Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still adjusting.......

Now that I have been home for almost a week and a half, I still find myself adjusting back to life here in the states. I had a very nice trip home. The train ride was great even though it was very hot and I couldn't sleep. Bill got the bunk where he got all of the cool air coming in from the window (lol). However, when we got to our hotel in Kiev after site seeing most of the day, he got a room that had no air conditioning and mine did. So we considered ourselves even (lol). Then we left the hotel at 3:30 am because my flight was leaving around 5:30 that morning. Bill went ahead and went with me, because his flight to go to Hungary left at 7:00 am. He had to go there to pick up his visa. I was so nervous about leaving because I really didn't want to leave and I am still not entirely sure if Ukraine is where God is leading me back to serve as a missionary.

There were a few times I almost got lost the in the airport Frankfurt, Germany. And of course that put me a little behind at boarding. That flight was the closest flight I came to missing my whole round trip! All of my other flights I was at the gate at least an hour ahead of time.

However, my last flight from Chicago to Cincinnati was the most interesting. The guy that I sat by name was Richard, if I remember correctly. He had been flying all day to visit his family in Dayton, OH all the way from California. We talked the whole flight. He was not a Christian. I got the chance to share part of my testimony with him. He seemed like he was searching, but was still very lost. he said that he went to a Catholic boarding school when he was young. He said he has not really had anything to do with the church since. Besides telling him my testimony, he wanted to here about my trip in Ukraine that I was just coming back from and what all I did over there. He thought it was very cool. Then we just talked about some general things. He said that this trip had made him tired. I said "I know. Tell me about it!" Then we laughed because I had been traveling for almost 20 hours. I hope and pray that he remembers what I said God had done for me and how he can change lives because He had changed mine and many others.

Once I was off of the plane and went to pick up my luggage, there was Miss Deaton waiting fro me! I was so happy to see her. What was funny was that she was looking right at me and didn't see me until I was giving her a hug! I told her all about my trip the whole way back to school. I thought for sure I would fall asleep, but I didn't. Later on about 8pm though I was out! Then I slept for as long as what I did when I got to Ukraine, which was about 13 hours. However, after sleeping that long I did not have that much jet lag! I took one whole day before going back to work Friday.

So now I have finished my first full week back here at home working. It has been very hard for me to adjust in some areas. Work has been a little hard because my mind is about 7 weeks behind in what is usually done. The hardest thing is though I am glad to be home and see and talk to everyone I missed, I find myself thinking about those that I left back in Ukraine constantly. I miss them very much. I want to go back! However, I know I can't as of right now (lol). I am praying that God would help me to know what His will is for this desire of mine to go back. Whether this is Him calling me to Ukraine, or whether it is strong emotions that will pass, but yet still having a love for the people. Please pray with me about this. Thanks!

Well I better go, got my internship notebook to finish and my Ukraine presentation to start! I am so excited that I get to share with you and many others about my trip and what God did!

God bless,

Monday, June 28, 2010

I am sooooo blessed!! :)

Well, my time in Berdaynsk, Ukraine is over. :( The last time I talked with you I had mentioned that two of my ministries were overwith. My last two ended by Saturday.

Friday working in the youth center seemed very odd for me. It did not seem as if that was really my last day working there. The shock of it did not hit me until later. I did not want it to be my last time. I wanted to play with and get to know more of the kids more.

But Saturday was even harder yet. It is funny how God always has chosen to show me the impact that I have made for Him stay whether it is at home on vaction or here in Ukraine. We had 44 people at the youth service on Satruday. That is about double the amount that we normally have. :) Since I went camping with some of them the Saturday before last, I got to know those who I hadn't really been aquainted with yet, and all of them were at the youth meeting on Saturday. I bought cake and pop enough for everyone since it was leaving. So after the service we kind of had a party and played more games and took lots of pictures. Everyone thanked me for coming and told me that they wanted me to come back, and hoped that I would. The most exciting part though was the suprise they all gave me. The youth bought me a stuffed tiger pillow and a box chocolates to show their appreciation for what I had done during my stay here. It was then that God revealed to me that I made more of an impact on people's lives than what I thought. By the time it was all over, I had gotten a lot of hugs and had shaken lots of hands.

