I know I am extremely late with this missive—and even with that, don’t have time to do the usual prayerletter. This month just pictures with explanations, and some prayer requests. Yes, God blessed us with a full month. Both Zhanya and Nastya had Birthday’s—we forgot the camera at Zhanya’s Birthday party, but that is OK as she does not like her picture taken. This month began with our participation in the annual Bible camp in Koltushe where over 100 children attended. Then we were off to Viborg with a group from St. John’s Lutheran who led an English Language Bible Camp at a local school in partnership with the Ingrian Lutheran Congregation there—we had about 40 kids, most not affiliated with the Church. As soon as we returned from Viborg, the kids and I were off with the scouts to Denmark for the Danish scout Jamboree. While in Denmark we celebrated Nastya’s birthday and God blessed us with another surprise, we actually met up with some Danish relatives (OK, for those of you who don’t know, I come from both Danish and German roots—Camp is actually an Americanization of a Danish family name Kaempe). From a mission perspective, work with the scouts has been slow, and the kids and I are in prayer about our future involvement. One sad note—Ushka, our pet rabbit, died. This is the first real pet the kids have had, so it was a big moment for them. We returned from the scout trip on July 31 and then were off to Gubanitzi to help out with the annual Ingrian Lutheran Anniversary (but those pictures are for next month!). This is the first day I have had to actually sit down at my computer and sort things out.
Some prayer requests—before I get to the Pictures: Pray for all the seeds planted this summer at that various Bible camps and English language camps, also for those planted at the scout camps. Pray for us as we begin to plan for next year: English worship services, our involvement with Russian Scouts, the kids beginning school, pro-life work (Jim Lamb is supposed to visit this fall). At the moment I am feeling a bit overwhelmed—so I also need some time to settle, pray and organize (the problem with travel for me is that it throws off my personal devotional life). Pray for the both Nastya and Karl. God has really used this summer to grow them in so many ways—they are both young teens, filled with questions about relationships, proper boundaries, romantic feelings and so forth, and God has used this summer to teach them some good lessons which I hope they will internalize and remember. Keep praying for the Lutheran Cathedral of St. Anne’s, as that is still in the process of being given to the Ingrian Church. Keep me in prayer as well—first, everything aches lately, from my ankles and knees to my neck and ears. But more so for more wisdom, faith and strength—wisdom to know God’s will, faith to trust and follow His will, and strength to fulfill His will. I ask this every month, but why? Well, there are so many opportunities, so many things I could do, that I do need wisdom in discerning which direction to take—the Church here has many needs. Wisdom is necessary, especially for me since I tend to say yes to everything and then get over extended. Sometimes I need the wisdom to say, “wait” or even “I really don’t have time to commit to this particular thing.” Since the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, more faith to trust in Him is always important. I trust I have enough faith for salvation, but I don’t think I will ever have enough faith to live each day in total trust. This side of heaven, I will always need more, as there is always some area in my life where I need more trust in God. As God is totally faithful, I also want to be totally faithful. Then, with the wisdom and faith God has granted to me so far, which have kept me so far, I also pray for strength—strength to withstand temptation, strength to get up in the morning and face the traffic jams, the crowded metro, the bureaucrats, whatever, strength to carry my projector and other equipment to do another seminar, strength to withstand the birds of the air that seek to snatch the seeds of faith from the soil of my heart, from the burning of the Sun that would seek to scorch it, from the weeds of the everyday problems and business that would seek to choke it. God is Almighty and has the strength to protect and defend and strengthen us to move forward in His will.
So there you have it. God is Good, I am tired—to think He never tires. Wow.
Again, I am sorry for no prayerletter, but there are pictures below.
Now for the pictures:
This is the inside of the Dome at Fredericks Lutheran Church in Copenhagen where we visited with the scouts. It reminded me very much of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Isaacs in St. Petersburg (even to the detail that on the square facing the church is a monument of a King on a horse). I had a devotion idea for this month’s prayer letter about the sun shining through the darkness, but then I had a better idea about trees in Jutland
Here is such a tree—the west wind in Jutland where the Jamboree was held is very strong and almost constant. I took this picture on one of the calm days, but you can see the tree has been so molded by the west wind that all the branches grow eastward. As I said, I had this idea to write about how the wind of our culture is often so strong that it also molds us, twisting us, our world view from that in which God intends. We grow in the direction of our Culture and other forces rather than grow towards God. But since I didn’t write a prayer letter, I’ll have to shelve that idea as well.
Every Summer the Koltushe Congregation hosts several camps. In June they hosted an English Language Bible camp with the help of EEMN. In July they hold a Bible camp in Russian, sort of Vacation Bible school. I was asked again to help out this year—teaching a little and doing some other things, like magic tricks.
Here is a picture of the group of children at the camp as taken from the Church bell tower (OK, God gave me the strength to climb both up and down as we went up the outside of the building).
Here is the group in Viborg. The camp actually met at a school a block away from the Church,
then the participants were invited back to the Church for an after school program. At the school, although we can use Bible stories as material for teaching, praying and other things are not really allowed by law. But they are in the Church. Each class during school practices a small skit or song in English to perform on the closing day (again held at the church). Parents and the community were invited to the performance—as a way of getting more people acquainted with and interested in the local parish.
Volunteers Joanna and Matthew teaching the older kids
Nastya’s birthday party with the scouts—the scout troop broke up into 5 groups and each made a cake. The senior scouts made Nastya’s.
OK, this picture is out of order
Pastor Greg Heidorn
Grace Lutheran Church