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2008 - July/August PDF Print E-mail

CROSSOVER MINISTRIES
239 Duke Road
Columbia, La. 71418
(318) 649-7720
(318) 649-5452
Email: crossovermin@juno.com


July – August Newsletter 2008
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We’re happy to
report that all of the three summer kid’s camps were successful with very
few problems. There were many children who accepted Christ as their
Savior, many who prayed in repentance of sin, and others in whose hearts
the seeds were planted and questions are being asked. We had one new girl
from the camps who attended church on Sunday in the city, and others
continue to come after being reached through the camp ministry. Our
second camp team consisting of members from North Monroe, Louisiana came
during the fall last year to help with some follow-up, and we plan to try
to continue works that we have already begun. We ask that you pray for
God to give us wisdom in how to continue to do follow-up work with these
young people. We had our very first youth camp this last week, which is a
follow-up with many of the young people who have attended kid’s camps in
the past, but are now too old. Many are also from the churches in
different places. Pray that God will continue to work in these young
hearts, and that He will build new church groups from the seeds that are
being planted. We pray that a firm foundation for a lasting church will
be built across Ukraine. Praise God for the salvation of the souls of men
everywhere.
Many have been concerned about the war between Georgia and Russia, and
about its affects on us. So far, we’ve felt no difference, and if it
weren’t for watching the news and hearing from people back in the US, we
wouldn’t even know it is happening. We have said for quite some time that
we believe the time could be drawing near to a very difficult time for
the preaching of the gospel in this part of the world again. The doors
are open for the gospel to be preached, and it seems only a few have
realized the urgency of the time to reach people before the door is shut.
So many people wander without a hint of what awaits them after this life,
but so few are working to reach them with the words of Jesus—“Come unto
me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and
ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is
light”—(Matthew 11:28-30). I don’t understand how we can see so many
around the world with empty hands and empty hearts, yet continue to live
as if no one else exists on the earth except us and our own. It is a
shame and a reproach on the name of Christ for His people to continue in
sin, and refuse to recognize the great sacrifice that Jesus gave so that
in return we will give our own lives as “living sacrifices” back to Him
in doing the words He left us with—“go ye therefore, and teach all
nations….” It’s hard to give up our desires in life to fulfill a calling
from God when it requires us to literally walk away from all that is
familiar to us and makes life much easier, but I believe that if we don’t
answer when God calls, many people’s blood will be on our hands! How will
we answer? Are we ready to give an answer? If God is true, then we will
not go unpunished for such deeds as fulfilling only the lusts of our
flesh every day, day after day, without a thought of those around us who
are hungering and thirsting after something they don’t even know they
need. May God give us a vision and a purpose!
In third camp, we had help from Bro. Miller McClure, his son Greg and his
daughter Katie, and another young man named Tom who has been coming to
camps for years now. These were truly a blessing to us and to our people.
Bro. Miller is a pastor, and his son Greg has also surrendered and is in
his beginning years. I believe the kids really listened and got a lot
from both their messages, and we appreciate the sweet testimony they were
to everyone. Katie wants to come back next year, possibly for the whole
summer, to work in the camps with us. She really loves the little ones,
and they all loved her in return! I know they were missed after they had
to go home early. Pray for this family! Tom again was a blessing to the
kids, and he also is so creative in how he encourages the kids by giving
them some type of special little gift. This year he gave each of them a
small type of Christian tattoo if they could tell what at least one color
of the salvation message was, and a better one if they could tell him all
of the colors. We appreciate all!
We had many children, and even some workers, who came to pray with Bible
teachers. At the end of camps, Shane allowed a time of open opportunity
to testify of how God had been working in their lives. We were surprised
by the testimonies of some, and encouraged by their words of belief and
faith in God. We can never be sure exactly how many of the children came
to true saving faith in Christ, but we know that good seeds were planted.

The camp was a fun time for kids and adults alike, as this year is also
the camp’s 60th anniversary, so some of the workers wanted to celebrate
that birthday with a special time of recognition of leaders who had been
a part of the camp through the years. We invited many of our local
leaders to attend, and all of them were very encouraging and kind, and
the coal mine even presented the camp with a brand new big TV and DVD
player. We have a young lady who became a believer during the time that
Lee Roy was at the camps, and she was given the opportunity this summer
to do the stage directing. Everyone grew to love Bogdonna very much, and
we appreciated the hard work she put into every night of planning and
preparing, and for all activities she planned for the children during the
day while at the same time serving as an interpreter. She did a very good
job, and was easy to work with. She planned out the program for our
birthday celebration day, and it was very nice with some of the kids or
camp workers performing between each of the leaders speaking. It was a
time of opportunity to be a good witness to the leaders of our region,
and we are thankful for their help and encouragement. May God give us
grace as he works in all of our hearts, and may He give us guidance and
lead us in the right direction.
