Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It has been SO long since my last post that I don't think it's possible for me to remember everything that has taken place. I had some pictures ready to be posted every Wednesday a few other blogs, but then our computer decided to stop working. We were told "3 days and it'll be fixed"...this went on for 3 to 4 weeks. Praise the Lord we finally got it back!

Since my last posting on Sveta, I have seen her 3 or 4 times. The first time I saw her she was walking. She said she was still interested in Bible lessons and said that she had been sick and that is why she never showed up. Since then, she has attended church 2 times, a Bible study at Yuri's once, and come over to our house once. She said she is too busy now to take Bible lessons. Please be praying for her. Every time we see her she smells like achohol and Yuri says the reason she doesn't come is because she is usually too drunk. What a testimony to this village it would be if she got saved!

During this time, Lina had started Bible lessons with an older lady named Feodosia. She came to church 3 times and always said "I don't understand anything." She did two lessons with Lina. After the first one she still did not seem to understand, but we could see God starting to open her eyes after the second. After that, she gave her Bible back and said "Don't come see me." This village is very small and the babooshkas (gramdmas) are against us. They all started harrassing her for coming to our church and convinced her that we were trying to steal her house. We pray that people can see past the village gossip and come to know Christ.

Tamara has had a very hard time as well. For one, she was a well known witch here. Even after her salvation someone came to her and wanted her "help." Tamara pulled out her Bible and said, "This is the help you need." The person of course did not want that kind of help. She is also getting harrassed by the village babooshkas and her mom. Please be praying for her. At times she is very discouraged.

If the Lord allows our computer and internet to work tomorrow, I will post a picture (or pictures :)) of the girls. They are growing SO fast! Also, be sure to check out our ministry blog to read about the newest answer to prayer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

He was a Good Pig

Some of you know about how I was not looking forward to eating sala - raw salted pig fat. And for the first 2 years I have been able to avoid it, as no one has offered it to me. That has changed. Not only have I had to eat it on several occasions now but Yuri has also given me a nice big chunk of it that he himself preserved. I found ways to use it by putting it into soups and frying it with potatoes for breakfast (the Ukrainians would think I was crazy!). Tonight, not only were two pieces put on my plate (to be eaten with bread), but also a LOT of some type of salad with carrots, garlic and meat. Thankfully I had already finished about half of the salad when they told me what the meat was...pig's heart. Seeing my face, they all began to assure me that "he was a good pig". Next, I need to figure out how to eat my Thanksgiving gift...salted fish.

Thanksgiving Gift

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jesus Loves Me

video

Anna singing with Valentina. Thanksgiving Day.

Sorry that it's sideways.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Tour

video

Thought I would invite you to our home on Thanksgiving Day and also introduce you to those who celebrated the day with us. Made one mistake in the introductions (called Yuri - Boris) but he tells you his name at the end. Because it was getting too long, I had to stop recording. Unfortunately this made it where you'd miss the best part. Everyone started trying to talk in English. It was such a blessing to be able to have them all over for Thanksgiving.

Hope you enjoy the tour. Sorry I went through a little fast.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Svetlana

I was supposed to meet with Svetlana at 4:00 pm before the Wednesday meeting. Eric was watching the girls, and Lina and I walked over early. We're not sure why, but she never came. Please continue to pray for her. We are going to try to talk to her and see if we can meet at our house next time. We were told she does not have a phone, nor do we know where she lives. We are praying she will come to church again so we can talk to her.

If you are interested in keeping up with prayer requests and praises, you can go visit our ministry blog. We have a list on the side and will keep it updated.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Extended Ministry Opportunity

Although my family is my first ministry, God has given me an opportunity to extend that ministry. Today Yuri and Christina brought a lady named Svetlana with them to church. Following the services, Lina and I talked with her about having Bible lessons and she said that she would like to. So, we will be starting lessons with her on Wednesday an hour before the Wednesday meeting. Please pray that she will not cancel and will be there. Pray also for me that God will give me wisdom as I talk with her and for Lina.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

JUST the Cook and Babysitter

The past few weeks have been exciting and exhausting. Now that we are living in the village, it seems like we have visitors almost every day. It has been a struggle to keep cookies or cake prepared (you can't be Ukrainian if you don't provide for your guests). The house is still not completely in order but it will probably be an ongoing process. What a blessing it is to know that whether everything is just right or not God is already using this home to win the lost! We were so excited when Tamara came and received Christ as her Saviour! While Eric was talking to her my job was to cook muffins, then the meal, while keeping the kids out of the living room (besides making sure that the house stays in "guest receiving" order, which is more difficult than I thought in a small house). Even though I was praying for her, Eric, and Lina the whole time, my old flesh of envy still kicked in. You would have thought that I would have been too busy for that, but alas it snuck up on me. For a second, I was wishing that I could be the one on the front line talking with people about the Bible. My flesh taunted me saying that I was there to be a missionary and instead Eric gets to do all the witnessing while I'm "stuck" watching kids and preparing food. BUT without my willingness to do all of this and if our home was in disorder with bratty kids, I know that my husband would not feel comfortable having people over. God has also recently immediately answered many of my "small" prayers, bringing to mind again the importance of prayer, showing me how I can always be part of my husband's ministry. I pray that I will never forget the importance of being a wife, mother, homemaker, prayer warrior and given to hospitality.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In the Village!

We are finally moved in to our new home in the village! I must admit that I was beginning to think that it would never happen. Every week we kept saying, maybe next week. It is SO nice to finally have most of our stuff unpacked and to be a little organized. The girls are not only adjusting, but loving the freedom a backyard brings. I just got my camera back from the repair shop (Anna sat on it when I was in America), so I'll try to post some pictures soon...or better yet, a video. There are still a lot of little things that we are working on, but we have the major done...a toilet and hot water. (Eric had those hooked up within 24 hours of us living here.)

Right now, all of the neighbors (and everyone else in the village) just watches us. Pray that God will open doors for us to reach them with the gospel, and for sanity as sometimes it is hard to be constantly watched like that. Also pray for the Christians here to be faithful. Before there excuse was that they didn't have a way to get to church on Sundays. This past Sunday, when we offered them a ride, they had other excuses-they were actually going to be in the city for other reasons! Please continue to pray for not only the lost, but also for the believers here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Christ's Blood Alone

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" Romans 3:24,25

"Through faith in His blood..." Just reading through verses in the Bible, my heart is just overflowing with thankfulness and excitement over HIS BLOOD. I just cannot comprehend why someone could say that salvation "has nothing to do with the blood." My heart just wants to cry at the blasphemy against the blood of Christ. Yet there are so many people who would rather choose to believe in their good works than to believe in the blood! That is why Tatiana is not attending church anymore.

