Leading Edge Acorn
We begin this bimonthly newsletter to give Christian leaders in the region a voice to tell what they are learning about rebuilding communities broken by 40 (Central Europe) to 70 years (Russia) of coerced "collectivism" founded on a theology of materialism. The partners of Leading Edge International in Central Europe and Eurasia have been hard at work for over 20 years developing ministries that bring Christ up close to their neighbors. Please forward this email or share it on Facebook to any friends who want to pray with hope for this region.
The stories in this issue illustrate how people learn to give by volunteering. Volunteers care enough to think and work out sustainable solutions to help their suffering neighbors. Our partners have volunteered to help refugees in Moscow, orphans in Irkutsk and Kiev, and Roma (gypsies) in Sofia and Brest. How are the poor or suffering doing in the broken parts of your community? (Visit Blog)
By His grace,
Manager - Leading Edge International
|Juraj's Bubble Bursts
A recent graduate of CS Lewis High School in Bratislava learned to volunteer in his senior year doing a required service project. In his own words Juraj explains what gave him the courage to act.
"When the bubble bursts ... you find you've become an adult. Seemingly the only reality that strikes you at first is pain and injustice. Those were the feelings I confronted more than four years ago when I witnessed the social exclusion and foul treatment of children from ethnic minorities or socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Having hardly any financial resources to put a great project into action, I decided, 'What can be done must be done!' We organized a group of volunteers from the C.S. Lewis bilingual high school in 2009 and started an educational program for single parent children placed in institutional care. Our high school became the meeting place where we developed the academic, social and sports skills of our children. From the first moment all of this was done under the expert supervision of university graduates from the fields of psychology, pedagogy and theology all of whom are members of the D3 Organization for Applied Ethics. With minor interruptions our legacy is carried until this day by a third generation of high school students from C.S. Lewis setting a new trend of local responsibility at the gymnasium." Juraj Sikra.
"I like the idea of helping the people in need. It makes me happy when I see even the smallest result or improvement. ... Now I can understand why the kids act like they act, in some situations. I'm learning how to understand their feelings, and how to help them. Actually, I became a more empathetic person." Program participant.
This summer Juraj is looking for camp scholarships for students who normally would be stuck in the city all summer. Juraj's story exemplifies many things Leading Edge looks for in a partner. Local initiatives led by local believers in faith doing their very best with local resources. Certainly, Juraj is a young man his school can be proud of for demonstrating great leadership and organizational skills. Apparently, he did his English homework as well!
Download the story he tells in his promotional materials and recent project reports. Or find out more about CS Lewis School and leaders like Daniel Laco pictured above and Milan Cicel who are passionate about bringing Christ Centered Ethics back into the educational system of Slovakia.
|Disarming the Fear of the Disabled
Laurentiu & Carmen
Laurentiu, Carmen and Saskia lead the D3 Generations ministry among students in Ploesti, Romania. They found a meaningful way to get alongside students in a context that brings the gospel into focus - giving by volunteering. They realized that a local center for the disabled struggled to find volunteers because Romanians, (like all of us) are afraid of what they don't know. The disabled were hidden from public view during the Soviet experiment with socialism in the 20th century.
The D3 leaders started training a team of student volunteers a few years ago. Their latest team of 20 student volunteers have already been challenged to think differently about themselves and their neighbors who are suffering.
Read the latest issue of their newsletter.
|Mike Takes His Bass to Eurasia|
Several years ago, Mike Choby, stepped out of his role as a church music director in Chicago, and accepted the invitation of the Belarus Band, Spasenie, to dive into the wild world of evangelism in Eurasia (Spasenie is Russian for "salvation"). He has been stirred by the efforts of the "boys from Brest" to show the love and beauty of Christ up close through the medium of music.
Mike has toured Ukraine, Kamchatka, Belarus and the entire US with Spasenie bringing a message of faith and hope in the Lord through their concerts. Because of the favor the Lord has won for them back home in Belarus, they were invited to play with the national orchestra at Christmas on national TV, in public squares on Independence Day and in public schools assemblies in the last Communist country in Europe.
Last year they opened a music academy in their hometown. This year they started a satellite studio in Moscow. Mike taught last month in both places. He described his trip with this email.
* Watch on YouTube some ragged blues sessions Mike just led with budding worship leaders and music lovers. Imagine being with Mike in that classroom trying to open his life. Now pray!
| Prayer Focus: Romania|
Nearly 1 in 18 Romanians have an evangelical faith - more than any country in this region.
Their wages may be low, pray they stay rich in faith.
Pray for many to be sent as "laborers" to the nations.
* Download Prayer Page
| My Missionary Moment|
Before leaving for Romania in 1984, I was told repeatedly that flexibility was essential for missionaries. I had no idea how true this was until my first bus ride as a student in Bucharest. I stood wedged in the crowd at the back. The first pothole we hit threw me in the air with everyone else. But I wasn't prepared to land like the others and hit the floor with my knees locked. Ouch! From then on I practiced missionary "flexibility" at the knees!
When asked once for the time,I answered in Romanian
"quarter to night" instead of "quarter to nine."
| Board of Trustees|
Neil Lessman - Russia
John McNichols - Fishers, IN
Don Helmer - Noblesville, IN
Jane Lessman - Russia