August 20, 2005
Ukraine 2005 video clip
Flash Viewer 7 Required
for player below:
So much video tape and so many memories are difficult to combine into anything that can possibly sum up this year's Ukraine experience with any accuracy. The clip on this post features several of the athletes reporting their experiences while we were still in Ukraine. There are orphans, street kids, a World War II concentration camp survivor, members of the Tullahoma Team, lots of play footage and some time of sharing and responding to the Good News that we went to share. What you don't see is how the members of this team changed, there was so much growth in a very compressed time. You don't see how the people with whom we came in contact changed...but we are confident that there are changes going on from the seeds that were planted. There will be more videos forthcoming. This sample is one that we will share with the Belmont Trustees later today and in the coming weeks with a number of churches who have asked us to speak.
Fund raising for next year's trip to Venezuela will be more focused in the coming months. I hope that you will consider adding your support to this program. All donations to the Sports Evangelism Program are tax deductible and documented receipts are provided to all donors. Your ongoing support via prayers, encouraging words, and yes, your wallet, are much appreciated. A convenient and secure donation form is available here: Betty Wiseman Missions Fund - Online Donation Form
June 27, 2005
Next Stop - Venezuela 2006
Our next stop in Sports Evangelism will be Venezuela next May 15-26, 2006. I have accepted an invitation through the Tennessee Baptist Convention Partnership Missions department to work with a missionary in Venezuela. We met in early June during his short stay in Tennessee to discuss the logistics. Plans are already underway for the venture into South America. I shared some video of what we do with the missionary and he was so excited to get home and begin preparations.
Begin now to pray for this upcoming mission opportunity for Belmont Sports Evangelism. It takes a full year of work and planning to make these trips happen. Pray for financial support, for the missionary and his preparations, and for God’s leadership as I begin thinking about who God wants to be a member of this team.
June 24, 2005
Some final thoughts
The trip and ministry is now over and we are making the transition back to our daily routines. It does not come easy. Part of me is still in the Ukraine and my life won’t ever be quite the same. I continue to process the trip, the ministry, the divine appointments, and all that happened to our team. The faces of street children and orphans fill my mind and cloud my sleep. The Ukrainian language rings in my ears. The sights and sounds of another world keep haunting me. It will take more time than usual to get beyond these two weeks of mission work.
Team members drop by the office daily to hug, remember, process, and shed more tears. They, too, are readjusting and trying to bring closure. God did a mighty work in these students’ lives, taking them out of their comfort zone and forcing them to unzip their hearts and let Jesus shine. They learned things about themselves they never knew. Their relationship with Christ took on a new and deeper intimacy. I watched as they “let go” and let God work in their lives. They gave their all, and yet, they received so much more. It was a beautiful thing to behold.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 03:00 PM
Thank you, Paul & Debbie!
I must thank Debbie & Paul Chenoweth for their roles in this mission endeavor. Debbie is a steady rock, always in the background but ever on the front lines. She paid the bills, ordered food, kept up with the schedule, and was a wonderful support to me. Basically, she freed me up to work, witness, and minister. She truly has a servant’s heart.
You have all benefited from Paul’s expertise. He is totally responsible for the Ukraine Journal and allowing you to be a part of our ministry through the web site. The upcoming videos he will produce will serve us well as we attempt to share the story through the lens of his trusted camera. Debbie and Paul give an added dimension to this ministry through their efforts.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 02:59 PM
A special memory - divine appointments
It was Tuesday afternoon and we had finished two days of play and ministry with a group of maybe two hundred kids. Before we left we all sat down for drama, testimonies, sharing of the gospel, and an invitation to pray a prayer to receive Christ. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was upon us as we felt God’s powerful presence. Many prayed the prayer to receive Christ.
