Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Christy's Birthday

We are so blessed to have great friends here that offer to watch our kids so that Christy and I can get away together. For Christy's birthday, we took a day trip to Kiev. We checked out the mall, Caravan, where we had some good coffee, window-shopped, went bowling, and had some yummy soup bread bowls for lunch. It was chilly outside, but we still enjoyed a walk along the river. For dinner, we tried out one of the many theme restaurants that are just outside of Kiev on the road heading back to Kaharlyk. The one we chose was called Three Musketeers. It was actually very had ducks, swans, and even a petting zoo. We were the only ones dining in the restaurant, which gave it a very romantic feel. It was a nice get-away and I think Christy had a very relaxing and enjoyable birthday!

Youth Conference in Kaharlyk

Last week we put on our first youth conference in Kaharlyk. It was a big step, but awesome to see so many come together and be involved to make this event happen. The theme of this one-day conference was "Being Called By God." Jake Knotts, a pastor from Chernihiv came and spoke on God's calling on our lives and also on serving God. The day included worship, games, Bible teaching, dinner and an afterglow. Six towns came and participated. It was wonderful to see a room full of youth eager to love and serve God more. We closed the night with worship and lighting candles. Each person came forward to light a candle symbolizing their desire and commitment to let their light shine in their community.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The last few weeks...

We have not blogged in the last few weeks so here is look at some of the things that went on in our lives... We attended a youth conference in Zhovti Vodi (Yellow Waters). We piled into our van along with the Zschech family and drove 5 hours through pot-hole filled roads to meet the rest of our youth group at the conference. We enjoyed 2 days of worship, teaching, great fellowship and wonderful hospitality. I taught a 2 hr. workshop on design principles and how to apply it in photoshop. I shared about looking to creation for design inspiration created by the "great Designer".
Last year, I got to know the village veternarian. Emily, our dog, was having some stomach issues, and someone directed us to Sergei. When my mom was here, we all went out to Sergei's home for an authentic Ukrainian meal. His wife, Lyena, laid out quite a spread and we enjoyed an amazing meal and fun conversation, thanks to our translator, Anya. We decided to return the favor and invited them over for an "American" meal at our home. We also invited Yura and Oksana. So, Christy actually went with the Italian dish, lasagna, complete with garlic bread, fruit salad and carrot cake for dessert. We think that they enjoyed the food or they were being very polite. Sergei and his son, Dima, tested out the Wii bowling and loved it. It was a fun evening and we pray that God would give us more opportunities to spend time with this family in the future and share with them the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Sergei and his son bowling on wii.

The men in our church decided to put on a special dinner for the ladies in our church. Yura was the head chef and other men helped cook, serve, or provide entertainment. The ladies had a nice time being served and just relaxing and chatting with each other. According to my wife, "I had a great time and loved the food Yura cooked for us. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy a quiet meal with friends and not having to lift a finger to help with cooking or dishes! So, when is the next one?"
The Lord has provided me with some little work projects to help some of the ladies in our church. I helped out with a remodel at Natasha Semenenko's place, plastering and patching up her ceiling. Another project that came my way was building a temporary outhouse for a babushka in our church. Baba Olya has a fueding neighbor who has been harassing her and tends to destroy her property. His last rage was against her outhouse. She lives alone and usually has many jobs that need to be done around her house.

Baba Olya stands in front of her destroyed outhouse.
The temporary outhouse I built...4 poles, black plastic and a door.

The church had a work day to clean up the building and surrounding property. We showed up ready to work. Our cleaning arsenal consisted of rakes, shovels, brushes and a tractor complete with trailer for all the trash and rubble. The Lord gave us a beautiful day to serve him!