Monday, July 28, 2008

The Corn Fields

my nephew Lincoln, enjoying some wicked HFCS on his first birthday!
There are many possibilities for corn. Its sad that fuel was not discovered until recently and we had to content ourselves with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup-a different and much more frightening source of fuel). I even created an anti-HFCS club of which the membership rate is skyrocketing. Actually, for a limited time only, I will be accepting new members for the incredible discount of $19.99 a month (plus tax). You will receive a free news letter in the mail and a t-shirt that reads... "Down with HFCS! My mind, body, soul and spirit are deathly allergic to the toxic syrupy madness."

Seriously, corn fields can grow as tall as 12ft and some even as much as 14ft, which are entered into local fairs. why talk about Indiana's most grown crop? because it is what i see every day. its what i drive through, wake up to, taste, feel, smell. yikes, you might say. Yes, but among the corn hides tiny little communities of friendly neighbors and small youth ministries. Churches that give a significant amount of their small budget to missions.

For some reason, my entire immediate family has chosen this spot in the corn to settle down. A couple times a week, when the corn starts to get to us we can go up to Lafayette for some culture. I have become involved in the International Student Center at Purdue and have befriended an Egyptian woman and her husband, who is studying to become a Vet. It is a gift from God, as they are expecting their first baby and need help with the language. I am excited to learn more about their culture and help my friend with English.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I was showing off my pictures to my small groupies and I realized how much i missed my church in Ukraine. These are pictures of saying goodbye at the train station. They literally walked our train out of the station, crying and waving and blowing kisses.

i was humbled by the love shown to me in such a gentle way. This next picture is my beloved Kristina. Kristina was my friend first, translator second and always ready for a good joke. I have more pictures taken by her then me, i think :) I miss you Kristinka.

Natasha was my Ukrainian Princess friend and translator for several breastfeeding classes. She was one of Pam's first clients and friends in Ukraine. I made her step out of her comfort zone a little and dance with me at a party. To get me back, she decided to smear eye liner and pink lipstick on my face in the appearance of a feline horror creature.
Ira my gentle, quiet spirit. she reminded me of myself on my shy and quiet days:) She is a very talented blooming percussionist and one of the most generous people I know. I miss my Irichka.

Babushka Lida! Our faithful grandma and cook. She made the best borsht ever! I know how to make it now, so maybe I will invite people over for some good ole Ukrainian food! She gave the best hugs! I miss our little Russlish conversations. She humbled me more then anyone. Isn't she beautiful?!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Touch Down (not the football kind)

Do you ever wonder what God's response is to our "plans"? I sometimes do, and then I think... "oh, yeah, my plans are not His... right." That's how it was traveling to the USA over a period of three days... no joke. He has a sense of humour that's for sure. Because of a delay in Kiev, Pam and I missed our flight to Atlanta from Paris and were put up in a French hotel. The hotel was not very impressive, but I rediscovered what the French spend their money and time on that is impressive, and that is their amazing French Buffets. So many fancy little starters and salads, desserts and of course accompanied with a french baguette. It was so much fun to see how God took care of us in the midst of frustrating times. (yey for French crepes and pastries!). We were able to sleep in beds instead of cramped up in two feet of airplane with a powerful neck ache all night. Fun times in Indy when our bags did not come on the same plane, but, He provided us with a free meal voucher from the airline for the trouble. Have I mentioned how much I love free stuff? He knows us better then we know ourselves. My bag was delivered to my door last night... again, complements of Delta.

So many decisions to make and pray about making in the next few months. I am praying about the next step in my life. I have my own ideas but I want them to be founded in truth, God's word, and His direction... not what I think should happen. I have been instructed by God to wait on Him so that's all I can do for now. Thanks for praying and making this Ukrainian adventure possible and thank you for your continued prayers. Let's let Jesus surprise us with His plans.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Farewell Ukraine in 2008

Praise the Lord oh my Soul! Praise the Lord and forget not his benefits! Bless His Holy name. He has and will do great things.

