“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:3-6
Wow, it has already been two months since we left the USA and moved to Georgia!
We praise God for all the grace, love, support, encouragement and kindness He has bestowed on us through our friends, family and beloved church as we were preparing to leave the USA.
We praise God for all the dinners, gatherings, fellowship and time that was invested into our family. God met every need we had and made our move smooth.
We departed on June 27th. After a thirty hour flight and a twelve hour layover in New York, we had an opportunity to explore and eyewitness beautiful scenarios and sweet family time. We were able to pray for America at Ground Zero, we thanked God for freedom at the Statue of Liberty (especially for the freedom we received in Christ), explored parks, and enjoyed delicious American food as well as good quality coffee. The kids were great sports even though they had only slept 3 hours prior but, surprisingly, they did amazing. We walked more than 15,000 steps, rode a ferry, bus, subway, taxi, and still remained somewhat calm. Now that’s what we call extra grace! ☺
We arrived in Georgia, Tbilisi, on Sunday June 30th. Georgia is eleven hours ahead of California. The church in Tbilisi greeted us warmly. David preached, we sang and then the elders of the church prayed over us and blessed our ministry in the city of Zugdidi.
We left to head to the city of Zugdidi on July 2nd. Zugdidi is located six hours away from Tbilisi and we immediately began to prepare and plan for camps. We had to prepare the facility that is located in Ureki about one and a half hours away from Zugdidi. In those four days of preparation, by God’s grace, a lot has been done: work done on the electricity, air conditioning and heating units installed (in some of the rooms), shelves installed, and cleaned the entire facility.
On June 10th, eleven members (three of which are kids) from Rock Land Church in Sacramento came to support and help us begin our ministry in Georgia by leading a children’s camp. The seven day camp, held from July 13th to July 19th, was well attended with forty-four kids, ages 8-14 years old. For Zugdidi and its surrounding regions, forty-four kids is considered a big deal. Two years ago, the missionaries here couldn’t even gather ten kids, for Christian camps, because they are not part of an Orthodox church. There is no Bible based church in this region, so people fear anything that’s not part of the Orthodox church.
The camp was a huge blessing. We focused all of our lessons on the gospel presentation and built our curriculum on the wordless book. During our camp, we also hired three ladies to help us in the kitchen and to keep the facility clean. We saw a huge blessing in that as well as it gave us opportunities to love on them and serve them. Inna was able to share the gospel with them and how the Bible based church is different from Orthodox church.
The camp helped us develop many relationships and gave us more opportunities to visit families afterwards bringing care packages and some help aid. For the rest of July, we focused our time on visiting many people in nearby regions with care packages that consist of flour, sugar, oil and food that the families could enjoy. We were also able to bless some families with beds, mattresses and washing machine. We even had an ophthalmologist join us from Ukraine for a week and provided free visual check ups and tests and reading glasses to children and everyone who needed them. We handed out Bibles and New Testaments to anyone who was interested. All of this gave us great opportunities to greet and love on people.
From August 3rd to August 10th, we had our youth camp: Fifty-three youth ages 14-22 joined us. Leaders came from all over to help (Russia, Belarus, America). This camp was a huge blessing as a lot of the youth heard the gospel for the first time and we are praying and planning to start a youth club with the youth who attended. The theme for this camp was “God’s Word has Power”. For a whole week the youth heard the gospel and saw how God’s Word changed the lives of those who believed. We thank God that in both of those camps we experienced such unity and the presence of the Spirit. Inna and I had the privilege to organize the program, schedules, and curriculum in both camps. David led music and, overall, we had blast serving together as a family.
Every Sunday we gather at Demna’s home for fellowship and our church services. David and Demna take turns preaching from the book of Philippians as we study verse by verse. Every Sunday there are about ten of us that gather. We pray that God will multiply believers and soon we can look to purchase a building that we will call our church.
Now that we are done with all the camps, it’s time for our family to slow down and adjust to a new country and new culture. We are currently still living with Demna and his family with all five of us in one room. We have been trying to find a house with an inside restroom, running water, not far away from our friends and within our budget. This has been a challenge! We almost signed a contract on one home but then realized the landlord was not honest with us. After praying, we decided to look for more options. Georgian homes are huge but the majority of them are in horrible conditions. Well, praise God as He provided a house we like and can call home. It seems like the street and neighbors are nice and we are ten minutes away from the center. David and Demna are fixing and preparing for us to move in. Once the container is released, then we will have all of our stuff and can move in. As for now, we enjoy living together: serving, cooking, praying and having sweet unity. We are a family now and we praise God that we get to do life with Demna’s family.
Everyday we look for opportunities to reach out, visit families, and every Thursday we set aside time to pray and plan for a week ahead.
Thank you for your support, prayers and encouragement. We know God has a plan for Georgia and we pray He uses us to save many.
Please pray for the following plans in September and October.
- Starting homeschool, sports and elective classes for kids.
- Back to school outreach through backpacks and school supplies.
- Beginning our tutoring to learn the Georgian language.
- Women outreach/retreat for three days starting Sep 5th.
- Planning picnic and movie nights for children and youth from the camps.
- Starting a youth club/gathering twice a month.
- Starting Sunday school in Zugdidi
- Men’s Training Conference Retreat for five days in September
- David and Demna traveling to Ukraine for four days for meeting and training to start the bakery in Zugdidi in hopes that it will financially support the missionaries here.
We understand that there is only a handful of us here but we also understand that when we are weak, He is strong! We depend on Him for strength, wisdom, guidance and for saving grace to find many.