A few weeks ago, I approached her about her salvation. I just asked her what she was trusting in. During a trip to Israel years ago, she met a group that told her in order to be saved she had to attend their "church" for 40 days, then be baptized in the Jordan River. She believes that is what will allow her to go to heaven. Lina and I lovingly tried to point her to what the BIBLE says, but she closed her eyes and ears. We asked her again to do Bible lessons with us and she said, "Why do I need to? I am already saved." She was very friendly when she left, but has since hardened her heart and does not want to even talk to us. Please pray for her and the many others who are believing in something THEY'VE done instead of the BLOOD OF CHRIST. I just cannot understand how someone can believe that Christ died and yet that it means nothing and does nothing for us.

Praise the Lord that I am saved by His Blood!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

If you would like to see the most beautiful house in Ukraine, click here.



Okay, so not everyone will agree with me, but that's okay. I can't wait to get moved in! I'm just itching to stop living out of suitcases and boxes and get the house set up. Once we do, the village Bible study will be held at our home. How nice it will be to finally be kinda (say that because there's always a chance that God will move us again) settled and not have to worry every year about where we will live the next year. Not only did He give us a settling place, but a beautiful little cozy home where we can get revived and rested to serve Him better, and a place for those in need. I pray that it will always be a place that points people to Jesus...whether it is the lost in need of salvation or believers in need of fellowship.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thanks for the recipes! I even received a recipe for cream of mushroom, etc. soups!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A "NORMAL" Day

That's what I wanted last week...just for one day. Exactly what that is, I'm not totally sure, but I craved it. Life has been like a raging flood (literally in the kitchen) since I returned home. Between Bible lessons, evangelism, floods in the kitchen, sicknesses...(I'll stop my list of "woe is me" 's there) I just wanted one day where I could somewhat get my house back in order and have a routine with my girls again. Well, I finally have it and I am using it to try to set up a battle plan for the rest of the week. After today, the floods start again. This is my first "Normal" Monday since being home and I am GREATLY enjoying it...even though Anna is sick again. Since we keep so busy and I have so many meetings to cook for (Ukrainians love to eat...as much, maybe more than, Baptists ;)), my main goal on Mondays is the meal planning and grocery list for the rest of the week. I just recently unpacked my crockpot and would like to try to use it more. SO, I was wondering if any of you would like to help me.

DO YOU have any favorite crockpot recipes or maybe even cook ahead meals? How about casseroles? I can't get the cream of _ soups here, so something without those would be great...or a recipe to make them. ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Health and Home

Sorry that it has taken me so long to write an update about my health. I know that many of you have been praying for me and I greatly appreciate it. As many of you know, the doctor there put me on steroids for a few weeks. I feel much better now and haven't had to use my inhaler very often. She was a little concerned because I am returning to the same environment and said that she thought my cough will get just as bad as it was before. So far, I haven't had too many problems since returning home. Everyone has been burning stuff lately, though, so I am a little nervous. We have been keeping a humidifier going and I have been taking some herbal pills for asthma that I bought while in the states, so hopefully it will help. AND we would like to be moved soon. which should make a huge difference.

The house is coming along nicely, though we were hoping that it would've been finished by the end of August. Our landlord has now given us until the end of September, but we keep thinking "Maybe by next week." Eric had almost everything packed by the time I got home (YIPPEE!), but I have been slowly unpacking things as I have need of them...which is going to make a bigger mess come moving time. Right now, there has been no work done on the house this past week except on Wednesday when Eric and I painted all the rooms except the bathroom. We can't wait to get moved, but right now we have no clue when that is going to happen. It's in God's hands.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Night Bible Study

We had a good group out tonight for the village Bible study...11 people not counting our girls! How exciting it has been to see that group grow! Vladimir came with us tonight and Elena's son Evan, both of whom are not saved. Eric has continued to do lessons with Vladimir on Sundays and Evan came for a few Thursday studies while I was in America. We are praying that God will work upon their hearts to bring them to salvation.

Tonight was also my first time since coming back home that I have been in a Ukrainian home. How humbling! As you know, we have been working on our home to fix it up. Eric has taken me out a few times to pick out colors for things since I've been home and I have been a little finicky. I woke up this morning kicking myself for letting the paint lady "help" pick out my paint colors. (Okay, she didn't really help. Just told me "No, you can't do that color there. Try this one." Anyways, that's besides the point.) After seeing there home though, I am again shocked out of the American way of life. I feel unworthy of all that God has given to me. How easily we - I get distracted! What more can I say? Lord, help me keep my focus on YOU.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus teh author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1



Monday, September 7, 2009

House Pictures

Click here to see all the work Eric did on our house while we were away. :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

HOME!!!!

Even though I still think that Maine may be the most beautiful place in the world, as I drove through Ukraine no place ever seemed as beautiful. What a change God has done in my heart since my arrival here over 2 years ago! Although I greatly enjoyed my stay with family, how nice it feels to finally be home...even one filled with boxes and in desperate need of a wife's TLC (he did try).

