Friday, July 11, 2008

Living Water Celebration

Imagine trying to live, work and raise a family in a village with no water. We cannot even imagine what that would be like. We shared with you briefly about five weeks ago about a small village outside of Tokmok that has been without water for five years. We shared with you that the night we were there, the village people prayed with our team about their need for water.

Well now, the rest of the story. That need was posted on John and Julie Wright's blog that night ( and literally within moments God touched the hearts of His people. Through generous giving, the door opened for the finances needed to dig a mile and a half long trench, lay the pipes and connect them to a water source. The Canadian teens here now raised money additional money for this project and through them and others the financial resources came through and Living Water is coming to Iskra.

On Wednesday night we have the great joy of visiting the village again and sharing in the celebration of the arrival of Living Water.

These pictures tell the story.

Julie Wright, on the far right and Acel, next to her talk with the women of the village as we arrive.

This is part of the mile and one half trench into which will be laid the pipes to connect the village to a water source.

John Wright, in the center, discusses the need for more financial assistance to complete the work and the group responded - "go for it!"

This is the second time we have spent time with these fine little guys. They will grow up with the memory of the night water came to the village. Most of this kids have never known what it was like to have water readily available. These kids are enjoying the celebration.

We thoroughly enjoy our time with our new friends. Although we don't speak the same language and an translator is not always around, they know we love them and care about what happens to them. We hope to be back to this village again before leaving in late September.

What captures our hearts everywhere we go are the children. Here you can see why.

More beautiful kids... David prepares to share a prayer of blessing with our friends.

The Canadian teens join in the prayer of blessing for this village.

As we were leaving the people asked us to come back...please come back. We know we will.

The journey continues.....

Farm Family Extreme Make Over

I feel like an embedded reporter traveling with a group on a very special mission. David and I have been able to spend time with an awesome group of teens from Canada who arrived last Friday and haven't stopped since. We have enjoyed talking with them, watching them and listening to them.

As an outsider watching these teens, I have been so impressed with them - their unity, their willingness to work hard on dirty jobs, their support of each other and their willingness to step in anyplace help is needed. I have watched them interact with both Krygyz kids and adults and I know their parents would be proud of them!

Touching a Family Today - Changing the Course of Tomorrow
About six weeks ago, we posted a picture of a family known affectionately as "the farm family of five" to us. We have shared a bit of their story...from life inside a home with extreme domestic their move with their mom to the Orlovka orphanage for safety...and finally, into their new home. It was a gift from Loads of Love and Possibilities International. This family of five children and a mom have worked hard on their new farm home, but major work needed to be done. That's where the team from Canada stepped up to the plate. They raised funds at home so that a number of significant projects could be completed...then they came here to do the work.

This is the family of five and their mom, the weekend before they moved into their new home. These kids all have worked at their new home, painting, cleaning, planting a huge garden and much, much more.

These pictures only catch a small glimpse of what we saw and heard this week.These teens are tearing down a portion of a coal shed and rebuilding it so that it can be the new home for the cow that arrives on Sunday.

Have you ever watched the steps to build an outhouse? Well, we hadn't until we watched this one. Bekah Wright and Sibera, pull out the final buckets of dirt before the structure is put in place.

Sibera stands at the bottom of this eight foot hole, dug completely by hand by her two older brothers. See picture below.

For a few precious hours, these two boys had "two dads" to show them the things that dads do. This is Dan, a leader of the team from Canada and youth pastor, Jamie.

Task completed! Now Dan and Kathy, another team leader, have something new to put on their resumes--outhouse outfitter!

Teens and adults joined together to do a lot of painting. When this home is completed, it will be one of the best looking homes in all of Orlovka. What a story of restoration of a family.

No extreme makeover is complete without a watermelon seed spitting contest. This is Martin from Canada...and this fine athlete lost to a girl. :)

Each evening after David and I return to our little two room apartment, we thank God for the incredible privilege of being here among these beautiful people. We truly are enjoying the journey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

David's Weekly Perspective

Greetings from Kyrgyzstan

As I read and understand the Scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that authentic ministry encompasses three actions. They are: Preach, Teach, Heal. These three simple words have broad application in definition and practice.

I am doing a lot of preaching and teaching here in Kyrgyzstan. I speak to some group every morning. Mainly, I am teaching and instructing in these sessions. I preach nearly every Sunday morning in some church gathering. Preaching and teaching have a unique and important part in ministry – and is what we do mostly-preach and teach.

