Monday, December 15, 2008


That means "by God's help we've come this far." We are impatiently waiting for the perfect place to open up so that we can move and get on with Christmas and getting ready for second semester. We've followed several leads but nothing is in sight for the immediate future. The closest possibility seems to be the beginning of January when we need to have all the moving done and preparation for school made.

While we are wondering what's around this corner, we can't help but be reminded of God's faithfulness every time we go out the door and get into the classy van that God so graciously provided through our Alaskan friends. Thanks so much!!

Here is Dave thoroughly enjoying poring over the owner's manual . . . quite awhile before he got behind the wheel.

Family and fun

Our first stop has been in central Pennsylvania, where most of our children live. It's been a special blessing to be able to spend time with each of them. Thank you Bethany and Jason for sharing your home with us.

Here's Seth and Davey.

Here's Daniel.

Then we headed on to Delaware, where Brenda, Dave's sister totally spoiled us and our children.

She took us to an intriguing little Mexican restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves.

Bill picked up a black Lab from the local pound. For Vova it was love at first sight.

And we all got tickled at Brenda's attention to Bill's holey sock. First she covered it with her coffee cup; then she tied the end in a knot so that it wouldn't cut into his toes!
We were there the day Mom Krolicki had a chemotherapy treatment. Allona and Vova got to ride Brenda's moped.

We were back to PA on Sunday. The kids in the Gospel Station at Beavertown had a short Christmas program. Here's a picture of Charity's "kids."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


For the first time, we were sitting in a jet while its wings were de-iced. I tried to get a picture but it didn't turn out. Because of that we were a little late taking off but arrived in New York on time.

Kirk, Charity and Nathan were wondering if they were at the right terminal after waiting for two hours. But we came through the doors a little after 5 pm. Our luggage was long on coming through and the customs inspector did NOT let us bring in two cans of sweetened condensed milk from Ukraine.

We made it to Bethany's house, were there yesterday and plan to leave today for Delaware.

We investigated one possibility for a house to live in, and it fell through.

But God knows where we're at and what we need. I'm sure He will take care of us in His time and His way.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

On Wednesday morning I found out that the Sturtevant family was coming that night. Joanna was going to help my Mom fix the Thanksgiving meal. Josh and I had a lot of fun. We played outside and did everything!

After the Thanksgiving meal, all of us went to a waterfall.

OH, I forgot to tell you . . . that I drove the Mazda by myself



We have to pack, probably do some more on school and shut our house down to leave it. It will still be open for visitors if someone comes to help Katrina and for services so that means we leave a lot of stuff out for our visitors' use.

Dave is replacing a window pane in the shed today. Hopefully we find a leak in the roof and seal it off. We're sorting clothes and I'm blogging because there may not be much more chance for awhile.

Here are some clothes, waiting for the packing process.


Thanks to everyone who wrote and called on my birthday. Mother and Daddy stayed up until midnight to call me at 7 am in Ukraine. I picked up the phone the day before, saying an English hello because I expected to talk to Katrina and it was my brother, Tim, calling from New York! I got emails from a bunch of people that I don't hear from very often . . . guess I need to double the frequency of my birthdays!! Thank you!

Because of the time, there weren't a lot of pictures. Dave and Seth fixed a very special meal.

And I had some of my favorite treats, flowers and ice cream.

Then I began preparing for Thanksgiving.


God, friends and family--- add that to good food and fellowship and you have the recipe for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We've been able to talk to most of our children who aren't on this side of the ocean about once a week with the miracle of Skype.

We had some of our children here, lots of food, and friends.

The rolls were among the biggest hit of the meal.


After the meal and a phone call to the US, we took off to see a waterfall. It was pretty dark by the time we got there. But the hike down to it, because the roads were too muddy to pass was good exercise and we enjoyed it.

Then we came back home to play Guesstures. Jessica Sturtevant and Allona chose teams. We had fun

Two Vovas

Little Vova, Yulia's little brother made it to children's service this Sunday.

