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!

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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

 

What’s New in Australia?

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What I’m Learning

I had this subconscious idea that all people who were sharing God’s message overseas were perfect. They were these selfless, doubtless, altruistic people who gave up everything and no longer had needs.

Sound a bit drastic? Perhaps it is. But I think a little part of me believed it.

What I’ve realized since being here is that my stereotypes were wrong. Even during my work here, no one in the office works 7 days in a week. We work regular work hours and then take time to recharge so we can fully show Jesus’ love to those around us. God rested on the 7th day and calls us to rest. I’ve made mistakes while here, like missing my bus.

I’ve had my doubts. Sometimes the Bible is quite confusing and needs working through! I’ve learned more about theology, like different ideas of Calvinists and Armenians. I’ve also delved into God’s verses about showing love to everyone around us as we do our ministry.

But, despite all of that, I am so thankful to be doing God’s work here in Australia. I’ve realized that, just like God said, I’m the imperfect one and his light shines through despite that. I’m thankful that Jesus paid for my sins on the cross. I’m thankful to know no one is perfect and also that God gives us specific gifts to put to use in our daily lives.

Ecclesiastes 7:20

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

 

What I’m Doing

While here, I get to watch God show his glory in action, despite my imperfections, while I work with International Teams on a variety of projects.

Three days a week, I work with the Sydney Refugee Team (SRT). Our team visits refugees, many from the Middle East. I now know 4-5 Iranian families and have met refugees from Iraq, Egypt and Myanmar (Burma). We bring food parcels to 16 families (see photos of us packing them!) each week as it is very hard for the refugees to find work. Some refugees are not allowed to even apply for work, depending on their VISA Status. While my VISA took 10 months to apply for, it is a small fraction of the time the refugees often wait for VISAs. Some are in limbo for five years or more. Also, we bring our friendship and prayer to the refugee families as they adjust to a new culture and sort through the trauma many of them experienced on their way to Australia.

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The culture of the refugee families is very hospitable. I am constantly being offered treats and tea or coffee. I’ve learned I love Persian food, thanks to E who cooked Ghormeh Sabzi, a Persian stew. The refugees also ask us about some of the mail they get, as their English is not always extensive enough for documents that come in the mail.

I am so thankful that God and YOU – my supporters – make it possible to do the work I am doing here. It means a lot that you are supporting me in this role.

As an organization, we want to ensure our volunteers thrive and thus, part of my role, for one day each week in the National Office, is to help develop a volunteer care plan. The plan is for the many volunteers who faithfully serve through International Teams. SRT has around 50 volunteers and Streetlight has 6 or 7.

The last day of the week, I work with RIDE for Refugees. This is a family-friendly cycling event to raise money and awareness for refugee causes in Australia and around the world. Last year there was $127,000 AUD raised, touching many lives. My role with RIDE is with planning, posting on social media and raising awareness about the event. RIDE is held in three locations: Sydney, Brisbane and Toowoomba three separate dates over August and September. At this stage, my funding sees me to July or August, but not through to all of the events. I love the days where I get to plan RIDE because I can put my administrative skills from past internships to work!

All of the days of the week, I’m getting used to currency conversions, people driving on the wrong side of the road, homesickness and the HEAT.

Today is the hottest day since I’ve been here and it’s 111 F this arvo (afternoon). Right now I’m in the aircon (Aussies shorten everything). We usually have one or two days a week that is between 98 and 107. That being said, this is the hottest year in Australia for the past 150 years. Thankfully, February is the last month of summer!

 

Below are some praises and prayer requests!

Praises:

  • I can now use the public transportation tolerably well
  • The family I am staying with are lovely, kind and accommodating
  • I’ve gotten to try lots of food from different cultures like Vietnam and Mali

Prayer requests:

  • For the refugees and opportunities to share Jesus’ love during our visits
  • For my adjustment to the weather
  • That planning for RIDE for Refugees goes smoothly and we can work ahead

 

Blessings,

Oksana