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

 

Arvos in Straya

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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.

Leviticus 19:34

“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.

Praises:

  • 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.

Prayer requests:

  • 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!