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School Trip Stress

School Trip Stress

The beginning of this school year for Naomi came with a time of unexpected difficult and emotional talks as a married couple. As I attended the back-to-school parents meeting, I learned that there was a big, week-long field trip planned in June for the class of 22 students and 2 teachers. While I was aware that a fourth grade week away with the class was a normal thing here, I was unprepared to deal with this issue this year! Although I approached the teacher and asked if I could come along on the 5-night trip to a farm, the principal didn’t approve my request as it would be seen as unfair to the other families, and in the eyes of the school, would hinder the independence of the children that they hope to foster during this week away. Since my going along was the only way we would feel comfortable with Naomi being on the trip, we had to opt out. Naomi took it all in stride, praise God, even though the school counselor questioned her about it before we had officially let Naomi know our decision. When the counselor asked why she wasn’t able to go on the trip, Naomi responded that she didn’t know, but that it sounded like it was too long for her to be away from her parents! During the week of the class trip, Naomi will have to sit in the back of another class during school hours. I don’t know what they will have her do, but please pray she wouldn’t be too sad about missing out, and that we would be able to do lots of special things as a family that week after school. God is protecting our children and giving them wisdom, and we are thankful. Please pray for us as parents to make wise decisions and have God’s continual guidance in our children’s schooling decisions. Thank you!

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Inspiring Stories from Refugee Teens

Inspiring Stories from Refugee Teens

This summer, many of you, by prayers and donations, helped send over 15 refugee teens to our annual English teenager camp. God used this camp greatly to in these refugee teens lives. I would like to share a couple of stories to help you see this.

Dave (the Austrian leader of the camp) told us last year that the camp was not as well attended as in previous years. He asked us to pray for the camp to be full this year with 60 teenager campers. Once registration opened for the camp we asked him how sign ups were, and he did not sound very optimistic, but encouraged us to keep praying for 60 campers. After the camp we asked Dave how many kids finally came. He said that, we had 55 teenagers registered to attend the week before the camp and the number increased to 59 the night before. The week that the camp started one more came so God provided the exact number we had been praying for!

You may remember that we were hoping to raise funds to help send refugee and immigrant teens to the camp. Because of your generosity 18 refugee and immigrant teenagers were sponsored and many other campers brought their friends so we had around 20 non-Christians hearing and experiencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The theme of the camp was “Faith”, and the leaders used stories from the Old and New testament to show that Jesus is the object of our faith and that putting our faith in him is salvation. Some of the M@slm teenagers understood faith better and one of them put his faith in Jesus! A few of the other non-Christian teens came to faith, also. All of them were so ready to learn more about God and His word that we ran out of Bibles to give to them and, so we had to order more!

The Austrian team of leaders were very strong this year. They emphasized training the younger leaders this year, and that made a big difference. Lin, who became a christian at the camp in 2015, served this year on the ministry team. We are also seeing spiritual growth in the leadership team. One of the young leaders said she can divide her life up into “before camp” and then “after camp.” This camp has impacted her spiritual growth so much over the years.

Another story that Russ heard, was that a pastor of a refugee church asked him to talk to the mother of two teenage girls about the camp. The pastor said he had talked with them and they were skeptical about faith in Jesus. The mother encouraged her daughters to attend camp. Russ was hoping the camp would help her raise her daughters too. After the camp, Russ called the girls to see how it went. One of the girls told Russ, bubbling over with joy, “I made many new friends and received a Bible. It is so cool and motivating. My sister and I are now in a group chat with the Austria leaders. The other day we were in a clothing store and turned around and there were some others that had attended the camp with us. What a surprise. We connected so well to them. It was so interesting to hear the stories of how others had found God and all the struggles they went through. Their stories are much like ours. My goal was to come out of my shyness and to find God. I reached that goal. This really excites me.”

Finally, Faith Hampton introduced Matt to a family from her church who were interested in sponsoring two refugee boys that they knew. Matt was able to help her get the boys registered in the camp and direct some of the scholarship funds that you gave so that they could attend. One of the family members texted Matt after the camp to report that the boys had a great time. Now the family from Faith’s church is having the boys and their parents over for dinner. Pray that salvation would come to this household!

These are just a few stories that we have heard. Who knows how else God worked through the camp this year. Thank you again for your participation in enabling discipleship and the proclamation of the gospel!

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