We have been blessed with our own three good camps which were fifteen
days each and five days between each one. Some of our regional directors
had a camp during one of the off weeks, and they had a big group of
karate kids and some boys in a military type group. It was really
interesting, and they were welcoming for us to come and be a part of
their camp. This group is a very peaceable group and the leaders told us
they teach the students discipline and peace keeping skills. I was
privileged to get to watch one of the performances they did as some of
the regional workers came from the city with a local peace corps
volunteer from the US, and part of the group pretended to take them
hostages while the other part acted out taking the hostages back from the
terrorists. They used fake smoke bombs and bullets, and made it look as
real as possible, but I think the administration people actually already
knew about the planned attack. After they finished, they let us target
shoot and then their students performed some different military type
procedures like making their way under a maze of rope, throwing a knife
in a wooden board, and shooting at a target. Then the karate group
performed, and they even had three young men with brown belts. It was a
really interesting program, and they were kind to me as I walked around
with them without having an interpreter. We managed to communicate
somewhat with their limited English and my limited Russian. I enjoyed it.
One of the local existing Baptist groups from the city held a small camp
of approximately 150 people total, with almost 100% believers attending.
We enjoyed this group at the camp, and they were also very welcoming to
us. Although Shane was sick that week, we tried to visit as much as we
were able, and we helped keep the pool with chemicals while our boys who
were staying with us helped us keep it cleaned. This group has already
asked to return next year, and we hope to work with them as much as
possible. They told us they enjoyed the camp a lot.
Speaking of “our boys” in the last paragraph, I haven’t told about them.
We have one young man named Bogdon who has been staying with us at the
camp for over a year now, and he is doing well. He is a young man from
the Belerechinka orphanage who had no place to go and was literally
walking out of his shoes when another young man asked us to allow him to
stay. We put him at the camp, and asked the guards and our workers to
help us take care of him, and then in October, a team from the US came to
the orphan camp. A couple from that team decided to start sponsoring this
boy, so we’ve been able to help him with a lot of different things
through this sponsor. I think he’s learned a lot just through this summer
and being at the camps. Shane tries his best to keep him busy working and
working to help him stay out of trouble. Sometimes he does good, but
sometimes Shane has to get tough on him, but it seems he’s coming around
somewhat here lately. He’s taken a test with another friend, and they’re
both attending a college in the city, and he’s supposed to get some
financial help—another lesson hard learned. Shane sat down with him and
explained to him that this was exactly why he tried to get him to work at
the camps all year long instead of “hoolieting”—which means roaming
around with friends. He’s so funny—he told Shane that he knew sometimes
he was lazy, but he just didn’t know why. We think he’s a pretty good
boy, but just as any other kid growing up in the orphanages, he started
out with hard circumstances, moved from place to place for a while, and
then ended up in a place with a lot of other little ones all needing the
same kind of attention, but with only a few workers to share themselves
with all. Bogdon’s friend has also been staying at the camp after our
camps were over. His name is Prosha. He is also attending school now, and
had needed a place to stay for awhile. These two even stayed at our home
one week since the camp was being used by a big group who needed all the
space for their own teams. Pray for these boys and for us as we try to
help them make good decisions for their future.
Another young man who is also an orphan worked in camps last year with
us. His name is “Sports” Sasha. He’s played in the past as a professional
soccer player, but it would be like our semi-pro teams. He had a contract
with them, but I think it’s finished now, and I’m not sure if he’ll
continue to try to pursue that kind of career. He asked at the beginning
of summer if he could help at camp just for a place to stay. In time
past, Sasha has been a hard worker, but he sometimes gets really
aggressive playing sports and can be demeaning and rude to other players
and referees. He also plays so aggressively that it can be dangerous for
the younger kids. If his team is losing or playing badly, his behavior is
noticeable to all, even if they can’t speak his language. Shane thought
about this decision, and decided to give him a chance. He actually ended
up being one of the hardest and most consistent workers we had all
summer. I hardly ever saw him when he was completely stopped and resting.
