RIDE Event Recap & Home Again

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Thank you to everyone who supported me, whether in prayer or financially or other ways, during my time in Australia. It means so much to me.

Thanks to your support, I was able to stay for the Sydney RIDE event! It was a lovely event that I hope and pray glorified God by bringing in an awareness of the plight of refugees along with funds for those projects who help refugees around the world.

I worked on the kids’ track, which had stops that asked the kids to think about what it would be like to be a refugee.

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I was also honored to do the prayer at the event. It was a lovely wrap up to my time in Australia.

I am now home and enjoying reconnecting with those around me. Praise God that my travels were safe!

Thank you again, to everyone who supported me.

Colossians 1:10-14

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

God bless,

Oksana

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Back to Minnesota!?

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Luke 12:27-28

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

 

One of my favorite things about Australia is the wonderful gardens that people have right in their yards! I hope you enjoy these photos of flowers, just a little glimpse into my daily walk to the bus stop and God’s creation. The flowers seem very odd to me because they still grow in winter because it rarely gets below freezing!

Despite the lovely flowers, I am looking forward to coming home! I plan to be home and settled by early September! Hooray! My tickets have been purchased and I am eagerly waiting to see everyone in MN again!

Below are some praises and prayer requests. Thank you SO MUCH to my supporters who have been praying or giving. It means a lot.

 

Praises:

  • My presentation to a local school went well and that God filled me with calmness before I talked to the students
  • I will be able to reconnect with family and friends and my boyfriend very soon
  • The work that God has enabled me to get done while I’m here

Prayer Requests:

  • A focus on God and my ministry here
  • A RIDE event that brings glory to God and for the safety of all participating
  • That I will cherish my time here up until departure
  • Safe travels back home
  • A smooth transition back to Minnesota

The focus of this last month is the RIDE event. I’ve been writing media releases, contacting groups and people who might be interested in riding in the event, promoting the event via social media and updating our task lists so future planners know what needs to be done and when/how we accomplished those tasks. I also gave a presentation to school students and to my church about RIDE. The RIDE event is about raising funds and awareness of the refugee crisis around the world and to help people show love to others. It is great to use skills I learned in college and prior internships for God’s glory.

As RIDE approaches and my time here comes to a close, I want to shout-out to the Cheng family. Geoff, Deb, Liam and Selina have become my Aussie family while I’m here and they are so dear to my heart. They’ve invited me to family outings, celebrated with me and comforted me when I was down. I’m so thankful for this family.

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My Aussie Family – the Chengs!

I also want to shout out to the staff at ITeams and the families who have so graciously hosted me, both the Vellas and the Mallisons! They have all helped me grow as a Christian and taken care of me while I’m here in Australia and I am very grateful. Thank you all! 

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 ITeams Staff 2017

 Look for one last post when I return home!

Ghazals, Church Birthday Celebrations & the Harbor Bridge

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During the month of June, I spent time with my Dad when he came to visit, prepared for the RIDE event and attended events for the Sydney Refugee Team.

One SRT event was a prayer night during refugee week. Another was hosting some of our refugee friends for a dinner to celebrate the shortest day of the year. In Iran, they do a big celebration for the day so Julie, Matt (the lovely people I am staying with) and I tried to recreate that for our refugee friends.

This included pomegranates (there’s an easy way to get those seeds out that one of my refugee friends taught me), watermelon, candles and heaps of food. We also read some ghazals, which is a form of poetry. It was a lovely evening of fellowship.

 

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Below is one of the ghazals I wrote:

I thank Jesus for His Sacrifice
The way He died for human vice

I no longer need to rely on fate or the universe
My life is much more than a roll of the dice

I am wholly dependent on God
And His son who died to pay the price

I now have brothers and sisters
With whom I share life and advice

My heart no longer beats for this world
The ultimate lure is not merchandise

I cannot wait for heaven
Where believers live with God in paradise

Additionally, I attended a Persian church for its fifth birthday celebration with a few of my co-workers. The church service was all in Persian and one of the church members kindly translated for us during the sermon. There was a power point of pictures from prior years and we even sang happy birthday to the church! The evening ended with big meal and this massive cake that our refugee friend made. My friend Julie was also along for the celebration and reminded me that it was beautiful that God is worshiped in all languages, which was helpful to hear.

