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More photos from our work projects, sports
outreach, and English class ministries in Skopje, Macedonia at the Word of Hope church.


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Scotland Trip Update

by RS Updates

Today, the team said a tearful goodbye to the people and city of Dunoon. On Monday afternoon, we had a BBQ with the Scottish at the beach of Ardentinny. That evening, they put on a Ceilidh – a Scottish event full of dancing, laughing, sweating, and then more dancing. Tuesday, we attended the Highland Games – a fair/competition where some of our students were able to compete in various events like track, long jump, and high jump. There were also tons of shops to explore. Today, we had an early start with a ferry ride that led us to our coach, which is now taking us into London. It’s been a busy few days to say the least! As we enter debriefing, please keep the team in your prayers. This transitional time is so important for the students to finish strong!


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Our Costa Rica team moved dinner outside on a beautiful night! We enjoyed rice and garbanzo bean and chicken stew, tea and coffee. It was a wonderful evening after a good long day of ministry in a local high school.


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We made it to Zagreb! It may have been a long day, but the team were troopers and made it on all two trains and three trams with seconds to spare. We all enjoyed the time to catch up on sleeping, reading, and laughing together. Tomorrow starts our ministry in Zagreb and we are excited to see how the Lord is working here.


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China Trip Update

by RS Updates

Join us for the start of our summer camp. These kids are creative!

 


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Nepal Trip Update

by RS Updates
If bathing with elephants, canoeing through murky waters, and elephant jungle walks sound like fun, Chitwan is the place for you!
Now onward to Pokhara!

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Europe – By The Numbers
Jeff Bell, Trip Leader
Our adventure continues…
I wish you could see our team in action on those train platforms – it is quite the site! We are now relaxing on our train trip from Graz, Austria to Zagreb, Croatia. But in order to get to this point today here is what happened…
Wake-up Breakfast and Lunch cook crews at 4:50 AM.
Wake-up the others at 5:00 AM to get packs ready for travel day and eat breakfast at 5:45 AM. Grab 3-4 lunch sandwiches in Zippies to have while on train.
Check-out and leave Hostel @ 6:45 AM. Then we walked with our bags to the Metro Station in order to take two metros to get to the Train Station.
Get everyone and all the luggage on board two separate train cars in 10 minutes and then enjoy the beautiful Austrian mountains along the 7 hour and 3 minute ride from Prague to our transfer point Graz, Austria.
We had a 2 hour stop-over and a relaxing dinner in the Train Station in Graz.
That now brings me back to the starting point of this update. The chaos of having 6 min. this time, starting the process by not knowing where to be on the platform – then having to run through the crowd and get the luggage and people on board … we did it! Just as we thought we were getting the whole “boarding the train thing” down – today was hectic but we did it both times!
The team is doing great. They are troopers and having a great time. It seems like everyone is always tired though – I cannot imagine why 🙂
Here are some numbers for you to contemplate:
1 Plane
7 Trains
5 Countries
16 Metros (Undergrounds)
21 Trams
14 Busses
5 miles per day – average walking distance for students
33 Trips to the Grocery Store
8 Clinic/Hospital Visits
7 Pharmacy trips
9 Street Ministry Opportunities
2 Refugee Ministries in a park
1 Painting and Work Project
3 RS Roller Packs blown-out and replaced. (With more to be replaced soon)
Multiple significant and God-honoring conversations with people who needed to hear the Gospel
27 lives that have united together as a family. And, will forever be grateful for and changed by our time together serving the Lord.
It has been an exciting time and we have all been blessed. We actually got to see 4 people give their lives to Christ on Sunday, in Prague, during our time of street ministry!
Oh, and by the way… did I mention we are only 16 days into our trip!
Here is what we are looking at to finish out our day today…
We arrive in Zagreb tonight @ 10:21 PM, then we will find our way from the train station to our hostel by yet another tram (the 22nd according to the tally – it should only be a 20 minute trip, once we find it).
I am guessing we will be all checked in and in bed by about 1:00 AM … which according to the numbers – I believe that will make today about a 20 hour day.
Praise God for short naps while on the train – which reminds me that I have something really important to do and have to sign-off for now 😃.
One last thing to note – the 3 girls that needed all of those visits to the clinics/hospitals are now recovering well from their sicknesses and injuries.
Thanks for your prayers! Please be proud of this team … they deserve it! They are working hard, serving well, and seeing God do some amazing things!