As far as how the trip went, well, it's a LONG story. First, I got all my dates messed up...I thought that I was supposed to leave out on Tuesday (the day I was to arrive) instead of Monday and missed all of my flights. With some calls that morning and work throughout the day, I was able to get everything re-arranged for Wednesday. Wednesday morning everything was going very smoothly. The girls and I seemed to be getting over our colds, my grandparents drove us to the airport early, after saying our goodbye's, we went through the checkpoint and shortly after boarded our flight. As we were just about ready to get going, someone blackout in the aisle and they had an emergency medical call. After she was taken off the plane to a nearby hospital. We were told that it was one of the stewardesses and that we would have to de-board until another stewardess could be found. Not knowing when that would be and having just missed all my flights the day before, I almost started crying. About an hour later and we were allowed to get back on the plane. We arrived in NY about 2 hours late, but still with plenty of time for me to make my next flight. Because I had to pick up my baggage and re-check it in NY, a pastor in Maine arranged for Pastor Swanson and two of his sons to meet me. Without them I don't know how I would have made it. When I went to check in, we ended up getting sent all over the place because my tickets were messed up, but finally it was taken care of and we got checked in and boarded the plane (after sitting in the wrong gate and wing section). Everything was going fairly smoothly, especially for having two very tired girls and mommy. After getting the girls to sleep, I eventually was able to sleep too...for about ten minutes when I was awakened by the frantic cry of the man beside me saying, "Mama, mama. Please wake up." ect. Again, the emergency crew was called. The lady was moved and after what seemed like an hour, we were finally told she would be okay. All I could do was pray that God would give her another chance to accept Him if she was saved. I don't think that I will be able to get her face out of my mind and will continue to pray for her. (So if you are a missionary to France, don't slack up on your post...God may use you to reach her.) When we landed in Paris, a lady kindly helped me carry my carry-on luggage to where we thought I was supposed to be and we parted ways. There I found out that I needed to walk back where I came from (about 10 minutes) and get on an airbus to go to terminal 2B. After getting on the bus, the driver told me we were at my stop. It ended up being terminal 2E, so I had to wait 10-20 minutes for another bus to terminal 2B. An Ukrainian couple got off with me and helped me get to the desk where I needed to print my boarding passes. The ladies there told me that there was a mistake with our tickets and I needed to go to (I think) terminal D to correct it before they could print our passes. So, off I went with the carry-ons and two very tired and hungry girls...Lydia in arms and Anna walking and crying beside me. The Lord again sent someone to help me. A lady working at an information desk (and who, thankfully, spoke English) came to my rescue. Asking where I needed to go and saying that it was a long walk (about 10 minutes), she said that she would take me there. She carried Lydia and helped with the luggage so I could hold Anna. There they told me that mine and Anna's tickets were fine, but Lydia's was never rescheduled. I needed to pay a change of flight fee for her ticket as well in euro or with a credit card. Having neither, I had to go find an exchange booth. Thankfully, it wasn't too far. On the way back to terminal 2B, I thought for sure that I would be the next one to pass out. I had never felt so exhausted, but we made it just in time. The trip from there to Ukraine was uneventful, unless you count me accidentally falling asleep while the girls were awake and Lydia dumping some of the food off the tray onto the floor. It was so nice to hear a language that I understood too...Ukrainian! I think French is a beautiful language, but 2 languages are enough for me. In Ukraine, two young men helped me get through passport checkin, and would have helped with my luggage, but it never came (the stroller made it ;))...not having my luggage was actually a blessing because it will be sent straight to Kharkov instead of us having to lug it with us on taxis and the train...well at least it should. They left me at the lost and found where I was pushed to the front of the line because of the girls. The lady asked if I had someone meeting me and helped me take the girls out to Eric before filing for lost luggage and going through the rest of customs. (It was SO hard to see him for a quick second and not be able to get a kiss or hug.) She then helped me through custom to get me quickly out. I never dreamed Ukrainian customs could be that easy and stress free! I have never been able to sleep on the train, but I definitely did that night! (Maybe it was because my loving husband was taking care of the girls this time...train beds get pretty crowded with little kids. Don't think he slept too well.) The trip might have been crazy, but the Lord put so many people in my path to help me. It taught me two things, 1) He is made strong in our weekness (He is always strong, but we notice it more I guess is the better way to put it) 2) to totally lean on Him because no matter what the circumstance may be, He has it under control.

Guess I'd better be getting back to bed. I'm glad to be home, but having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to the time change. The girls and I might be going out to the house in the village tomorrow to see all that has been done, so I need to get some sleep. Eric has had a LOT happen while I was away and I told him that I would make a post for him on his blog, so be looking for that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jena

Just wanted to ask your prayers for a Ukrainian lady named Jena. I met her at Walmart and was able to have a good talk with her in Russian. I am hoping that I get another chance to meet with her and give her a Bible and some tracts.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Safe Travels

We arrived safely in Lincoln, Maine Thursday evening at about 5 pm. WHAT A LOOOONG trip! Besides being long, the trip overall went pretty smooth. The girls did okay, still had some trouble, but good considering how long they spent traveling. I was amazed at how clean everything is in the states and how fresh the air is...even in New York! On the way up to Maine, we stopped by my grandparents house and I couldn't believe how big there oven was. I thought that maybe they bought an extra large one....until every other oven I've seen here has been the same size! Mine is about 1/2 that size! It's funny, I was prepared for culture shock going over to the Ukraine, but not quite expecting it coming back to my homeland! I even had a hard time trying to pick a toothpaste because I was overwhelmed with how many choices there were and for the first few days, I had to stop and think before I spoke to make sure that I spoke in English instead of Russian! I'm actually missing hearing Russian...especially hymns sung in Russian. I did get a chance to sing It is Well in Russian on Sunday. Three more weeks than I get to hear it again! I'll miss family, Walmart, clean air, etc., but I'm still anxious to get back. I'm so glad that God has given me this time to get refreshed and healthy again though. It has also been such a blessing to see family and they are LOVING seeing the girls.

Between visits with family and to Walmart ;), a lot of my time has been spent in the doctor's office. They have tested me for almost everything, but are pretty sure that I have severe asthma. They have put me on predisone (I think that's what it's called) for 2 weeks and given me an inhalor. During this time, I also lost the baby. I started having problems shortly after we arrived. We're not sure if it was the trip or something else, but we know that it is in God's hands.

Well, I'm exhausted and we have a full day tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing some of you while I'm in Maine!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maine and Opportunities to Witness

Well, it has been a full week and next week will be even busier! The girls and I will be boarding a plane headed back to America on the 22nd. Before that, we will have an 8 hour train ride. We found out on Saturday about a missionary here who has to go back to America and Eric decided to send me back with her because of my health. Without the help of family, it wouldn't have been possible. Tickets have gotten so expensive and Anna is now charged almost full price for a seat. I know that they are all excited to meet the girls and I'm glad that they will get a chance. I'm excited to see family and friends, go to Walmart, and be able to DRIVE. It is so hard for me to get out and around too far from the house here because Eric is usually not home during the day and public transportation is not the easiest with two kids. The only downside is that Eric is not able to go with me. He cannot get away for 2 reasons: 1)there is no one else to take over the ministry and 2) we have to be moved out of this apartment by the end of August. He is going to be working like crazy to try to have it in a liveable condition by the time we come back on August 25th (that's so long to be away).

