Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sad Goodbyes

Where to begin?  So much has happened since Sunday that my heart is just overwhelmed with emotions.  

Recently, Ukraine passed some new laws concerning visas.  We were not too concerned since our local OVIR (place of registration) seemed to think they wouldn't affect us.  They kept telling us to come back when they knew more.  Eric visited OVIR 2 times a week for over a month, receiving the same answer until this Monday.  This time we were told that, due to being issued the wrong visa, Lydia and Sammy could not stay legally in the country past Friday.  That night Eric purchased tickets for the kids and I.  Everything has been a mix of blessings and tears since then.  So many mixed emotions that I don't think I could begin to describe.  Amidst all of the tears of saying goodbye {and there have been many}, we have been singing the Lord's praises for how He is working everything out.

For the past year, we have been searching for someone who could fill in for us while we took a much needed furlough (April marks 5 years).  Each time, the Lord closed the door and we just assumed that the answer was "Not right now."  Over the weekend we were contacted by a former missionary to Russia who was no longer able to get a visa.  He was interested in coming to help us with our ministry for a few weeks.  When we found out our situation on Monday, Eric called him and asked if he would be willing to fill in for us.  Last night he said that he and his wife had perfect peace about filling in, not only just so we could have the baby and get new visas, but for a year so we could take a furlough!  We cannot believe how quickly God has worked everything out and know that He is in control.  Please pray that he is able to receive his visas with no problems.  Also for the visa situation in Ukraine, pray that everything will be worked out so we have no trouble when it is time for us to return.  He is planning on coming in 3 weeks and his wife will join him a little later.  Eric is going to stay 3 weeks after he gets here to help him get settled and finish a few things here.

Because we are leaving, the church threw a little going away party for us and also gave Lydia some early birthday gifts.  We took pictures BEFORE the tears started to flow...though I think Lina got some videos that I won't share.  Should have brought waterproof mascara!  We are excited to see our families and church family, but it is very hard to leave everyone especially on such a short notice.  Here are some {LOTS} pictures of our last Wednesday in Ukraine...

They even had a little present for Anna.

Our dear Valentina.  Pray for her.  She has such a rough situation at home and is very close to our children.  When my mom left, she told Valentina that she was to take care of us and Valentina has taken her job very seriously.  She has truly become a part of our family.

Our translator and my closest friend, Lina.

My tired little guy.

The sunset on the way home.  The picture can't even come close to how beautiful and perfect the sun was...a redish/orange, perfect circle.

I was going to post a video of everyone singing in Russian as I absolutely LOVE to hear the hymns in Russian and will miss it greatly, but I was bawling too much.  Kristina came up to me, bawling as well, and we just hugged until we were okay.  Even Yuri had tears in his eyes.  We love them all very much, but we know they are not ours but the Lord's and He will do a much better job taking care of them than we ever could.

Well, I need to get back to bed.  It's 3:42 AM here and I desperately need sleep.  Tomorrow is a busy day.  Our train leaves tomorrow evening at 11:30 (4:30 pm EST).  It will be a long train ride and that is before our flight even starts.  We fly out of Kiev at 1:30 PM on Friday (6:30 am EST) and get in to Washington around 8 that evening.  We only have one layover, so that's a blessing and Eric has also arranged for assistance during that time.  It will be a long trip, so would appreciate your prayers.  I have prepared a "surprise" backpack of goodies that will hopefully help the kids make it.  I also would appreciate your prayers for the kids as they will not understand why daddy can't be with us right now.  Anna already is "praying" that she can come home {here} and keeps giving Eric hugs/kisses, saying that she will miss him and cry.  We have told her about all she will get to do in America and she is especially excited to get to see Auntie Bree again.  I just found out also that my dad will be flying out to visit with us in November as well, so I know she will be excited to see Grampy.  Thanks for your prayers!


  1. Oh my - what a range of emotions you must be feeling!! Thankful you can see the Lord leading you - "As for God - His way is perfect." I will be praying especially for you during your trip and the time away from your husband! Safe travels.

    Love in Him,

  2. I am in tears. I am so happy for how the Lord worked everything out for you. I know your heart's desire was to have that baby in the States. I also wept because I know those heart-wrenching feelings of having to leave your people. I will be praying for you throughout the day for your safety and ease of travel. Will you still do your blog on furlough?

  3. Oh Jessica! These are uncertain time for all of us. Stories are flowing in from all parts of Ukraine from missionaries not knowing what to do next. The VanSants and us were planning to fly to Germany in December for a Missionary Christmas Retreat (the VanSants had already purchased their tickets), but now we're all afraid to leave until we have to.

    I'm just thankful you were able to leave ASAP, and hoping you won't have any problems flying as far along as you are.

    Praying for you, my sister, and know that you are facing alot of emotions with a new baby, unexpected furlough, etc... Love you, my friend!!!

  4. BTW, who are the missionaries that are filling in for you?

  5. Oh, I know the agony of that goodbye party! Actually here I am, crying again, just remembering what it was like three years ago. At least you'll be able to come back to your home, after your time in the states! I am praying for you so much.

    I'm afraid my prayers for you might be part of this. I was begging the Lord that you wouldn't have to experience a roddom. I had always thought it wouldn't be that bad to have a baby in one. Now I know.

    Anyway, sorry for writing a whole book here. If you're still reading this, please be praying for my SIL (missionary in Odessa), who's going to be trying to get back into Ukraine tonight and really doesn't have things straight with her visa.

    Praying, praying, praying for you!

  6. I am praying for your family, and for special strength for what lies ahead. Isn't it grand to know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD? May His peace fill your days. Love, Ruth

  7. As a missionary myself, I understand the precious bond you have with the people you have worked with. I will be praying for you and the children. What a blessing to see how the Lord has worked things out and to see the love of your people.

  8. Goodness, it's amazing how fast God can change things. May He bless the new missionaries and you all as you return home to share what all God has done.

  9. Wow. God works in amazing ways. Praying for you. Love in our Saviour, Donna

  10. lots of tears for your right now. I'm reposting this on my blog. Love, Maria

  11. Tears. This must be so hard to leave on such very short notice, but oh, how clear is the Lord's mercy too.

    Will keep praying dear sister.



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