And just in: “We arrived safely at our hostel in Zagreb. It is 1:03 AM and everyone is in bed!”


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Uganda Trip Update

by RS Updates

The Uganda family was up’an’attem early this morning for a fun excursion to Jinja.

The drive, though it be early, was breath taking. As we got out of the city we got to see a new side of Uganda. Lush forests, fields of tea and sugar cane, and our favorite no city traffic! It was such a peaceful drive as we passed through small villages and taking note of the simple life.

We took the team on the top of a lovely hill to have quite eventful quiet time overlooking Jinja, one view of the vegetation, the other overlooking Lake Victoria! We wish we could take photos, but because of (unknowingly) private property we weren’t allowed to, but lucky you I’m a quick shot! 😉

After quiet time we went back down into the city of Jinja. Our wonderful bus driver James, took us to a home/market to experience yet again another ministry. WEID.

Women Integrated Empowerment Development Group.

An empowering craft market that all products are made, manufactured, sculpted by women who were left behind. Widows of husbands who died from AIDS, leaving behind no way to make a living. A group of dynamite and brave women, got together and brainstormed a way to make a living from things that have been thrown away and forgotten.

Cow horns. These women worked hard to come up with creative way to make jewelry and pottery out of cow horns!!

Our students loved hearing their story of how they found hope in-spite of their sorrow and found a solution to their situation. Now we have the opportunity to support them by “purchasing” their lovely handwork! Be ready for some awesome gifts (that support this small group of women) y’all!

Onward we went to dip our feet in the Nile River, unfortunately we didn’t make it that far. Somethings in Africa come up unexpectedly, for example downpour rain which prevents us from using certain roads due to slick muddy roads …. which ended up happening in our case. Our students were awesome and though they were excited they were flexible in waiting till our debriefing time when we would encounter the Nile once again!

So, our journey continues to Amazima.

Has anyone read the book “Kisses from Katie”? All hands shot up in the air.

A lot of our students were inspired to come on this trip in hopes to catch a glimpse or maybe to be inspired just like Katie was! And now our ladies are excited to TOUR the grounds—they all screamed with excitement.

For those of you who don’t know…

In December of 2006, 18-year-old Katie Davis traveled to Uganda for the first time. She was immediately captivated by the people and the culture, and knew she would be back. Less than a year later, Katie returned to Uganda and it has been home ever since. Despite her own plans, God led Katie to found Amazima Ministries in 2008 and made her a mother to 13 beautiful girls by the time she was 23. The word “Amazima” means “truth” in the native Luganda language and speaks to Katie’s desire to see relationships restored, lives transformed, and communities changed through the truth of Jesus Christ.

Every outreach of Amazima Ministries, whether education scholarship, vocational training, or medical care, is built on a biblical perspective with an emphasis on relationship and disciple-making.

They do this in five main divisions, THE AMAZIMA SCHOOL (A Christ-centered Primary and Secondary school in Jinja, Uganda), SCHOLARSHIP (Amazima’s Scholarship Program provides a safe learning environment, daily meals, extensive medical care, and discipleship for every student), THE BEADING CIRCLE (a self-sustaining vocational program for mothers in the community), FARMING OUTREACH (a sustainable and profitable vocational program for Farming God’s Way), and MEDICAL OUTREACH (from basic hygiene education and malaria prevention to HIV testing and counseling).