Following the session Debbie pointed out to me three women with babies outside the fenced-in court. She said they had wondered off the street and had listened through the fence. I immediately went outside the court to them and asked if they understood what we had said. They said they understood. I asked if they would like to ask Jesus into their hearts and their response was, “We already have. We prayed with the children.” They received Christ that day as they wondered down the street and stopped to listen through a fence to some Americans sharing Christ with kids. We never know how God will use us when we are bold enough to stand up and profess His saving grace. It was a divine appointment!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 02:58 PM
June 21, 2005
For some of us being home means ice in a glass of tea, a shower head that sprays higher than chest-high, clean sheets, a room without mosquitos, air conditioning, toilet paper without grit, or even a morning cup of coffee where the spoon won't stand up in the cup by itself...regardless, we are are home! There are parts of us that are still in Ukraine and that is where those parts belong...it was our mission to leave behind the seeds of ministry, and that mission is accomplished.
For all of you who visited the Ukraine Journal over the last week or so, for those who have held this mission in prayer, and for the families of these athletes who were willing to share their children with the rest of the world...Betty, Debbie, and I want to say Thank You!
We have all been blessed by this experience. We can say without hesitation that the people of Ukraine have been blessed by this team.
...sipping fresh coffee at a high speed computer..at home,
June 20, 2005
Back on US soil...in search of ice and french fries
We landed in Detroit about an hour ago and everyone made it through customs and baggage inspection without a problem. In about 45 minutes, we will be on the very last flight of the trip.
...kickin' back with french fries and an iced cold drink,
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:53 PM
Amsterdam and headed home
There must be a chapter for this trip about our bus...at 2:00AM in Ukraine, there was a group of men push starting a fully loaded church bus that was not quite ready to make the 2+ hour run from Zhitomire to Kiev...now, ask Betty about the power of answered prayer (I dare ya' *grin*)
All are well (well, sleepy) and lining up at the gate for the long flight to Detroit. We shall see you this afternoon in Nashville. The schedule is posted via a link on the home page of the Ukraine Journal if you need flight details.
...on the run in Amsterdam,
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 08:54 AM
June 19, 2005
Good-byes have begun
In about 7 hours the team will be picked up in front of our hotel to begin the journey back to Nashville. The 2:00AM pick up hour will mean very little sleep in anything that resembles a bed for the next 24-36 hours...but we are ready and doing well
There is so much to be said for the translators that we worked with all week. They have all been wonderful and have become an integral part of the team. Saying good-bye is not an easy thing to do for a member of the family and these good-byes will not be easy.
Pictured here with me is Vlad and his son Eli. There are more stories to tell about this special man than there is space to fill. He is the epitomy of Christian service and the perfect picture of the struggle that individuals in ministry here. Pray for Vlad, Eli, his wife Maya, and their daughter. They deserve our prayers and support.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 02:29 PM
Saturday's orphange visits
Today's orphange visits seemed rushed for some reason. It may have been the extended amount of time spent in the market purchasing food, it may have been the long drive, and it may have been the threat of rain (that finally caught up with us). Somehow there just wasn't enough time to play with the children and get them comfortable with the tall Americans.