Our Vova takes a special interest in him, helping him say his memory verses because they share the same name.

Playing Ping Pong in the Dark

I tried but I couldn't do it, get a good picture of the action. The electricity went off at about 2:30 pm. Our children and our visitors got bored playing board games and finally decided to play ping pong. They had the light of a flashlight or two and one kerosene lamp.

These are the best ones I could get.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Miscellaneous/To Do List

The water to cool the nuclear reactors at Yuzhnokranksk flows out into a lake. Because the water is warmer than the weather, there is always fog or a heavy frost around the lake in cooler weather.

Here's the fog.

Another item on our to do list before we come home, was to take Allona and Vova to see their birth mother. It was a relief that everything seemed to be going fairly well for them. Here's a picture of their mother with her children.

Fresh from California

Katrina's friends got here safely from California, in spite of the fact that their airline was on strike.

Katrina and I went up to meet them and to show them around Kyiv. I did not expect the cold snap in the weather. They left 90 degrees Fahrenheit in California and arrived to 32 degrees here.

As a result, we got comment after comment about our "bare," cold legs, just because we wore regular shoes not boots. . . here's Katrina in her shoes.

International phone call

Yes, it's sorta silly when we could have done a conference call, but interesting nonetheless.

We were talking on Skype through the computer when Charity called on the cell. We found that they could talk to each other when we held the phone and microphone close to the computer speakers.

So Charity, in Pennsylvania, was talking to Andy in Alaska, going through Ukraine.

Baby Vova

Vova was playing around last Sunday evening about being a baby. He was offered a pacifier. Here are some of the goofy pics.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keep Towing Me, Lord!

Wednesday this past week, I was busy at school when I realized it was about time for Dave to be home from taking Katrina's car to the mechanics for a routine oil and filter change. When he didn't answer the phone, I guessed he would be talking somewhere. He was, but not about what I expected. The work had been done on Katrina's car. He had stopped on another errand and the car wouldn't start. He was asking Jason, the pro diesel mechanic, what to do.

I drove to meet him with our tools. He worked over an hour with no success. The next task was to tow the car through all the Nikolaev city traffic to the mechanics.

I don't like driving in Ukraine, period. I do drive in our small town and everywhere except Kyiv. I pray especially when I go into a "roundabout" where the traffic enters and exits continually onto a circle from four directions, normally. Then I thank God as I drive out, shaking nervously. So I had already thought about the problem of towing when Dave asked me if I would help or if we would call someone else. I decided I could put up with it IF I was driving the towed car.

We tried to start the vehicle otherwise, just running through the large parking lot. It didn't work.

We turned onto the road, full of traffic.

We travelled, stopped at lights, entered our first "roundabout." Then I realized I wasn't shaking or half as nervous as I would normally be. I had confidence in Dave sitting in the van ahead, watching the traffic, deciding when it was safe and time to go. All I had to do was make sure the tow rope didn't come loose and steer the car behind him. I couldn't see much besides the back of the Volkwagen ahead of me.

I couldn't help but think of all the uncertainty and decisions facing us as we return to the US without our own home to go to, etc. As we drove, my heart's whisper was, "tow me, Lord. I trust You to make all the decisions. Keep me focused on YOU going just ahead of me."

Then Wednesday evening we received some really devastating news. As I struggled to cope and to survive, I reminded God of the lesson He had given earlier in the day. "My tow rope hasn't come off; I'm still following. Keep pulling, Lord."

The initial shock of the news has worn off, but the long term issues and problems to resolve are here to face daily. My prayer is "Keep towing, Lord. You know best. Keep towing."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Baby Dedication

Today, between my yawns, I listened and tried to support my husband as a baby dedication took place. I'm afraid I was more of a distraction than help but here are some pictures from the day.