Then yesterday was my last time to go to church here in Ukraine. I went to Alex and Stopa's church again (The Church of Christ the Savior) for my last time going to church. I have went there for half of my stay. I came to know and become friends with quite a few people, including their pastor, Pavlo. I truly got blessed in the service. God's presence was there. At the end of the service, pastor Pavlo said for me to thank my home church for allowing me to come and be a blessing and to give their church's greetings and blessings to them. That really touched my heart. So Bluffton First Church of the Nazarene, greetings and blessings upon you from pastor Pavlo and the church!

After the service was over, I took Sveta and her husband Andre, Stopa, Alasa, Alex and Lera with Nora, Bill and Oksana, Tonya, and her two boys Dema and Roma out for pizza. I wanted to do this because these are the people who I have grew close to. We had a lot of fun! However, it was very hard to say goodbye to all of them that I would not see today before I left.

So now I am packed and ready to go, but I think a good part of my heart is staying here. Please pray that I would have a safe trip home, and that God would guide me and give me wisdom once again about going through the airports. I will let you know when I get back home. Talk to you later.

God bless,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The last day for two of my ministries...

Well, things are definitely coming to a close. Today was the last day for two of the ministries that I have been a part since I have been here. Those were the orphanage and Bible club ministries. :(

My last day at the orphanage was a very good one. There were 5 new kids who came to the orphanage this week altogether. Two on Tuesday, and three today. There names are Sasha, Ena (brother and sister), Nastia, Yana, and the other one I seen but she did not stay outside with us, so I don't know her name. Even though today was the first time I had seen Yana, she got attached to me pretty quick. Before I left she told me that she loved me. She even gave me one of the pictures she colored telling me so. When I gave them their gifts, Tonya told them that today was my last day coming to see them because I was going home next week. I think only the older kids like Katia and Yana heard Tonya say that. They gave me very big hugs and were sad when we went to leave. Yana was especially because had just met me, told me she loved me and I told her the same. I would love just to bring them all home with me! :)

The last day of our Bible club went really well too! It went well even though I just found out last night that I was going to be in charge for the whole order of things and what we were going to do today for the club. We had about 16 kids. There were probably 4 or 5 that were new. They too were very sad to here that today was the last day for the club and that I was going to be leaving to go home. However, our last day was kind of a fun day. We had games, songs, a craft, and lesson like we normally do, but for snack we had cake, Coke and orange and lemon Fanta pop. They loved it especially because they don't get that kind of pop very often at home. Everything seem to fall into place, especially the lesson about following Jesus everyday and what things we must do to grow in Him.

Tomorrow is my last day working in the youth center. Saturaday is my last service with the youth. Then Sunday is my last day to go to church and worship with my brothers and sisters in Christ. :( Oh, how I am not ready to leave yet. However, I know I must so I can finish training for the ministry God has for me! Then maybe, if it is the Lord's will and this is where He wants me to be, I will come back and see all my Ukrainian friends!

Yet at the same time I am excited about coming home so I can share all of the funny stories I have, how God worked, show pictures, and definitely just share the passion God has given me to serve Him in missions!

Well, good night! Talk to you soon. :)

God bless,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Answered prayer....!

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me and the ministry here!

Today I gave a salvation message to the children who came to the Bible club. I had asked the last time I blogged for special prayer for God's anointing for today's lesson. Well, God truly answered prayer! God not only helped me not to make it too long, but mainly to say the words He knew needed to be spoken at the children's level of understanding. At the end of the lesson, I gave an invitation for the children to repeat a prayer after me to accept Jesus into their hearts. Oksana told them that if they wanted to prayer the prayer to repeat the prayer after she translated what I said. All 20 kids stood up to pray. Most, if not all prayed the prayer aloud. Tonya, Oksana, and I are not sure how many really accepted Jesus because the kids are used to praying aloud togther for the blessing of the snack. But I truly believe and trust in God that more accepted Jesus than what we may think. I seemed to sense a different atmosphere throughout the rest of time we were with the children. I praise God that His presence was their, and that these children have chosen to follow Him! To Him be all the glory!

