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Expect great things from God. Attempt great things from God.
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September 15, 2018

Summer 2018 Ministry Report

Our Summer has flown by (like yours did). We knew going into it that it would be a whirlwind of camps and activities. We knew that we would be tired when it was over. We knew that we would surely see God's hand along the way. We knew that we see many people that we only see at camp. We knew we would make many new friends that we will see all through the coming year. We knew that, for some, we would have this one chance to tell them how much God loves them and about His Son, Jesus. We knew that some would not want to hear it and we knew that some would have been waiting to hear it their whole lives and openly receive the message of salvation. We knew that many of the people we would serve this summer would be at their absolute wits end and we would have a chance to love them and give them hope. We knew that this summer would be hard for our family - especially the little kids. We knew that we (Chris and Mary) would be separated for two weeks - which is never easy. We knew that we would see so much hurt that our guts would wrench at night and rob us of sleep. We, also, knew that we would experience joyous highs that would make the low so worth it. We knew that our expectations would not be fully realized, but we trusted that God's plans and purposes would go forward just as HE planned and expected. It was a great summer.

"Why didn't you update along the way?" you may have asked us in your thoughts. Frankly, when we were in the middle of it and in between it all we had nothing left to put on paper. To put words to the incredible joys would be impossible and it would make them seem so much less than they were. To put words to the really empty and difficult moments would give them power that we did not want to give. We hope you understand. We know you were praying. We know because MANY of you sent us messages telling us that you were. We know you were thinking of us because MANY of you gave financially so we would be able to continue the work this summer. And many of you gave when we had to unexpectedly replace a car right in the middle of it all.  We are humbled by your willingness to support us in prayer and financially. We truly do not take it for granted.

The plan is to update you about the major three events (that spanned about six weeks if you add it all together - plus all preparation time for each one) over the next three weeks. This is the first installment.  We will start at the beginning of the summer. 

The 2018 "Life Without Limits"
family conference/camp. 
Zhytomyr, Ukraine (about 3 hours from us)

In June, we were asked to lead a camp in Zhytomyr (which is about 3 hours west of where we live). The camp was for parents and their children with disabilities and for adults with disabilities. They asked that we bring our whole family and we nervously agreed. Actually, with a bit of fear and terror. Traveling with our crew is no small task. And for Matthew and Ethan, even the smallest change to the schedule can spell doom. And I do mean doom. We braced ourselves for what we thought would be a very rough week of tired kids who would not adjust well to camp life and tired parents who were supposed to look like they had it all together. Instead, we were blown away by how well we were received and loved by this group and how well our kids responded to this love! I can't say that it was a huge surprise - because that's the way God does things. But our lack of belief that He would do it for US kept us pretty shaken up as we prepared.

Each of our special kids was given a volunteer to help them participate in the camp. That happened the moment we got to camp and we could not believe it. It was not just for our family. EVERY family had volunteers to help the kids participate in every aspect of camp life. And this left the parents free to go to the Bible studies and services and to fellowship with us and the other leaders. They did not, simply, babysit our kids, but they actually helped them to engage and be a part of all that was going on. We did keep Ethan with us because he does not trust others, yet. But even Ethanamazinglyazing well!

Chris preached and led worship and I (Mary) along with our colleague, Jamie, took turns leading the lessons for moms in the mornings and afternoons. It was a joy and privilege for us to take part and love on these dear ones. 

We were excited to see the lady who was saved two years ago back at camp. She has been attending church and has engaged in becoming a fully-devoted follower of Christ. It was a joy to see the joy in her eyes that was not there when we first met her two years ago.

Their love and acceptance of our family filled our hearts and I feel like we came home renewed and recharged. This was a very good thing because just two short weeks later we were kicking off another camp. 

When we came home, we began working very hard to make last-minute preparations for the Voronkov camp. This was the first year that Chris was the camp director so there were lots of details that consumed that two-week break very quickly.

We want to share how the Lord answered these prayers that we asked you to pray. This is the list that we sent you before the Zhytomyr camp.