We felt it was an honor that the parents asked Dave to "bless" their child.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

This and that

Never thought that it would be me baking the "weekly bread!" I was impressed when Iona did that in Haiti years ago. However, everyone likes homemade bread better than what we can buy from the store and it stays fresh longer. So we throw less away. So I've been trying to bake bread and have been baking the majority of it for the last two or three weeks.

The pumpkin was the object lesson for Wednesday night. Katrina taught everyone that God could clean the slimey stuff out of the inside of us and put a smile on our face. The flowers were from Katrina to say thanks for the work at her house this week.

Baby Timothy is growing.

The Miracle of Skype

This past week has been quite busy. Monday there were errands to do all day until everyone was tired and ready to go home. The rest of the week we've been having school in the morning and working at Katrina's in the afternoon. See her blog for some of the results.

However, in the matter of giving thanks . . . we now have high-speed internet and the ability to to talk to several of our children, free, over the computer and we can make calls to landline phones in the US for a fraction of what would be a normal cost.

We've talked to all our children in the past week, as well as our parents . . . thank God for the miracle of Skype.

Skype--because we tried another provider and it worked long enough for the test call and to take our money and hasn't worked since. Skype has worked very well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Makin' Good Use

Katrina picked up some tables from our house tonight. She brought along some helpers. This is what the back of her car looked like.

Good job!!

Katrina tells us her family ate out or ate sandwiches most of the time in the US. Here's there's not quite as many choices for eating out. And there are a lot fewer mixes to cook with. So she is cooking regularly and for up to 10-12 people at a time.

Here's her first apple pie. Good job, Katrina!!

Gift that Keeps on Giving

A few years back a church in Georgia made a donation to give us an air hockey table for the kids who come to our house to play on. It was really popular at first but most lost interest after awhile.

However from time to time, like the last couple of weeks it gets another work out like in these pictures last weekend. It's fall break here. The kids want something different to do. They come to our house. . . and play air hockey. Thank you, friends!

Monday, October 27, 2008


By the unusual briskness of their movements,
By the strain to control their voices,
By the tightness of the expression
By the flushed face
By the afterglow of tears
By the gush of bitter words
By the retreat into silence

We know they are upset.
We see the pain.
We try to find a bridge.

The relationship is still broken.

Please pray for these two teens who are struggling.

It influences them, their spiritual lives. It influences our children and others around them. It influences the atmosphere of services.

Please pray.


For the first time since we've been overseas, it looks like we have suceeded. We faxed our vote to Indiana this morning.

We believe that America needs to turn back to God.

We believe it is crucial to vote for those leaders who more closely follow biblical principles.

America is becoming more divided between those who call "evil-good" and those who stand by the Bible.

It's time to stand--with our vote, with our prayers and with our lives.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Katrina Got a Car!

Yes, I'll do it this time. I'll write about the same identical topic that is on my co-worker's blog. The biggest reason is that this took up a major part of our week, outside of school.

Monday we went to Nikolaev to the bank to get some wired funds. There was a hold-up. A paper had to be written that indicated the funds were for personal use, not investment. AND it had to be proven that Katrina was actually living in Ukraine. That is the subject of her fifteen step blog. The bank was supposed to call us.

We were getting ready to head out to the village on Tuesday. Instead our Ukrainian friends advised us to return to Nikolaev to the bank. It's a good thing we did. Another hold-up. A date in the paper we wrote was wrong so it had to be re-written.

Wednesday we finally got the funds from the transfer and some dollars from another account.

Thursday we went back to Nikolaev to get more dollars. (There's a limit to how much can be withdrawn in a day.)

Friday we headed to Odessa to meet with the seller. After waiting from about noon until 4 pm for the seller to do his paperwork, to get the car out of his name, everyone was getting tired of waiting. Allona and Vova were restless and almost wishing they hadn't come. Katrina and Seth were talked out. I had done all the sudoku I could ever wish to do at one time. Alyosha, the Ukrainian with us had taken two or three naps and was tired of sleeping. We watched others.

These fellows finished their business, got into the car started it, took time to smoke. It died or they turned it off. They ended up pushing the car out of the lot of the Ukrainian "license branch."