Besides working on the house, Eric has been very busy visiting with an elderly gentleman named Yuri. He is the father of one of our church members and has been very sick for a long time. Eric spent almost all day yesterday over there and also had a chance to ask Yuri about his salvation. Yuri said that he had repented of his sins and trusted Jesus Christ to save him. We are so thankful that we were able to hear that for we found out today that he died during the night last night. When someone dies, the funeral is done right away. Eric was asked to preach at the funeral and was over there most of the day. I was going to go to help by watching a few of the kids while the adults went to the cemetary, but Eric and Valentina said that it would be too much for me because of how sick I've been lately. Eric was also concerned that I might have an attack while watching their kids. Thankfully, today has been a very good day. Pray for the family and friends that were there. Many are not saved. Eric was able to pass out many books on salvation and he preached a salvation message.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The past week has been a very rough week for me. My cough has been extremely bad. We are pretty sure that because of the pollution of the city and possibly something in this apartment, I have developed severe asthma. I had it under control for a little while naturally but then stopped everything good that I was doing, and it came back hard. This time, everyone convinced me to use an inhaler and pills instead. They don't seem to be helping at all. I've had to use the inhaler 4 times today and I took the 3 pills suggested. In spite of all this, I have still wheezed all day and felt mildly suffocated. I am having a very hard time trying to control it now and am in a lot of pain from coughing. I just started going back to my natural remedies, and it seems to be calming down. I am very exhausted from lack of sleep (I wake up now at least once, last night twice, having an attack) and would cry if it wouldn't cause an attack. The nights when I do not wheeze, I am so excited about breathing that I can't sleep. I just lie there breathing and praising God because it feels so wonderful! How often I took breath for granted before all of this! Please be praying for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

LESS FOR ME=MORE FOR GOD

"This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Mark 7:6b-9

Oh, how much we see that here! These Ukrainians would rather give their time to pray to icons, and their money to greedy priests than to just trust in Jesus Christ and the Bible! And what does this bring them? Nothing. No peace. No joy. No future security. I went out by myself the other week, first time in a LONG time. I usually don't take public transportation much because it is too difficult with the girls. I can pretty much get everything that I need within walking distance, and if I can't, Eric picks it up for me on his way home. But the other week Eric let me go to the second hand store after the girls went to bed. When you are out with someone, you don't notice the people around you as well as when you are by yourself...especially if that "someone" is two little girls. By myself, though, on the metro I looked into their faces and it broke my heart. Their lives are full of sorrow, worry, no hope...it's overwhelming to see. I also met a lady who was asking for only 50 kopayek...that's about 5 cents!!! She was trying to STEAL it from the company she was working for! (She was asking you to give her 50 kopayek instead of paying 1 griven for riding the trolly bus and she would keep it and you would ride without a ticket.) Can you imagine? To be so desparate as to be stealing a nickel??? I said that I could not do that because I am a Christian. I gave her 1 griven and 50 kopayek...griven for my ticket and 50 kopayek for her.

I see how little they live on and wonder how they manage to survive. God has continually been weeding things out of our lives...starting even before we came over. Sometimes it is such a hard process! We greatly desire to give our all to God and we're willing, but when He actually brings something to mind, it's hard! Sometimes I want to go into my pouting child stage and say, "It's not fair, Lord! I've already given up family, friends, my homeland, my kids having grandparents, Walmart ;)...what MORE do you want?" Then I think, "Is HE not worth it? Is a soul not worth it?" One of our neighbors said once to Lina about us, "They're poor aren't they." Praise the Lord! It is ONLY when they look past our material possessions that we can start reaching them with the Saviour! Pray for me. I greatly desire for Christ to be seen in me and for more to be purged from my life. I desire to have more time for him as well as money. Pray for us as we learn to live on less and use our time wisely FOR THE GLORY OF GOD that Kharkov, Ukraine will see something different and desire to know our Lord and Saviour!

Friday, July 3, 2009

~Otkroshka~

(Or Cold Soup)

5 potatoes (diced and boiled)
4 cucumbers (peeled and diced)
1-2  smoked ham (usual), cooked chicken breasts, or desired meat (leftovers are great)
4 eggs (boiled and diced)

To taste:
green onion
dill
sour cream or mayo (mayonnaise doesn't spoil as quickly)...about 8 oz.
salt and pepper

sour milk water* (or bouillon from boiled chicken breasts & lemon acid or vinegar to taste)

Everything is finely diced and mixed together when cool. If you use the bouillon it needs to be completely cooled before you mix the rest of the ingredients into it. Then refrigerate until use. It will taste better if you can let it sit for at least an hour.

*Okay. Let's see if I can explain the sour milk water. (If you live on a farm, you know what it is. I didn't know until recently.) After milk from a cow sits for a little while, you end up with a thick, buttery layer on top and sour milky water on bottom. The bottom is what is used. I have NO clue what it is called in English, because before coming to Ukraine I had never bought it before.

Friday, June 26, 2009

NEW HOME!

Just a quick note to let you know that everything went well and we now own a little home in the village! There is still a TON of work to do. We would really like to be moved in by the end of July, but we'll see how fast we can get everything done.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AMERICAN in the market

What I like about being a missionary to Ukraine:

1) I have not seen a single snake.
2) Although they have some pretty big spiders, they are not the size of my hand.
3) I can walk around without anyone noticing that I'm a foreigner....that was, until today.

Near our house is a place where you can walk down the sidewalk and buy fruit, meat, vegetables, etc. from different stands. Last time that I bought some zucchini the man could tell that I had an accent when I spoke. He asked me where I was from and I told him...little did I know that he was going to tell EVERYONE.

Today, I did my normal routine of picking up our meats and cheese from the store. Then, as I headed to the produce stands I started thinking about how thankful I was that I did not look different and could move quietly and in peace. Before I even reached the first stand though, I was "greeted" by a drunk man who started babbling on and on. I couldn't really understand what he was saying because he was talking so muffled and fast, but I did hear him say the words husband (don't THINK that he was proposing), dollars, and AMERICAN. He repeated the last one many times loud and clear, the whole time grabbing my arm. During this time I reached the first fruit stand. One lady bought some strawberries, then I bought some, but at a different price. Normally, I would have given them there strawberries back and bought them somewhere else, but that drunk guy was still there harassing me. My only thought was getting me and the girls out of there. He was trying to figure out where I lived...even asked me in English. (I guess "In Ukraine" wasn't a good enough answer.) As soon as he turned away for a minute, I was OUT OF THERE!

