Over the past six months, we have been praying and seeking God as to the direction of our future here in Ukraine. We moved to Ukraine six years ago, with the vision of coming alongside Calvary Chapel Kaharlyk to help and serve in any way we could. That included ministering to youth, elderly outreaches, building projects, and working with orphans, just to name a few. In the time that we have lived in Kaharlyk, we have seen the Lord do many amazing things and we have grown in so many ways. But now, we are announcing to you, our supporters, friends and family, that we have made the decision to move back to America.
This has been an incredibly hard decision to make. It has been made with many months spent on our knees in prayer and after many long discussions with Pastor Wayne, Danny and my family. Basically, we feel that we have fulfilled the mission that we set out to do. The 3-5 years that we committed to has passed. So, the question is whether the Lord has called us to stay long-term or not.
For us to stay long-term in Ukraine, two things would need to happen. First, we would need to really learn the language. We started out well when we moved here, traveling to a language school in Kiev twice a week. But with the birth of Justin shortly after we moved, language lessons were put on the back-burner. And we never quite got back to the rigid schedule that is needed to learn the language. We have not achieved a fluency that would allow us to minister to Ukrainians in a more in-depth way. Because I am such a relational person, this is hard for me. (One thing I would add, though, is that God is so gracious and He has repeatedly used my inabilities and weaknesses, such as not speaking Ukrainian well, for his glory!!!) It is clear to us that the amount of time needed to study and become proficient at the language would not be best for my family at this point in time.
Secondly, we would need to have a long-term vision for staying in Ukraine. It has been so cool to look back over the past 6 years and see what doors God has opened up for us to minister. We just needed to be open and allow the spirit to guide and He would show us the needs even in the smallest ways, like driving babushkas home or giving someone needy a loaf of bread. We have dabbled in many areas and been blessed beyond measure by the ways God has worked. However, God has not confirmed in my heart a clear vision of ministry for the long-term. This is another indicator that it is time to move on. The church here in Kaharlyk is becoming more unified and mature and it is our prayer and desire for the Ukrainian people to step up and serve in many of the areas that I did as a missionary. This is the goal, for the members of the church here to step up and take an active part in service...being the hands and feet that God intended them to be.
We can already see the ways God wants to use us in America. It is our desire to be a bridge for the people in America to the work happening in Kaharlyk. We want to be a voice for Wayne's ministry and vision for community transformation. This could mean leading short-term trips, speaking at churches, helping raise support and assisting Wayne in future trips to the US. We are fully behind Wayne and Danny and the work in Kaharlyk. We want to continue to be a part of helping spread the vision of all that God is doing in this little town!
So, what happens next? Our plan is to fly home to the US on May 1. So, we have about 8 weeks left living here in Kaharlyk. Our house is up for sale here, however, the market is not good. If it does not sell, we might rent it out and try to sell when the market picks back up. We plan to stay in Arizona for 4-6 weeks. During that time, we would like to travel to the churches and individuals that have supported us over the years and give a debriefing of our time in Ukraine. After that, we plan to move our family to Colorado. This is the place that the Lord has been leading us to move and settle. We do not know all of the details yet, but we trust that God already knows. We have seen how He has led the way for our family to move to Ukraine, and we are so excited to watch what He does in moving us back home!
1. For our breaking hearts: This is going to be an extremely painful process over the next 8 weeks, saying goodbye to the people that we love so dearly. It is also a hard thing for everyone in the church to understand, why we are leaving. It will be difficult for us to let go and also for them to let go of us. Pray that God would fill us with His peace and help us to look to Him in our grief and sadness.
2. For the finances to make this move, from the flights, to renting a place in AZ, to hauling our stuff to CO...and basically to start over from scratch!!! We sold everything to come here. We are asking our financial supporters to pray about continuing to support as we make this transition. We will need to get settled and find employment which could take a few months. Please pray and seek the Lord as to how you can be involved in our transition.
3. Logistics - kids finishing school, getting rid of all our stuff, selling items, cleaning, packing, visiting friends...etc.
4. Youth group - the group is in a state of transition right now and the leaders have been praying about what direction God would like it to take.
5. We are looking for a place to stay in AZ for 4-6 weeks and a vehicle.
We will continue to send out our newsletters and keep you posted on how the Lord guides us in this transition. We look forward to sharing about all God has done in our time in Ukraine!