The owner of this big yellow jeep got stuck inside. It took him a bunch of tries to get the door open. We debated about going to help him from the outside.

Finally the moment came. Katrina paid for the car and got the keys! As she came back to the car playing with the alarm system and electric locks, she had a broad smile on her face. I tried to get a picture. Here's what I got: Alyosha doing an ecstatic jig, the seller and Dave showing off the temporary license plates!

At last she's behind the wheel ready to head back home.

On the way home, in the middle of the thriving metropolis, we spotted this donkey. The owner was excited when I tried to get a picture. "It's great advertising!! Come ride it sometime!"

Other than the car activity, we've been working with people and . . .

Dave got one section of the fence up. Seth worked on spackling in his room. Dave finished the wallboard in the closet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Funny and Sad

A REAL missionary out in the wilds of Osikova without running water or drains to empty the water finds a way to brush her teeth. No cups being handy, she picked up a disposable plate, poured water in it and . . . !

A magnificent building is being raised on Kyiv's bypass. Here is the sign advertising the German company's project. The temple of the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

And what are we doing?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Monday After

In case you're wondering why no new blogs have shown up this past week, we packed two weeks into one!! HA!! and there was no time for blogging!.

Last Saturday we went to the village for a service and then came home to begin fixing food for our stay in Osikova because we knew we would be "running" there.

Sunday was a normal busy Sunday with kids staying-- about 21. Here's a couple pics from the game in Kids' Klub.

The task was to unfold the chair, sit in it, take sunglasses out of their "jar," put them on and blow a whistle, relay-race style.

She was too tickled to blow the whistle

Monday morning when we got all the blankets, clothes, food and items for Jason and Joanna packed, we headed for Kyiv in both vans. Dave drove the Mazda. I drove the VW. We agreed to meet at different stops along the way so we would be in the area if something happened to either vehicle but wouldn't be trying to pass in dangerous places.

Tuesday we managed to get the documents that gave Jason and Joanna the legal right to drive the Mazda and Katrina the right to drive the VW. We got stuck in a traffic jam and that took up all of our day, except for stopping by one store, on the way to meet Jason and Joanna at the airport. We met them, came back to Osikova, fixed supper and after talking, hit the hay!

Wednesday when we saw they were up at 6:30, we quickly got up and got dressed and headed out to shop for tools,appliances, groceries etc. We shopped until the guys were saying "I'm starving!!" and Joanna said, "I'm ready for our list to be finished!"--four hours before we finished it! With the van loaded to the point that the passengers barely were able to get in and out, we headed back to Osikova. After we unloaded there, we ate a quick supper, visited another couple in Osikova and then began the 6-7 hour drive back to Nova Odessa, arriving at 3:30 am. (Katrina's blog has pictures of her side of this.)

Thursday we went shopping for groceries for Sunday.

Friday we had school until 2 pm and then we started cooking for Sunday until around 10 pm.

Saturday we went to Odessa where Katrina found a car! We've been rejoicing in that fact ever since! : )

We got back home and worked on cooking and cleaning for Sunday.

Sunday was "Harvest Sunday." We prepared for around fifty people, lots and lots of food. We ate in our courtyard because there wasn't room for us anywhere else. There were around 35 people if we counted correctly. (Katrina's blog has pictures of her side of this.) We had Sunday morning service, a program where many had either a song or a poem. I tried to do a chalk talk in Russian (for the first time since I did them for VBS at Independence).
Lunch was served at 1 pm. Here's one of the eight fall centerpieces we did for the tables.

We had Kids' Klub a bit later than normal. A new girl came! After Kids' Klub, Seth, Marina, Nelya, Allona and Vova worked on the dishes for at least two hours maybe, three.

I owe them!!!

Now it's Monday and time to get started on a new week. We need to help Katrina with the paperwork on the car. We need to get a full week of school in. We need to catch up on washing and continue our other chores, fence-building, etc. Talk to you later.