Soon, I won't ever be able to hide. EVERYONE in the village already knows that an American family is moving in. Maybe God is using my personal announcer this morning to prepare my heart to live even more in a glass house.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Saturday we made a down payment on a house! YEAH! It hasn't even been a week and I already have the layout of the house all in mind! I've been trying to figure out a way to keep my bed. It's my favorite piece of furniture. If it doesn't work, we'll definitely be living more Ukrainian style...folding out the couch bed every night. Thankfully, they know how to make comfortable couch beds. All but one floor is painted wood, so after looking online, I've decided to just paint them off white. It's always been fun for me to dream of what a place could look like. I'm afraid not many people can see what I can see, and I'm excited to show some of my Ukrainian friends what you can do with a small place for more "privacy" from kids (i.e. curtain in the middle of the room, etc.). Usually they just look at me funny when I mention different ideas. Now I'll get to put some of them to use for our own home. I pray that it will be a help to them too. (Eric posted a picture of the house on our ministry blog.)

Some of you have asked how my cough is. Well, it's still with me, though it seems a little better. We are pretty positive that it is allergy/pollution related. We are praying that the house in the village will help with my cough and other health problems. I seem to always be sick. In the meantime, I am trying to make some diet changes...which is not very easy with all this good Ukrainian food. It is SO hard to serve God, my family, and the people He has called us to when my body is always exhausted and sick. Thanks to my husband, I am starting to take care of the temple that God has given me so that I can then give more to him, my girls, and then others. Pray for me in this area.

Thursday night we talked to Yuri and Christina again about separating. They had separated...for one day, but are now back together. We can see that the Holy Spirit is working on Christina's heart about this, but Yuri is strongly opposed. His biggest reason was because he couldn't hire workers to help with his cucumbers. Eric told Yuri that they were still welcome to church, he just wouldn't let them join the church right now or marry them. Yuri was very angry and has not spoken to us since. All he wanted for us to do was to say that what they were doing was okay. But we could only speak what the Bible says. Please pray for him and Christina. Also for us as we are heavily burdened for them.

Eric and I are now doing Russian lessons in the evening after the girls go to bed, 1-2 times a week. I like how much it frees up my mornings, but I do miss our evenings together. This has given me a chance to put my Russian to more use though. I have been able to get out with the girls in the mornings and buy groceries, either from the store or the produce stands along the way. Before I was just too rushed and exhausted to try to do the shopping. Valentina also comes over every Tuesday to help with the girls and cook up some delicious Ukrainian dishes. If I'm home, we always have a good time talking. If only everyone was as easy to understand as her and could understand my poor Russian as well as she can!

I have been wanting to post a new Ukrainian recipe, but I've tried so many good ones lately that I don't know which one to post first! Maybe cold soup. ;) Yeah, I know, cold and soup don't seem to go together, but it is YUMMY...especially on a hot day.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Scents from Home

Oh! The beautiful little reminders that God gives here and there to remind us that He loves us! As I sit here, the wonderful fragrance of wild roses fills my nose and brings with it the relaxing comforts of a home I once knew. They were a gift from a young lady named Olea. She sent them home with Eric after he visited with her, her grandfather and mother. Little did she know how much they would mean to me!

As long as I can remember, I have always lived in small towns. So small, that you could usually walk AROUND the whole town in about 1 hour. In moving to Kharkov, I not only find myself an ocean away from home with a different language and culture, but also in a big city. Especially now that summer is here, many times I long for clean air, a yard to play with the girls in, and trees...no a forest. I miss the soft, gentle sounds of the crickets, the sound of the ocean crashing against the rocks. I miss seeing the stars and the moon.

THEN, God touched the heart of Olea to pick a few flowers for me. Why are these particular flowers so special? The last home that my parents had before I was married had a wild rose bush in the front yard. In the summer, I could open my bedroom window and the beautiful fragrance would drift up in to my room.

Thank you Lord for reminding me of your tender loving care. In big cities or in small towns, in America or across the seas, HE is what makes a home HOME.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Mom's Mission Field

After reading a few verses during family devotions, Eric stopped to explain to Anna that papa's heart has Jesus. She looked at him for a second, then said, "Papa's heart?" We said, "Yes. Papa's heart has Jesus." She then turned to me and asked, "Mama's heart?" "Yes. Mama's heart has Jesus." "Anna's heart?" she said seriously, yet questioningly. "No. Anna's heart doesn't have Jesus yet." She continued to do that, pointing at each of us...Papa, yes. Mama,yes...Anna, no. Lydia,no. Her seriousness about the matter and her questioning look as to why not Anna broke my heart. How I wished I could just "make" her saved too! I'm scared at even the possibility of her not believing in Jesus Christ. She is understanding so much more now...more than I ever imagined at this age! Oh, how sad it would be as a mom to see many come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, yet to have our own children die and go to hell! What a HUGE responsibility God has given us! What a GREAT mission field! There are no furloughs. Every day we are either turning their hearts toward God or away from God. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed that God has put the care of these two precious little girls into my unworthy hands. I pray that there never comes a day when I devout so much of my time and energy into the many needs of the "mission field" that I forget the mission field right under my roof.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

One Busy Week

Last week was such a busy week. Even though we will be finishing up this Bible series with a few people (Elena, Yuri, and Christina), we plan on continuing Bible lessons with them. We do not believe that Yuri and Christina are saved and are unsure about Elena. We greatly desire to see them saved. Please be praying as we will be finishing the lesson with Elena on Wednesday and Yuri and Christina on Thursday.


Above is a picture of Elena. Here she looks happy and easy going, but she has a very hard life.

Below are pictures from this past Thursday night Bible study in the village. The girls and I went this time and we didn't get home until 11:30 pm! The girls did surprisingly well. (They always go to bed at 6 pm.) The Bible study is held at Yuri's house which is only one room and a kitchen.
Eric, Anna, and Max playing outside after Bible lessons.
Christina and Lina separating cucumbers...YUMMY!
Anna, Lina, and Christina in the kitchen

Anna playing hide and seek
Lydia is looking a little tired. Poor girl.
Max- still FULL of energy
Christina and Yuri

Ukrainian home tidbit: In some of the pictures you can notice a rug hanging on a wall, you also see that in many pictures of Ukrainian homes. Not only do they add some beauty to their homes, but also help to keep them warmer.