As I close this chapter of Ukraine 2008 I want to take the time to Praise God and thank Him for his amazing blessings during my unexpected two month gift of my trip to Ukraine.
  • Praise the Lord for Safety in travel!
  • Praise Him for amazing weather for 2 months
  • Praise Him for Kristina, my wonderful friend, translator and personal Ukrainka guardian angel.
  • Praise Him for Pam and her 7 yrs of fruitful ministry in Ukraine.
  • Praise Jesus for His death on the cross for our sins.
  • Praise Jesus for the hundreds of clients that have been touched by Bear Child Ministries.
  • Praise Jesus for my friends that I have made that will not be forgotten.
  • Praise Jesus for the Lena's, Ulla, Natasha, Ira, the Tonya's, Anya, Masha, and many others.
  • Praise Jesus for Pastor Vitaly, Galla, Luda, Babushka Lida, Oksana, Ira Palashova, Dema, Alec and many others in the leadership of Calvary Chapel of Dnepro.
  • Praise Jesus for giving me the ability to learn some Russian.
  • Praise the Lord for humbling my heart.
  • Praise Him for "Fresh from the Market" fruits and veggies.
  • Praise Him for a place/park to run.
  • Praise Him for cheap and wonderful organic products including lotion and shampoo.
  • Praise Him for the ladies I shared breastfeeding knowledge with and their willingness to learn.
  • Praise Him for the new babies born to clients.
  • Praise Him for the people who helped Pam and I move.
  • Praise Him for the conference in Hungary and what He taught me about my pride.
  • Praise the Lord for keeping me and Pam healthy.
  • Praise Him for the nurses who take care of the babies at the baby hospital.
  • Praise the Lord for those babies.
  • Praise Him for Artyom and Demitri
  • Praise Him for providing for all our needs physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Praise the Lord for everyone who reads this far down and has been praying for me! That would be You! I am so thankful for all of you and excited to tell you more of how your prayers have changed me and hopefully a few other lives as well.. for the better! I love you all! Dasvadania!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Its the People Part 2

I find it strange that I feel more at home amidst randomness then in the neat and tidy life of the typical American. I don't know where God is calling me,(as far as the next mission field experience is concerned), but I do know it will be in a "Random" culture full of fun loving people. Kristina, Lena, and I are posing by the Dnepro River. Lena and Kristina have been a great encouragment to me. Lena's sweet spirit is very affectionate and Kristina is always ready for a tease.

Last week the girls took me to the island to experience the Ukrainian "beach scene". On the way we passed by a Karaoke booth and the girls pursuaded me to sing "Yesturday" by the Beetles. Julia also sang some silly Russian song (see picture below).

Julia (pronounced "Ulia") is one of my favorate people in Ukriane. She has boundless energy and makes it her mission in life to better my Russian and guitar skills. She makes me say the words perfectly and play the chords just the right way. I am grateful for her encouragement because it shows how much she cares. Today is her 20th birthday! Happy Birthday to Ulia. I forgot it was also America's birthday until later this morning.

Below is a video I took by the river that day. They are traditional Dance Fighters. Its like an art form but its competitive and entertaining at once. They never actually touch each other. i have yet to figure it out, but they sure are flexible.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Last week in Ukraine!

As I think back on the last two months, all I can feel is overwhelmed by how fast its gone! When you get into the swing of things, ride on transport without a problem, know the city well enough to get around, be able to communicate through a combo of Russlish and charades, it just seems strange to leave. I know my time here was ordained by God for a specific length. I don't question His sovereignty in leaving in July. I feel as if I have learned more about myself in the last two months then in the past few years of my life. I am much more self absorbed then I ever deemed possible, and I have only to be faithful to Jesus, and the rest will come. Doesn't that just sum up life in general?

This next week will be hectic. Yesterday, we said good bye to many clients that the center has served over the last four years. Wednesday will be another hard day of open house with open tears for Pam and many mommies who have been loved through this ministry. Today we will visit Artyom for the last time and deliver a gift of diapers to the hospital that cares for him. Thursday will be our last visit to the baby hospital where Calvary Chapel has had a servant ministry for the past seven years. We are in a continuous state of getting rid of things. Wednesday night and Friday night will be birthday parties for dear friends, Sveta and Ulia. Saturday, the ladies of the church are throwing a party for Pam and I, and Sunday will be another day of goodbyes. Too many goodbyes, but such amazingly sweet people.
  • Pray that we can smoothly transition and clear out the apartment in a week.
  • Pray for Pam as she leaves her home of seven years.
  • Pray for mommies and daddies who love Jesus for Artyom and Demitri.
  • Pray for me as I look for a job and transition back to life State side.