Woah! That’s a mouth full, but just goes to show you how intentional and great influence this ministry has.

I speak for all of us when I say we are totally blown away. Their model of ministry for students and education is incredibly humbling. They are 100% in it for building sustaining the community and not enabling. Their philosophy of blending schooling/education with mentorship and discipleship is what makes this organization astounding and fruitful! What an incredible ministry. I would encourage you to check out Amazima Ministries online for a more in-depth look. We hope and pray that this inspires our students to think twice about not only their education but to find the value of intentionality, sustainability, and learn to help others without hurting them (in the long run).

After a long day, we are finding ourselves ready to go “home” to our apartments! As we journey home and reflect on what we learned, what we saw, and what inspired us in the last week of ministry!


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Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to the past few days.

We arrived in our new ministry site in Skopje, Macedonia on Thursday evening. We met some of our hosts (the SEND Int. team), settled into our new lodging site and caught some much-needed sleep after eleven hours of traveling by bus, train, and vans. Friday morning was basically a day of orientation, familiarizing ourselves with our surroundings, and taking care of needed personal things.
Saturday nine of our team members traveled by cab to another of SEND’s church plants where they were trained and certified as English as a second language teachers. That took up most of their day. The rest of our team got showers, emailed home, took much-needed naps, organized their packs, had a quiet time, worked on their scripture memory, met in their discipleship groups,….generally did self-care.
In the evening, once we were all together again, we went out for dinner together, and returned back to the hostel for a time or worship together with music, sharing and prayer, and then went to bed.
Sunday, we had breakfast, worked together on our Scripture memory, spent an hour in quiet time, and then walked to the church about fifteen minutes away. At SEND’s Word of Hope church, I preached a message (with a Macedonian translator) about heaven from John 14, two of our team members shared their testimony (with translators), and the drama team performed one of their dramas.
After some fellowship, we walked back to the Hostel, prepared and ate our lunch and then took cabs down to the city center of Skopje. There we walked along the river, which is lined with shops and outdoor cafe’s, seen MANY statues, the birthplace of Mother Teresa, and explored both the “old town” of Skopje (mostly a Albanian Muslim population), as well as the newer part of the city….constructed AFTER the devastating and deadly earthquake of 1963. We ate gelato ice cream and learned about some of the culture and history of this beautiful city.
We then took cabs back to the hostel for dinner and some of the team headed over to SEND’s Crossroads church to help out with their service (with the message, testimonies, encouragement, etc.). We ended the evening together with a time of reflection and worship back at the hostel.
Trying to help the Word of Hope gain credibility and acceptance in their community, all this week… in the morning we are painting over graffiti, doing much-needed yard and trash clean up, and other “beautifying work projects.” In the afternoons we will be doing our quiet times, discipleship group meetings, laundry, rest, etc.  Our evenings are being used to teach English classes, make balloon animals for children in the nearby park, and use volleyball, basketball, soccer, and frisbee to begin to make relationships with others who live in the area. From there we hope to learn about their beliefs and if, and as the Holy Spirit leads, to eventually point them to Christ and the Word of Hope Church.
The SEND Int. team have been working faithfully in this area for many years, they know the needs, and are a wonderful source of knowledge in helping us understand and minister in the best way possible to this beautiful culture….that needs Christ.

While staying in Skopje, Macedonia our ministry partners, SEND International has arranged for us to stay in a small but nice little hostel not far from the two church plants we are working with and the city center. It has food stores, a laundromat, and other important businesses nearby.

It is very convenient, but very small. It is an old apartment that has been reconfigured into a small hostel. It’s safe, clean, and in good condition. It has five sleeping rooms, two bathrooms, and a small kitchen and dining area that the 21 of us are using for three meals per day.
It’s a real challenge living in such close quarters, but we are learning to work together and make the most of what we have. We basically eat, sleep, shower, and do our worship in this place. The bulk of the day we spend away and out doing ministry at the church plants and in the community.


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