Those pictures are from Wednesday and Thursday. We went to the metro to pass out Johns and Romans on Friday. I would have taken pictures, but my camera batteries were dead. Max gets right in front of people so that they can't avoid him and Anna got so tired of people rejecting her that she started giving them to me just to hear someone say "Thank you"!

On Saturday, Lina, the girls and I went to the open air market. One of the vendors we stopped at had a ton of purses. Anna thought that was great. She picked up one of the purses and put it over her shoulder, and went and looked in the mirror-with the encouragement of everyone in the store. She must have done this like 5 times. I REALLY wish I could have taken a video or even some pictures. Lina and I had to try on a few of the purses that she picked up because they looked so cute on her. We were gone about 7 hours and neither of us bought a single thing! (Our husbands were shocked...and probably happy.)

Sunday we had our regular services (we have our morning services, a meal, then our "evening" service). Following that, Eric started up Bible lessons with Vladamir again. Tatiana was also at church and Eric invited her to stay for Bible lessons. While Eric was giving lessons to Vladamir and Tatiana, I took the kids outside (Anna, Lydia, and Max).

I'm supposed to have Russian lessons on Monday and Thursday mornings, but have canceled the Monday lessons for a little while because our schedule is so crazy. It has been so nice to have one somewhat normal day with the girls at home.

Besides the Saturday shopping, that's a pretty typical week for us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Health

Well, it is now 11:30 pm here and I am exhausted but am again spending another night trying to suppress a cough. After having two really bad nights, I finally went to the doctor's office today (okay, I didn't really have a choice, I have a husband who loves me). They think that I have bronchitis. I have some different things that I am trying and they seem to be making it a little better, but still would appreciate it if you all would be praying for me. I really need sleep, so I guess that I will give it a try.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Day in the Village

On Friday we went out to the village where we are having Bible studies and spent the day with Yuri. (The Bible studies are in his home.) We brought food for a feast and groceries for him. After stuffing ourselves, the guys went fishing, and us ladies just had fun breathing in the fresh village air...and playing with the cute kids. ;) Anna had SO much fun running around, as you can see from the pictures.

Some of Yuri's green houses (we were actually supposed to be putting plastic on them, but it was too windy).


Yuri's house is one of the houses in the background. Every time I go into one of their homes, I'm amazed at their poverty. I plan on taking some pictures next time.

The river by his house. I plan on putting a verse on this picture and framing it. Just looking at it is relaxing!

Miss Anna

Anna and Max

Eric, Yuri and Max fishing

Lydia


Lydia with our church translator Lina. It's SO nice to have her back!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2 Cups of WHAT???

Learning Russian has been very interesting, and like everyone learning a new language, I have made my fair share of mistakes.

I felt fairly comfortable talking to her, so when our neighbor asked what kind of muffins I had made her, I thought, 'I can do this. Shouldn't be too hard.' I started out by telling her that they were zucchini muffins. She had a hard time believing me. Well, after I finally convinced her that I knew that I had said zuchini, I proceeded to give her the recipe. So, confidently I started off...I mean, how hard could it be??? I cook with this stuff all the time and see the ingredients in Russian. Piece of cake! ("Pride cometh before a fall.")

2 Cups of flies... Why is she looking at me like that? Let me try it again.
2 Cups of flies... What? Is it different in Ukrainian than Russian??

Well, didn't get past that part. She asked me to have Lina translate the rest.

Quick Russian lesson for you...Mooha is flour and Mooka is fly....or is it the other way around??? Still working on that one!

Child Labor

(I live overseas so I can get away with it. ;))

I NEVER would have dreamed that a 1 and 1/2 year old could be such a big helper! For all of her 1 and 1/2 year old life, Anna has been right there with me. And yep (as Papa would say), she was usually a big hindrance to getting things done. We had fun though! Anna now takes diapers to the trash, loads and unloads the washer (sometimes have to help her with this if it's our clothes), hands me the clothes' pins as I hang out the laundry, and lots of other little things. Now before you try to find a way to call child protective services, let me say that she does this smiling the whole time. Here are the pictures to prove it! (I threw in one of Lydia helping too.)























Okay, so Anna isn't really smiling in this picture. Looks more like she's pleading with you to save her! I'll force...oops...take some pictures of her smiling FREELY later.



(The ones of Anna doing laundry were accidentally deleted, so I'll have to take some more and post them later.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"But Jesus Didn't Go Through the Metro"

We were shocked to hear these words come from our dear, sweet Valentina! She recently read that being angry with someone is the same as murder in God's eyes. She said that she didn't see how she could love some people. One of the verses that we shared with her was Hebrews 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." That's when she said, "But Jesus didn't go through the metro!" (The metro is a subway. It is usually full of people pushing and shoving.)

How often do we feel that way? Me? A missionary wife?? NEVER!

Matthew 22:37-39
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

What a HARD time we have with that! It seems IMPOSSIBLE to love some people, and it is...if we try to do it on our own. If we follow the first commandment and love the Lord with all of our heart, then the second one will just come naturally. Brother Winstead told us before we left for Ukraine, "Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the people. People will hurt you, deceive you, lie to you, use you, and just be unlovable at times. If you look at them, you'll leave the field. Just keep your eyes on Jesus and He'll love them through you." There have been times when I got discouraged by how I was being treated by "these people," but we didn't come here to be loved, adored, and taken care of by them. We came here to share the gospel with those that are lost (and if they are lost, why shouldn't they be unlovely? We're all unlovely without Christ!), and to train and strengthen the Christians that are here. Without Christ, this is impossible. As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, and love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, His love will flow through my heart to the unlovely.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Learning Russian=Losing English

Tonight we had our first service without a translator. Surprisingly, everything went smoothly. It's exciting to be able to understand almost everything when people talk to you, instead of being totally lost. If only I could speak well! It seems like I have a huge pause in-between every word that I say as a try to think of the right word to use and the right form to put it in. It's funny (okay, not really), but I've found myself pausing between words when I'm speaking in English also. So soon I'll be speaking two languages poorly! Not exactly what I had in mind.

