Hello to my wonderful supporters!
You might ask…Why does Oksana work with refugees? What does Oksana’s work with refugees look like?
The Refugee Highway Introduction (2016), from the International Association for Refugees, is a great place to start in answering these questions (copy and paste vimeo link above into your browser to view). But to summarize, there are over 65 million displaced people in the world. As Christians, God calls us to love those around us. The following verse also summarizes it well for me.
“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Working alongside refugees is meaningful ministry. Sometimes it just means sitting with them and having a simple conversation to help them learn English. Many times, whether they are Christian or Muslim, they are often happy to let us pray for them at the end of a visit.
One of my new refugee friends just finished up chemotherapy and is currently in nursing school while her husband is going through English classes. Another family is facing a much more somber situation, where we bring food to a mother with five kids and her husband who has cancer. The help we provide is really important to the family, and a wonderful opportunity to share the hope of Jesus.
Despite their difficult situations, the hospitality of the refugees is something that has really touched my heart. Our visits to the homes of our refugee friends almost always include coffee and also biscuits.
Besides working with refugees, I am doing administrative work alongside the team leaders of the Syndey Refugee Team. During the past month, this included planning a wonderful Volunteer Connection Arvo.* We had discussion, training (on vicarious trauma – SEE PICTURE!), prayer, a devotional and lunch! It was great to get to see the volunteers get some time where they could be rejuvenated through fellowship with other volunteers and time with Jesus.
On Fridays, I help with the planning of Ride for Refugees, a family-friendly cycling event, currently held in three different cities in Australia (Sydney, Toowoomba, Brisbane). It has been really wonderful to be able to take the skills I learned from working on citywide events and use them here! Abby (my Ride for Refugees supervisor) and I can see how God set up my planning experience for great use here.
We are working on our master planning sheet for the event and prioritizing what needs to get done and when. I am also keeping in contact with past riders through social media and email updates.
If you want to help me stay longer in Australia (up to just under a year), you can become a monthly donor here https://give.iteams.us/.
You might also ask …how does Oksana talk, now that she is in Australia?
Below is some Aussie (Australian) lingo!
Australia – Straya
Fish and French Fries – Fish and Chips
Cookies – Biscuts
MacDonalds – Maccas
Sunglasses – Sunnies
Breakfast – Brekkie
How are you? – How are you going?
University – Uni
*Afternoon – Arvo
I think – I reckon
Friends – Mates
Lots – Heaps
Thank you – Ta
Joking – Mucking around
Barbeque – Barbie
Gas station – Servo
Pickup truck – Ute
Finally, you might wonder…Is Nick (Oksana’s boyfriend) coming to visit?
Yes! Nick is visiting along with our friend David in early April. I am so excited for their visit. I’m grateful to Rod and Abby for allowing the boys to stay with them. We plan to visit the beach, go into the city and attend a BBQ that I am thankful to my super cool supervisor for hosting.
- Thank the Lord that the heat has subsided!!!!! Yay.
- Thank the Lord that I am feeling much more settled in to Australia after being here for two and a half months.
- Thank the Lord for my fantastic co-workers at International Teams who have helped me settle in.
- Pray I will hold steady in my faith and desire God above things of this world.
- Pray for the refugees, many of whom have experienced a lot of trauma on their way to Australia.
- Pray that God will work in the hearts of the non-Christian refugees we help.
Thank you so much for your support! Comment below to let me know you are praying or with future questions you want me to answer in blog posts!