Friday, September 28, 2007

Tugging on the Heart

We arrived home this morning at 5:30 am and lay down to rest just as it began to get light. But this trip was full of tugs on the heart, emotions pulled here and there. Let me explain.

We got to Kiev Monday evening around 7 pm, got supper, checked email and went to Osikova to sleep. Tuesday, we left at 7:30 am to meet with the Tim Boyd family from Hope International Mission. We got caught in a traffic jam and didn't manage to meet them at nine. (However, when we read in a Kyiv magazine that the two previous Tuesdays, traffic jams there had been 15 kilometers long and involved 10,000 cars, we considered ourselves pretty fortunate!!) They needed a microscope for their children's home school. We set out to find one.

After we located the microscope our day was open. We went to a Ukrainian pioneer village. Historical buildings have been carefully removed from one area, brought to Kyiv and reconstructed to show how life was for Ukrainians at that time.

Here's the Boyd family.

With the other American family, for just a few hours, we weren't "foreigners." Our dress, actions and beliefs were understandable instead of strange. The children could play together and share the latest jokes. The adults could discuss challenges of ministry and family events.

But even happy times come to an end, and we had to take them back to the place where they were staying. Traffic was better. We got them there on time.

Here are Allona and Leah.

That evening we visited Allona and Vova's birth mother. She had bruises that were new since the last time we saw her. She and her companion had begun to "relax" for the evening with a bottle or two. But they held to their previous promise. They wanted Allona and Vova's little brother to have a better life. They want to give him up.

Our hearts wanted to cry for the unhappiness in the home and prayerfully hope for Dennis' future. After all that we went back to the house at Osikova, threw some wood into the "gruba," the little Russian fireplace and relaxed a little while before bed.

Wednesday we went to visit Ramon and Nadia. Their little Sasha can now walk across the room. Evelina was peeking around the corners with a cute smile. The oldest two children were in school. But there was a problem in their congregation. We discussed Bible doctrine. A young man in their services often tries to argue and make it look like his pastor, Ramon, doesn't know the Bible. The church is under fire. Ramon is under heavy pressure. Nadia is suffering, just watching the situation. Please pray. Our hearts were burdened. Oh, that God would show Himself strong!

Here are Ramon and Nadia and baby Sasha.

We went to meet Katrina Randolph at the airport. Normally a person makes it through the doors exiting customs and passport control within in an hour of landing time. She didn't come. That meant problems. We started praying. Finally about an hour and a half later she came, without suitcases. They were supposed to be in the next day.

Here's Katrina.

Thursday we began to show Katrina sights in Kyiv, waiting for her luggage to come in. We took her to the Babin Yar, a memorial to a time when a 100,000 people lost their lives, mowed down into a ravine by the Nazi soldiers.

We went to the WWII museum.
The evidence of atrocities displayed there always makes us think. Here are gloves made from human flesh that a German officer ordered for the woman in his life. Pictures show the cost to families.

The young man is leaving to fight, saying good-bye to the babe in his arms and his mother by his side. The calls for the nation to rally to defend itself through speeches, posters and pictures of tragedy were everywhere.

This one says "Mother Russia is calling you!"

This one says "All hope is on you, Red Army soldier."

My mind couldn't help but turn to the spiritual warfare and the havoc that Satan is making in lives. My mind couldn't help think how these Russian soldiers laid down their lives for their homes, for their loved ones and for their country. And today our soldiers give their lives for American freedom.

I thought of my loved ones. Here are some of them. The spiritual battle goes on in their lives as well.

I thought of the latest member of our family, little Daniel.
The words of one poster continues to tug on my heart and convict my soul.
It says, "What have you done to help the front today?"

What have I done to help the front of the spiritual warfare, raging today? What have I given for my loved ones, my country and God's cause?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Bright Spots

What else? We're getting ready for Katrina to come. We're trying to fix those nuisances that we've been putting up with at what was the Sturtevant's home. A water meter has been put on the city water lines. When a person used to touch the light switch in one room, it blew the breaker. The problem has been found and we're putting up a new light. An electric wire had somehow become broken so the pump was sending water into the house. A new electric wire has been pulled through to the pump. We should pick her up at the airport this next week. . . we're so glad!

Dave continues to make progress on putting up the screen door!!! That means there will be fewer flies . . . hurrah!

We're continuing with regular services. The children sang a special song at this service in Ulyanivka.

We got a package this week!!! It was a Christmas package that we thought had been mailed last December. It's as exciting just to get a package as it is to open it and see what it contains.

The blend of modern image and technology with doing what is simple and convenient is quite interesting. Someone needed to air out their pillows in a spot where theives couldn't reach. They simply set a chair on the entry sign of the business below and placed their pillows on them. The name of the business is "Sunshine!"

Newsflash--Prayer Progress

I accidentally deleted my third blog on this site. It was titled questions and mentioned some areas where we have concerns. Because the questions don't go away over night, I'll try to put the same pictures in again and let you know what is happening on them.

Artyom has been at about two of the last eight or so services. He's friendly and cooperative. He told us he wants to go night school at a nearby city to learn more about performing arts.

Dima continues to be at every service. He requested prayer for a friend who is thinking about serving God and coming to service. We plan to use him as a translator soon.

We'll put two pictures with this next situation. We went to visit Dennis, Allona and Vova's brother, back at his birth home after being in an orphanage around six weeks.

His mom was carefully guarding her right arm, moving it as little as possible because she "fell off the bike" several days ago. His dad told us that he had an injury too, this time, and showed us a scrape on his shoulder. They have had all sorts of injuries due to "this bike." Here's the picture of it. We suggested that they give the bike to an enemy. We discussed what the home environment meant to Dennis. We are supposed to check back with them later for a more firm decision about what they are going to do with him.

