Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Karina's Adoption Story Part II - Home Study is Complete!!

Storey Grace keeps asking when her sister is coming back home!

God continues to bless us in this journey. Our home study is complete and has been sent to US Immigration for approval. Please pray that we would get approval from immigration and that this next step will move quickly.

We received a letter from Karina a few days ago. She is doing well but misses us and looks forward to the day when we come to get her. Thank you for your prayers regarding her adoption.

We want to thank Anderson Ulerich (4 years old) from French Camp for praying for Karina! He prays for her and helps his mom bake cookies that he sells to help raise money for the adoption. Anderson tells people about Karina - an orphan in Ukraine - and then asks people if they want to buy a cookie that he made to help her come home. Thanks, Anderson! We appreciate you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Summer Camp in Trujillo, Peru

As we prepare for the another summer camp in Trujillo, Peru we wanted to let you see pictures from last years camp and let you know the impact that was made. We would love for more people to join us in Peru for this short term trip to help bring Christian Camping to the children of Peru. If you are interested in joining us January 2-10, 2009 email us at

Some details about our last camp:

From 100-800 AD the Moche empire spread across much of Peru. In the capital of this empire are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon: the center for Moche worship and human sacrifice. It was at the feet of these two massive temples, which lay in ruin and decay, that the mission team from First Presbyterian Church brought the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Responding to a call from Peru Mission and the Reformed congregations of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Peru in Trujillo, FPC Jackson sent 27 people to help start the Reformed Christian Camp of Peru. The team was a mix of believers from age 7 to 61 from FPC, several Mississippi churches and out of state churches (Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia). We went to help the churches in Trujillo learn another way (summer camp) to minister to children. Each church is surrounded by neighborhoods full of children and many of these kids attend church without their parents. These churches have heard of the impact of the Twin Lakes ministry in Mississippi and wanted to see what kind of impact a ministry like Twin Lakes could have in Peru. We were blown away and humbled as we witnessed God’s mighty hand at work. Children (145 of them with 15 from the local orphanage) had a blast at camp with people that showed them Christ’s love, doing activities that many of them had never done (horseback riding, swimming, archery, playing on a huge inflatable slide and more), memorizing Bible verses, singing songs, learning from God’s word (Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Jesus is the Bread of Life, Jesus is the Resurrection and Jesus is the Light of the World), eating good food and snacks – the Peruvians got a taste of Twin Lakes. The children loved camp, talked about it constantly with their families at home and arrived earlier and earlier each day ready to start.

God used the camp to do more than we ever imagined. Not only were kids impacted but the congregations and neighborhoods were changed: 1) Members of each congregation worked together in a way that the missionaries had never seen (30 Peruvians joined our team of 27 making a group of 57 camp staff!). The people were united and joyfully worked side by side. 2) Many fathers in the neighborhoods do not want their children to attend church because they think Christians are ignorant. After their children returned from camp each day talking about what they learned, saw and did, the fathers committed to sending their kids to church every Sunday. 3) Many adults let us know how encouraged, built up and strengthened in their faith they had become through the camp. The people involved in camp were so thankful that they flooded us with gifts, notes, posters, hugs, many big thank you’s and begged us to return next year.
Not only did God use this mission trip to impact children and encourage and build up the churches in Peru but those who went on the trip were changed. Here are some comments from team members:
“The fact that we saw Kingdom fruit - beyond anything we ever dreamed of - was such a gift from the Lord ... to let us SEE some fruit before we left - that was incredible!”
“…she then lit up and said, "Mom, I really want to go with you next year!" Cute thing... I immediately said that we need to start praying now about that and see how God leads! How cool is that? A fruit of this trip is that my children get to see the need for us (1st) to obey God when He calls, and (2nd) that there is need to go somewhere else in the world - (3rd) to be more aware of the needs right in front of us.”

“I was so awed by the entire group and the work we accomplished.... that our feeble (in the grand scheme of things) efforts were used by God for so many Kingdom issues - incredible!... that the Church was strengthened - way cool!”

“It was an absolute blessing and joy to work with everyone from Twin Lakes… I feel as if I got more out of it than the kids…it was a trip I will never forget. It makes me want to live everyday for my God.”

“I loved the mission trip…thank you letting me go…I want to know what I need to do for next years trip to Peru.”

One team member even stayed behind to immediately start helping teach in Peru Mission’s language school for the month of January!

I wish all of you could have seen the context of the camp. Some of the camp days were held in the former capital of the Moche Empire near the feet of the Temple of the Moon where the Moche worshipped their false gods and enslaved and sacrificed humans. The ruins of this temple are currently being excavated and the skeletons of the sacrificed are being found. Descendants of the Moche were campers at our camp – no longer a people enslaved by fear and Satan – but running and playing freely amidst the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the summer of 2006, the theme at Twin Lakes was the Exodus and campers were taught how God delivered his people. The left over t-shirts from that summer were taken with us and given to the Peruvian campers who wore them at the feet of the decaying temple. On the back of those shirts is part of Exodus 6:6-7: “…I will deliver you…I will redeem you…I will take you to be my people and I will be your God.”

The God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, does make a difference in the lives of people. He makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for answering the call from Christian brothers and sisters in Peru and helping us begin a powerful ministry that they want to continue deep into the future.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom and Dad!

Grandmommy and Grandfather celebrate their birthday's one week apart from each other. We are thankful that God has given them another year. We celebrated with cousins, fried chicken (mom's favorite), barbeque and lots of dancing and silliness.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

At the end of the summer we became campers and went to family camp!!

Karina's Adoption Story: Part I

In 1992 Matthew spent the summer in Ukraine with other Christians playing American football against European football teams. The main purpose of this time in Ukraine was to provide opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with other athletes. Bo Bowen was one of my financial and prayer supporters for the trip. That summer in Ukraine helped give me a love for Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and a passion for missions.

