Italy Trip Report – Summer 2019
Thank you dear friends for your prayer and financial support for our Italy ministry trip to serve the church planting team in Trieste. It was truly a blessed and effective outreach in countless ways. Our ministry was two fold – by day we served at an evangelical English camp for kids and by night we spent time in unbelieving host family’s homes and shared the gospel. We have already heard stories of these contacts bearing fruit as many have visited the church since we have left. Please enjoy these updates Tali wrote while on the field and know that the Lord used your contribution in a mighty way.
Trieste English Camp Report- Day 2
“Wow!!! Everything is going so well and GOD IS GOOD!!! Today we talked to the children at camp about the 99 sheep and the Prodigal son. I can only speak for my group but it was so amazing how much these children understand these stories and somehow just know what God will do next. It just shows that the word of God is written on our hearts
One of my little boys had very interesting answers to the questions that were asked after the stories were read. When asked why the shepherd would go after the 1 sheep when he already had 99, he said, ‘well, the shepherd didn’t want an uneven number of sheep!’. In the story of the prodigal son, when asked what he thought the father should do, he said that if he was the father, he would kick the son out (after he came back). So I asked him, what would he want his father to do if he made a mistake? Should he be kicked out of his house or would he want another chance? At that point he admitted that he would want another chance with his father. It was so cool to see him really think about the stories. Also, listening to the kids reconcile these parables to real life, and talk about how much Jesus loves us and how he cares about us and how every single one of us is so important in his eyes, it really touches your heart.
Another amazing part of this trip that has brought tears to my eyes, is the morning and afternoon singing time. Now let me tell you, all of these songs WILL be stuck in our heads for the rest of time, but watching the kids (most of which have no Christian background and have nobody in their life who has any faith) dance around, singing and shouting about how much God loves us and how he holds us in his hands, getting so excited about this gospel that they hardly understand, is like watching the most amazing thing on earth. I’m sorry I can’t come up with any examples, I just don’t think there is much to compare it too. Watching God start his work in saving these little souls is the most amazing gift I have ever gotten.
Now it is almost midnight and I need to wrap up because we have a big day of camp-day 3 tomorrow and a prayer walk after the camp is over!!! But I just wanted to ask for some prayer requests-
1) There are 2 little girls who just showed up on the first day, who were not signed up and nobody really knew where they came from. Some of the Italian speakers tried to talk to them but they just seemed to be confused. My mom, Andie, my sister, Noel, and I kept hearing familiar words as the girls talked to each other and finally my mom walked up to them and said, ‘Minya-Zavoot Andie’ and both girls absolutely lit up. As most of you know, my family and I have been to Russia quite a few times and have picked up a few words from our trips. Evidently, these girls had just moved here from the Ukraine with their family! Since none of us Davidsons are actually fluent in Russian, Google translate has become our best friend as we try to teach the girls games, tell them the stories, and let them know what is going on. It was found out today that the were supposed to be dropped off at another camp (not done by the church) and when we told the girls and their dad that, the girls were visibly upset at having to leave. As of now, we have gotten permission to keep the girls at our camp, and even got a Russian translator for tomorrow! So please pray that we can keep the girls for these two weeks and pray that they will be able to hear the gospel well and share it with their family
2) Please pray for every child here who is hearing the gospel and pray that even through these language barriers, they would understand and accept the love of our Lord.
3) Please pray for the Sports camp team as they are struggling with the language barriers and the rules that keep them from bringing up any kind of religious talk. Please pray that God will give them the chance and the wisdom in word choice to use with their kids and host families.
4) Please praise God with us for the love and generosity of our host families who have helped in every way they can and who have given up their own comfort for us
5) Finally, please pray that our teams, Sports and English camp, will be able to find the words that will most glorify God and will be able to get over this pesky jet lag in time for our final days!
Thank you all for your love and support and please keep us and all of Trieste in your prayers!!!”
Trieste English Camp Report- Day 4
“Hello wonderful church family! I just want to start off by saying a huge thank you to all of you wonderful people who helped to make this trip possible
This has been a life changing experience for so many and I am so so thrilled that God has allowed me to be a part of it!
Elio, the pastor of the church, is my fellow leader in the best group, and it has been so special to watch him with the kids, he has such a heart for the lost. There is also a picture of him, playing board games with some of the kids.
So the camp has just been incredible the last two days, children asking wonderful questions and relationships are being forged! Getting hugs from these kids and being told that they are so thankful that we are here is the most amazing feeling!