Besides giving a slavation message and the craft, I also handed them the Gospel of John in Russian that Bill told me I could get from the bookstore. To my surprise, they loved them! I was thinking that they may think it is like school and more reading or something, but they didn't! They were all very excited! It is so amazing how God changes hearts and lives after people have accepted Jesus.

Well, I just wanted to share this wonderful news of answered prayer with you! I will talk to you soon!

God bless,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

God is so faithful!!!

Hello again! Since I have talked with you last, God continues to prove His faithfulness to me. I would like to thank everyone for their prayers these last few days. God answered prayers for the backyard Bible this last Thursday when I was to be teaching my first lesson. It went very well. The kids really seemed to enjoy the lesson. I think they learned much. But all the honor goes to God.

I will also be teaching the last 2 lessons for the Bible club this week since this is my last full week in Berdaynsk. Because after I leave, the Bible club will end. I would ask you to pray for these last two lessons. Tomorrow I will be sharing about Jesus' birth and His death on the cross. This will be a salvation message. Pray that God would touch the heart of each child that they may come to know Jesus as their Savior. Then on Thursday I will be speaking about how we continue to follow and serve Jesus after accepting Him as our Savior.

This is also my last week working at the youth center and the orphanage. I will dearly miss all the kids and teens/youg adults I have met and the people I have worked with.

As for the camping trip Saturday, it was a blast! It was not really ordinary camping like what we would consider camping. We camped next to a farm in a few old abandoned farm houses that belong to pastor Pavlo (Alex and Stopa's senior pastor; he pastor's one of the Norwegian evangelist's, Austin, churches).
I even swam in Europe's largest river, the Dugger River, for it was right next to where we camped. As for activities, we hit the softball around a little, played frisby, tossed different balls around, went swimming, sat around and chatted, and had a service around a camp fire.

However I got to do something that I was not expecting. That was to ride a motorcylcle! One of the young adults, Egor, owns a motorcycle. He and his wife are even a part of a bike club, the Berdaynsk bike club which are just simply some Ukrainians who own a motor cylcle and like to go site seeing and things. Egor showed me some pictures. Egor heard from Alex that dad was a biker so he asked Bill if he could take me to on a ride. It was a blast! Egor and Losha (another one of the group) made fun of me when I first got of because I was walking a little funny....I guess (lol).

Well, it is time for me to say goodnight. I have a busy last week here in Berdaynsk. I will be leaving next Monday by train to arrive at Kiev on Tuesday. then I will spend the night in a hotel, and fly out of Keiv about 3 am on Wednesday morning to come home. Talk to ya'all later!

God Bless,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am still alive! (lol)

Hey everyone! I hope everything is going well back in the states! Sorry again that it has been so long since I wrote to you last, but the internet has not been working where I am supposed to have access. However, I believe the problem is fixed now!

So much has happened since I have written last that I can not remember it all. The main thing that has happened since the last time is that Tonya, Oksana, Chris, and I started the backyard Bible club up again for the first time since Shushan was here. So far it has gone fairly well. There have been a few wrinkles that had to be worked out between us workers, but I think everything is fine now.
So far we have had anywhere from 10-25 kids. The kids have seemed to enjoy all of it.

I actually get the opportunity tomorrow to teach the lesson to the kids besides the craft. We will be talking about the fall of man. I am very excited for this opportunity. I pray that God will help me to deliver His message tomorrow.

As for my other two ministries, they are going very well too. The children at the orphanage have just enjoyed the crafts that I have come up with, but most of all they enjoy me just loving and playing with them. Two particular little girls have really taken a fancy to me, and they are Masha and Looba. They are very adorable. However, all of the kids give me hugs when we arrive at the orphanage. The little boys, usually take my things so that I will chase them. They just loved to be chased and caught over and over again. :)

The youth center is not so busy with so many little kids now until about 5 or 6 pm because usually they are at the beach. However, there have been a few more youth actually coming into the center.

