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Archive for January, 2009

church’s Bible institute

Vitaliy’s in charge of the church’s local institute for our members, and classes started last Saturday in our apartment. The younger pastor teaches one class in the morning, and Vitaliy teaches another class in the afternoon.

instituteday1

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painting!

painting!

Vika butched off the top back of her hair a few days ago, and skyla's too!

Vika butched off the top back of her hair a few days ago, and skyla's too!

skyla

buildingblocks

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One requirememnt for completing my Charis Childbirth doula/childbirth educator certification is teaching a childbirth preparation series. We currently have three pregnant couples in church and a few pregnant friends, and they are eager for classes and social interaction. So Saturday was the first class. Only two ladies were actually able to attend, and we had a wonderful time together.

I brough fresh veggies with olive oil and a little sea salt to dip them in–they really liked that. We also had Nettles tea, which is wonderful for pregnancy.

I prepared the lesson to cover four topics: anatomy, nutrition, optimal fetal positioning, and prenatal care. Knowing the current situation here, these things seemed really relevant to my audience. For visuals, I had pictures in my powerpoint, a paper pelvis, a knitted uterus doll (which includes sac and cord), and some three-liter jars to talk about blood volume expansion. I also used some of my blood analyses and pregnancy charts briefly to show what prenatal care had been for me.

My preparations led me to talking a lot about nutrition and the importance of blood volume expansion to support the placenta (a temporary organ that increases the amount of blood the mother’s body needs to produce). I also talked about how swelling is not a CAUSE of toxemia (girls here are often told not to drink a lot of water after week 20 to prevent swelling to prevent toxemia). We talked about the necessity of salt. We talked about good, healthy weight gain. We did some exercises together, like pelvic tilts. And we talked about guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) by putting truthful thoughts and information there regarding birth. We talked about a lot of other things, too!

Some weaknesses were my learning new words. I’m so glad Olya was there observing me because she helped me with some of the terminology. It’s a world of new vocab for me in Russian!

Overall, they really enjoyed the time and are looking forward to our next lesson. Me too!

The plan is for me to teach two different couples next Saturday who are due soon. I’ll be teaching them just about birth: the signs of labor, phisiology, stages, comfort measures, work of the husband during labor, etc. Should be very interesting!

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motherhood & ministry

Tonight we had our final meeting with the Post-Abortion Bible study ladies. Incidentally, they gave us permission to use their photos, so here is a picture:

Natasha, Luda, Anne (co-leader), Olya (co-leader), Olya

L2R: Natasha, Luda, Anne (co-leader), Olya (co-leader), Olya

We had a rich ending. We spent a lot of time in prayer–praying for each woman, them praying for us, us all praying for this ministry and Ukraine’s people touched by abortion. These ladies are tangibly different after this Bible study. We talked about the way they felt when they first came–unneeded, lonely, insensitive to their abortions–unfeeling, feeling used by men, etc. We read to them the exact words they had used to describe themselves the first lesson we did. And they each listened and said, “That is NOT ME now!” Their perspectives of themselves and their lives has changed so distinctly! It is even noticeable on their faces and in how they talked!

I come away from this experience with a new sense. For the first time, I feel like I know that I have produced spiritual fruit–and not that I have done it, but that God has done it.  Part of the key to this fruitfulness is my children and specifically my failures as a mother, as strange as that may sound. God has used motherhood to humble me, to see my many and bright sins, to unearth the deficiencies of my character that He knew were always there. Yes, motherhood has humbled me, and marriage, too, at that. And that humbling has allowed God to use me more in ministries like this post-abortion group. Earlier, I think I would have been very proud of all that “I” accomplished in these ladies’ lives. But now that I’ve seen my own sins, my deep need for God’s constant help, my helplessness when left to myself, my horrible self, and my amazing, gracious God. . . Well, now I feel like I really didn’t do anything to help these ladies. Sure, Olya and I prepared things, we planned, listened, spoke, prayed. But I truly feel like I did nothing, on a certain level, and God did it–He changed people; I was somehow a part of it, used by God on some level, but it isn’t at all to my glory. It’s glory to the same God that forgives me day after day, helps my weaknessness, teaches and counsels me, and loves me unfailingly despite my multitudinous failures.  The humbling revelations of motherhood have brought forth fruit for me.

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Yesterday we returned from a week-long trip to ski in the Carpathian Mtns. It turned out to be a great trip on several fronts. Vitaliy got to ski quite a bit, which he enjoys; we all had great fellowship together; and we had we had at least 7 non-Christians with us who also had a great time! The days started with breakfast at nine, then activities of one’s choice all day until dinner at 6pm, then an evening program at 7pm which lasted 2-3 hours.

These unsaved people who came mostly came thru our AWANA program, the parents of some of the children. Here are photos and faces and names to pray for. They were all amazingly open to us and the last night asked a lot of serious questions about church, the Bible, etc.

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I’ve started reading this book:

fivestandardscover

I am really impressed. It’s a compilation of chapters by various authors talking about the 5 standards for safe childbirth: good nutrition, skillful midwifery, natural childbirth, home birth, and breastfeeding.

David Stewart, the main contributor, writes an insightful preface about “How New Ideas Become Accepted.” Here are some quotes:

New ideas, if important, always stimulate controversy. The holders of old or current ideas feel threatened. They tend to respond emotionally. . . . An angry response is often the necessary and unavoidable doorway through which one must pass before a response of acceptance can be reached.

Reformations are not only dependent on those with the vision to see, but those also with the determination to do.

The Four Stages of Accptance of a New Idea:

1. Anger. “It’s a crazy idea and it won’t work.”

2. Openness. “It may work for some, but not for us”

3. Acceptance. “It’s probably a good idea; we’ll try it.”

4. Pride. “It’s a great idea and we’re so glad that we thought of it.”

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Fishing is a hugely popular hobby here, and Vitaliy loves it, too. With the recent freezing weather, he’s started this season’s adventures. On the frozen lake .  . .

vfishing

Yesterday he brought home 143 fish!

fish

since they were frozen, he found it easy to de-scale them using the grater

since they were frozen, he found it easy to de-scale them using the grater

vgratingfis

We did fish soup!

he left the fins and tails, but at least he cut off the heads and took the guts out!

he left the fins and tails, but at least he cut off the heads and took the guts out!

i froze several batches of fish so we could make more soup later, and vitaliy is salting some now to dry them.

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