We will have some time to talk about these trips on Sunday night...maybe some of the team members can make better sense of what all happened. We were able to provide food, a time of testimonies, and some time to pass out testimonial bead bracelets... I just believe that we all wanted more. An orphanage is just something that cannot be fixed in a few hours. Maybe that is what we expected.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 02:01 PM
June 18, 2005
A message from Carrie Newton - Team Ukraine
Friday in Leschin
Wow spend some time with Betty Wiseman and her Belmont team and they will rub off on you! Be Bold for God! Today I helped deliver food bags with 2 members from my team along with a translator and two church members from the church in Leschin. I have never been so humbled in all my life. We delivered a food bag to one man who was out of work and at home taking care of his two small children. He was so grateful that he insisted that we take a sack of fish with us. He had just caught them so they were not even cleaned they were whole fish! So we come to bring food both spiritual and physical to the needy and walk away with a plastic bag with 4 or 5 freshly caught fish in it. These people are amazing!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:36 PM
A note from Pastor Don - Team Ukraine
One of our prayers is that "Lord, let us see you at work in the world and join in that work." well T.E.A.M. Ukraine has seen that prayer answered in the ministry they have in Ukraine. The Tullahoma team has worked in the small towns and villages in the Zhitomir area. They have seen God's work in the spiritual hunger of the people and the wonderful response of so many to the Gospel. They have also seen God use them in sharing the gospel. Team members gave testimonies, taught in songs and the skit of Noah about God's promises, did crafts with children and presented God's truth in lessons and through sermons. Their own faith has been strengthened by fellowship with believers in Ukraine. Indeed, for many, both Ukrainian and team members, it has been a life-changing experience. Team members are Ken and Diane Tatum, Carrie Newton, Spenser Newton, Ben Ferrell, John and Tommie Solieou, Pastor Don Dixon and a minstry of eye care through used glasses has been done by Dr. Spencer Meckstroth of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:34 PM
Friday evening - posted on Saturday night
Friday's ministry took us north to the town of Corosten, an hour and a half of bumpy bus ride to Grace Baptist Church and Bible College. This was once a Soviet hospital but abandoned and left to collapse and decay before the church expressed interest in it. Waiting for us at the church were 50 youth leaders from across the region who had been on retreat for several days. Our devotional time for the day focused on surrender, individually and, as a team...and that proved to be appropriate for the day. We played volleyball, court soccer, and youth-focused games all day with little apparent time for ministry...until the evening meal time arrived.
Today I learned that playing sports is much more than being competitive...and getting emotional and sometimes angry. Playing sports can be done in a way that honors God, I saw that today in this team from America. I could see this in the faces of these players. I could feel God's presence in our games today. I am so thankful thatGod brought this team here today, it has changed forever the way that I will play sports.
Serge - Youth Minister, Ukraine
Our team was the special guest at a festive banquet. Decorations were hanging around the room and a band played at one end of the room. The dressed up youth ministers were quite the contrast to the Belmont team who cleaned up as best they could following a day of exercise and play. Dan, Brittany, Josh, Jennifer, and John gave their testimonies and then it was time for their leaders to speak. Several spoke of the importance of finding new ways to reach out to youth. Youth do not naturally gravitate toward churches...and the platform of sports is something that meets these young people where they are. It helps to build trust and relationships that can then lead to opportunities for sharing. The Belmont team surrendered their agenda for today and by doing so, found a place in the future ministries of these youth leaders.
June 17, 2005
Thursday in Kiev - Wow!
If it is Thursday, it must be Kiev...the Belmont team and the Tullahoma team traveled to Kiev for a day of shopping and sightseeing. Two hours of un-airconditioned bus called for some unusual cooling off and the example of other Ukranians pulled our group, barefooted, into one of the fountains on the square. The million+ Ukrainians who camped out and demonstrated on this same square six months ago as part of the Orange Revolution are gone, replaced by numerous yellow and blue national flags prominently displayed around the area. This is a place of national pride for this country and a rallying point for freedom.
The story and the memorial at Babiy-Yar is equally powerful. In 1941-42 over 100,000 local Jews were led to the edge of an open trench an were shot...for days afterward, witnesses claim that the ground was still moving after the dead, wounded, and dying were covered in dirt. The magnitude of the deep, grassy trenches that stand as part of the memorial speak to the depth of the pain this country experienced during World War Two.
In our travels along highways in Ukraine, we had noticed signs that looked much like city limit signs except for the black background and a diagonal red stripe across the village name. There are 150 such villages surrounding Chernobyl (in what is called "the exclusion zone") where it may be several hundred (or thousand) years before it is safe to live. The Chernobyl National Museum documents the people, places, and tragedy from the explosion...much to process following that stop.
June 16, 2005
It is impossible to stay out of the picture
This is a late addition to the journal, it has been sitting in draft status on my laptop for more than a few days. I have questioned my motives for posting this but have decided to do so anyway.