One of the girls in my group, Alida, said something that really made me think today. We had a paper with three thermometers on it, each one empty and with a word beneath it. One was for family, one for friends, and one for failure. The kids were supposed to fill up each one with the amount of worry they have about each subject. Alida asked what the ‘failure’ one meant. When it was explained to her, she shrugged and said, “I will put nothing there, sure you can fail but there it will always get better.”
Part of me felt encouraged by that because it represents the ‘second’ chances we are given throughout our life. Another part of me felt afraid. Someone who does not have God in their life could use that comment through their whole life, ‘I can always fix it later.’
This is why we are doing these camps, we want these children to think about what happens in their life, we want them to know the reason that they get more than two chances when they sin- that someone paid for those second and third and fourth chances when he gave His life for us.
As I watched those kids fill some of their thermometers all the way up, my heart ached, because they don’t have that peace that we can have, they desperately want those worries to be lifted off of them but they just don’t know how quite yet. They have been given the puzzle pieces and they are working on putting them together.
Today, we made some keychains that say, ‘Jesus rescues’ on them and other than these kids being able to spell that all out without any help, it was just really cool watching them do that, even if they don’t know if they believe it yet. By the way, ‘Jesus rescues’ is the theme of the whole camp.
My favorite thing each day, continues to be the singing in the morning and afternoon. Each time, tears come to my eyes as I hear the kids voices and watch them jumping up and down and dancing in the joy that they feel. I now understand this camp to be the effort to bring that joy to every day and every part of their lives.
Another thing that happened in the last few days was an incredible prayer walk. We drove up to a Catholic Church high up on a hill and were able to look down on the city and pray over every single person. While we were up there, Pastor Elio gave us a few prayer requests that I will add at the end.
But while we were up there, we walked through the church and were asked what we noticed about the place of Jesus. We all mentioned how Mary and the Pope were pretty much at the center of all things and Jesus was shown as frail and unable. We prayed over the city and prayed for the the souls and the misinterpretation of Jesus that is on many of those people’s minds.
While we drove up there, we drove through a forest and saw all these beautiful trees that were covered in vines. I asked Simone, someone on our team who helps with the kids, why the vines grew and what they were. He told me that they grow no matter what you do to kill them. They are beautiful, but they are pests and they will kill the trees slowly. We thought that was an incredible example of all of Italy, it is so beautiful with amazing history (that my mom won’t let us go without learning) and a warm culture, but it is being suffocated and murdered by the darkness that is disguised as beauty. Please pray that the true beauty of the Gospel would be known among these people through the church planting team here.”
These are just a few of the stories of God moving while we were there. Please pray for Trieste Evangelica Church there in Italy when the Spirit brings it to mind and read over the specific families that we will continue to have contact with over the next year. Slip this prayer guide into your Bible to pray over during your devotional time. Pray for a mighty move of the Spirit in the post-Christian culture of Italy and thank you for supporting this valuable ministry!
To Africa in November 2017…
We are so thrilled to share with you an opportunity that we know you’ll be excited about. Paideia Missions is going to Kenya, East Africa November 12th through the 25th to join Kenya’s Kidz with their efforts to support orphaned and vulnerable children! Asher, Noel, and I (Scott) will be joining a team of missionaries to spend the majority of the time working at their project, Namayiana Children’s Home (meaning “the blessed” in the Maa language), in a remote area southwest of Nairobi in Maasailand. In this semi-nomadic region where the Maasai tribe lives, many still live the lifestyle of their ancestors in their colorful red plaid blankets and beaded jewelry. Like their ancestors, most of these Maasai are still herders of cattle and goats, however drought, loss of land, and a declining economy have dealt a challenging blow to these polygamous communities. Because of their remote location, they have limited access to resources and assistance found in the cities, especially in regard to health care, education, orphan care, and advocates. Children are often left orphaned, abandoned, and/or abused by family or other caregivers due to disease, loss of hope, and extreme poverty.
At Namayiana, we’re looking forward to helping with various work projects at the Home, conducting VBS style activities designed just for orphans, enjoying an early Christmas celebration with the kids (aka birthday party for Jesus), conducting health assessments, and sharing a Christmas craft with all the kids at the nearby private Christian school where the orphans attend. Our duffel bags will be packed with clothes, shoes, toys, soccer balls, vitamins, and books for the kids. We will also visit the elderly of the community with gifts of food and other essentials. Of course, we’ll spend lots of time just playing with the children, reminding them that they are not forgotten, but special children of God.
