We’ve been in Central PA, at our new place in the blue ridge mountains for the past 3 weeks. When we arrived, the autumn foliage was stunning. Our house is quite literally on the side of a mountain. It’s been surreal setting up a place of our own on this side of the Atlantic. This is the first time we’ve been over to the US in 14yrs where we weren’t traveling around in suitcases and sleeping in spare rooms.

We are, in a word, thankful. Thankful for God’s creation, for many conveniences, the language.. although there are a lot of hispanic speaking folks up here which was suprising to us. Coming from Texas, this is quite normal to see signage and hear Spanish during your day, but I didn’t expect PA to have such a large diverse population.

Our kids are missing Ukraine, for them, we are on sort of a mission trip. They are, however, loving the nearby indoor pool, workout facility and other activities you don’t normally find in Ukraine so easily.

Clark helping me carry some dry wood to mix in with our not-so-dry load of wood that we bought. With the winter weather moving in, we’ve been burning wood daily to help with the heating costs. Electricity, propane (for heat), water, we are a little shocked at how expensive things are here. Food is particularly pricey, so we’re doing our best to navigate the best places and deals. We definitely miss Ukraine for the cost of living on a practical level.

The girls LOVE swimming. Most kids do. It’s hard to get them out of the pool.

Last week we had our two oldest come, Broderic and Kristin with baby Byron, and Bronwyn. Here’s a shot of the 6 of 8 together, images of what will come end of December when the missing 2 (Brent and Tucker) return as well. It will be a joy, and a whole lot of food to prepare over Christmas with our growing family descending upon our new place – this was Deb’s dream, in this season to have a place our crew could land and congregate… It has begun!

Saw this painting sitting all alone inside a large department store last week. Amidst all of the consumerism, and materialism, the Christ, humbly, inconspicuously, the beauty of it all struck me. Jesus is so simple, divinity inviting us to consider the meaning of life.

I thought this was funny. I’ve been reading a lot, and discovering still many cultural and ideological differences between the East and West.

Broderic is now a dad, he’s 24yrs old and like me at that age, learning how to share his heart with your own flesh and blood. Byron is 8 months old, quiet, sweet boy. He will come back with his parents after Christmas and we’ll get one more week with him before they all head home, and we prepare to head back on January 20 to Ukraine.

It’s hard to believe I’m a granddad. I don’t want to be called papa, or grandfather.

Deb just completed an intense 2 week stint online with her spiritual director course. I’m about to head into a similar intensive week this week and next. We’ve been reading a lot. Deb’s got the larger stack on the bottom, I’m needing to stay fairly focused on required missiology/leadership themes, she gets to choose a little more.

We continue to watch the news, both in Ukraine with Russian tension, and all this pandemic relentless (it seems) information. We miss our friends and faith family in Ukraine. I get a fairly continual flow of texts and notes reminding me of a life I have on the other side of the world. For now, we are trying to be present, and listen to what the Lord is trying to say. It’s not easy to rest, it’s hard work.

Thank you friends for praying, supporting us during this chapter in our lives. It feels like a reset, a time for pruned focus. We are learning to embrace the marathon that is life, and resting in His goodness. He has been so good to us.