Taking stills and capturing video for the Belmont team is my primary contribution to these trips and for the most part I keep my distance and try to capture the spirit of the day in a candid style without being too obvious. I do sit down and rest (chasing athletes and active children around on a playground can be pretty taxing) and when I do it is not uncommon to be approached by curious children who either want their picture taken or who want to see the gadgets I carry. These three little guys spent a lot of time with me during one of the orphange visits. We had no interpreter...none was needed. There was a lot of hand waving and improvised sign language. There was hands-on camera time for the boys that made me a little nervous. We had a great time making silly faces, snapping digital stills, and then passing them back and forth to view on the small LCD screen on the camera.
This is one of those pictures that will stay with me...it summarizes for me, much of what we came to do...and that is that we share who we are with the people in Ukraine. For a few minutes on one hot, June day, these guys were photographers...and I'm pretty sure they had a great time. Betty nailed me a little later by saying that I probably didn't realize how much the attention that I gave these boys meant to them. I had not given it a thought. I have witnessed it with every other team member on this trip but had never realized how that felt, until now. Wow!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 06:45 PM
June 15, 2005
A note from John
Yesterday was a very special day for the entire group, but for me especially. That shouldn't be a surprise considering that it was my 21st birthday - but I'm sure that not many people were able to spend their 21st quite the same way that I did. And it had very little to do with the fact that the rest of the group spoiled me with surprise after surprise - from 3 versions of "Happy Birthday" to a Ukrainian birthday cake (which desperately needed help from an American recipe) to their hoisting me in the air 21 times as if I were a king. Already exhausted from the previous couple of days, everyone's emotions were tested after spending all morning with the kids from the street and all then afternoon back at the playground. When we had to go, we all found it much harder to say goodbye than we could have ever imagined. But through Christ, we were able to make a very special bond with the kids that will hopefully live on as we return home. This team is an amazing group of people, a group that made my birthday one that I will never forget. Thank you to everyone for your support in keeping up with us.
Thanks to my team
These past few days have touched all our hearts. As we left the park yesterday, I think most of us got a glimpse of how much we were touching the lives of all these children here in Ukraine. As we drove off, tons of children hovered the van and wouldn't let us leave. I made some awesome connections with children during the day, but I especially loved watching all my teammates as they kiss and hugged all their new friends goodbye. Yes there were tears, but that made it all the more special. This is truly a special group and I would just like to take this opportunity to say how thankful and lucky I am to get to know each one of these student-athletes on a more personal level!
Thanks guys for all the smiles you give daily! I love you all and look forward to spending the next few days with you all!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:19 PM
Time well spent
Wow God is absolutly amazing. It has been such a growing experience for me to learn from the people of Ukraine as well as my teamates. God has really revealled how precious his gift of salvation is. It is so easy for us to put God in a box and call him my God, the God of Belmont, the God of TN, or even the God of the United States. Even though he is all of these things, this trip has made me rememeber that he is the God of the universe and that his love can bridge all barriers. Even though we can not speak the same verbal language, we are able to communicate by through the language of love. We are all giving testimonys and praying in different languages, yet the holy spirit allows us to understand. I can not even begin to describe the overwhelming emotions that you experience when you pray with someone for them to recieve christ in there lives. If God doesn't do another thing with this group, our time has still been well spent. He has used each team member for a unique and special purpose that was not evident to any of us until we got here. Please continue to pray that God will use and protect each special member of this team.
Wednesday & Thursday
LATE UPDATE, Images added:
We are in late from an afternoon at a Zhitomir orphanage and will have no time in the morning for any posts before hopping a bus to Kiev...so, 'sorry, no images today, and probably no posts at all tomorrow.
