July 24, 2013

Serbia Outreach - *Last update on our summer in Eastern Europe!*

Well, here we are, updating the blog once again from the STATES! This summer completely flew by! Six weeks ago, we were updating the blog from this very place - from David's aunt's house in Chicago. Now we have come through this summer in Eastern Europe and feel as though it was all a big dream! We were constantly on the go - and even now, as we post this, we are still on the go! Now that the summer is over, we are swamped with finding an apartment and jobs in Chicago! If we can, we would ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers as they have been such a huge encouragement and blessing to us these past 6 weeks. But! Enough of that! This is supposed to be an update on our time in Serbia!
We left Bucharest, Romania on July 13th with Tom, Jess, David Luca, David, and myself. We drove around 5 hours, and stayed at a pensiune (kind of like a hotel) that was close to the border. The next morning, we woke up bright and early and drove on to Serbia. The drive was gorgeous! There were so many things to see!
When we arrived in Serbia, we were told to meet the camp leaders at a small church in Padina. There we were introduced to our host families for the week, as well as the other people that were involved in the camp! I had a wonderful roomie for the week - Rebeka, and we stayed at a house that belonged to a sweet older couple who completely adopted us as their children for the week! Although they didn't speak a word of English, Rebeka was an amazing translator and was our connecting element for the whole week! Being with these people was one of the highlights of my week! It was so amazing to see how God can bring people together as a family - even from across the world - in Him!
The camp there in Serbia was a sports/English junior camp for kids ages 7 - 13. For this week, Jessica, David Luca, and I were responsible for English classes (Jess & David had beginners' level, and I had advanced), Tom was basketball coach, and David was in charge of the Big Games (games which involved the entire camp). Each of us fully embraced our responsibilities, and it worked out so that David could help out with my English class (a group of 8 lovely girls), and I could assist him with the Big Games.
English class was better than I could have ever hoped! The girls all loved each other and got along very well! We did a variety of activities together during our English classes, and by the end of the week we had all really bonded. This was definitely my favorite week of the summer. God's goodness was on every aspect of the week.
David did an amazing job with the Big Games! We implemented MANY of the games that we had played at camp last year in Lake Ann - and - of course - the kids loved them! Since there were about 80 kids that we were responsible for during the Big Games, we decided it would be best to divide them up into 4 teams, have them think of team names/cheers/chants ("Crazy Frogs," "Warriors," "Diamanti," and "Egypt Ninjas"), and have them compete against one another in games like relay races, 4-way volleyball, 4-way tug-o-war, "ninja" tournaments, and much more! By the end of the week during evaluation, all but one of the kids said that Big Games was their favorite part of the week!!! God was definitely present and overseeing everything as I'm sure that this great success would not have existed if it weren't for Him!
There were so many people that were involved in making this week an awesome experience. We had an entire team from Serbia that had put the whole program together, and were also involved in worship, English classes, football/soccer, and daily messages. These people truly had a heart for sharing the gospel with these children, and it was evident in everything that they did! We were blessed to work alongside of them.
Please continue to keep these 80 children in prayer, as Darko (the camp leader) presented a gospel message to them at the end of the week and many of the kids committed their lives to Christ that day. I truly believe that the decisions they made were not based on emotions, but based on a desire to know the same God and Savior that was working through the people at camp that they so looked up to. Many, many of them are going home to families who are not saved, and so we are earnestly praying that God would give them the strength to stay faithful to Him despite their surroundings.
At the end of the week, the 5 of us from Romania returned to Bucharest (after a 9 hour drive home!), and the next morning Tom & Jess departed for Detroit and later that afternoon, David & I returned to Chicago. The Graefs are still very busy as they are currently at a missionary training conference, then heading down to their new home in Kentucky ... before flying off to Hawaii to see their son and new daughter get married! All in a matter of 16 days! Keep them in your prayers - especially as they fight jet lag and make preparations for their furlough year here in the states.
As for David and I.... we have been on the lookout for apartments and have been able to see quite a few different options. There was one that we really fell in love with and we have placed an application in to the landlords. David is also going to try to switch jobs and work at the school instead of off-campus, so we are praying for God's will and hoping that he will get a job at Moody. I have sent out quite a few applications myself for jobs in the Moody area, and am now just waiting to hear back from all of them! Although we have our own ideas of what would be best or ideal, we do rest in the fact that God's will is always infinitely better! We know that He will provide, and in the meantime we are just praying and trusting in His love, mercies, and trustworthiness!
Thank you, one and all, for all of the love and support that you have given to us this summer! Truly, this summer would not have been the same if it hadn't been for you. You have been instruments of God's work in our lives and we will always look back on this summer as not only one of the highlights of our new life together, but also one of the greatest evidences of God's love and care for us!
In regards to this blog, we hope that it has been a small way of showing you what an amazing work you have been a part of whether by prayer, encouragement, or financial support! Although the summer is over, we are planning to continue to update the blog with other stories of God's goodness in our lives, and invite you to continue to read on if you wish! Our hearts are full of praises to a God who is continually praiseworthy!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With heartfelt love & gratitude,
Randie Megan & David

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Return to Hawaii: 7 days
Wedding Countdown: 16 days

Up Ahead: Waiting to hear on apartment/job applications, traveling to Hawaii, and.... GETTING MARRIED!


David playing some games with the kids


Meet a game leader's best friend

English class

Taking on some initiatives - this one's called the "Human Knot"

Untangling ourselves

One of my girls, Anastazija, decorated our white board with the names of the girls in class (+ David lol)

JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!

Serbia

"What do you mean - 'What do you have in your mouth?'???"

Randie Megan, her wonderful hostess, and amazing roomie, Rebeka!

Our host, Rebeka, RM, and David - our family for the week!

Last day of English class :(

Goodbye group hugs



English class with David :)




These crazy boys....... on the roadtrip home



Roadtrip buddies



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