Well, we made it back! We left last weekend for Krakow, Poland in order to visit a foreign Ukrainian Embassy (you have to physically leave the country to get new visas), and Krakow was only $120 round trip (for both of us!), and a quick 1.5hr flight. We didn’t expect too much in way of a vacation, only being gone 3 days, one being a day for standing in line for visas, and the other two.. well, it’s Poland, not exactly Disney World. Hey… we were completely blown away! Krakow is most definitely one of the nicest, coolest, places on earth to visit people. It’s a secret hotspot of Europe, at least for Americans I think. Krakow is about 1000 yrs old, it has a ton of cultural and architectural history all bunched up into the most scenic “Old Town” city center I’ve visited. This is also the place where Schindler’s List happened (his factory is there) and the movie was filmed. Often I would imagine the view in black and white and it sent shivers.. the tales of horror and pain this part of the world, this city actually faced. The Jewish quarter to the town is still there, filled with Synagogues, and historical landmarks, restaurants… Once home to some 30k Jewish residents, now occupies less than 500.
There is much more to Krakow than it’s most recent, and devastating past. It’s home to a huge Castle (here, check out some better pics) , and Roman Catholic churches that engross entire city blocks, simply astounding to look at. Anyway, Deb and I had a blast, and look forward to visiting again.. next time we need visas! Thanking God also that we were able to use our newly formed business here in Ukraine to get 3 yr visas… and they said our kids didn’t need visas, so that saved us about $800.
We returned only to face another deadline.. 3 days left before my temporary registration runs out on all of our house goods we brought over… including kids toys, our furniture etc… we have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and get renewal approval to keep our stuff in the country. I won’t go into the details, but it’s important to point out if you ever decided to move to one of these countries… it’s not easy. Svetlana has been working non-stop on our paperwork for our family, registering this, getting stamps for that… she is a blessing from God. Anyway, through the business, we again were able to extend our stuff another year without a hassle (just standing in front of doors all day, waiting for them to grant you entrance)… and we didn’t even have to pay anything, that was going to be $500-1000. Next stop, Belarus tomorrow, we have to exit / re-enter the country again with our truck in order to get another 60 days permit to drive here… that will give us enough time to, Lord willing, get Ukrainian plates and a 1 yr permit… then… I think…. we’ll be good for another year… repeat steps 1-100 next April.
Back to work, I’m fairly behind on my Cypress business world. Looking forward to catching up and starting preparations for our July Outreach trip. We had 10 people express sincere interest in the trip. We’ve anticipated a group 6-10 from the start, and it looks like the Lord is lining things up. It will be a great trip I believe, as much for those that come as it will bless those in the town. You can learn more about the trip on our Missions Network site, which is slowly coming together and will have up to date ministry opportunities and trips, we’ll be keeping this site for more family and personal updates. Thank you for your prayers, we’re glad to be home and Deb is feeling much better by the way, we haven’t received the results from her last batch of tests… but the first tests didn’t show anything out of the ordinary.. the bright sunny and warmer days seem to be helping her, maybe just being indoors all winter plays a role in the lack of energy.. but we still think it’s more than that.
Kids are great, here’s a picture of our backyard garden, I found a tractor dude down the road and asked him to come and plow up our backyard. He did a great job and only charged me $10. It would have taken all of us a week, priceless! Now we are going to plant some stuff and see if it grows, I grew up on a farm and have never grown anything by myself, so this will be interesting.
Oh one last thing, expect a post after this Sunday. We are gathering together with all the believers in town (protestant believers anyway) for a time of worship. The Pentecostals will be running the service, that should be interesting to watch the traditional baptists next to the hand waving and excitable folks. All for His glory, and may our unity be a seed that produces some lasting fruit in the community moving forward. I told Deb that we need to sit in the front row, and bring some flags ha. We are anticipating 100 (at least i am) Christians gathering… folks, I don’t think that has every happened in this town, or any town around here for quite some time (adults/grandparents/youth)… I’ll get some pictures!