The orphange was not completely unlike what I envisioned. This particular facility housed 300 older children ranging from an estmated 10 to 16 years of age. Our Belmolnt students bonded quickly with about 100 or so who came out to play soccer, basketball, volleyball, and something that resembled ping pong with a row of bricks for a net. The day was beautiful but warm, dusty on the grassless playing field, filled with the aroma of un-bathed children, and visited frequently by mosquitos capable of drawing blood for a bloodmobile. At the end of the day, Justin, Destri, and John gave their personal tesimonies and Betty closed with an explanation of how to accept Christ...and prayer that many repeated with the translator. Four or five decisions were made during one-on-one sessions with the children. We left food for the group and some soggy ground near the bus from the hugs and tears of new friends. Along the exit drive several ran ahead just to be able to wave good-bye...quite touching.
I wish that I had time this evening to share those pictures with you. I don't even have to look at the image files. Those faces are etched into my memory, and I am sure that each member of the team feels the same.
Thank you all for your continued prayer support!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 06:48 PM
More from Monday
What an incredible day! Our morning started our with about 40 children from the A.S.K. (All Street Kids) ministry...wow, I may have a hard time just getting the words on the screen, it is tough typing thru tears. The Belmont team played, hugged, fed, and befriended these children, mostly from broken homes. Most of them are turned out on the street each day to fend for themselves, picking up bottles and begging. They manage to survive with so very little. The clothing that we passed out didn't always fit the child, but the smiles fit perfectly!
The afternoon was much warmer. A tired team engaged about 150 children in the same park that we visited yesterday. One on our team noted last night in our meeting that we didn't realize the impact that we had until it was time to leave and the children of the park did not want to see us get on the bus.
Betty mentioned that this group has pulled together. The have done that...and have shown tremendous personal growth in just a few days.
Happy birthday to John (wait to you see the video!)
...live from an internat cafe with 386 machines (I think),
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:49 AM
Tullahoma Team Ukraine Update
Well we have been a busy bunch. We have been traveling or maybe I should say bumping up and down the roads of Ukraine allowing God to place in the places that he brought us half way around the world to be. In the very first church in Leschin on Sunday a young boy named Sasha came to know the Lord after Bro.Don concluded his sermon. On Monday we began our eyeglass ministry as well as our bible school ministry which both have been received well. There has also been food bags that have been delivered each day. As a team we are doing our best to not only give the people in the small villages that we are visiting physical nourishment but also spiritual nourishment. However, truth be told it is us that is receiving the bountiful meal. God is blessing us daily.
Don is going to give me something tomorrow to send to you to put in,
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:45 AM
Tuesday Morning Update - hurried
This may have to be a quick update. Our primary internet access point in Zhitomir closed up shop completely yesterday and we are looking for other options...obviously, I found one, but it is small and the systems are very slow.
All are doing well, two days in a public park with approximately 200 children and youth saw as manay as 50 professions of faith. Wayyy kewl!
The Tullahoma Team Ukraine checked in with us for the first time last night. Their stories will warm your heart. They have been having great success in the villages surrounding the area.
...on the run,
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 07:38 AM
June 13, 2005
This morning before we started our marathon of sports with the kids, Rebekah delivered an inspiring message to the group concerning how, as Christians, we are like rubberbands: Our value depends on how far we can stretch. She challenged us to allow God to stretch us beyond our limits so that we can break and be reconnected with other "rubberbands" to be able to collectively strecth even farther. (Hope you are following me here!) I wore a rubberband on my wrist today to remind me to stretch, to allow God to push me beyond my own personal barriers. HE did! I will continue to remember this thought as the week progresses. Thanks Rebekah!
excited for what's ahead-
Pulling together as a team
It has been fun to watch this team bond and come together in such a short time. That is always one of the great joys of trips like this. we have four different sports teams from Belmont represented, and they now are one in purpose, calling, and ministry. Each day brings new insights and personal growth. I am blessed to be their leader and observe the transformations taking place in their lives.
I wish everyone could have experienced this morning's circle of prayer as team mates prayed for one another by name. There was a powerful sense of God's presence as each one shared from their hearts.