We've been looking at houses lately. We are hoping to have a place within the next couple of months. What a HUGE blessing it will be! I have developed a bad cough from living in this apartment and within the past few days my chest has been hurting from coughing so much. Besides that, I'm tired of having our piano hymn cd turned up to full volume just to drown out the sound of war coming from the neighbors below us.

We called Tatiana on Friday, and she said that she didn't think she needed Bible lessons because she was baptized in the Jordan River. When she came to church on Sunday, we again talked with her about having Bible lessons and she said that she would think about it. Please continue to pray for her.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"But Who Am I?"

"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able, to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own, have we given thee." 1Chronicles 29:14


"But who am I?" Why would God choose to use us? Why would He allow us to play a part in spreading the gospel to Ukraine? There's nothing special about us, in fact Eric and I are both quiet, home-body types. So, why choose us? Why not someone who is a good speaker, good people person, and very educated? Two reasons: 1) Because HE wants ALL the glory and 2) we willingly offered ours lives to Him . Praise the Lord He does not look at age, speaking ability or performance. He sees our willing offering and accepts it. Because there is nothing special about us, in fact many imperfections, anything special that happens is only because of Him. What an amazing feeling to know that our lives are being used to bring Him honor and glory. "Who am I?" I am just a nobody, giving HIM what already belongs to HIM.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

~Chicken, Potato Salad~

This recipe was given to us by Valentina.

4-5 boiled whole potatoes
3 boiled eggs
2 boiled chicken breasts
green onions
mayo
canned pineapple
salt to taste

Shred potatoes and layer on bottom of 9x9 pan. Cut up green onions and sprinkle on top. Next, spread on some mayo. Chop eggs and place on top. Spread more mayo. Layer chopped/torn chicken next. More mayo. Sprinkle pineapple on top.

No matter what way you layer it, it is EXCELLENT. We've even eaten it without the chicken...still good. Definitely one of our favorites!

Glimpses into Their Lives

As I hear the testimonies of the believers here, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that God has done for me. All of my life I have been surrounded by Christians...Christian parents, in-laws, relatives, and now a husband. I grew up in a "Christian" country, where we had freedom to learn about God and HIS creation. For many of these people, they have a completely different story to tell. They have been brought up in an atheistic society, or a religious, orthodox church. They have been taught evolution since birth. What they have seen in their lifetime, I can't even begin to comprehend. Even now, I can only imagine how difficult their lives are. They need your prayers! I would like to share a few of them with you, though I know that they would be much better at telling their stories than I am.

Let me start with Valentina. She was the first person we saw get saved when we came to Ukraine. Though we did not play a role in her salvation, we have seen God work in her life greatly since we have been here. She is very dear to our family, and is like a grammy to the girls. She is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. Right now, her son, his wife, and his wife's son live with her in her house. Both her son and his wife drink. Her co-workers are all Jehovah Witnesses and pressure her constantly. There is not a single person in her family, that I know of, that is saved. Every single day she is forced to put up with drunkenness, sometimes beaten, sworn at, and told not to talk about her God and Jesus. In her own home she has no peace, no place where she can run to and seek the Lord. Her only room has no door. There is constant noise from the four tv's in the house. When we were in Poland, she watched our house for us. What a difference we saw in her. She seemed so relaxed and at peace. Please pray for her and her family. She greatly desires to see them saved.

I'll close with Lina. Lina was the church translator even before we arrived and has been saved for a while. She did not grow for quite some time after she was saved though. Early in her salvation, she met a man who was not saved and fell in love with him. Against the advice of Christian friends, she married him anyways. It is now a daily thorn in her flesh. Her husband has allowed her to teach their son, Max, the Bible and bring him to church. Praise the Lord that Max has believed in Jesus because of this. Her husband is now very involved with some type of new cult and communicates with them daily through the internet. Sometimes he forces her to sit and watch videos of his beliefs and of evolution. They live in a one-room apartment. There is no where for her or Max to hide from the shadow that is placed on the home. Please be praying for her, her husband, and for Max.

Pray for us as we not only try to reach the lost, but also try to minister to the few believers here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

HOME!

As some of you know, we had to take a trip to Poland to renew our visas. After all that has been going on, I was in bad need of a break. The beginning of our trip was quite rough and a definite time of testing for our family, as both of our little girls had caught a flu bug. Lydia seemed to recover quickly, but we were afraid we were going to spend our trip to Poland in the hospital with Anna.

After Anna started feeling better, we were able to have a little bit of a rest while we were in Poland. Krakow is a beautiful city, but it is SO nice to be back home. Back to our home here in Ukraine. I like having to renew our visas at this time of year because it is SO nice to go away after the long winter and even nicer to come back to a city beginning to bloom, with revival in our hearts. HOME!

Since being home, we've hit the ground running. Eric just started Bible lessons with Vladamir Vonavich. He is the older gentleman I mentioned earlier. PLEASE be praying for his salvation. We do not know how much time he has left. He seems to be aging very quickly lately. We greatly desire to see him saved.

While Eric is doing the Bible lesson with Vladamir, I have started a children's lesson for the 3 kids we have. We had a fun time, and it was great for my Russian as I have to teach the whole lesson in Russian. Max was my big helper. He held up the pictures and repeated each phrase that I said. Normally it would be annoying to have someone repeat everything you say, but it is very helpful when you are learning a new language. If I said it incorrectly, he would just make the changes so that I could hear how I NEEDED to say it. It also helped him pay more attention and it made sure that he understood what I was trying to say. Pray that this time will not only keep the kids busy, but also help them to grow in the scriptures. Pray that God will give me the ability to explain things correctly in Russian. I plan on having my Russian teacher help me prepare my lessons when she comes on Mondays and Thursdays.

Pray also for a lady named Tatianna. She has shown an interest in starting Bible lessons. We will be contacting her this week to see when I can start Bible lessons with her. Eric will be watching the kids this time. I wonder, should I leave my "BOX" for him? ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

~CARROT SALAD~

This recipe is from my Russian teacher, Natalia; and it has Eric's seal of approval (which is a big deal because he does not eat fresh veggies, or many other veggies for that matter).

~CARROT SALAD~

Shredded Carrots
Feta Cheese (crumbled)
Mayo
Chopped Green onions

Mix all together. YUMMY!


If you try it, let me know what you think!

Lydia and Natalia (my Russian teacher).

I Think I Want to Switch Jobs!




March 15,2009
I surrendered to be a missionary when I was younger, but this isn't exactly what I had in mind. Okay, let me start from the beginning.