We will also visit a project in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum with donations of food, baby clothes, and medical supplies. Here, among the poorest of the poor, a Kenyan couple operates a preK-8 school for the street children (picture at right), a girls’ rescue center, and a health clinic for AIDS, TB, and maternity care. They do an amazing job given their resources (or lack thereof).
Would you consider partnering with us as we try to reach out to these children? We desire your support through prayer. Pray for God to go before us and prepare our way that He would enable us to accomplish all that He would have us do. Pray also for the children and adults we will meet, our preparations, safety as we travel, and good health. We would also appreciate your financial support. Many of you have supported our ministry efforts in Russia for years and the Lord has done great things with your contributions. Andie and I feel that the Lord is opening a door for our ministry to bless another ministry’s work, and also for two of our children (Asher and Noel) to serve on a continent they have both longed to visit for many years. Our expenses, including airfare, food, lodging, supplies, and in-country transportation will amount to about $8000 total for the three of us. We would be deeply grateful for any amount you can give and we promise to report all that the Lord does!
Another great trip… Thank you to our supporters!
Thank you so very much for the prayer and financial gifts you gave to support our ministry trip to Russia this year! It was a blessed and fruitful two weeks in countless ways. In addition, thank you for helping us get Classical Conversations (a classical, Christian, community based homeschool program) started in Russia which will provide an excellent curriculum option for many families. We were greatly blessed to spend time with the nine families meeting together in a ‘beta-community’. We also were able to do two information meetings and one ‘Windows into Challenge’ high school event in addition to the larger conference we hosted. This has opened a door for us to connect with many Orthodox families and begin a vital worldview discussion with them. Here are some pictures of those gatherings:
Our family is constantly humbled and grateful that you would trust us to carry this important message to the believers in Russia and we covet your prayers for future decisions we will make regarding this important ministry.
I also want to say how incredibly proud I was of my four challenge students who served on this trip (two of which are my kids)! They were a great blessing to many people and even were willing to model Socratic circles to give the Russian families a picture of how engaging highschool discussions can be!
The Lord blessed us with a wonderful team of people on the trip this year. The was so little conflict and everyone worked together quite well. While it was a very fast paced trip. we still were able to have regular team time as we studied the book of Galatians together. We also did a little bit of sight seeing together and enjoyed an overnight train to Moscow! It was so beautiful to see the body of Christ come together and serve one another and i saw that on a daily basis with our team.
Feedback from Conference Evaluations…
There is nothing more motivating to continue on with the ministry than the feedback we get after a conference…
“Thank you very much for organizing such an important conference. It was my first time here. There were a lot of useful and wise information. This conference has encouraged me for homeschooling. The power of this conference is in the fact that Jesus Christ is here the Lord, His truth is the priority. The teaching is very healthy. I want so much to homeschool my kids (3 sons and 1 daughter), I don’t think it will be harder than “pulling off the weeds of public school education”. Me and my husband are Christians, we live in the city of Mogilyov (Belarus), it’s 400 thousand people and there are no homeschooling families in our city. It’s hard to be the first one to start. But it’s possible with God’s help. Glory to God that we met you and found out about homeschooling. Come to us to Belarus and we will organize such conference with God’s help. I wish more people would know about such education way in my country.”
-With love from Mogilyoy, Belarus
“Words cannot describe how THANKFUL I am to the Lord for this conference! I enjoyed every bit of it like the sweetest treat from heaven! My only wish was to be able to be present at all of the workshops and seminars… but I could choose only certain ones))) I am so glad they recorded everything and I hope to watch the ones I couldn’t attend! Ever since I gave birth to my first child I have had a great burden on my heart to pass my faith to him. The Lord gave me an idea to write 10 commandments for our home based on the 10 commandments of the Bible. Then I tried to unite parents in our church so that we could pursue that goal of teaching our kids to walk with God. As a result we established a weekly prayer. Many times I prayed alone, but I kept praying. Then suddenly in the beginning of August of 2016 I felt led by the Lord to start homeschooling my firstborn, who at that time had two years of government school experience that did not do him any good, but made him disconnected from me. The first three months of our ” homeschool” was a nightmare! I made all the possible and impossible mistakes one can make. My poor son… I still feel sorry for him. No wonder that he wanted to go back to school. At that time knowing in my heart that I do the right thing but being absolutely unprepared I felt so devastated, almost depressed… It was then that the Lord miraculously let me find out about the vk group that contained the recordings Of the previous conferences. I learned about other successful homeschooling parents like Oksana Ageeva, Ludmila Whitman and your family. It was like fresh water to me!!! I received so much encouragement and inspiration!
