Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thirty Years and Counting

July 19th was Dave's and my 30th wedding anniversary. He brought me this beautiful bouquet. The four of us went out on a date. His allergies were bad enough that for the first time in his life, he's been getting a rash and feeling the effects in his throat as well as the usual general discomfort and runny nose. So my sweetheart took some benadryl; we got in the van and off we went. (Yes, I was watching carefully for any increased symptoms.)

We are very grateful for the years God has given us together.

Baba Dina

Baba Dina (Grandma Dina; grandma is a title of respect)has been coming faithfully to services in Ulyanivka. She told us she has lived for God for years and wanted to be baptized. We went to her house to try to figure out what she did and didn't understand and if she truly understood what baptism meant.

We found her in a simple village home. Black white photos hanging of her and her husband in younger days.

She led us into the living room where we discussed the steps of salvation and what baptism meant. She assured us that she understood that living for God meant forsaking any sin.
We met her husband.We finally made arrangements for her baptism.It was a backwards day, getting off on time, but getting stuck on field roads with a tractor coming to pull us out, making everything a whole lot later. The "normal" spot was occupied by fishers and swimmers so we went to find a quieter place. We sang her favorite song, a sort of Bible ballad about the husbandman and the fig tree.
Then it was time. Her daughter, who has very little to do with religion to our knowledge accompanied her into the water to help make sure Baba Dina didn't fall.

She came up as excited and blessed as I've seen anyone here. She was baptized and felt like she had been completely obedient so was ready at any moment to go to heaven! We thank God for her.

Her Fifteenth Birthday

Our youngest daughter celebrated her fifteenth birthday three days after youth camp was over. Being a "people person" she very much wanted to have some friends over and a Ukrainian meal.

On the plate, clockwise from top are: fried chicken, the American exception and contribution, vinagrette, (a beet, potato and carrot salad), varenki (piroshki or pirogi) with mashed potatoes inside, green onion and egg salad, fried squash, and a bite of fish salad. Missing from the picture are the garlic rolls. She helped me a lot in the kitchen and by the time the first friends arrived we were halfway close to being ready.
The real challenge for me, was the dessert, a Ukrainian layered cake. This is a Napoleon cake and has 11 layers. It's my second try and turned out a lot better than the first when I got the directions completely in English!!

Part of most birthdays are flowers. This is one rose out of a group of three that Lena received. (An even number of flowers is allowed only for funerals.
Happy birthday again, Lena! We love you and are glad you're such a friendly part of our family!

Bits n Pieces

A growing pup.

A swallows' nest above our outside light. We've had one baby swallow who could only flutter and two who could fly quite well in our house this last week.

A big cucumber.--We canned 50 liters of its smaller relatives after youth camp. We wanted to use the leftovers and gifts instead of waste them.

Youth Camp 2010

Kent in the water

Youth camp was interesting from start to finish. We had decided it would be better for the camp to prepare ahead of time. SO instead of me having three services on Sunday and picking everyone up, my husband had two services, Katrina had the other service and Kent, Lena and I stayed at the youth camp site, rested on Sunday and tried to prepare for campers on Monday.

Sunflowers at the beach, a mark of Ukrainian culture.How did they get there? I haven't met a Ukrainian yet who doesn't like sunflower seeds. Here's how. Seeds are dropped and washed around by rain and water and end up in a line along the beach Shells are plentiful on Ukrainian beaches but not very big. The beach here was more cracked shells than sand.
We very much enjoyed seeing ships of all sorts headed out to the open sea. By Monday afternoon when the majority of the campers arrived, we had cleared out a weedy jungle and set up about 17 tents. This is what the girls' side looked like before campers arrived.
Another luxury was a "toilet tent" that we had found in Middleburg, PA. Katrina said it was like the Ritz Carlton.I liked the fluorescent zipper pull!
But we weren't there for just the scenery. We went to try to minister to youth for God. We were there for people like Vinya who put his heart and soul into camp, raised in a church family.
We were there for boys like Vanya, Ramon and Nadia's neighbor who hadn't away from home before, a fellow who was often by an adult's side with a different take on things.There were services.

The hills figured into one illustration very well. We were talking about walking on the edge between God and temptation or the world. It was a simple matter to walk on a bench down where we were. But putting a toddler on the bench on top of the hill was unthinkable. We as Christians are as small in the face of spiritual forces as the toddler and need to stay off the edge. Here two boys carry the bench up the hill.

There was rain. Shirt before the rain.

Shirt after the rain.

The rain closed our camp down.
One teenaged girl said youth camp made her think.

Another young man said that he wanted to bring his friends closer to God after youth camp.

Here are Anuta, Lena and Lyuba

Here's what Lena had to say:

Our youth camp this year the best youth camp I've ever been to. We played games, went swimming, climbed mountains, sang songs, acted, and spent time with our friends. One of the skits that meant the most to me, was the one where a girl and her boyfriend went separate ways. She went for drugs and alcohol, but he went for God. When Jesus came back they were separated. When she tried to be with him she couldn't because she chose the wrong way. It taught me that, we will suffer the consequences for doing the wrong thing. Pray that God will help me make the right decisions.