Parents, families, coaches, and all of Belmont University can take great pride in the commitment and ministry of these student-athletes.
Continue to pray for all of us!
P.S. Pray for the two new Christians pictured in this post.
Just a Monday walk (run, play, pray) in the park
Posters, handbills, and word-of-mouth gathered about 150 children and young people to a park not far from downtown Zhitomir. Bright sun and a cool breeze made for a perfect day to play basketball, volleyball, soccer and american football. There was lots of time for casual conversation with the kids and great use of the colored bead crosses to illustrate the gospel. Dan, Andrew, and Jenny did a wonderful job of tying their testimonies together at the end of the day when the entire group gathered on a basketball court.
Sunday evening update
Sunday night worship at Central Baptist was amazing. The young people's choir and the sign language presentations to music were inspiring. Betty...was just Betty, always the ambassador for Christ and alway a joyous presenter.
There are no words to describe a congregation's reaction when Sacha translates Andrew's introduction: "My name is Andrew, and I play basketball".
Kimb, Brittany, and Jennifer began an 'a capella' rendition of Amazing Grace and were so well in pitch that the pianist joined in midway through the chorus. Andrew, Destri, and John gave their personal testimonies to a room full of people and spoke with great confidence of their faith. The Ukrainian pastor ('sorry, I've forgotten his name) made a point to the youth to follow the example of our athletes.
It was a good night, followed by a home-cooked meal by Kata (which will be reserved as a special chapter on this trip, I promise).
June 12, 2005
Sunday Afternoon...and three churches later
We we told only that the church was in a village and that they are praying for a pastor to serve them. The ride on an 11 passenger bus started like a rocket down the streets of Zhitomir, to the main highway toward Kiev, to a patchwork of an asphalt road, to something that resembled a washboard dirt road, and finally across a wheat field on something that would have thrilled most off-roaders in America. What an adventure...and to think they charge for rides like that in theme parks, go figure!
The church at Khootir Brid, a community of about 1,000 people, was waiting for us when we arrived...perhaps thirty people in all, mostly women and children. Our team did a great job. Justin and Jenny gave their testimonies and Paul (that would be me) delivered one of the 4 messages that were presented during the service. The team sang two familiar hymns for the group...and the singing turned out well. Afterwards, several lingered to talk with the team. They were thrilled by the handmade crosses that Destri's mom and her church friends made for us to give away.
Sunday Morning Update
We're up and running today. The team will split up to visit two small village churches on the outskirts of Zhitomir. Here are just a few scenes from yesterday when we were making plans for the week and playing with some of the children from Central Baptist Church:
This afternoon, the team will get a few hours to work on the jet lag before leading the worsip service at the home church. All are feeling great and doing fine. Your prayers are working. Keep 'em up!
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 01:51 PM
June 11, 2005
Saturday in Zhitomir - at least we think it is Saturday
We did make it to our hotel late Friday night, all luggage and people accounted for. There are already hotel stories to tell, those will have to wait. We are minus one volunteer...the pigeon who though that he/she? would join Deb and I in our room. *grin*
The day was spent with members of Central Baptist Church in Zhitomir. This is the sponsoring church for this trip and they have been wonderful hosts. The team played a little bit of every sport with the youth from the church, including an introduction to flag football. Soccer was interesting with a small herd of visiting diary cows (I think we invaded their pasture, who knows).
We will have more later. The Internet access for the group is close to the hotel and is inexpensive. Several of the team members are typing frantically right now...moms and dads, check your email!
Thanks again for all your comments,
June 10, 2005
Safely landed in Kiev
The Belmont and Team Ukraine groups landed safely in Kiev about an hour ago and experience no problems with customs (whew!)...now, the bus that is supposed to transport us to Zhitomir is another story. we will be resting in a transit lounge while tire repairs are done.
