Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Andy and Christine in the hotel. Andy's touching base with an online college course.

Kirk, Andy (our sons) and Christine (Andy's girlfriend) arrived at 4 pm on February 19th. "Glad to see them" is an understatement. For Kirk it was like coming to a second home. For Andy, it was grappling for long ago memories that didn't totally match much with the surrounding scenes of Kyiv and Ukraine, now. Kirk

For Christine, it was all new. An on-the-road breakfast of sandwiches because breakfast food as such is not normally served in Ukraine. Bacon and cheese-flavored peanuts, a soda made from herbs and being pulled over by the police while they tried to intimidate the driver to give them a bribe. She says it's "cool" and "interesting!"

Christine and the herbal soda

They are here for one very short week and will be flying out next Tuesday.

New Theme

With finishing Pilgrim's Progress, it was time to start a new theme. We're working on a study of the Bible. Here's our Bible/valentine bulletin board. Each child made a heart with a pocket to put God's word in. The words on the Bible say: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee." We're using Charity's ideas for this theme. Thank you Charity!

The End Is Written

Victory! Jesus will overcome! His righteousness and justice will prevail over a sin-darkened world. Those who choose His ways will participate in His victory. Those who choose His ways are victorious in life no matter what the circumstances.
We tried to put this theme before our children in terms that they could grasp and remember when we had the party for them this last week. We used race cars and racing's minor earthly victories to relay the idea that the children could be heavenly "winners."
We played upset the fruit basket with using the names of cars instead of fruit. Appetizers were "tired meatballs." We had hotdog "cars," buckwheat gravel, wheely pasta salad to eat. We had a Bible/character story review game between two teams. They played balloon volleyball. They battered the pinata pictured on our last blog. Parents were calling but the children weren't really ready to leave in the four hours' time.
They had earned a total of 500,000 points in the last seven weeks of children's services. The main way they earned points was by reciting their memory verses. They also got some points for attendance.
Toward the end we told them how God wanted them to run the race and would be their strength when the way was hard. We gave each a first place medal. On the back, they were reminded that when they were on Jesus' team, they were winners.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Most of our friends know Dave and I met when he rescued me from scrubbing baked chicken from pans in the GBS kitchen. Just wanted to say that he still comes to my rescue

. . . when I'm having a horrible, awful day.
. . . when we're trying to figure out what to do next.
. . . when there's someone in need and we're trying to help.
. . . when I'm beyond words.
. . . when I'm too quiet with others, he is outgoing, making friends, easily.
. . . when I'm too tired to cook.
. . . when I plan too much and sometimes he has to say 'no' for me.
. . . when I'm afraid to spend and he gets me a special gift.
. . . when there's too much to do on my to-do list and he takes over a few chores.

This time he has made the papier mache car pinata, and bases of the centerpieces for our "winners!!" party for our children who come to service.

He painted the base coat and I added the "details."

He has also made me a hot dog bun cutter. You can't buy hot dog buns normally in Ukraine. I have made buns but when I cut them they have had square corners!! : (

Working on it . . .

The finished project . . .
I thank God for the sweetheart He gave me. I'm doing my best to cherish every moment we have together.

Four Additions

A few years back when David Neil, our oldest, got married, we couldn't take Allona and Vova out of the country. They stayed with another family in a village some distance from here. Now the parents in this family needed to go to Moscow. Turn about's fair play!!

They have left their four charming children with us. We expected the youngest to cry and cry for his mama. Right as we left the parents at a Kyiv apartment was the only time he cried. Every night he has gone to bed with his favorite pillow, already asleep or more than ready to sleep. The older girls are running out of things to do while we do school. "Twila, what can we do?" I've heard over and over. They like to clean and work, so there's no lack of that. Once our children are finished, they are playing and playing with ours.
We stopped at a park when we went to get groceries this week. All the children are together on a ship, placed there to climb on.

Jesus Wept

Dee Henderson had one of her characters say that those were some of the most comforting words in the Bible. Jesus cried. He sorrowed when His friends did. He cared.

I think He was crying with us over all the could-have-been's when we walked into a home that I dread going to anymore. The woman had been young, beautiful, outgoing, quick to cry and quick to laugh when we met her. The other evening when she roused to meet us her face was swollen beyond recognition. Half-dried blood was caked at the corner of her lips and spotted her clothes. It was an effort to talk; she could barely swallow the ibuprofen we left her. She had been attacked by her companion, again. She didn't cry at all. She sat quietly. This scene was the result of her and her companion's choices. We didn't sleep much that night. I think Jesus cried . . . even though local officials showed no concern about her condition.

I think He was crying with our neighbors when we came home. This particular neighbor is the one who suggested we buy the house we live in. He often came to borrow tools. This winter his van hasn't wanted to start so he has called Dave at 5:30 in the morning to pull it until he could slip the clutch and start it that way. He worked hard to take care of his wife and two boys. But this time he was at the river, drinking with friends. He fell in and didn't make it back out. "It was just so unexpected!" his wife brokenly expressed. "He wasn't sick or anything!"

But Jesus came to bring comfort to the sorrowing. Please pray for us as we try to minister to our neighbors. Please pray that the officials will act quickly and justly in the first situation.


Persistence is a trait we want our children to learn. Allona got a paint-by-number for Christmas and after the first 10 minutes thought it looked too impossible. But with a bit of encouragement, she came back to it again and again and has finished it! We're glad she kept at it!

Receiving a Crown

We've been using the story of Pilgrim's Progress in Kids' Klub. This last Sunday the story ended with Christian entering the Celestial City. But what craft goes along with heaven? It was craft Sunday.
Dave found some cool items at the local fabric store, a couple of things in the bazaar. He made one sample and I made another and the kids (the smaller ones with help) made theirs. We told them they could receive a real one when they got to heaven for themselves. The group picture of our princes and princesses didn't turn out. So I put them together this way, half of the children at a time.
It was a hit. The children were wearing the crowns hours and days later. We hope they remember the lesson.
Every Sunday the children recite memory verses, verses from the current theme, and other verses that they have chosen to memorize. Everyone gets involved. Varduye is a high school junior.

Andrei hasn't started school yet.