September 17, 2008

Weeks are flying by. We are enjoying having Neil and Noline, Deb’s parents in town. They have been enjoying the kids for sure, and trying the best to chip away at our house… It must be very frustrating for Neil who had such high hopes to do so many things for us, but in Ukraine nothing happens according to your schedule no matter how sincere your intentions. Needless to say we’ve been to Kiev a number of times for materials, spending entire days trying to accomplish ‘easy’ tasks. It’s actually enjoyable to watch a fellow american be crushed under the absolute inefficiency of this country. It has been a blessing to get our carpet stretched and tacked down properly (they haven’t had carpet in Ukraine for long it seems, they simply glue it all down.. ). The kids have the beginnings of a tree fort in our forest..I haven’t ventured out there yet but it sounds quite dangerous. The goal for the next few days is to get some closets going, we’ve been stacking clothes on the floor and some temporary plastic shelving. It will be so awesome to have a spot designated just for your own clothes… the things we take for granted!

Usually one or two of the kids accompany us to the city during errands. Brent came today, we found a little pizza place that makes ‘ok’ pizza, which means it’s a royal treat because most of the pizza here is nasty to the american pallet.

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This week many things are happening.. please pray for us. Here’s a snapshot:

– Hired a part time secretary name Svetlana. She is a HUGE answer to prayer for me as I’m really needing logistical help from translation needs during the week to Cypress help with small tasks. I miss Autumn in Kilgore! Svetlana is really a double blessing because we also have hired her to teach us Russian, she’s a wonderful Russian teacher and lessons began with the kids (and Cassie) today.

– Office for rent… I’ve rented an office downtown in RZ. Svetlana checked out 13 places and space is extremely limited.. I like this one, it’s in a large building that is owned by the local art gallery. They are renovating it right now and it will have 3-4 small offices, actually a couple businesses (jewelry shop and computer store.. neither of which exist in the town so it could be a really neat spot). The owner already rented it out to some people but he said he’d rather rent it to us… he said the other guys are communists and he is not communist and if we would pay the rent amount it would be ours. How about that?! I’m a little nervous about kicking these other guys out, but this is the only office I saw that was clean and had indoor plumbing… seriously folks, the only other office that had internet would be a bit chilly in the winter if you had to do your business… ha.

– Container Update… every week we are dealing with hindrances of some kind.. it has been racking up some huge bills to at port.. O Lord have mercy. We heard today that the container was being inspected and because of the truck inside, the owner must come to port to sign documents. I’ve paid for ‘door to door’ but that doesn’t work here… I’m off to Odessa now, on the Black Sea to visit the customs agent and see what’s up. Please pray for favor. We are thankful to the Lord for everything He has done, He has provided all our needs. It would be so nice though to get this, we have been living now out of suitcases now for 5 months, renting a car for 3 months.. God has used this to grow us, and we’re thankful, at this point we just want it to be resolved.. whether they ship it back or sink it in the Black Sea, let’s get on with life! WE surrender it to the Lord! Anyway, will be driving 12hrs tomorrow to deal with… God help me come back with good news and use Dan and I during the process.

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[ what!  deb playing mexican train.. she LOVES games..]

– Gas/Heat… almost there.. Daniel has been an amazing blessing working several days a week on documents and requirements from the Gas folks.. we’re building a wall right now around the hot water heater .. as required by the Gas man… and have to replace a window, do a special dance and offer up one of our children.. then I think we will have heat in the house.. with hot water… O the day.. we are most excited about this. It’s been 7 weeks now without hot water, and the weather has taken a sharp turn we are all in snuggly clothes.. the kids keep thinking it’s going to snow.  We are used to bucket baths now, and are AMAZED how you get used to things like this, I start to get the same feeling of excitement now about a bucket of hot water as a 15 minute shower.. Probably because it takes so long to boil that bucket.. you have to plan well in advance:).  Enjoy your creature comforts folks, but don’t love them, they make us soft and whiny.. that has been revealed plainly in my life… there are very few things in life I truly NEED, 99.9% of them have been wants glossed in the over abundant American lifestyle… consider all we have in Christ and the freedom of contentment… I’m not there yet, but God is purging me of being reliant on things that are temporary.

– Kilgore Sister City- pray for this, hit some speed bumps with this.. some lawyers are involved.. say no more. God be glorified.

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as the ability which God giveth; that GOD IN ALL THINGS MAY BE GLORIFIED THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1st Pet 4:7-11)

Grandma and Cousin passed away this week. My grandma was 83 and was suffering so the family is relieved but grieving. My cousin Blair was a few years older than I, two children and a wife left behind. He had terminal cancer for a couple of years and battled hard. I regret not being more involved now that it’s too late. I sent him an email the day before he passed away, I pray that it encouraged him if he read it, and if not, his wife when and if she does. They were both catholic yet possessed faith in the final hours that comforts many of my family members. Death is a powerful reminder of what really matters, it’s been weighing heavily on my heart this week and helping me, I believe, deal with the challenges with fresh perspective.

Be blessed friends, thank you for prayer, really.  God is encouraging us daily, sustaining us through rough patches and we believe the reward will eternal both in our own hearts and those we are able to influence for Jesus.

Sincerely,

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