He worked non-stop every day almost all day long. We had some problems,
but overall, he did well in camps. We helped him between camps with a
place to stay and with buying food, and he helped by working in the
camps, cutting grass, cleaning the pool, hauling dirt, cutting wood, and
anything else that needed to be done. Pray also for this young man.
Still another young man who has worked this summer with us is a good
Christian young man. His name is Vitalik, but some of the girls from the
US thought he looked like one of their friends, so he’s become known now
as “Trevor” Vitalik. He is such a sweet spirited young man, and we have
really grown to love him. We met him when he attended the interpreter
classes wanting to come to work at the camps. He can speak English okay,
but his best gift is to be a sweet and kind servant and friend to all. He
also stayed between the camps just to help us with the work and also to
help take care of a little orphan girl named Oksanna that was left there
by the administration. Because the state decided this year to send most
orphans from the orphanages only to camps where they can stay all summer
long, neither the Belerechinka nor Pavlovka orphans were able to attend
our regular camps as they’ve always done. But…this little girl and two
others were brought to us by the administration man because they had no
place to stay. When camp was over, the administration people just told us
to take her to the hospital and leave her. We didn’t have the heart to do
that because all she would be able to do is sit in a bed alone. Oksanna
obviously has had a hard time, and she still has trouble wetting the bed
night after night. We had to put plastic over the mattresses and change
the sheets every day, but we managed. She didn’t even seem to understand
about bathing and then changing her underwear to keep herself clean, or
even to brush her hair each night. Bible teachers said it was very common
for her to constantly get angry and cry to get her way. Well, Vitalik
worked with her every day between two camps, and Oksanna grew to love him
so much. One day, she was given the opportunity to raise the flag in the
morning, and someone saw Vitalik on the sidelines doing a “thumbs up” to
her. On days when families came to visit the kids, Vitalik would go to
Oksanna’s dorm and check her out to visit and play Frisbee with her so
she wouldn’t feel left out. Vitalik now continues to work with us, and
was back for the Youth Camp last week to help with Bible teaching. We
were so surprised in the kid’s camps when one day he asked Shane, “Who
will preach tonight?” Shane told him he hadn’t even gotten anyone yet.
Vitalik told him, “I want to preach.” Shane wasn’t sure how he’d do
because sometimes he speaks pretty slowly and thoughtfully, but when he
spoke, it was so clear and even entertaining to the kids. What he said
was truly a blessing for all. We are encouraged by the ministry of this
young man. Each Sunday, he continues to return to his church in the city
unless he is on duty at the camps, but we are impressed by his loyalty
and consistency to his church family and to his work. For now, he is
still working with us in the village and at the camps, and he even told
today of witnessing to two men who work at the camp. These are pretty
tough men, but it sounds like he held his own with them. He is now
looking for a job, so we ask that you pray for God’s guidance in his
life. He wants to work with orphans—we will try to help him find a place
in our outreach.
I think through the camp ministry and other ministries, so many young men
are growing and maturing in the work of our Lord in the last few months.
One young man who attended camp in the past began working in camp first
as a helper and then as our lead singer and guitarist. This year, he did
well working all summer long as a musician, and then also with the groups
who came to do special performances for the stage programs at night. We
have noticed that he really loves the “diavoochki”—that means girls—but
we are hoping that doesn’t completely distract him from the work of the
gospel. He is at an age to be strongly influenced in the wrong direction,
so we ask that you pray for God to lead him in the right way. His name is
Sasha. He also stayed between the camps, and was here with us some days
just working and helping around the camps for food. We weren’t sure what
his purposes were, but we knew that it could be our opportunity to work
with him and hopefully influence him somehow in the right direction.
There were several young boys and some girls from the orphanage who were
too old to attend the camps anymore, but most really had no place to go
after graduating from school. They are about 15 or 16, and the age limit
is supposed to be 14. We had one gentleman who is working in camps as a
dorm parent who is also a teacher at the orphanage boarding school. This
man offered to help with the young men if we would let them stay in the
dorm with him. Well, it kind of became a joke on Shane that anybody
coming into the camps with any kind of troubles would be sent to his dorm
immediately—7B! I don’t know if Shane really knew how it looked—as if he
were taking advantage of Max’s offer--until the boys from 7B did a funny
skit one night and portrayed Shane, first of all, sending an “old
crippled man” who needed a place to stay off to 7B, then a boy the police
caught smoking off to 7B, and any other troubled person. We really got a
good laugh from that! Because of complaints about how we were handling
the smoking problems by making the boys get up early and clean toilets,
Shane decided to drill them about the dangers of smoking, and then made
them form teams to pick up trash around the camps and specifically a
certain number of cigarette butts. In the end, after all the boys were
done, he made them dig a very deep hole just to make them work hard, and
then they had a funeral ceremony by putting all the cigarette butts into
the hole and filling it in as he spoke to them again about burying the
bad habit. The boys seemed to listen closely and one of them said from
the beginning of the first camps, he had gradually smoked less and less,
but he was wishing to be able to somehow get a type of nicotine gum to
help him completely quit the habit. I really saw signs that some of them
actually were showing desire to do better before the last camp had ended.