In October of 2006, Sheila visited an orphanage in Peru and we began discussing the possibility of adoption.

During the 2007 Missions Conference at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, Bo Bowen invited Matthew to join him in Ukraine for an evangelism clinic.

One of the English/Ukrainian translators that assisted in the evangelism clinic in Nadvirna, Ukraine during August of 2007 was Tasha Sobko from Zaporizia, Ukraine. Tasha had worked in children’s camps through her church in her hometown and displayed an enthusiastic and sincere love for God and people during the evangelism clinic. Because of her diligent work and passion for the gospel, Twin Lakes extended her an invitation to come to the United States and serve as part of the Twin Lakes Summer Camp staff.

Also during August 2007, a missionary from Odessa, Ukraine came to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Jackson and talked about her ministry to orphans. A lady named Grace Marsh heard the missionary’s presentation and decided to begin praying for and communicating with an orphan in Odessa named Karina. Grace felt led to adopt Karina and began the adoption process soon afterward.

In January of 2008, Twin Lakes ran a day camp in Trujillo, Peru at the request of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Peru. Among the 140 children were fifteen orphans and Sheila and I again contemplated adoption.

Twin Lakes Summer Staff Training began on May 26 and on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 Steve Lanier, a pastor from Redeemer PCA, trained the Twin Lakes summer staff in presenting the gospel to campers. After the training session, Steve met Tasha and immediately told her that he wanted her to meet someone: A lady from his church, Grace Marsh, was hosting an orphan from Ukraine for the summer and needed a translator. Tasha was happy to meet Grace and serve as her translator for the girl from Ukraine.

On Friday, June 20 Grace picked up Karina and her guardian, Svetlana, from the airport and brought her to our house to meet Tasha so that Tasha could spend the weekend with them and translate. So, there we were in the living room: Matthew, Sheila, Harrison, Isaac, Noah and Storey Grace along with Grace, Karina, Svetlana and Tasha. Before they left, Grace told us how she had tried to adopt Karina but before the adoption was finalized Ukraine changed their adoption laws and Grace was no longer able to adopt Karina. This was the second time that a family tried and was unable to adopt her.

God had placed an orphan in our living room in need of a family. Sheila and I began to talk and pray about adopting Karina. We realized that God had blessed us with adoption into his family, has given us a loving family here on earth and has always provided for our needs. We believed that God was calling us to take this child and make her our own and in mid July we asked Karina if she would like to be part of our family. She said yes and we began the adoption process. We started this process without the resources to finish but we knew that God wanted us to adopt her and so we began taking one step at a time.

It is now September. Karina is back in her orphanage in Odessa and we continue to work through the adoption process. Our home study is to be complete this week. God has provided everything we have needed every step of the way and we know that he will provide for all that is left. This has been a great lesson of faith for us and it has strengthened our trust as we wait on his provision and timing.

We miss Karina and love her as our own daughter. Today we received a message from Ukraine that Karina loves us “hugely” and is counting down the days for us to come get her.

By God’s grace we are coming soon, Karina.

To be continued…

Friday, September 5, 2008

Twin Lakes Shelters from the Storm

For the past week, Twin Lakes has served as a place of shelter for families fleeing Gustav and served as a home for Salvation Army and utility workers. When storms move inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Twin Lakes opens its doors for those evacuating the coast and for those that are heading to the coast to help those in need. Several hundreds of people came through Twin Lakes along with some big trucks and heavy equipment - the kids enjoyed seeing the trucks rolling into Twin Lakes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer 2008 Update

Wow! God’s blessings never cease to amaze us. At Twin Lakes Summer Camp 1,857 children heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and had an incredible time as they played, spent time with staff and followed the story of Joseph who taught them that “…God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20b

The biggest blessing of our summer came in the form of a new daughter! God has led us to adopt Karina. She is 13 years old and lives in an orphanage in Odessa, Ukraine where she has been since the age of six.
We are in the middle of our paperwork and we are asking everyone to please join us in prayer for Karina.

Our prayer requests are that:
1. The remainder of the adoption process will go through smoothly and be finalized.
2. God will provide all the needed funds to pay for the adoption.
3. That Karina will be home by Thanksgiving.

Karina was able to spend part of the summer with us but is now back in her orphanage until the adoption is finalized. You can follow the adoption story as well as other updates on our blog at

Ministry Report
Thank you for your investment in this work in Peru. Currently we have 25% of what we must raise for the first year of ministry. We are thankful for the way God has provided and are thankful that you have joined us. God’s hand is at work in amazing ways in Peru (and all around the world). Over the past few months a new church plant formed as a result of a short term team doing medical work in a poor area outside of Trujillo, the English language institute has grown tremendously—to record levels, many short term teams have come through doing wonderful work and the current missionaries continue to labor intensely to bring the renewing gospel of Jesus Christ to the area through discipleship, pastor training, university ministry, medical missions and more!

As our family continues to raise financial and prayer support, the remainder of 2008 and part of 2009 will be spent at Twin Lakes with some short term work in Peru and Ukraine, studying Spanish and visiting churches that may partner with us. We appreciate your prayers as we learn the Spanish language and as we raise the remaining 75% or our support.

Support Information: Our Contact Information:

Christian Missionary Society 175 B Twin Lakes Road
P.O. Box 53363 Florence, MS 39073
Knoxville, TN 37950-336 601-720-7377
CMS Phone: 865-684-4580

If you would rather receive mission updates through email, please email us:

We love you and thank you for joining us in this mission!
Matthew, Sheila, Karina, Harrison, Isaac, Noah and Storey Grace Nasekos