June 18th, 2015

One of the sweeter things about living here - our neighbor down the street is a beekeeper.

One of the sweeter things about living here – our neighbor down the street is a beekeeper.

With the team leaving last week, we’ve enjoyed some much needed downtime and evenings together as a family.  We watched several movies, including Field of Dreams – it’s fun introducing movies to my kids that spark discussion or debate.   Isn’t it interesting how watching the same movie many years later can be a completely different experience?  I found so many Christian themes in that silly movie this time – from the antagonistic forces when you step out in faith, to the providential arrangements (behind the scenes) workings, to regret and reconciliation.   My kids, not unlike my first reaction 20yrs ago, found it plain weird.

Deb, Bronwyn and Claire left this morning for Colorado.  Deb’s sister is getting married next week and I’ll be holding down the fort for the next 12 days.

Abbey is a delight.  Inquisitive, kind, but can also handle her own with the boys.

Abbey is a delight. Inquisitive, kind, but can also handle her own with the boys.

Last night we hosted our 2nd English Night.  We’re getting some neat families and couples come out, it’s really encouraging.   Last week we had about 15 come out, this week several new folks came out, probably around 20-25 total which is approaching our limit upstairs – especially when we break for a round of Dance Revolution on the big screen 🙂

One new visitor Alexei, whom I met for the first time last night, owns the local ‘nightclub’ over by our theater.  His english is fairly strong, but he wants to improve it – he brought his young daughter Bogdona with him who also is quite sharp.    Alex seems like a nice guy and I hope to connect with him for coffee soon.

I’m about to head to the various computer shops in town in hopes of catching a thief.  Deb’s laptop went missing last week and we’re now fairly convinced some kids may have taken it.  About the same time it went missing, Deb found some kids on our deck (not allowed back there), and our school room door opened.  We’ve looked everywhere, but now think someone snitched it.  I’m pretty sure anyone trying to use it will need the help of a technical person.  Other than all but one of our kids bike, and the two scooters from last year, we’ve had a fairly quite year in the thievery department.   Pretty amazing considering the dozens of kids wandering in and around our house every day.

Finally convinced Alyosha to hang our new large banner - it was a very windy day making it more of a challenge that we'd thought.

Finally convinced Alyosha to hang our new large banner – it was a very windy day making it more of a challenge that we’d thought.

Today the KBAC (pronounced KVAC) equipment arrived at the Cafe.   It should be installed by tomorrow.  It operates like a beer tap, connects to a Keg and cools on the fly.  KBAC is a wheat germ drink, that tastes similar to Beer, but is non-alcoholic and a favorite of most Ukrainians – especially in the summer.   I’m promising myself its the last ‘extra’ thing we do before Pizza – who would have thought we would have become a full fledged Dairy Queen and Starbucks and STILL not have gas.

Speaking of Gas, I’ve begun researching selling our Pizza Oven.   Even if we do get gas one day (week to week right now, a new guy from another town is dragging feet on approval), the actual costs to run the oven could be impossible to sustain.  We’re not sure until we try, but I think we need to look at electric ovens.  They are about $1000 for a good used one that can cook 4 small pizzas at a time.  I probably should have switched months ago, but we spent so much time and energy on this gas route I have been stubborn to see it finally work.   If we don’t have gas and pizza by August (students return), we will look to electric and pray God provides for that.

Visiting my friend who owns a photography shop, with a fabric business on the side - I want one of these cutters.

Visiting my friend who owns a photography shop, with a fabric business on the side – I want one of these cutters.

I’m already thinking about this fall and winter season.  I think many people are.  It’s going to be the first real test of the Ukrainian economy and social stability with new doubled gas prices and more ‘independence’ from Russia.  Russia is betting, I think, on Ukrainians to cave and for chaos mid winter when nobody can pay their bills, and homes are freezing.   Those home who haven’t switched to fully wood will be hit hard.  We are needing to get our Cafe switched to a wood burning furnace as well, and I would love to convert our house too.   These are the things domestically at least that occupy my mind recently.

My last thought of this blog, is that of the brevity of life.  I’ve always enjoyed, even as a young teen, to stroll through cemeteries (during the day!).  It’s a healthy wakeup call to my too often lazy mind and soul.  I’m reminded each time of the gift of life, the buried dreams and ambitions.  I haven’t strolled through the Ukrainian cemeteries too often, but this past week I did and was hit once again with the reality that not only did those who’ve passed have dreams and hopes, but God Himself did as well over their lives.   You could even say Christ came to make the dream of God possible – He desires none to perish but ALL to come into relationship with Him.

LeonardRavenhill-grave

When Christ came, He died and rose from the grave.  I have to remind myself that or my strolls can become really depressing.  The reality of His resurrection should wake us up from slumber – that this life will fade, like the flowers of the field, but we’ll continue on living.  What I’m strolling around is just dust becoming dust.

Though we are eternal beings, the lives we live here truly matter.  Christ wants them to count for His glory, His fame, His Kingdom.  He wants them to shout to a broken world that there is a Healer.  It doesn’t matter if you are living in the US, Africa or Antarctica – your physical life matters, and your physical life will come to an end – perhaps even soon.  We know this, but we push this to the back of our minds – I don’t think we should.

Ecclesiates, in the 11th Chapter, the preacher says, “Rejoice young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of your manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.”

I think the point of the encouragement is to ‘go for it’, yet in your ‘going for it’ remember that we are not independent creatures – we are connected to our Creator, and He will bring our lives lived on earth into account.   That’s not a worrisome thought if we are embracing Jesus Christ as God and receive by faith the gift of salvation.

I want to live for that day more effectively.  Eventually someone will be walking past my tombstone, and it will be too late to ‘go for it’ – I have now, I have no guarantee of tomorrow, if it comes – it’s a gift.

Our local cemetery - the faces embossed on the tombstone bring home the reality of this gift called 'life'.

Our local cemetery – the faces embossed on the tombstone bring home the reality of this gift called ‘life’.

 

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