While most of you know we have been waiting on the Gas company for a year now, what you didn’t know was that our existing electricity line and meter was insufficient and ancient.
Today, the electric company showed up and installed our new meter, as well as connected a nice thick cable from the road (I don’t know much about electricity, but I know thick wires are better than think ones!). This boosted our building by a much needed 5k watts, but more importantly connected our new fuse box which regulates the entire building properly.
Now we can turn on the coffee machine, lights, and a vacuum at the same time! We rejoice in the things we can – for it’s progress that keeps us moving forward!
This week we made progress, and a few steps backwards with the Cafe, including:
- Dema took a bus 2hrs away to retrieve the “Gas Course Manual” which he has to study quickly and take a certification test on Tuesday. This will allow us to legally turn on/off the gas at the building.
- Natasha has begun registering the actual employees for the Cafe. This includes tax registration, as well as many other things we never think about in the US (health inspection of each employee, and it’s not just blood work!).
- The Gas company documents (which cost us +4k last fall) were provided a few weeks ago. We then had to take them to another City government office for approval. They, not shockingly, found several things ‘incorrect’ with the provided documents, which is now our responsibility to run around and fix/stamps/lines/money. After we get this approval, we then have one more City government office which will inspect the inspected documents from the Gas company. I stopped worrying about logic a few years ago.
- Fire alarm systems ($2500) have been donated by someone whom I am very thankful. We hope to get that finalized and installed this month. That is the last (we hope) big ticket item.
The concern at the moment with Gas is that Russia has removed the gas discount for Ukraine which means everyone is anticipating very soon an immediate 50% hike in gas costs. For businesses, this will be disastrous as they already pay an average of 3x the amount of residential (this is why many live in their business properties, to heat their properties with the lower costs). They absolutely punish private businesses any way they can with extra paperwork, fees and high utilities.
Because of this looming costs, we are talking now to the Electric company about bringing in another line to turn the entire building electric, away from gas dependency. This would cost about $5,000. It’s not something we are doing now, we just want to focus on opening this facility. However, the gas costs could prove daunting, and that’s our next option to pursue. Amazing we could be looking to buy a new pizza oven (electric vs gas) and heating system for a building we haven’t yet opened – but such is the very unstable situation here.
Today I also received our invitation for Russia. I visited the consulate, brought the security guard a latte from McDonalds around the corner. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, I think I was the first to gift him with a coffee. He refused, but then took it. When leaving after submitting our application, he had a very warm smile on his face. I want to become friends with these guys – I think I’ll be visiting them more often Lord willing.
We pick up visas next Friday, and fly out Saturday… not a lot of room to wiggle. Add to that they required the original visas to be here before I pick up the actual Visas.. that means the mail has to arrive by Thursday, pick up Visas Friday, hop on plane Saturday.. then start course Monday. We’ve got Cheryl lined up, and Shane/Jem as backup for the kids. Broderic and Deb will be coming with me.
Lastly we kindly request you join with us in prayer for our new baby. We had some tests this week that have not been favorable. The scans for Down Syndrome (ultra sound findings and blood work levels), combined with Debs age have put us in a very high risk. Nothing is certain without invasive testing, however it’s been a rough week for us, with a lot of travel to Kiev, learning about the symptoms, and preparing our hearts for something completely unexpected. Please pray for wisdom on us, for the Lord to guide us and grant the peace we need moving forward. Also pray for our little growing son or daughter.. Deb is 13 weeks so a journey still ahead.