cared for.  

- how generously Germany has given clothing, food, medical equipment, wheelchairs to our group.  3 big vans have returned to Ukraine with supplies for the AGAPE Center, the Lutsk church who are housing refugees and soldiers.

- how, in God’s ‘economy’ the Ukrainian refugees are a blessing to Europe.

- how God is meeting specific medical needs of our group.

- provision of another van that is equipped for transporting those who use wheelchairs for the AGAPE Rehab Center

- your support!  Thank you for your continued faithful and generous giving for my ministry as well as towards the Ukraine relief fund.

 

To my knowledge….

·      Berdanysk remains occupied by the Russian military [southern Ukraine on the AZOV sea where the ostomy outreach is.] 

·      Kiev/Brovary is again free. With the infrastructure fractured, food/fuel/transportation/employment are not fully functioning yet they are much closer to ‘business as usual’ compared to 6 weeks ago. 

·      D’niper – [Central Ukraine] – Physical therapist that I work with was badly injured during fighting but is recovering.  Less fighting in the area now.

·      Zaparoshja - [central Ukraine] – still considered dangerous.  Co-workers who I most closely work with here fled to Lutsk nearly 2 months ago.  From Lutsk they are helping refugees and facilitating the movement of humanitarian aid to churches, orphanages and a mental institute in the Zaparoshja city & region

·      Lutsk [western Ukraine] – considered fairly safe now. They are dealing with lots of refugees.

 

I am asking God:

* To end the war quickly and in such a way that only He would get the glory.

* Wisdom in using/distributing funds donated to the Ukraine Relief fund.

* For our 9 groups (more than 439 people) that satan would have no place. Rather that God’s love, peace and grace would triumph over sin. 

[if you ran from your home, got put together with 30 other people most who are strangers to you, went to a country where you have never been and don’t know the language, are now required to now live with these people in your group…..I think you grasp the friction that happens…]

* That He would provide a knowledgeable surgical consultation and surgery for Nicholi’s pressure ulcer (quadriplegic in our group). 

*That He would provide for the opportunity for 8-year-old Arina to have further testing under a doctor here that specializes in her rare genetic problem.

* That if I am to stay here longer, He would provide the needed German visa. 

 

Thank you for your prayers!

June                                                      quotes taken from ‘The Silence of Saturday’ © Max Lucado, 2013

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CMF INTERNATIONAL  is a global mission team at work in 26 countries creating dynamic, Christ-centered communities. 

Hand in Hand Farm

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                                      Hand In Hand Farm has been partnering with Christ Community for almost ten years now.  

                                      We appreciate the mission support, but the greater blessing has been that of having a safe church                                        to bring vulnerable families to so that they can experience the love and support of a church family                                          while they learn about God and Jesus. Christ Community has been that church family. 

                                      When you look out over the sanctuary during the service, one sees a lot of grey hair.  The uninformed would think that this is a church on the way out, elders without another generation to succeed them.   What they don’t see are all of the grandparents here, ready to nurture the future generations that are brought through these doors. 

Most of you have heard about Hand In Hand Farm through our presentations.  If you want to find out more about what we do, it’s easy to Google us and find our website and Facebook page.  However, it’s more important to us that you know about YOUR role in what comes AFTER Hand In Hand Farm, the church family that’s needed to provide support for families for the rest of their lives. 

Athena    

                             Hand In Hand Farm     35105 Ede Road, Lebanon, OR 97355   541-451-1243                                                                           Visit our website:  www.handinhandfarm.org                                                                                                                                Share and like our page on Facebook!:  www.facebook.com/handinhandfarm/                                                                           Sign up for our email mailing list! 

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Lutheran World Relief

 Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Fill Up The Tub!

It’s time again to fill up our tub with items for the Personal Care Kits,  Baby Kits and School Kits for Lutheran World Relief.

You can help just by picking up a few extra items when you are out shopping.                     

Every extra bar of soap, box of crayons or pair of baby socks contributes to our efforts.

Place your donated items in the galvanized tub located in The Gathering Place (Fellowship area).

Our next shipment is in May. Thank you for your ongoing help with this Mission project!

All items listed are the only items LWR will accept in their  kits. We appreciate your donations of these specific items.

Personal Care Kit

  •  Adult size toothbrushes in original packaging

  • Sturdy combs

  • Metal nail clippers

  • Bath-size towels and hand towels in dark colors

Baby Care Kit

  •  Light weight cotton T-shirts            (no onesies)

  • Long or short sleeved gowns or sleepers (without feet). Sizes up to 18 months

  • Jackets, sweaters or sweatshirts with hood or include baby cap

  • Pairs of socks

  • Hand towels (dark colors)

School Kit

  •  70-sheet notebooks wide or college rule

  • Rulers (30 centimeters on one side)

  • Pencil sharpeners

  • Blunt scissors

  • #2 pencils with erasers

  • Black or blue pens (no gel ink)

  • 2.5 inch erasers 

  • Box of 16 or 24 crayons

Affirming God’s love for all people, we work with Lutherans and partners around the world to end poverty, injustice and human suffering.

Operation Christmas Child

The Amazing Journey of a Shoebox Gift Begins with You and Results in Evangelism, Discipleship, and Multiplication.

Operation Christmas Child  “Shoeboxes”

A reminder —  we have a collection box in the church’s Gathering Place for any items donated for our fall packing party. The shoeboxes are now available for you to pick up and fill.  Suggested items for each age level are listed.                                                        

Our Christmas Child Shoebox collection day is Sunday, November 14th .

Shoebox Fundraiser a Success!

Thank you, everyone who participated and donated to our dessert auction for Operation Christmas Child Sunday, September 19th. Looking at a potential goal of 75 shoeboxes we would have needed $675 for shipping. The dessert auction took in a bit more than $1,500!                                                                       So, thanks again to our auctioneer Bruce Grohn, all of you wonderful bakers, and especially all of you who donated to this worthy cause. May Christ’s gospel go forth in the world, and to God be the Glory!