The service got me to process language barriers in a way I hadn’t before. Many refugees I know are in English classes and learning as they go. But my heart really went out to people who come in not knowing any English, and especially their first few days in a foreign country. It was a very frustrating experience not knowing what was being said at the service and trying to pray or concentrate during worship.

My Dad and I had a great time when he came to visit. Here is a photo of us on top of the harbor bridge:

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Praises

  • Praise God that my Dad got to visit and that all of our travels were safe
  • Praise God for all those who have supported me through prayer and giving during my time in Australia with International Teams

Prayer Requests

  • Pray I keep my mind on Jesus and work as if for Him
  • Pray that God will comfort refugees as they get used to new languages and customs
  • Pray that the RIDE event will glorify God

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Blessings,
Oksana

Will I stay for RIDE? When do I return home?

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Hello friends,

Thank you for your wonderful support! I have enough support to stay through the RIDE event on August 21 and will be continuing my role with refugees, volunteer care and planning for the event up until then! Hooray and praise God Almighty! Thank you to all of you who are supporting me through prayer, funding and letters. I booked my tickets to arrive home in Minnesota a week or two after the event.

As for what’s happening for me in June…Winter is here! That’s right, in Australia the seasons are opposite. The temperature inside is often similar to the temperature outside (usually mid 40s to low 60s in Fahrenheit). I now know how to start a fire in the actual fire place (no electric fire switches here) and also truly appreciate my electric blanket. There is not much for central heating in Australia as they usually only get down to 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).

This month has been busy, continuing to work with refugees and on volunteer care! One of the highlights was visiting a new family with my co-worker Linda (far left in the photo). They are a Muslim family and we brought them a welcome package which is a laundry basket filled with food and some basics as they transition in to Australia and some blankets. We also brought some blankets for them.

We accidentally packed a kid’s blanket with Thomas the Tank Engine on it for this visit because we had forgotten the kids were all teenagers. Upon arriving we found out the youngest child had intellectual and physical disabilities and despite this was a very happy kid who smiled and laughed upon seeing us.

Linda pulled out the kid’s blanket to get to the other blankets underneath and then paused. “You know, maybe S would like this.”

Linda unfolded it out and S smiled happily and giggled away! I got to watch his face as Linda laid the blanket on him and it was one of the sweetest moments I’ve been a part of while on the Sydney Refugee Team. It certainly wasn’t an accident for God that we packed the blanket.

Another highlight was attending a High Tea with my refugee friends at a local church. We got to hear testimonies from some of the church ladies and color (as pictured). I also got the opportunity to answer some questions about Jesus from one of the kids at the event.

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The decorations were beautiful.

Additionally this month, we had a lovely weekend away with our refugee families, where we got to talk about Jesus in small groups, sing and do some fun activities, such canoeing and archery, in a peaceful place called Teen Ranch.

The singing was beautifully done in multiple languages, switching between English, Persian and Arabic.

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Thank you to those who are supporting this ministry in prayer! The weekend was lovely and the month was fruitful.

Praises:

  • The weekend away went quite well
  • The transition to living with a new family has been smooth
  • For the Jesus-focused conversations at the weekend away

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for Muslims during Ramadan
  • Please pray I will seek God above all else
  • Please pray the RIDE event goes great

Blessings,
Oksana

The top photo is of my team members!

From left back row: Linda, Fiona, me, Sarah, Caroline, Karl, Linda, Abby, Rod, Andrew. Front: Andrew and Janice (lots of double names)!

 

Will you help me stay for RIDE?

