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Archive for December, 2008

expat’s Christmas

If we’re citizens of the heavenly kingdom, then I suppose we are all expats!

We had a wonderful Christmas day. Here are the girls as they are now, sleeping peacefully after a big day:

my sweet baby

my sweet baby

my other sweetie sleeps

my other sweetie sleeps

Here are some of their presents, finally neatly stored for tomorrow:

markers, notepads, beads, etc.

markers, notepads, beads, etc.

These gifts were a special blessing to ME. I didn’t buy many presents this year for two reasons. First we have so many toys junking up our balcony–the girls’ toys that overpopulate our house–so on principle, i just have no reason to add more junk to that pile by buying more junky little presents. Second, things are tight all over the planet it seems, and we’re no exception.

But come Christmas, and i start getting invested into the holiday and wishing i had a few more gifts for the girls to open. Then Monday night I visited Olya’s birth preparation class and showed some clips of Vika’s birth and talked a bit, and at the end, she handed us all shoe boxes from the Samaritan’s Purse! What an answer to my unspoken desire! I got home and opened up two boxes full of wonderful gifts–pencils, markers, stickers, beads for necklace-making, notepads, etc. So I divided them up and wrapped them individually for the girls, and we had lots for them to open! The items were nice quality, and just the type of things the girls like to play with at this age. I also had gotten them small children’s sissors because they both love to cut, some puzzles (found on the balcony)–they love puzzles, and a new book, Rapunzel (also found on the balcony).

Vitaliy gave me a few gifts:

a new pair of tea cups with a small teapot not shown

a new pair of tea cups with a small teapot (not shown)

I have a fetish for tea cups, I admit, and Vitaliy knows that 🙂

pineapple scent

pineapple scent

This candle is flickering away on my dest right now.

And I just finished this box of chocolate-covered cherries that I bought us all as a Christmas treat:

Monte Christo is the brand

Monte Christo is the brand

And here’s the tree twinkling behind me:

lights

lights

After we opened presents and ate some breakfast, the babysitters came for a few hours and Vitaliy took me out to a nearby pizzeria and we talked and planned and talked for a long time. Sweet guy—-we read parts of his diary from when we were pre-marriage. It was romantic.

Then I just got done chatting my family–my sister holiday-ing in NC, brother in FL, and parents in Togo. That was nice to touch base.

Check out this article–it’s better than any Christmas classic ever written–because it’s true!

Emmanuel!!! God with us!

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mother-baby center

Olya and I met again yesterday to outline some immediate steps we need to take. Soon we will be printing two brochures, one about the mother-baby center, and the other about a crisis-pregnancy-hotline-resource-center we’d like to see organized. We’ll also write a letter about our need for pastors to join our board of directors for the mb center. We’ll take these packets to pastors and tell them of what we’re doing and our need for volunteers and financial supports and prayer.

We’re planning to have another post-abortion Bible study in February, and Lord willing, we’ll be training other ladies during this one so they can take over the ministry. We’re hoping this also becomes a source of volunteers. It’s a special ministry.

Then, Lord willing, in Sept or Oct we’ll have a training for all our volunteers with someone from the States (then we’ll take over the trainings after watching once). These trainings will probably be annual or bi-annual.

There’s probably more, but that’s most of what we’re looking at, and definitely some definite goals we have before us to keep us moving forward.

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Vitaliy

Our church would like to ordain Vitaliy as a pastor-teacher. That was one thing I noticed about him when we were pre-marriage: he’s a great teacher. Yesterday, he accompanied some others to a village just outside Kiev, and they had a one-day seminar for men and another for women. Lena, our pastor’s wife, taught the ladies from Restore My Heart, and the pastors of our church taught the men for the day, too. Vitaliy did a session on love.

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last week: opera & fish

Thursday i took skyla to the children’s opera theater, and we watched a Russian opera. All the players and orchestra were adults and did a great job!

and just as i suspected, Skyla loved it! She usually has a hard time sitting still, but this kept her occupied in a great way. we sure need to go again.

Then, the lakes are starting to ice over here, so Vitaliy is starting his winter fishing pasttime. We had a whole bathtub full of small fish! They are now being salted and soon will be put in the dehydrator. They make a great snack, if one likes that kind of thing 🙂

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Sunday we had a special 2-hour memorial service for these three ladies who went thru the Forgiven and Set Free Bible study. It was very special, with singing, video, special words, and a poem. Each lady came to the table, put the white roses representing the lives of her children into the basket, and she told us her children’s names and then said a few words.

This table was the centerpiece. The small candles represent their aborted children

This table was the centerpiece. The small candles represent their aborted children, and the large candle represents Christ.

I made a simple cloth leaf and put a pretty ribbon on it to hang it with and gave it to each lady with the reference Revelation 22:2 written on it. The tree of life whose leaves will heal the nations. Amazing leaves!

Lena, our pastor’s wife, attended, and spoke to the ladies about several things, but mostly about forgiveness.  Our pastor also attended; he was very touched and hopes that some ladies from our church can attend the study.

Olya and I are hoping that God will raise up some ladies who can do this regularly here in Kiev. It was a very special time and God blessed and opened and healed in so many ways. In me, too!

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post-abortion Bible study

The ladies are studying diligently and responding so well to this study, thank you so much for praying! We have three ladies, O, L, and N. Last weekend, we did chapters 1. why this is necessary, 2. Character of God (very long about God’s names and qualities), 3. Feelings of relief and denial of guilt, and 4. Anger.

This week, they are finishing the Anger chapter, and completing chapter 5 Forgiveness. This Friday evening, we meet again to discuss forgiveness and study depression. Saturday, we look at Forgiven and Set Free and Letting Your Child Go.

Olya and I are very happy working together! We are thanking God for each other.

Sunday night we will conclude with a very special memorial service. This is very unusual for this culture here, maybe for any culture, but it’s a special time. I’m preparing some remarks about why we are doing this special service for these ladies, and I am really touched by these thoughts:

That in some sense, during this service, we want to re-do or redeem what they experienced during their pregnancies ending in abortions. Once they experienced rejection and fear, and here we want to show acceptance and courage; once they were shamed and hid their deeds, and here we will give honor and bring everything into the light; once they were alone and without help, but here we will surround them with friends and support; once they participated in death, but here we will affirm life.

Pray that O, L, and N will finish well and experience new fulness of forgiveness and freedom in God, not only regarding their abortions, but in other destroyed relationships in their lives.

Our pastor’s wife, Lena, will be speaking to the ladies during the service, and she would appreciate your prayers as she prepares. Also, i will try to post some pictures of the memorial service 🙂

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pray, please

Tomorrow, Friday evening, starts our first post-abortion Bible study. Friday evening, all day Sat, then next Friday eve, all day Sat and closing service on Sunday (the 14th).

we will have 2-4 women, Christians, and they are all longing for more complete healing and for God’s truth. The Bible study, Forgiven and Set Free, is very Biblically based and is full of Scripture. For confidentiality reasons, I don’t think it would be right for me to post many details or photos. Pray for healing, that we would see God as we look into His Word, and that He would teach each one what He knows she particularly needs.

and I would ask you to pray for me. I’m assisting Olya, she’s experienced at doing this, and I need to speak on several occasions. It’s a new topic for me to be talking about so in-depth in Russian, and the first time I’m talking on these certain subjects in this context. So I would appreciate it if you pray for me about that, too.

Thank you!

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