All are well, weary from sitting in airline seats, but demonstrating a spirit of patience.
...from the Kiev airport,
Late update: OK....so the hour long tire repair took a little longer than expected and the team spent some unplanned time "relaxing" in the transit longe at the front door of the airport. Did I mention that the repair took a LOT longer than expected? Anyway, Dan and Jenny, settled on the floor nearby to guard all of our luggage. As you can see from the picture, they did a great job!
Amsterdam - but hurried
This will be a quick note. We were delayed in Detroit due to bad weather and arrived in Amsterdam 30 minutes beyond the expected arrival time... all are well, semi-rested following the 8 hour flight and ready to get to Kiev, our next stop.
A sleepy version of Happy Birthday filled the transit lounge...it is Rebekah's birthday today.
Thanks for all of the comments, by the way. Keep 'em up!
...live from Amsterdam,
UPDATE: Picture addition - a little xtra time in Zhitomir to catch up with posting, without all the hurry.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 09:24 AM
June 09, 2005
Meet the Team - On our way
We are on our way. Please pray for us by name!
|John Baldwin||Dan Oliver|
|Destri Bockey||Andrew Preston|
|Brittany Card||Jennifer Rix|
|Debbie Chenoweth||Brooke Sunday|
|Paul Chenoweth||Kimb Ulloa|
|Jenny Conkle||Andy Wicke|
|Josh Goodwin||Rebekah Wilson|
|Justin Hare||Betty Wiseman,|
Every one arrived safely at Nashville International Airport this morning. Following a lengthy check in process where we helped 'train' a couple of new check in staff, we settled in for a light lunch in the concourse waiting area. The adventure of air travel unfolded shortly thereafter when taxi to take off was interrupted by an announcement that the radar in Indianapolis was down and we could be facing an hour and 45 minute delay. No sooner that we arrived at the gate, a new announcement..."Indianpolis is back up and running". All are in good spirits. We are on our way!
...safe in a cyber cafe in Detroit,
Tullahoma 'Team Ukraine'
Eight of the nine members of Team Ukraine have joined us on our journey. The ninth will soon join us here in Detroit.Meet the team:Tommie, Diane, Carrie, Spenser, Ben, Ken, Don, and John.
Vicky will be pleased to know that Don is behaving himself...it may be a full time job for the rest of the team *grin*.
Please continue to pray for the team. Let your family and friends know that we will try to keep you posted on their activities here on this site.
June 01, 2005
Our Ukraine Partnership - One week and counting
One week from tomorrow (June 9) we will embark on the journey that began for us approximately fifteen months ago, March 2004, when Belmont Trustee Don Dixon called me with the idea of partnering with his church for a mission trip. Don is Pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He told me of the Zhitomir Central Baptist Church in Ukraine and Pastor Peter Chernyavsky’s request for a Sports Team to come and work with them. Thus began our year-long process of organizing and processing this trip.
Pastor Don and eight of his church members will accompany our team and work specifically with Pastor Peter’s church while staying in the homes of church members. Our team will stay outside Kiev in a hotel close to the outlaying areas where we will conduct ministry in local communities. The two teams will come together periodically during the trip to go into orphanages, conduct worship services in the evening, and lead worship in local churches the two Sundays we are there.
This partnership will be a first in our decade of sports evangelism mission trips. Don has been a joy to work with and get to know. The two teams will come together for the first time at the airport when we gather for our long flight next week. However, both teams have prayed for one another by name for several months. It is exciting to anticipate getting to know our partners in mission. As you pray for us we ask that you remember Don and his group who will have their own ministry in addition to ours.
Posted by Betty Wiseman at 01:41 PM
May 31, 2005
Yes, it costs money to send student athletes into the world...
