The title of this post is true. I have confirmed it here in Ukraine. God is so cool. His timing is perfect. His compassion is endless. His grace is free. His love is boundless.
I walked along the riverside here in Dnipropetrovsk and I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I also had an overwhelming sense of being way to hot for it to be 9 in the morning, but apparently that's Ukrainian summers for ya... Back to the spiritual stuff - God is in control. Here in Ukraine. In the States. In Haiti. In your fears. In your life. In everthing, He is working for his divine purpose. Whatever it is that is troubling you, stressing you, causing you to lose sight of His plan and His omnipotence, may you know that He is working in it and that He'll be there on the other side of it as well.
It's been awhile since the last update, but our internet access has been scarce. We spent a week in the small village of Rulykov. It was absolutely idyllic. Along with growing potatoes, zuchinni, cabbage and other vegetables, they keep chickens at this TSA Outpost and these chickens (from my understanding) are a big part of keeping the place open (in addition to saving them tons of money on alarms clocks). Their operating budget is very small, but they make the most of it. I cannot express how necessary this Army installation is. The children spent most of their days there. They got a delicious butter bread with cheese and glass of tea when they arrived, then another meal before they left. Besides eating (which was one of my favorite parts of life there) there was a time for Bible study and handcrafts for the kids. Oh, and I cannot leave out Football (Soccer for you weirdo yankees). I played more football in the first day there than I ever have in my entire life (no exaggeration). This fact, along with the manual farm labour that we took part in for the entire week and the all-natural diet we have been eating may explain why I can't keep my pants up and my shirts are starting to look too big on me. No complaints here. :) I will not mention Rulykov without talking about the officer who is in charge there. Vera Nikolaivna is another one of those amazing one in a billion people that you meet in life. Her heart, love, compassion and kindness was poured out everyday in abundance. The way she interacted with the children, her hospitality to us, her love for the work to which she has been appointed - it all exemplified the Christ-likeness that all of us are called to and so few of us truly achieve. I want to be like Vera Nikolaivna when I grow up.
Our week in Rulykov was capped off by the Divisional Youth Camp wherein approximately 60 young adults from all over Ukraine descended upon Rulykov for some camping, seminars, bonfires, fun and fellowship. It was a very relaxing weekend. Copious amounts of UNO were played. And by copious, I mean COPIOUS. Other than UNO there was also some water balloon fun; some excellent food; Avatar, Almost Heros, and Rat Race on the late night cinemas (all in Russian, naturally); roasted marshmallows; volleyball; football and one severely overused outhouse. It was great to get to meet the youth from all over the coutry, especially since we're here for such a short time and we are not able to go everywhere and meet everyone. This weekend also let us reconnect with some of the friends we had made up to this point, which was a nice bonus.
Our weekend ended in Rulykov and we travelled to Kiev to catch a nighttrain to Dnipropetrovsk. Night trains, up to this point, have not been kind to us. This one however was incredible. It was airconditioned, newly remodeled and comfortable. I slept for almost 6 hours on that train, which is precisely 6 hours more than I have ever slept on a night train. Someone was praying for us and the prayer was answered. We all needed the rest after an intense week like that.
The week so far in Dnipro has been excellent. The young adults that make up this New Horizon (not an official Corps yet) are among the most hospitable and friendly people I have encountered, not only in Ukraine, but in my lifetime. We have visited two Children's Shelters while here. At the first, one of the guys from the corps and I assisted the some military types and police officers in doing some manual labour around the orphanage. It was dirty, exhausting work, but it made a difference. The ladies on the team did some weeding that made a big difference as well. We also spent a lot of time with the kids palying with a parachute, doing balloon animals, handcrafts and just getting to know them. It was hard to leave at the end of the day, which is a feeling we are all experiencing more and more as each week ends. The next day was spent at the home of the grandmother of one of the Dnipr youth. It was a great day. We ate homemade borscht (which was the best I've eaten in Ukraine so far), then went for a picnic on the countryside. Few times in my life have I seen a landscape so beautiful. While on the picnic we played some UNO, had some conversation, ate Ukrainian style shish kabobs, and just enjoyed the scenery. The following day we visited another children's home wherein we sang some songs (King of Kings, which we all now know in Russian, Ukrainian and English and one we learned here called L-O-V-E that has been a big hit wherever we go), did some balloon animals and handcrafts and just got to know the kids there. Again, it was hard leaving them behind, but we know that they are in good hands, spiritually and physically. Following that, we made more Vareniki with the people of the corps and spent some time with them. I got to satisfy my craving for table tennis by playing for a few hours at the corps. Good times. The evening ended with an English language class at which Christi gave a presentation on American Art and Gessica taught a few praise and worship songs in English. We also played some intense charades. (Some people think taxidermy is a difficult and not an often enough used word. I disagree.)
That brings you up to date! God is doing great things here. He is still in control. Continue to pray for us and all of Ukraine.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,