Personally, I believe we need to give more attention to the ministry of healing. Preaching and teaching do not necessarily bring healing. By “healing, “ I am not just talking about praying for the sick, I am talking about restoration of life in all of those areas in which it has been broken, shattered, or severed. This requires, in my judgment and experience, a different approach, other than preaching and teaching.

As I mentioned above, I have done a lot of preaching and teaching here, but we have been participating in much healing work as well. There are many situations where healing has happened or is happening. After each church service, I spend nearly two hours after preaching and teaching practicing the ministry of healing with those who come up. Perhaps next week, I will have permission to share a story of incredible healing on this blog.

It is easy to preach and teach, but healing is “trench work,” spiritual confrontation, sacrifice, it is often inconvenient and just plain hard work, but incredibly rewarding.

I have a renewed interest in what James says about just preaching and teaching. There is more, much more, to ministry than just telling people something or passing on information, or giving more rules and regulations. I guess my strong desire is to not just to return home with a bunch of pictures of preaching and teaching to people, but to return home with the knowledge that people’s lives have been changed and in some way or ways, healed.

James says that real ministry involves ministering to people’s needs in real, relevant and immediate ways. Read James 1:27 where he talks about widows and orphans- Kyrgyzstan has many of them. Most of the men here “gone” in some way. Also read James 2:14-17, it talks about a need for daily food – something to eat. A sermon or lesson has no value when a person is hungry. That can come later – after they are fed.

Some weeks ago, we posted a picture of a young lady hiding behind piles of trash at a local garbage dump. (see picture on the right side of our blog) She and her brother visited often there to find either something to eat or to sell. She is eleven, her brother is five.

Larissa is now caring for these children. Mariana, on the left, her brother and another young foster daughter. We understand that this young lady on the right walked fifteen miles, from Tokmok to Iskra to find a lady named Larissa. She had heard Larissa would help her. It took two days.

Well, last night, July 8, I had the privilege of sitting next to and serving these two children at a village gathering. A Christian lady found out about the children, went to the dump and found them, took them to her home, cleaned them up and is now committed to caring for them. She receives no financial support or help in caring for these beautiful kids.

Sitting with these beautiful children at a village celebration.

It is an amazing story. Jayne and I will help Larissa take care of these children as best we can. This is just one example of what a healing ministry is. What this lady did and is doing for these children, could be called what James would call, “faith with works.”

There is a whole lot of preaching and teaching going on and this is good. However, there needs to be a whole lot of healing ministry going on, too. Lives are shattered. They need Christ – they need restoration. Jesus told Matthew when He invited him to follow Him that the trail would take them to sinners, (salvation) and to sick people (healing).

Someone once described ministry as “getting to know someone’s name, listening to their story, and falling in love with them.” Much healing can come from such a relationship.

Let Me Introduce the Teens from Canada

For weeks we have been waiting for the team to come from Canada and Friday they arrived. This is an awesome group of young people who are from John and Julie's church. They have spent the last year planning and fund raising for their short term mission trip to Kyrgyzstan. They not only raised money for their own travel, but have raised thousands of dollars for humaritian projects here. We have followed them around this week and watched them work. I know their lives will be forever changed after spending time here.

Tomorrow we will share pictures from the work they have done and you will see them up close. For they are....

Historical Day for the Professional Institute

Monday, July 9 marked the beginning of leadership training for the staff of the Professional Institute. It was the time to refine goals and define the vision for the school as opening day is about six weeks away. This Professional Institute will be a one-of-a-kind institution in this country based on its unique mission and philosophy of education and commitment to integrity.

James Hong, acting director, opens the training session

Staff gathers for opening session on leadership.

In the opening training session, David used Psalm 78:70-72 to focus the staff on how vital their roles in leadership are as this new school opens. In these verses he shared four leadership principles that stand out.

1. Leaders need to follow biblical principles of integrity, justice, fairness and excellence.

2. Leaders have a sense of calling. Leaders of the Professional Institute need to keep in mind that they have been called out to create a new thing. It is not just a job, but a calling. There is a higher principle at work.

3. Leaders serve with integrity of heart. At the center of a good leader is to be integrity. Without integrity, leadership fails. When integrity is compromised, one’s ability to lead is lost.

4. Leaders need to be skilled in those areas where he will be serving. He cannot teach what he does not know. He will need to keep up with what is happening in his disciplines and to have a broad worldview. A leader without skill will quickly be exposed.

David shares leadership principles on the opening day of training at the Professional Institute.

These are exciting days for Mercy Foundation as they move forward to provide higher education in this community and surrounding towns and villages.