The youth meetings have also been great. The Saturday before last there was a game that was played where they just randomly chose one person at a time to sit in front of everybody while they gave complements about that person. Well, you guessed it! I got picked! For most of them not knowing me very well, they did a pretty good jod on gussing some of my characteristics such as being bashful when I am around new people, being an artist, easy-going, and other things like I have a great smile, I am bright as the sun (I was wearing my yellow KMBC t-shirt), I am funny, I have a personal relationship with God, ect. While I was up there, I was so imbarressed I was blushing. Bill made fun of me because of that (lol).

Then this last Saturday at the youth meeting I was asked to give the Bible lesson on Joy. I was very excited for the opportunity. I thought I would be nervous when it came time to give it, but I wastn't. Alex translated for me. I even sang one of my most favorite hymns "It Is Well With My Soul". I felt led to sing that because when we have the true joy of knowing Jesus, we should be able to sing this song whole heartedly. I think I kind of suprised some of the people who have been around me the most that I could sing. However, it was God who sang and spoke through me. I believe that is why that the youth seemed to be very attentive and responsive.

Other things I have done is give my testimony here at Bethel Church, go to the beach twice, and go to Don's house (another missionary) for a young adult fellowship/cookout. All of these things over the past week and a half has been a lot of fun!

Then this Saturday the youth are going to camp out for the night at the campground! And I get to to go! I am so excited! I think there are gong to be at least 10 of us, and that includes the youth leaders Bill and Alex. We are planning to not only have lots of fun, but have time in worship together.

Well, hopefully there will be no more internet problems (lol)! It seems almost unreal that I have been here in Ukraine for a month now! Only two weeks until I come home! Even though I do miss everyone back there at home, I also feel at home here with my new friends I have made. I will miss them very much, and part of me does not want to leave. However, I am not sure if this is where God is calling me. The more I seem to think about it, the more it seems right, but I want to be sure. I am praying that in these last few weeks that God will give me an assurance one way or the other. Please pray with me on this. Thanks!

Well, it has been nice to communicate with all of you again! I hope to talk to you again in a few days!

God bless,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sorry I haven't blogged for the last week. ...

Hey everyone! Sorry I have not blogged for the last week. The internet has not been working every time I have tried to get on to write to you. And things have really started to pick up pace! I have found myself exausted by the end of most days.

However, so much has happened since I worte last, and all of it is excitng! Saturday I got to go shopping down at the Bizzare (clothing, shoe, house decore, etc.) with Chris. We had a lot of fun, and I even bought something! But you will just have to wait till I come home to see it!

Then on Sunday I gave my testimony at the Permorsque church in Permorsque. The atmosphere of worship there was amazing.

On Monday our little group of missionaries and workers got together and started planning the VBS/backyard kids club that we are starting June 8th here at the Center. This is a program that is atleast going to be 6 weeks or a little longer and is two days a week. Then if this goes well after the first few weeks, we are thinking about holding a childrens service on Saturday mornings or early afternoons. Out of all of this, I get to help make the flyer to advertise it, help teach, and come up with the crafts! We had our last meeting before we start Tuesday today so that we could finish wrapping things up in what we are actually going to do.

Then Tuesday was Kids Day! at the orphanage the children put on a program for us. they were so cute. And they got to be on TV! There were a few camera men there filming part of it. At the youth center later on I actually beat Stepan 2 times at Skip-Bo, and was about to beat him again (lol), but Angelina (my new little friend) came and wanted to play. She is very sweet girl with a lot of energy! She wares me out (lol), but we have fun!

Since yesterday was my day off, I didn't do anything much except work on the VBS flyer.

Now today was exciting! You know why? Because I got to celebrate my b-day in the Ukrainian way! It was so much fun! And yes, I took pictures. :) Even though it was my b-day, I also really enjoyed just playing at the orphanage and the youth center with the kids. At the orphanage, we got to make little lambs for a craft. The kids just loved them. Then at the youth center I played Skip-Bo, and ping-pong btween Stepan, Bill, little Luisa, and the other kids.

So between the orphanage ministry and backyard Bible club twice a week, and the youth center ministry, I am going to be one busy person! But I am used to busyness. :)

Well I hope this catches you up on what is going on here on the other side of the world! TTYL!

God bless,