Friday, June 3, 2011

April/May Newsletter

Looking back over the last two months, we have many reasons to count our blessings. The Lord has been ever faithful in directing and leading our family here in Ukraine. We have watched His hand open doors, presenting new opportunities to minister his love. We have continued to move forward on existing projects and ministry opportunities as well as enjoying the fellowship of working alongside fellow believers. Here is a quick look at what we have been up to.

Jeanne visits Ukraine
This was my mom's 5th time visiting us here in Ukraine. Whenever she comes, she immediately jumps right in serving and helping wherever needed. She has been involved in the past with our elderly dinner nights. This time she brought gifts that the women's ministry at Calvary North had put together. She spent two weeks with us serving our family, cooking, cleaning and learning some Ukrainian culture. She learned how to make Vareniky with Yura's mom and joined us in our weekly ministries throughout Kaharlyk.

Before I moved to Ukraine, I was once told by a former missionary to remember and note those you have invested in while in youth ministry. Michael Steinle was one of those boys. I have watched him grow and mature in his faith so I invited him to come out here for the summer and pray about what the Lord might have for him here. While he is here, he will be involved in language study and helping me with the various remodel projects at church. He also is involved with us as we minister in youth, orphanage and elderly ministry. He is a servant and loves the Lord. I am watching God work in and through him while he is here. It is neat to watch God chip away and fashion us to be more like him through people and our surrounding circumstances. Please keep him in prayer as he continues to adjust to life in Ukraine and for wisdom and direction for the future.

This is a huge holiday in Ukraine. It is full of tradition and saturated in religiosity. People greet each other on the street by saying "Christ is Risen." And are greeted with the response, "He is risen indeed." Many attend a five-hour mass that continues into the early mornings, bringing their basket of gifts to be blessed by the priest. As we prepared for our youth sunrise service, it was interesting to see the masses of people so early in the morning walking the streets. We again celebrated Christ's Resurrection on top of a hill this year, singing and remembering all that Christ has done.
Jeremy's graduation from Kindergarten
These last 5 years in Ukraine have seemed to fly by. We placed the kids in school and this investment has proved to be a blessing in more ways than one. They learn the language, make friends and invite them to church and our house. It is neat to see God work through their lives at such a young age. This fall we will have three of our kids in elementary school as Jeremy transfers into first class. "Yeah, no more naps" he says!
Josie has also graduated to the next level at her school. They have the same teacher for the first four years. She was blessed to have a wonderful teacher. Next year, she will move to fifth class and have different teachers for different subjects.
Ongoing ministries and links...

Oldies Dinner Nights
The Lord continues to bless this ministry monthly as hearts are touched and mouths are fed. We really enjoy these nights where we work together to bring Christ glory as we serve the needy and lowly in our town.
Every Tuesday we head down to share our lives with these kids. Most are from troubled homes, waiting for their home life to become stable again. Some will return, some won't. We have been involved for about three years now and are praying about being involved in fostering on the weekends. We would appreciate your prayers in this area and the Lord knows the challenges we will face and the strength we will need.
Youth Group
We are watching these youth grow and mature in their faith. It is a slow process but one we are committed to. Like a farmer planting seeds, looking forward to the harvest...we press on investing the word in their lives and hopeful of what the Lord will do in and though them. Last month we enjoyed a fun costume party in celebration of Sasha's 17th birthday. We also had one boy from our youth group graduate from high school. You might remember Vova from our previous newsletters. He and his older brother Serogia have had a difficult upbringing but we have witnessed God's grace poured out in their lives. Vova is planning to work at the biodiesel factory this summer.
Remodel Projects
The Children's ministry room finally has carpet. It was in the plan, but things just take time here. I wanted to design a small pond around the tree with a path leading to it. I used my airbrush to create the stone path. Window blinds have recently been added which will keep the room cool from the sun. Praise the Lord for his blessings and the opportunity to serve him this way. Michael has been helping me in our future coffeehouse. We have laid the floors, grouted tile and textured the walls. Hopefully we will be painting soon.
Check out the video to hear Pastor Wayne's vision for Cricket in Ukraine...
Check out the video about what the Lord is doing with this ministry...

Prayer Points:
• Family - Continued strength and wisdom raising our kids and loving each other
• Josie Sprague and Michael Steinle - Language lessons and adaptation here in Ukraine
• Daily filling of the Spirit for the work he has called us to do.
• Biodiesel - Renewed contract with McDonalds
• Fostering Orphans- Wisdom and guidance as we seek the Lord in this area.

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