It’s Saturday and we’re now halfway through our Mission Tour. And now that we’re halfway through, the group is beginning to loosen up! It’s a wild night in the library. But that’s a story for later.
Two nights ago we were in Nikolaev. It was a day of mourning for Ukraine as they commemorated the explosion at Chernobyl. There was some concern for our concert and the nature of our music. There was some attempt to cancel the concert. Several times during the day, at our meetings on the ship, we spent some focused time in prayer, asking God to intervene. When we arrived at the concert hall, there were armed guards that had been called. We suppose the extra media attention was good, because the hall of 1600 was filled to standing room only and approximately 500 were turned away. They even filled with lobby with the doors open so they could hear. 757 responded to the call of Christ that night, the largest for any of us ever to be a part.
Last night we were in Kershon. This was one of the cities that we returned to from 18 months ago. The response was very good. We were able to see several of our waitresses from the first journey. They looked great and seemed to be doing well. Most of the wait staff on the ship is from Kershon. Our ship manager and his assistance were also able to attend. During the concert there was a lot of moving around, but Michael said it was natural. We had 596 respond to Christ last night.
Last night we quickly made our way to the ship following the concert and immediately set sail to move through the delta of the Dnieper river and into the Black Sea. We were all concerned of the water and the current. Last time we went through the mouth of the river emptying into the sea, there was a very rough current. Some on our trip were concerned about this, i.e., Kay. We were to travel most of the day across the Black Sea. This was one of the primary requests to our prayer partners for this day. As we sailed across the sea, it was almost like glass. Henry Seilers, the hotel manager, said in all his years of traveling over the sea, he had never seen it this calm. God was once again answering our prayers.
We arrived in Evpatoriya in mid afternoon. This ancient city sits on the Black Sea and is many centuries old. This evening begins our time in Crimea. The ship docked this afternoon at a shipyard, not your normal dock for a ship like ours. We sang in a concert hall that was built over 100 years ago. Many of the waitresses in the dining room on our ship were able to attend tonight’s concert. As best as anyone can tell, the Gospel has neither been spoken nor sung on the stage of this hall. We were given the privilege of being the first. It was a great evening and those in attendance were a very receptive group.
Tonight, as the evening winds down, Kay and I find ourselves in the library with a group of great musicians just singing songs from a long time ago and laughing together. Alex, the ship’s entertainer, has also joined us on the accordian and can play anything in any key. Actually, Bill Gammill is playing the piano and has to play in one key as Alex plays in another. The piano isn’t in the best of tune. 🙂
One of the great opportunites of a mission trip with a group of people is that you really get to know those around you. I have renewed my relationships with some great people. Kay and I have had the chance to meet many new people and find out about them. We will definitely be leaving all the more richer.
Thank you for praying for Kay and me. Without all those who are lifting us up in prayer, our results and our experiences would be much different. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve in the name of our Lord and represent those back home with our service. We look forward to tomorrow as we attend services in local congregations. Until then…goodnight.