Voices from the Field Elsie Lewandowski Get to know Elsie

To Be Captivated by Jesus

Published on August 25, 2022

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Dear Friends,

There is nothing like looking into the vastness of the night sky populated with millions of stars to experience the greatness and power of our God! Then you sense how tiny you are and how amazing God’s love and care for you are. This is what I experienced after each campfire when I stayed to pray for the kids and their counsellors. And our great God answered our prayers! God reached out to touch hearts and change lives.

We, the NAB mission team, have just completed running three weeks of Hungarian camp at Camp Falcon Rock. At present, the camp is limited to kids encouraged to attend by pastors of Hungarian churches in Romania. When our main lodge gets completed, we will be able to feed, and eventually house, more campers. Other organizations use the camp facilities during the remaining weeks of the summer.

My role at camp was to teach required English to 23 girls on one day and 22 boys on a different day. The kids were at all different levels, with the best English-speakers giving all the answers. Things perked up as an orange and a lemon were thrown around the room and people had to say, “I chose an orange. Will you choose an orange?” I empathized thoroughly with the kids because I certainly couldn’t say that phrase in Romanian or Hungarian! A more important message was that Jesus chose us; would we, in turn, choose Him?

Our theme for the middle schoolers was “Come to the Feast.” What fascinating Bible stories we uncovered as we asked, “Who is the host? Who is invited? Who can’t come? Why should we come?” The Gerickes and several pastors included in their stories personal examples to which kids could readily relate. Our theme for youth camp was even more challenging. The theme was “Capture” and included “capturing our thoughts” (2 Corinthians 10:5), what “captures” us, and the freedom that comes when we become a “slave to God” (Romans 7:21–25).

The concept that captured me was the idea of being captivated by Jesus. I’ve seen cats captivated by a dancing string and young children captivated by moving lights. I’ve even seen men captivated by a beautiful, vivacious woman. To be captured involves a power over you, but to be captivated involves a choice. Would that I would be captivated like that by Jesus! The woman with the alabaster jar was. Intending to bring a gift, the sight of Jesus brought tears to her eyes, which turned into sobbing, and with nothing to wipe the tears dropping on his feet, she used her hair. Nothing mattered but Jesus. She was totally captivated. I want that, too.

These messages spoke to the hearts of campers as well. Many during the first week rose to commit their lives to the Bread of Life. During the second week of camp, several cliques formed and were indifferent to anything spiritual. What a change when the Holy Spirit touched their lives! Attitudes changed, which brought kindness and caring. During youth camp, several made life-changing commitments. It was thrilling to hear testimonies at the end of the week of how significant their decisions were to them. God answered my prayers and that of many, many others. Praise to our life-changing, loving God!

Now comes the planning for the new school year with the Bergman kids. Most of the curriculum has arrived, and I’m getting excited. We had hoped to already have moved into our new house located closer to the camp and the village where the Bergmans want to work, but the renovations are far from finished. This delay means some creative adjustments for us all.

A further change will be the coming of the Smith family. Paul and Tanya are taking a long-needed home assignment, and Ian and Karen Smith are replacing them. This means we will have two more homeschooled missionary kids on our team, Nathan and Kendra. I will not be teaching them, but we’ll be spending time together. It also means that our entire Romanian team are newbies. Thank God for so many Romanian colleagues who will help us adjust to life here. We are excited and a bit nervous about how these challenges will unfold. But our good God goes before us, is around us, and is behind us. He’s got our backs. In fact, He’s got us!

My eyelid continues to be the same, and this might be the “new normal.” At times, it swells up and will open to only a slit. At other times, it opens three-quarters compared to the other “good” eye. I suspect many factors are involved: heat, stress, lack of rest (having too much fun), and schedule changes. Please pray that I will act wisely and understand what the “new normal” should be.

Through all these adjustments, your prayers, encouragements, and financial support have been so important. Thank you for your faithfulness to me in this journey. I have been blessed through you many times. May God continue to use you, bless you, and bring you much joy in serving Him.

In His Hands,

Elsie Lewandowski