Olya and a friend/helper of ours have made several trips to the gas office. She was supposed to have ordered the "project" or architectural drawing this last time. We haven't asked her if she did, yet or not. The drawing is the first step. The people in the offices keep telling her a sum of money that is needed, but it's not totally clear what it is for. She said that she had given up on having a gas heater for the winter. We are still hoping. She has been using an electric hot plate for heat, only while she has been at home and awake. She is an art teacher for schools in Nova Odessa.

On our to-do list: we've ordered one window. (We need to replace three windows and the ceiling before winter.) People are supposed to come measure today.

We went to see about documents. We cleared them with the office in Nova Odessa. The woman in charge in Nikolaev, Allona, laughed at what we had and told our lawyer that his organization had to come up with several more documents. On the matter of residency, we have to go through the same woman. Our lawyer thinks the government will be obligated to give us the residency because it is written that we have the right to get a residency. Pray that God will have His way.

Friday, September 14, 2007


This picture is a demonstration in support of President Yushenko. He relieved the minister of transport from his position. Apparently people think that the minister of transport didn't do his job when they look at the roads.

The next picture is of a "road." People who live along it have signed a petition to push the village authorities to repair it. If the village authorities don't repair it, the people are prepare to take the matter to the state authorities. Each person is standing in a pothole. The first is around 11 yrs old; the second, 7; the third, around 40.

Signs of the Times

In the early part of this year, Ukraine's current president, Victor Yushenko found himself in a tight spot. He didn't have enough allies in parliament to accomplish much of anything. And to make matters worse, his enemy, both politically and personally was gaining power weekly. His enemy was his defeated opponent in the 2004 election, Victor Yanokovich. In that campaign Yushenko was poisoned and went to another country for better medical care to save his life.
Yushenko gave an order to dissolve parliament and called for new elections for parliament members. Ukraine has 450. Some are elected. Some are appointed. There was an argument about the legality of his order. In the end his decision won out. Elections are supposed to be held on September 30th.
At first, it seemed like nothing had changed. In the 2004 election big billboards showed the gigantic photo of the government-sponsored candidate, advertising all his good qualities. No other political advertising was seen. This time when the pictures of just Yushenko began to appear, I wondered where the other parties were and where the proclaimed democracy and freedom of speech were.
But things have definitely changed. Almost every party has billboards. Most of them have the giant photo of their foremost leader. . . all except Yushenko's enemy and the communists.
Here are pictures of some of the billboards and their slogans.

The Communist party did not get the 5% of the vote in the last elections, required to be represented in Parliament. Parliament made a new law so that the Communists could still be a part.
The slogan says,"For the people's ownership. Now it's a complete dictatorship. It's time to choose honest leaders!"

The socialist party's sign declares "Rights and leadership are the place of the citizen!"

The speaker of the parliament, Litvin, asks for votes: "Order in the parliament; order in its domain."

Vitrenko has her own socialist party that leans heavily toward Russia. Her slogan, "Ukraine, Russia and Belorussia; together we are a power!"

Timushenko was dismissed from her position as prime minster by Yushenko. Her slogan is:"Carry your proposition in, 'the strategical Ukrainian breakthrough!' " Along the bottom an additional motto: "Justice for everyone"

Yanokovich's picture is conspicuous by its absence, especially since it was so prominent last election. His sign simply says: "A happy family, a successful nation."

Yushenko's signs are full of what he expects to do. Strip immunity from parliament members. Increase pensions. Have one law for all classes, including parliament. Increase benefits for long-time workers. This one says: "15,000 griven (3,000 dollars) for the birth of the second child."

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Bright Spots

We always see the work there is to do: the work with people and the work with upkeep. At our house we've got some repairs we REALLY need to do. Here is the ever-widening crack in the boys' ceiling. The ceiling is made of a clay/plaster mixture and has been sagging a little bit more each of the four years we have lived here.

Our windows need to be replaced. Several have been like this one and fallen out during a storm and completely broken.

Registration with the Ukrainian government has been a requirement for foreigners since the 1990's. The requirements for the time given to register have changed from time to time. This last month a law was passed that shortened the time given us to register by three months. This is the building that houses the office in Nikolaev for the registration of foreigners. We're thinking about trying to get a permanent residency permit here. Our lawyer tells us it is possible and is coming down to check into it this week.

But everything isn't found on a to-do list. There are some bright spots. For years in different places, I've tried to have a few flowers around. Nothing grew. Finally this year we have a bright spot of color here and there. I found information how to take care of them on the internet and they are flourishing.

Another project and bright spot of this week has been putting screens in our windows. Dave put them in the kitchen windows, the room we use for church services and neighboring room to the kitchen. He's just started to work on putting a screen door on the entry that goes directly into the kitchen. It will be a real bright spot to have less flies to chase, catch with fly tapes and kill. One time our daughter gave the teenage boys the fly swatter with an assignment to kill so many flies apiece. They totally enjoyed it and the next time they entered the kitchen they asked for the fly swatter.

A little tiny fur ball is another bright spot. Our cat, Snezhinka (Snowflake in English), had just one kitten this time. It's bored without other kittens to play with, so comes to play with us and sit in our laps.

Another bright spot is our friends. Here's Seth with a couple of his little friends having a great time.

Here's Allona with Nelya and Marina. They spend a lot of time together.

Games in Kids' Klub are bright spots. Here is one of the children particpating in a dress up relay.

Remembering you who are praying and caring about us long distance is bright spot. THANKS for coming here to check out what is happening.