Flash Viewer 7 Required
for player below:
Last summer, Debbie and I traveled with the Belmont University sports evangelism team to Brazil. I watched through the lens of a video camera as these athletes played, hugged, autographed just about anything...and shared their faith with the urban poor in the outlying slums of Rio de Janeiro. The video clip on this post shows some of the sights and sounds of that trip along with an appeal for encouragement and financial support for the 2005 summer team. If you know someone who might be interested in supporting this ministry, please send me an email with details... I have a limited number of CD-ROM's of this presentation (that is a much higher resolution) that I will be happy to send out.
All donations to this program are tax deductible and documented receipts are provided to all donors. Your ongoing support via prayers, encouraging words, and yes, your wallet, are much appreciated. A convenient and secure donation form is available here: Betty Wiseman Missions Fund - Online Donation Form
With a little luck and an available Ukrainian cyber cafe, I hope to be able to do the same thing this year.
Thank you for considering support for this life changing adventure.
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 05:06 PM
May 24, 2005
It is Not about us...
Earlier this year, I spent a morning at an information sharing session for a mission team from Forest Hills Baptist Church who will be headed to Ukraine before us in early June. My list of details to address swelled from a short list of maybe 20 things to do, into three full pages of items that I needed to take care of before our departure...I was a bit overwhelmed, but more excited than concerned. For both of these teams there is a recurring theme: it's not about us ...and I need to remind myself of that every day, in spite of the to do list.
Every mission trip is different is such a cliche', but it is so true...even previous trips to Ukraine will be different from this year's trip. As we prepare ourselves individually and as a team, I pray that we will be open to Divine appointments...for I am confident that God has prepared that list and that it is far more important than any of the trivial details that will arise in the few remaining days.
May 19, 2005
Encouraging news from Ukraine
Christian Today recently published "Ukraine President Transforming Country into a Nation of God". In light of recent history in Ukraine, this is encouraging news. As we pray for the leaders of our own country, let's also include the leaders of Ukraine who speak boldly of their faith and the positive directions of their leadership. Pastor Sunday Adelaja of Europe’s largest church in Kiev is quoted in the article:: "We know that the changes taking place here in Ukraine are born from above, and they are proving to be both encouraging and highly delightful! May you rejoice with us as we keep believing God for total transformation. Nothing is impossible for the Lord!"
Posted by Paul Chenoweth at 10:28 AM
May 06, 2005
Ready to GO!
The Ukraine Team had our last meeting, along with a cook-out, at my house yesterday evening before dismissing for exams, graduation, and some much needed R&R. Plans for this trip, June 9-20, actually began over a year ago. The team will convene at the airport on June 9 for departure at 1:29 p.m. Paperwork, passports, visas, tickets, and all the logistics are complete and the word now is GO!
Following last minute instructions the team enjoyed a devotional and prayer time. The prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10 was claimed as our prayer for the trip.“…that God will bless us…that God will enlarge our territory…that God’s hand will be upon us, and that God will keep us from harm…”
I challenged the team to pray this prayer daily as they continue to seek God’s blessing and preparation for the ministry that is before us. Just as God granted Jabez’s request I am confident that He will answer our prayer.
We send our thanks to all of you who will pray with us and for us in the next month before we depart and during our stay in the Ukraine. This team is much larger than the 16 members who will actually go. All of you have supported us with encouragement, prayers, and financial gifts, and YOU are a valuable member of this team. Thank You!
Posted by Betty Wiseman at 06:53 PM
April 08, 2005
Taking the Ukraine Journal templates out for a ride
This year's team has already begun preparation for another journey into an area of the world where American student athletes will be quite a novelty..
Paul said, "This will be a different trip...the language barrier, both spoken and written, will perhaps be an even greater challenge than any of my previous trips to Central and South America."
Betty Wiseman, Debbie Chenoweth, and Paul Chenoweth will lead and support the team as they work with a local pastor, visit the surrounding community, and tour area orphanages
Belmont's team of 7 men and 6 women represent several sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, and track. And if more needs to be said at this point, you will have to wait for someone on the team to tell you better details. This is just a test to see how the new Ukraine Journal layout works.