It was a pretty typical Sunday. We got to church around 10 and were finishing up around 2pm when an older gentleman in our church began asking questions concerning salvation. Because the kids were so noisy, I took all of them out into the other room. On a normal day it might be fine, but the girls had already been there for four hours without naps. And then...there's MAX. Don't get me wrong, he's a good kid. He just tries your patience sometimes. Thirty minutes pass, the kids get a little more cranky. SO, we march around the room ten times singing "I'm in the Lord's Army." That eventually gets old, so we start sweeping the floors. Max gets the broom and Anna gets the dustpan. Next thing I know Lydia is crying in my arms, Anna crying on the floor where she landed, and Max sweeping up his pile telling Anna to stop crying. Max decided that Anna wasn't using the dustpan right. He tried to pull it from her hands, but she, being the little fighter that she is, wouldn't let go. She ended up on the floor still holding the dustpan. I decided it was time for Max to spend some time in "the chair". He decided it was time for me to have a Russian lesson and started correcting my Russian, drawing out certain letters (it's stoolllllll...something like that). I started feeling sorry for myself. I mean, I came over here to give people the gospel, not to have a little five year old start correcting my Russian as I'm disciplining him. I want to be out there on the front line, I didn't surrender for THIS...

Well, I'm now surrendered to serve where God puts me...but next time, I will have a BOX of activities. ;)


(Eric will be starting Bible Lessons with Vladimir starting this Sunday, following services. Please be praying for his salvation.)

That's My Girl!


March 6,2009
Every day Anna amazes me with some new thing or word that she is doing or saying. Usually it is something that I do or say on a daily basis. Like, one of her first words was "wow", "what's that?". I didn't realize how often I had said that to her until we were walking through a mall. All of a sudden, she started pointing at all of the stores, saying "WOW!" and "OOOOO". My thought? "That's my girl!" She is such a girly-girl. She LOVES jewelry, purses, trying on clothes... Just the other day, we discovered something else she's learned from me. Valentina had babysat Anna for us, so Eric pulled some money out of his wallet to give to her. Anna walked straight over to Valentina and said with outstretched hand "Die, die,
die. Eeeeeaze." (Die means give me in Russian, and eaze means please, in English.;)) We all died laughing. Eric's thought? "Get's that from her mom." So without trying, I've taught her malls are neat, looking pretty is fun, money is important and something to want. She's watching me...what else is she learning from me without me knowing?

I Want to Be a Mary

February 24,2009
"But Martha was cumbered about much serving... And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:40a,41,42

Oh! How I desire to be like Mary! Sitting at the feet of Jesus and soaking in every word! But unfortunately, I think I am more like Martha. The need is SO great and the laborers SO few. Even if I spent every second of every day trying to reach these people with the Gospel and help them with their needs, I would still find the need overbearingly great. I long to sit and soak in His Word, but I find myself instead "cumbered about much serving." I know what Martha was thinking, "This is so important. It HAS to be done. It is for Jesus." I imagine she was a little jealous of Mary. Maybe she muttered under her breath, "Well, I'm glad at least one of us has a moment to sit down." That is when her service was no good. Oh, yes. It still fulfilled a need, but it was no longer true service. It was no longer a blessing to those receiving. She was missing one thing-the only thing needful- to know CHRIST MORE. How can we serve LIKE Christ and in HIS name if we don't KNOW HIM? Oh! I want to be a Mary!

The Trying of Our Faith

February 21,2009
Almost two years...that's how long we've been in Ukraine. Though, so much has happened, it seems like much more. Lately I've been thinking, what's the hardest part about being a missionary? Is it the loneliness? Not seeing your family? Knowing that you really don't fit in anywhere now...not in America because of how much you and everyone there has changed, and not here because you will always be a foreigner? Is it not having the comfort foods and surroundings of home? or maybe it's the language and culture differences? All those are difficult sometimes, but I'd have to say that the hardest thing is the trying of our faith. Faith that, no matter what, GOD IS in control. Faith that HE WILL protect us. Faith that it IS HIM that called us here, and not just our emotions over the plight of those lost and on their way to hell. Faith that HE KNOWS our every need and will provide...whether emotional, physical, or spiritual. It is faith to keep moving, without knowing if our sacrifices will make a difference.
"(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him." 2 Cor. 5:7,9

Testimony and Calling

I came to the realization of my need for salvation when I was about 5 years old. My dad had started a church in Mass., and it was after one of his services there, during an alter call that I went forward to receive Christ as my Savior. I realized that I was a sinner and could not make it to heaven on my own.

Shortly after that, some missionaries came to our church, and I decided that I wanted to be a missionary. Whether it was because my friend was or that I really had an interest, I do not know, but it sparked my interest and I started reading a lot of missionary books. I always had an interest in Africa (probably because of my friend), but I was also very interested in the communist countries. One of my favorite books growing up was "Behind the Iron Curtain." I must have read it ten times.

During my last two years of high school, I started to struggle really hard with my wants and what I had always felt called to do. Eric and I were dating at that time, and I knew that he was planning on being a professional golfer. God was really working on my heart and I fought with Him for a while. He was telling me that I could not be a golfer's wife. I needed to break up with Eric. Finally, I realized that I could never be happy out of God's will and surrendered my heart to Him. I knew that I was going to have to break up with Eric. When I finally got out of the way, that is when God could work. Eric pulled me aside shortly after that, not knowing anything that was going on, and told me that God had called him to full time service.

After we got married, we faithfully served in our local church doing whatever was needed. We had no peace that that was where God wanted us, and found it very hard to wait for Him. Every time a missionary would come through, we would talk and pray to see if that was where God wanted us. Every time we would feel a burden for the lost souls, but not a calling. We prayed about staying, but every time we tried to settle in (buy a house, etc.), God would close the door and say "just wait". Finally, in His perfect timing, He showed us where He wanted us. The Mapp family came to our church in August 2004 and presented their burden for the people of Ukraine. The Lord touched both of us, but instead of talking with each other like we usually did, we prayed separately. The only reason we can guess that we did this was maybe because we were both so burdened, we could not talk with each other. God had to work on us separately. A couple weeks later, when I was doing the dishes, Eric came up to me and asked how I would feel about being a missionary to Ukraine. We then started praying about it together and felt sure that God was calling us to Ukraine.

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