I am so thankful that the Lord gave my husband the same heart for homeschooling. He was all the time very supportive. That’s why when we learned about this particular conference we made it a priority in our calendar and came all 5 of us! I had no idea how I would be able to participate with an always wiggling busy toddler, but the Lord took care of that too and I was able to hear him speak to me and rekindle my heart and spirit!
During this conference while I was listening to the speakers, homeschool graduates and parents I got more and more reassured that I was led by the Lord and it was not a mistake or emotional desire to homeschool. IT WAS TOTALLY GOD’S IDEA! Not mine! I kept hearing in my heart behind all the words that I listened too: I WIRED YOU this way, so that you COULD homeschool! Oh, how dependent it makes me on Him because there is so little I know or can do on my own. Then as Danny Craig shared his message on life’s calling and then he sang that famous hymn, I sat all tearful because I prayed and said to God that I wanted to raise my son to be like this, to have the same eternally minded perspective on life like he does… It all was possible because you were obedient to God! What a treasure you are in the Kingdom of God and to our family! Thank you SO MUCH!!! We love you and bless you!!!”
-Olya Blagoeva from Ivanovo, Russia
“About a year ago me and my wife met Scott and Andie, when they came for couple days to visit our church in the town of Luga (100 miles out of St. Petersburg) and told us about an option of homeschooling. It was an answer from God for us, we were already talking about it in our family – we were not satisfied with public school education. Two month after that our older son Egor finished 3rd grade and we pulled him out of school. We also took our younger son out of the kindergarten. Because of you we have changed our life radically and we are so HAPPY. Thank you very much for the opportunities to meet and grow because of your experience. I praise God for you!”
-Dasha from Luga, Russia
“Thank you very much for organizing the conference. It’s already the third time I come, and it’s a great encouragement and training for me personally. All the main speakers were super, especially Israel Wayne and Michael Donnelly. Thank you that you were open to my questions and included topics I mentioned earlier. Especially that there were a lot of training about preschoolers. Every conference God reveals me a lot through speakers and changes my family. May God bless you all.” – Anonymous
We made it and the conference has begun…
Our whole team has arrived safely and we are done with our first day of the conference. It was a sweet reunion with dear Russian friends. Enjoy these shots from our travels and the start of the conference…
We also are helping out with the Children’s program that allows many of the parents to attend the conference without distraction. We had about 50 kids and a great team of Russians to help! Here are a few shots from that!
Please Join Us…
Classical Conversations in Russia??
You may have heard of the organization Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations supports homeschooling parents by cultivating the love of learning through a Christian worldview in fellowship with other families. And there are over 100,000 students enrolled world wide! Our family has been blessed to be a part of this organization for the past 4 years and it has been a tremendous support to our discipleship efforts towards our children. Before them I had been a ‘lone-ranger homeschooler’ and was growing weary after a decade of trying to make it on my own. Classical Conversations provided the community our family deeply needed and breathed new life into our homeschool efforts.
Over the past seven years as we have ministered in Russia, we have been saddened to see the lack of curricula options coming from a Biblical worldview. Basically, Russian homeschool families have about as much to choose from as American families did in 1980, which isn’t much. Thankfully, there is a couple in Moscow that has been working very hard to translate the CC Foundations guide into Russian, changing out all the Cycle 3 history sentences with Russian history and all the geography for Russian geography. This will be an incredibly valuable gift to the hundreds of Russian families who are seeking help with their homeschooling. There is already a beta-community meeting made of all nationals. This is especially encouraging as many overseas communities are made up of Americans living overseas but this is an indigenous community!
Our trip in just a few weeks will be a tremendous encouragement in the effort to promote CC in Russia. We will meet with groups in both St. Petersburg and Moscow. I am thankful to be bringing 4 Challenge 1 students along so they can share their perspective on receiving a biblical, classical education. Please consider supporting this effort in both prayer and finances!
A New Year’s Gift for Your Family
We are well into 2017 and trying to process how fast the last year went by! For so many families, it seems as though the days pass by quicker than we can keep up with them. Discipleship-minded parents desire to be intentional with each day, knowing that we will not have the blessing to have our children under our roof forever. In order to make the days count, we have a little resource that we use to evaluate the previous year and set some goals for the new one to come. I encourage you to fill out this paper with each of your kids. You could make it a date and do it one-on-one or you could just make a evening of it and do it all together. When they are done, snap a picture of it and save it on your phone and use it for further conversations with your child throughout the year. May this simply be one more resource to help you as you seek to draw your children closer to the Cross. Click on the link below to download: