Sunday, August 31, 2008

Time Off??

This is the ice village the younger VBS team built.

This picture was shot during VBS game time.

These puffy bows are worn the first day of school, although this tyke is too little to go.

We just finished the last VBS. We had an attendance drive and had 40 kids without all our regulars there a couple of times. Because school starts this next week, we changed the time from morning to evening.
The day after VBS we took the teens who helped us to McDonald's and a park where we all tried the exercise equipment. Yes, to you reading skeptics, Dave and I got on some of these as well. When I did, the teens couldn't keep a straight face!! Oh, well. Judean should have been here. She was the most senior member on the TLC team this summer and she kept ahead of all the young folk! Our group, left to right, Katrina, Varduye, Seth behind, Vova, Dima hiding his face, Dave, Vinya, Artyom and Allona.

Today, however is another story. I was sure that last Sunday I had allowed visitors to stay. I actually had a small start on lunch from Saturday. Lunch was going to be quick and easy. Kids' Klub was basically planned out. This Sunday would go more smoothly. First off, I hadn't let visitors stay last Sunday so it was time this Sunday. I started to fix pilaf and didn't have the rice I needed. . . had to wait until we could borrow some. A young fellow came to ask for our Kids' Klub benches to use for a funeral. So the majority of the children sat quilts spread on the floor. . . did I say sat? They wiggled and punched and squirmed and groaned when they stood for action songs.

Our congregation agreed that I needed time off when I told them that the first person to be killed was Cain, not Abel.

Hopefully this next week is a bit more relaxing because we've got to get back to school.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Issues Plus Praise

We were more than a little surprised when one of our regular attenders told us recently that she wouldn't sit in the service with the rest of us because of the fans that were going in 90-100 degree weather. She said she got sick the next day every time she came because of our fans blowing on her. (It is a common Ukrainian belief that wind blowing on you will make you sick.) We felt the biggest compromise we could make considering the rest of our congregation was to use just one fan instead of two. So that's what we did with no more comments. She sat in the hall for one service and was back the next. Thank the Lord!!

Our Mazda's warning light about low water was coming on more and more frequently. Especially for this last VBS we needed to be able to travel in two directions. The problem wasn't the head gasket that we have changed before. The radiator was leaking but some stop leak seems to have helped that a LOT. So we can still use it. Thank the Lord!

When we went to pick up some children, the lady of the house told me a neighbor wished to talk with me. When we took them back, the lady came out and asked me to come see her. They complained that the first lady and her children were being beaten because the children were coming to service. The same woman has filed a complaint against her husband with the police before because of his abuse. We gave them transportation to the police station where each wrote a complaint. The mother told us to come back and still pick up the children. Tonight when we let the children off, two police were talking to the couple; two police were talking to neighbors. We don't know what the end result will be.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cuddle Bug

This six-year-old pinched her finger between our benches on the first day of VBS in Mikhailivka. So I tried to comfort her.

Ever since I find her snuggling up to me, when I sit down, or walk, or even get up to translate for the story!! Isn't she cute, painting her craft with big sister behind? . . . one among many who are precious in Jesus' sight

Celebrating 28 Years

Several of our children congratulated us on our anniversary a month ago, July 19th. But we had just learned that Dave's mom had cancer so he was making tracks to fly that direction. Faith, Katrina and our children fixed us a special meal, pork chops and all, just before he left. After he left, we got an anniversary card or two.

But now he was back so it was time to make "our" time. I tried cook some of his favorite foods for a picnic, fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, chocolate chip cookes and "flurry-style" ice cream. (Looking at the kitchen I thought of Mother's words that no one could make a mess of the kitchen as quickly as I could!) We took the food and the camera out to the lake where we had youth camp and enjoyed some time off.

After we ate, we tried to find a waterfall that had been described to us. But this time, we couldn't find our way by asking. We arrived at the village where we were told it was and were told to go to the other side of the river. There was no bridge or dam on which to cross the river, or waterfall in sight for a half mile or so either up or down the river. So we'll have to take a person who knows, next time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


NO, it's not here. But it's happening to a friend not too far away. The media tells us it's a dispute over two areas of Georgia who wanted to break away, maybe return to Russia. Russia gave many people from this region passports.

Bombs are falling. People are dying. People are crying. People are running.

The last day of VBS at Kenyazachee, (Thursday, August 7) we saw fighter planes in the sky above us. Not just once or twice but several times.

Russia has come in to the country of Georgia to prove it can't be picked on. . . Georgia is struggling to maintain her nation. Ukraine mentions that maybe Russia will not be able to return to its year-round navy base off the coast in Ukraine.

The media and former Soviet bloc nations say that Ukraine will be next to be invaded.

Life here goes on as normal. Everyone knows what is going on but the bazaars continue, traffic continues. No groups are standing around discussing the issues. We did see grafitti making the Ukrainian national emblem into a Nazi swastika. We're waiting and praying. . . while about 400 miles away friends, and possibly family of our Ukrainian friends are suffering and dying.

Worth the Wait

It wasn't just me who said that it seemed like the time dragged by while Dave was gone. Our children asked why did it seem like a month instead of two weeks. Katrina mentioned how long it seemed since he had left. Our teenage Ukrainian friends said at a separate time, that it seemed at least a month.

The day was here when he was supposed to come in. But the city of Kyiv with thousands of wild drivers was between me and the airport. I don't react well or quickly in a situation that requires quick physical judgment and movement. So rather than bother someone else to drive us and our van to the airport, I got up before most of the rest of the world and was on the road at 5 am. I was basically at the airport at 6:20 am. His plane was supposed to arrive at 1:15 pm.

We slept a little. We went into a store and bought breakfast and most of lunch. We listened to a story and checked email. We sat. We went into another nearby store, sort of like a Home Depot and saw what they had for sale. We sat and listened. We took a snooze. We went to another store to get a cold drink for with our lunch. We checked on Dave's flight. According to the internet it hadn't left Germany yet. Hopefully someone was just slow keeping the records up. We headed on to the airport. We walked in at 1:16 pm and breathed a sigh of relief when the electronic sign stated that his flight had already arrived. Half an hour later he called us on the mobile phone. He was in line for passport control. (It is allowed here, in contrast to America.) In another forty minutes or so, he called to say his suitcases weren't visible. Two hours after we had walked into the airport to meet him, he walked out through the sliding glass doors to meet us.

All in all we waited nine hours for that moment. It was worth the wait.

Someday, we're going to come to the end of a much longer period of waiting. We'll see Jesus in heaven if we serve Him faithfully here. That will even more be worth the wait.

Kenyazachee Construction

Another VBS in a small town close to Kyiv, with the name of Kenyazachee. The theme is the same, building a solid life on Jesus, obeying God's Word. We "camped out" in our house in Osikova. Because the propane tank was empty, we enjoyed food cooked over a campfire several times.

Here's the older group building their toolboxes.

The smaller children were in a relay filling a cup, spoonful at a time. It was a bad choice. They didn't have the patience.

Katrina got really tickled trying to keep up with this catchy song in Russian, "Here's the Sea." It's a little like the House that Jack Built in adding detail after detail.

The smaller guys are trying to build their tower of cups.

Here's a better picture of one of the yarn spider webs.

Building turned out to be a lot more challenging than any of the children thought.

Jesus Loves the Children (Uyanivka VBS continued)

I thought about letting the first day be all that I blogged. But when I looked through the pictures, I thought there were some you must see.

Like this girl who got herself in a tangle while helping to build a spider web out of yarn (see Kenyaz. post)

Like Maksim working hard at painting his bookend.

Like the colorful birdhouses that the older group made.

Like Artyom working with the younger kids in a game.

Like Dima translating for Goody, the bear

If you've looked at Katrina's blog you've seen a picture similar to this where the kids built a "bridge" out of cardboard bricks (if they won the quiet seat) for someone to stand on. It was a bit more challenging outside.

I managed to get my hands on baby Tim a couple of times.

Since the theme is all about building, one of the final day's games was to build a village out of icecubes.

In this one I really liked the genuine enjoyment on Vitaliy's face.

All things come to an end. We've loaded our VBS supplies back into the trailer and the guys are pushing/pulling it out the gate to connect it to our van. The size of our guys was interesting.