Dear loved ones,
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart”. Ps 27:14
It has not been long since our last letter, but some of you have been praying for the Vacation Bible School and the other summer ministries. Therefore we wanted to share some of the things that the Lord has been doing, so that we can give Him the deserved praise.
Thank you very much to those who prayed with us for the VBS. We saw God’s hand on every aspect, and we thank those that have had a part in this, either through prayer, helping out, or provisioning in some way.
Through the week the Lord brought in over 620 children, teens and adults in the VBSs. Most of these people do not know the Lord in their lives is personal way, and this has been a wonderful opportunity to reach the many people surrounding the Mission to bring the message of hope through Jesus Christ to them. For most of these, VBS is one of the only times in the year that they hear the Good News of the real life in Jesus.
We praise the Lord for more than 150 children, teenagers and adults who prayed to receive the Lord in the ‘small groups’ through the 6 days. Please pray that the Lord would continue to work in the hearts of each of these people, tenderly bringing this commitment to fruitfulness in their lives. They were given New Testaments, and instructed in the way to grow in the Lord. Most of the children and teens are not permitted to come to the local church here, so please pray that they will be able to grow in spite of the difficulty of not being able to have regular fellowship.
At least 7 parents also prayed to receive the Lord into their lives in the ‘chat’ group held for parents under the main tent. This was a very special moment as the evangelist called them to come forward and kneel, encouraging them to pray in their own words. He also asked the staff to pray individually with them.
One lady who received the Lord was an underprivileged lady who had visited the Mission the month before, in need of clothing. As she was planning to leave the Mission on her bicycle with the clothing, we were able to give her an invitation for her daughter for the VBS. She said that she would come.
So it was a tremendous privilege to see this women at the VBS coming forward to invite the Lord into her life. We felt that the Lord had specifically planned this event in her life a month earlier through the need for clothing.
One highlight of VBS was the way in which God had provided contact with new villages through the Medical Clinic that was held in many villages earlier this year. Two new villages were added for the VBS outreach because the Lord had opened the door into these communities through the Clinic in May. Several teenagers and several children from these villages gave their lives to the Lord at VBS as a result. It is so wonderful how God brought the way to meet the physical needs first, and then opened the doors for the spiritual needs to be met.
It was also great to see Pani Josefa (the widow from the last Newsletter who had her home renovated) being actively involved in the VBS too. She is a precious lady. She invited several of her neighborhood children, and then came along also herself to make sure they became involved and had a good time. It was wonderful to see God continue to bless Pani Josefa and give her ways that she can reach out with the same love and care that she has received.
We were also blessed by two groups of Americans that were able to help us out with the VBS this year. One group of youth came all the way from the States, and was able to do a variety of things while they were here. They had prepared a powerful pantomime, gave their testimonies in the small groups, helped with the face painting and games, and became a blessing to many through their smiles and love. In the morning they were also involved doing ‘hard labor’ to help the Mission do some tough physical jobs! Another group came from an American military base in Germany, and was able to help us out with the transportation of the children from the villages, as well as other activities held during the VBS. Added to these were a couple of Dutch families who camped on the Elim lawn in tents and caravans, and helped out in any way they could. The Lord brought these groups as a special blessing for us here at Elim at this time, and we are very thankful.
Another really special blessing this year in the VBS was how God used a particular youth, Oscar, who lives about 500 km from the Mission. Oscar first began coming to VBS when he was a young boy visiting his grandparents (who live in our town). Through the years we have seen Oscar come to every VBS, and have seen him come to Christ and grow in his faith. He comes once a year to us, but this year was a very special highlight. This year Oscar came to join the 6-week Discipleship Camp held at Elim, and he also became one of the workers for this year’s VBS. It has been wonderful to see this young boy grow in the Lord to the point where he is now a leader in the very same place where he himself came as a young child.
Oscar not only helped lead in the VBS, but he also was able to be involved with the ministry held in the town’s Festival this year. He played the role of Jesus in a powerful play on stage and boldly proclaimed his faith.
The Evangelism Bus was parked once again in the town for the Town Festival. This year the Lord opened the door for the Mission to be able to have a small Prayer-tent near the Bus where a number of people came for prayer. The use of face painting for the children drew many people to the Bus, and we were able to meet with children, teens and adults through the three days of the Festival. It also served as a great opportunity to advertise the upcoming VBSs. Once again the town granted the Mission a 2-hour slot on the small stage where we were able to sing about Jesus and share His message in various ways. We count this a special privilege that God has given at this time.
The clown, Kasia, in the above photo is also attending this year’s Discipleship Camp at Elim, and this is her first time to use clowning as a ministry. We met Kasia as a non-Christian 3 years ago at this same festival when she came to the Evangelism Bus. She came to Christ as a result of that summer’s ministries, and is now baptized and serving the Lord. God is so wonderful in the ways He works.
Many camps have blessed the Elim grounds this year again. The camps are for various ages, from a variety of places, and they run different programs; but they all have the one purpose, to draw closer to Jesus. Several people have come to Christ through these camps, and we rejoice that five were recently baptized in the local river.
The Discipleship Camp has once again been a tremendous blessing for 6 weeks in the community this year. They have run the English school, met regularly with the children from the Children’s Home, regularly visited the sick and elderly, and brought many other helps to bless our town in the Name of Jesus. The nine youth from our church that were able to attend the Discipleship Camps were challenged and blessed by the opportunity to train and learn how to serve better our Lord Jesus Christ. This has been a wonderful gift for them.
After many years of having buckets to catch the water in 2 of the corridors in the Palace, the Lord has provided for the renovation of the 2 corridors (these lead to the staff homes within the Elim Palace). The group of Americans from Germany (that also helped out with VBS) came with the aim of specifically helping renovate these corridors, and it has been so amazing to see the difference these renovations have made. The corridors are now lined with insulation, making it cooler in the summer, and also much warmer in the winter. This has been a very wonderful gift from the Lord and we are very grateful for this provisioning.
A few Staff updates
We have enjoyed having Justyna serving with us for this last year (a single 20-year-old Polish girl who came to the Lord through the English school 3 years ago). She has asked if she could continue at the Mission for another year, and we feel that this will be a wonderful help to the work. Justyna joined the team of 5 younger staff that ran the VBS and other outreaches this year. She is very creative, with a heart for reaching out.
Thank you to those that prayed for Ania and Wiktor, and Tomek and Gosia, as they worked together to prepare 3 major summer outreach programs. It was indeed a big step for them, and we see the Lord stretching them and making them capable and responsible leaders. We are so very thankful to God for their presence at the Mission! Please continue to pray for them.
A young man from the Discipleship Camp has also asked if he may serve at Elim this coming year, so we are waiting for the Lord’s confirmation for this. Another young man from the States will also be coming to Elim as a guest-helper for a couple of months in September, which will also be a good help for the Mission.
Ken has returned from Australia, and is very grateful for the time the Lord gave him with his 3 sons, and with his parents. Thank you for your prayers for him; he does feel that the Lord blessed that time in many ways. The Lord enabled Pawel to do a wonderful job in leading the Mission and church in Ken’s absence, and we see the hand of God on Pawel’s life as he humbly makes himself available. All the other staff are well, and are a continuous gift to the Mission-work at Elim.
Thank you to those who kindly stand behind the Elim Mission in different ways. We are thankful for the heart that God has given you for this work! We do appreciate you very much.