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The Ride for Refugees event is held August 19 in Sydney and then September 2nd and 9th in Brisbane and Toowoomba, respectively. Part of my role here is planning this event that raises awareness and support for refugee projects around the world! Last week, I only had enough funding for the third week in July. However, thanks to supporters, I am closer to my goal of staying through the RIDE event!

To stay until August 19, the first RIDE event that is in Sydney, I just need to raise $802.95 USD more before the end of May. Would you like to support me and help me stay until the event? If you are a monthly donor, thank you for giving already!

Donate here (https://give.iteams.us/) and please put “for the ministry of Oksana Carlier” in the information box.

Your support and prayers thus far are appreciated!

RIDE, Koalas and Nick

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This month has been a whirlwind. I had the blessing of Nick and David visiting me. I celebrated Easter with other Christians in Australia. I got my first cold in Australia. I worked away at creating a volunteer care outline, teaching students about God’s heart for justice and refugees and planning the RIDE cycling event for International Teams Australia. Oh, and I pet a koala!

Would you like to help me stay for Ride for Refugees in August and early September?

The event takes place in three cities on August 19, September 2 and September 9. It is a cycling event for the casual and serious rider and raises funds and awareness about the plight of refugees in Australia and around the world! Part of my work here is planning this event. (See rideforrefugees.com.au if you’d like to check out the event.)

If you would like to help me stay through this event, I need to raise around $2,500 USD more. Would you be willing to pray about this and consider supporting me? I know that God is Sovereign and that whether I am funded to stay through the event is up to Him.

You can find details on how to give via card or send a check in at give.iteams.us. Just don’t forget to add “for the ministry of Oksana Carlier.”

If you plan to give, please give ASAP or before the end of May. If 25 people did a one-time donation of $100, I would be funded! Otherwise, if 50 people gave $50, I would also be funded!

Being able to help with RIDE would be a big help for International Teams Australia and would be fulfilling for me. I’ve really missed home since coming here but I want to ultimately leave the decision up to the Lord about whether I stay through the RIDE event. Please pray with me and consider donating!

How was the visit with Nick (my boyfriend) and David (our friend)? Wonderful! See photo:

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What did you take away from this Easter weekend?

A sermon I heard over the Easter weekend by Matt Fuller, a pastor from the UK, reminds me that “faith is an active trust in a certain promise about an unseen future.”

Fuller used the example of how we plan for a vacation between packing, booking flights and preparing to leave. We trust that the vacation will happen and it affects how we live our lives today.

It’s the same with faith. If we remember God’s promise about the unseen future in eternity with Him, we will live with an active trust through our faith. We will do things now that show we trust in the future of eternity.

Sometimes, I wonder why I came to Australia (gasp, I know, I have doubts sometimes!). And yet, whenever those doubts creep in, I know I can go to God and remember that because of my faith, I act differently now. Would it have been easier to ignore what I felt the Holy Spirit was pressing upon me? Yes, probably! Would it have been faithful to God? No, I don’t believe so. Is it always perfectly easy to discern God’s will? Not always.

What did you work on this past month?

One of my tasks while here is to create an outline of volunteer care for International Teams. Our volunteer count has increased by a lot in the past few years and we want to be proactive in being a resource for those volunteers who selflessly give up their time to help others.

I also got to teach some students in a gap year program between high school and college about God’s heart for justice and refugees! It was a wonderful experience to be able to pass on some of what I learned. Furthermore, I presented on God’s heart for refugees and justice at our training for new volunteers (see main photo!).

What about the koala?

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Praises

  • Praise God that, besides the cold, I have stayed healthy in Australia!
  • Praise God that we had the opportunity to hand out little Easter story comics to our refugee friends
  • Praise God for a fulfilling Easter weekend

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray I will continue to seek God’s wisdom above all else
  • Please pray that many riders, volunteers and donors will sign up to be a part of our RIDE for refugees cycling event in August and September
  • Please pray for refugees around the world, that they will find comfort in the Lord

Blessings,
Oksana