Shane had them all working every morning after Bible study by hauling
dirt to fill holes in, painting, helping Alec with repairing furniture
and building, cutting wood, cutting the grass, picking up trash, and
helping clean the pool. They all seemed to be taking a lot of pride in
their work by the time camp had finished. By afternoon, they were allowed
to go back to normal routine and play soccer, table tennis, swim, and
then we had evening preaching services and a stage program. I know this
doesn’t seem like a traditional way to work with kids at a camp, but this
is definitely not a place of delicate upbringings and easy life. These
kids need to be prepared for a hard future ahead of them, and they really
have no idea of what awaits them. So many of them end up in lives of
smoking, drinking, drugs, sexual sin, and many end up becoming hard
criminals and in prison. Please pray for Shane as he continues to work
with them to try to help them by teaching them life skills as he points
them to God.
Our own son is doing well. He has David, an 18 year old boy from Alabama,
staying here with us for a year. We’ll be going home for a few weeks, but
David will stay with a friend from the city while we’re gone. I think his
biggest concern right now is the war between Georgia and Russia, and the
possibility of Ukraine becoming involved somehow. Anyway, Caleb and he
both have new scooters to ride, so they’ve been riding and riding. Caleb
hasn’t stopped his working either. He still has all his rabbits and
chickens, and he keeps more kittens than we need. He finds something
different to do almost every day. His latest project was a swing with a
rope he’d brought from the US. He worked all day cutting and sanding a
piece of wood for the seat, and then tied and untied to get his knots
just right for hanging. Vera, one of the camp workers and mom to his
friend, came over one day and sat in it and swung for a little bit and
she told him she was testing it for him. Today, he moved a fence, and I
think he’ll soon build a walkway with some bricks his dad bought for him
to work with. I’ve never seen a kid more entertained than he is by hard
labor, but he loves to love working! If I’m anywhere around, he begs me
either to come and help or just to sit outside with him while he works. I
try to do it as much as possible, and we have some good visits while he’s
working.
Mary, our daughter, is living back in the US with her grandparents and
going to school there. She is already preparing and planning to go to
college next year, and did very, very well on her ACT. She loves
cheerleading, and will be continuing that for the last time this year.
She’s already told me that when summer arrives, she hopes to get to spend
the whole summer back here with us helping in the summer camps. I sure
hope she’s able! We have really missed her more than I could ever have
imagined. I think she’s missed being with us as a family also. This last
time when she left, she told us that she wished she could be in two
places at one time. It’s ironic, because that’s exactly what I’d just
told her dad about myself wanting also to be with her, but knowing I
couldn’t leave Ukraine right now. Please pray for Mary as she finishes
her school year and prepares for university that God would be her guide
and that she would have knowledge, and most importantly, use the wisdom
that I know God is giving her.
Shane will begin the advanced Bible studies again in October on Tuesday
nights, and I will probably be teaching the English classes throughout
the year. We met last night before we leave on Monday, September 8th to
go back to the US for three weeks. We will try to spend a little more
time in the US this year because of Mary being in her senior year. She
will be needing guidance for her future, and we also want to be as much a
part of this special year as we possibly can be. Shane will be returning
home at the beginning of October, but Caleb and I may be staying a little
longer. We’re not sure yet, but while we’re in the US, we’ll be visiting
churches and reporting about the work, so if your church or group would
like for us to visit, please let us know as soon as possible. We’ll be
limited for time, so we’ll try to visit as many as possible while we’re
there.
