Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Return of The World Race in Ukraine

(Racers just after arrival at Kyiv Train Station)

At the end of last month more than 170 World Racers from 4 different squads, along with a 20-30 WR Alums and current Coaches and Leaders converged in Romania for the 1st Ever WR Awakening Conference. The immediate aftermath of the conference was sort of like a team breaking huddle with everyone motivated and re-energized to make their next play.

The January 09 (H Squad??) began arriving in Ukraine this past Wednesday. I think it was a week ago tonight (Sunday) that I started getting emails and FB and Skype messages enlisting a little help on this end.

Here's how God provided:

There were 8 teams (52 Racers) arriving in Ukraine in less than a week with really only 1 firm ministry lined up that would accommodate 2 teams. They pretty much had no ministry lined up and no place to stay.

I guess the first thing I did was to send out a FB Message to all of my Ukraine contacts- American and Ukrainian alike- to enlist help in finding them a place to stay and ministries to partner with.

(Some of the Racers at St Sophia Square)

Proportionately speaking- I didn't get much of a return on my investment...but a handful of folks jumped on it. One really sweet "God gift" was that I was chatting online with one of the girls who was a translator at camp this past summer. She's a University student in Odessa named Natalie. She told me she'd love to help them. I made the recommendation to Squad Leadership and the next thing you know there's a team heading for Odessa... still with no place to stay and no ministry to work with. But Natalie was there (after a short delay and some confusion about which Bus Station the team was at) to greet them. She found them a place to stay the night with a friend. The next day she helped them find an apartment for the month. She's connected them with a group of her friends that will essentially be the core of their ministry to college students this month. Thank you Lord.

Two teams were already committed to go to Lugansk and work with my YWAM friends Forrest and Darcy. Between my emails and Squad Leaderships' inquiries for ministry partners, another acquaintance in Lugansk agreed to take a team. Thank you Lord!

That left 4 teams for Kyiv. The WR had very fruitful ministry back in the Spring with CCX- a college student outreach of Intervarsity. We thought they'd be a good partner this time too, but we had not heard from them. The other day after the teams arrived I made one phone call and the next thing you know...we're connected and at least 1 team is set to go. Thank you Lord!

I have been a Facebook "Fan" of Ukraine Teen Challenge for months but I had never met the folks that run it. When I was looking for partners last week we finally connected...which led to a meeting the other day...which led to connecting one team to work with them this month...AND...Teen Challenge found affordable housing for the team as well! Thank you Lord!

The first Friday the WR was in town, I connected them with another friend that ministers to AIDS Orphans. So this past Friday I think 3 of the WR Girls joined her for that ministry at a local hospital. Thank you Lord!

(Art on St. Andrews Street in Kyiv)

My friend Oleg answered the call to house a team...offering to rent them a garage/studio apartment within the very limited WR Budget. Thank you Lord!

My friend Darrell moved out of his old apartment last week but managed to get the lease extended a month to allow two teams of girls to live in the apartment this month. It's crowded...but it's home! I thought we would have to pay them in advance last Wednesday night. I was going to cover the Racers until they could get some cash...but when I went to an ATM, my card didn't work. I was nervous, but offered up a quick prayer and God the meeting with the landlords and Attorney...they said they didn't need the money for a couple more days. Thank you Lord!

So...the WR is off to a great start in Kyiv. They all have somewhat affordable housing. Most of them have very solid ministry lined up for the month.

It's been fun for me to "show off" my city. Helping the Racers get acclimated and helping them find ministry has affirmed my heart for this place, for these people. The downside is that I skipped 3 days of classes so that will be painful beginning tomorrow. But since I won't be working camp later this month, then I guess it's okay that I missed most of this past week. I did keep up with most of my homework! One upside was that I got to use my language a good bit and enjoyed feeling like a genius while helping the Racers get around!

Another big help the last few days has been the presence of another "Camp Interpreter"- Vika (pictured below). She's been in Kyiv this past week and was great helping me help the team. Thank you Lord!


Tina said...

YES for feeling like a genius!! That is not to be underestimated, Clinton. You (as a newbie to Ukraine) and your language skills have come such a long way. Praying for you always!


Vickie (Clinton's sister) said...

Awesome... that post will keep me smiling all day... what a blessing for you and for them, too...

Praying for you always... and I'll continue to pray for the Racers... and all else who you come into contact with..

love... your big sister...

Janet T (Clinton's other sister) said...

Hi, Clinton, It sounds like God was using you fully to help get the Racers all set up! And I'm sure you enjoyed the opportunity to help them,too! I hope you get lots of chances to work with them and visit with them while they are there. I'm so sorry that you might not be able to work at the youth camp again this month like you had hoped, I know that must be a huge disappointment... for you and for the kids attending, too. I'm praying that God will intervene soon, really, really SOON and remove all those obstacles in your life that are keeping you from being able to follow your dreams and live your life fully for Him. I'm praying that He clears the way for you to go to that camp this month, and even pairs you up with a camp partner who can help you keep up with your lessons while you take the week off from school. I'm ready for prayers to be answered, fears to be dispelled, and faith to be restored, rejuvenated, renewed!
Please, Lord, Hear my prayers...

Momma said...

"I am holding you by your right hand -- I the Lord your God -- and I say to you, Don't be afraid; I am here to help you. --- Isaiah 41:13."

Clinton, that's from God to you...we love you...

Momma said...

Call unto me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things which you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

It seems like I find messages from God to you and to me wherever I look.

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