Prayer points for Zhytomyr Camp:
  • Our kids and us. It is likely to be very hard.
    It may not have been easy - but it was not hard. Not in the way that we thought it would be. The kids adapted within a couple of hours of being there. That can sometimes take weeks to adapt to something new - and at camp, everything was new. God answered this prayer BIG TIME.
  • Ethan - that he will trust us and that he will trust the Father even though he will be afraid from the moment we leave the house. Pray that he will eat (he is in a phase of only eating a couple of different things right now). Pray that he will not be aggressive. Pray that he will have peace. 
    He was very fearful - basically the whole time. But we saw a level of trust from him for us and for Bethany and Seth that we have never seen from him before. And thankfully, it has not left him since then. Eating was hard, at first. However, we took things with us that he would eat. He came around, eventually, and even sat in the chair in the cafe where we ate all of our meals. And ask for aggression, there was none. Previously, this kind of change has triggered very aggressive behavior and outbursts. They simply did not happen.
  • My mom will be here on her own. (With neighbors and June, of course.)
    My mom was fine the whole time. She enjoyed the quiet. A lot.
  • Our vehicles - we will be taking two because of the number of us going.
    We made it there and back safely. The trip did, unfortunately, begin a domino of problems with our smaller vehicle that caused its final demise a few weeks later. However, we quickly found another vehicle that has met our needs. Thank you to those who gave toward that emergency need.
  • The moms - many are either anti-religion or are simply not interested in God. But they want to come to the conference.
    We experienced open hearts to us. There were many tears when we had to say goodbye. There were lots of good questions that means that they were listening and that they were thinking. This group, for the most part, has no knowledge of a personal God or a Savior who loves them. The Lord did a great work in their hearts that continues to be cultivated by our ministry partners there in Zhytomyr.
  • The program at the conference - we have to be flexible in our topic and what we talk about.
    This was the case - as we knew it would be. Two sermons were completely re-written at the last moment. Lessons were tailored on the spot based on who was there and our interactions with them. The Holy Spirit worked and taught. For that, we are thankful.

Thank you for praying!

We are sorry that this message was so long. It's a LOT longer than we planned. Stay tuned next week for part 2 of 4 of the Summer 2018 Report.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's the case - I have about 90,000 words for you. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SEE THE PICTURES FROM THE ZHYTOMYR CAMP 2018. 
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PICTURES

Could you help?  

God may be calling you to give and we are asking you to answer that call. We hear week after week of ways that God is working in amazing ways through His work through what we do. We don't pretend that it is us doing the Spiritual work, but He is using our willingness to be here and serve.

One particularly large need we have at the moment is to finish paying off our house and the ministry center. We need to pay the final $40,000 as soon as possible. This seems impossible, but it is the current need. I don't feel free to share in this public forum the reasons because I don't know who all will read this newsletter here in Ukraine. If you are able to help with this large need and need more information about the reasons, please email me, privately. If you are able to give a large amount, please do not do so through our online giving option. Please contact me and we can make better arrangements that do not involve transaction fees.

There are several ways to give that you can read about in the gray box, below. If you are a member of First Moore Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, you can easily give through your normal offering (above your tithe - please do NOT give your tithe anywhere but your local church - even to us). You just need to mark it "Ukraine Missions" or "Malones in Ukraine" or something with the word "Ukraine" in it. 
Give Online Now
We would LOVE to hear from you!
You can reply to this email or email us directly at chris@umok.org or mary@umok.org .
Giving Options:

You can give securely online at:
umogiving.com

Online giving can be set up for RECURRING gifts,
as well as ONE-TIME GIFTS

or checks can be mailed to:
UMO
c/o Gus Downing
1417 Old Mill Road
Moore, Oklahoma 73160


Alternatively, you can give through First Moore Baptist Church
If you attend there, you can give through your regular offering and mark it for Ukraine Missions or anyone can mail a donation to First Moore Baptist Church, 301 NE 27th Street, Moore, OK 73160. Be sure and memo the 
contribution for "Ukraine Missions".

ALL GIFTS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE
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  • School started for Seth.
  • Chris has begun training to be a presenter for "Beyond Suffering" (from Joni and Friends International). That will take a considerable amount of energy.
  • As a family, we are in a "break" mode after the summer. We need physical renewal and Spiritual renewal. I use the word, "break" very lightly. Lots of things are still going on.
  • Please join us in asking the Father to provide the final $40,000 we need to complete the payment of our home and the UMO Ministry Center. Because we don't know exactly who in Ukraine will end up reading this, I won't share details of why this is necessary now. If you would like more information, you can email Chris at chris@umok.org .
  • Bethany has begun serving in several areas here in the ministry.
  • Hannah has started her first job out of college. She is working full-time for Pine Cove. I'll let her share about that soon.
  • Blake has begun his Master's Assistant position at OSU in Choral Conducting. I'll let him share more about that soon. 
  • Pray for Chris and Mary. Our hearts miss our big kids. It's the normal part of parenting. Many of you have been through it. They seem so far away with the ocean between us.
  • Pray for our teammates Jamie and June.
  • Pray for our friends and Ukrainian "teammates", Yuri and Sveta.
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Thank YOU for your prayer support, your financial support, and your encouragement.
We could NOT do this without you.

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