Terry Tullos and Jake Cockrell, two friends from our home church in
Louisiana, will be visiting with us in October. Some time in mid-October,
we will be having another camp for the orphans. Hope for Orphans and
Servant Life from Alabama sponsored and led this camp last year in
October. I was not able to be here last year, but Shane said it was truly
a sweet time with the kids. Many of their team plans to return for summer
camps next year instead of coming back this fall, so they have a small
group planned to come in October, but I believe it will be a good group
to help alongside others here in Ukraine who will be willing to serve
with the orphans. I have heard from several good Christian interpreters
and workers who have said they are looking forward to being in that camp.
Most of the little ones from the orphanage were unable to be a part of
our summer camps due to the changes made by the officials concerning the
summer programs for the orphanages, so we believe they’ll be looking
forward to being here with us in camp this fall. They’ve met many of the
team from Alabama and they know the workers from here through the past
camps they’ve attended and also the continuing efforts we make going into
the orphanage once each week to have Bible studies and singing. Pray that
God will bless these little ones and that the weather won’t get so cold
during camp that it is hard to enjoy. October can even be a month with
snow, and if there is a freeze, the pipes in camp could need to be
drained and taken up so that there is no running water there.
We continue efforts in the village and in the city with the missions, and
are often encouraged by the attendance and sweet spirit of the services
with the city group, but so often in the village, it is such a struggle.
After the last of the three kid’s camps, we had an attendance of about 35
people in the city group and a very good spirit and good preaching. The
service was great! Then we had the youth camp Sunday, although Alec
continues the work even when many of us must be at the camps. This last
Sunday, even after camp ended only the day before and so many were worn
out from the work at camps, we still had a good attendance of about 26.
We are thankful for God’s goodness in continuing to send laborers to join
with us in reaching others with the gospel of Christ. One of our young
men testified to me Sunday of a young lady who had attended with us for
the first time. She had been invited to the youth camp, and on the first
day, she was complaining and wishing to find a way to be able to go home
because she had not realized it was a Christian camp. She had told him
that she didn’t know it was an Orthodox Christian camp. She didn’t know
the difference in the religions. This young man encouraged her to stay
with us, and told her just to give it a few days before she made a
decision about leaving. At the end of the camp, this young lady came to
the young man and told him she was so thankful that she hadn’t left on
the first day, and she really had been touched and enjoyed everything.
Then she wanted to know where the group met on Sunday, and she came for
the first time, and even asked when she was leaving if she should call us
to find out whether we will be meeting at the same place each time. This
young man was so encouraged and blessed by the testimony of this young
lady! Praise God for His rich blessings and sweet times of growth and
encouragement!
The village group has been difficult to gather. It is hard sometimes to
keep up the struggle of meeting and trying Sunday after Sunday when only
one or two will show up, and sometimes even no one extra above our
ministry group of three or four. We have surely realized the precious
promise of God when He told us that where two or three are gathered in
His name, He will be there with us. I can remember when my little Mary
was the only little one I had in the Sunday school preschool class when
she was just a little girl. Every Sunday, we got back there and just
enjoyed ourselves together with God. We even had only a small divider
between us and the tiny babies who were being watched and sometimes were
crying, but we didn’t let it bother us. After many months, one person
would come with another little one, and then another, and then another,
until we finally had a pretty large class of little ones. It is such a
sweet memory to look back and realize that each one of those little ones
who came were a stepping stone for several families who ended up
consistently faithful in church with these little ones, most of their
family members made professions of faith, and even one young man who was
the daddy of one of my little girls at that time ended up surrendering to
preach and is now a pastor of a church. I know that God is able, but we
must continue to be faithful no matter what! When God releases us from
the responsibility of these people, we will walk away, but for now,
please pray with us that these from our village will some day realize the
extreme importance of coming to a saving faith in Christ and becoming a
group of believers who meet to encourage and help one another.
THANK YOU! So many have responded with great sacrifice of giving of
themselves physically, spiritually, and financially, and we just want to
say that we thank God for you every day that you have been willing to
entrust us with so much—especially some of your young people! God has
richly blessed us this year with many young ones who have had the seeds
of the gospel planted into their young hearts, and many who have already
professed faith in Christ as their Savior. There were about 1,500 young
people that we were able to minister with who attended the four summer
camps which were sponsored and organized by associates of our ministry.
We also hosted two other private camps organized and supported
financially by other Christian Ukrainian workers in our region of
Ukraine. Thank you all so much for being our partners to reach those who
so much need the salvation of God!
God Bless each one of you with the richness of His mercy and grace!


Keep Pressing On!
Shane, Marilyn, Mary, and Caleb & Associates of Crossover Ministries

 
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