Other than that, the services today were a blessing. There seemed to be such a sweet spirit amongst the believers and Vladamir came today! It was so good to see him! He looked clean cut and put together today. Dema, Lena's husband, also came. This is the second, regular church service that he has attended (the first one was only the week before last). A lot of people have been praying for his salvation, even before we were even considering being missionaries to Ukraine. This is a huge step as he would not step foot in our doors for anything the first year or two we were here. The first week that he came he argued the entire time. This time, even though he 'discussed' some of his 'disagreements' with the scriptures, he had a much more pleasant disposition. When we asked who was coming to Thanksgiving dinner at our house, he was the first to raise his hand.
Speaking of which....
I am SUPER excited for Thanksgiving this year! If God allows, this will be our best Thanksgiving yet. The 1st year we had a traditional, American Thanksgiving dinner...but it was still hard because it was our first Thanksgiving away from 'home', we also found out that day that our co-workers were leaving for America shortly. Our 2nd year was sweet and sad. My mom was here (YAY!), but she was leaving the next day (BIG SOB). We chose to not waste time in the kitchen and had pizza for lunch. Last year (our 3rd year) I had BIG plans, but I was pregnant with Sammy and so sick that I could barely make it off the couch. We still had chicken (couldn't find a turkey), potatoes, and a few other things (like biscuits...no one had eaten them before and they disappeared before I turned around!). Even though the meal wasn't exactly like I had 'planned', it was still a very sweet thanksgiving, and definitely our best yet...Up until now. :) And, boy, have I got BIG plans. I finally had to force myself to stop looking at recipes because I couldn't stop the list from growing! I've already made the rolls and stuck them in the freezer (never tried freezing, but heard that 'everyone's doing it'), cleaning and re-arranging tomorrow while Eric shops (yes, ladies...he does the shopping. But that's a post for another time). Tuesday-make pies (thankfully, Valentina will be here to clean up my mess big Big BIG smile) and Eric will be picking up a turkey (at least that's the plan). Wednesday - prepare the millions of veggie dishes and stuffing and brine the turkey. Thursday - go crazy...well, hopefully not. What I'm REALLY hoping is that I can fit everything in my refridgerator. It is a pretty short fridge (shorter than me! Not saying that I am short or anything...I'm taller than most of my neighbors.). I'm also trying to figure out how to fit everything in the freezer...but if we have to, maybe we can turn it on it's back and jump on it to get everything in? Problem #2 might be the oven. I am pretty envious of the 'normal' American oven right now. When I visited the states last year, that's the only thing I remember (and getting lost in the toothpaste aisle and the freedom to go shopping...I can tell it's late because I am getting WAY off track) I was enchanted with them. When my Mimi noticed my constant attraction to her stove, I responded "I love your stove! Did you special order a large one?" "No. Why?"......let's just say I can only fit one pie pan in my oven at a time. But I think I've got everything all planned out. Problem #3 is the only one that I have no control over. It is the fluxuating electricity. Thankfully, we have not had to deal with them turning the electricity completely off as much this year. What we do have to deal with is not enough voltage coming into the house to run the stove. The other day it took me three times as long as normal to cook my chicken. So, I'm praying. Of course we will not be with family but, especially around the holidays, I remember the promise Jesus made in Mark 10:29,30...
"Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come eternal life."
I definitely think that Christ has fulfilled His promise to us. And though they can't replace our family back home, we are very grateful that we have them. We have only one of two choices...
1 - Look at all of the leaves falling off of the trees and cry because we
miss the green beauty that once covered the now bare trees
2 - Notice the sunset...praising and thanking God for the beauty in all seasons.
Which are you noticing? Are you dwelling on the full diaper pail, the kitchen sink overflowing with dishes....or are you enjoying the coos, giggles and "read to me, Mama" ?
Hope you all have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING and don't forget to enjoy the sunset!