Archive for January, 2014

I started doing this series months (years?) ago, when I was studying fundraising in the Bible. I was prompted to keep recounting how God provides.

The things I’ve seen lately:
***Friends and churches we’ve visited have been very generous with us financially and with gifts.
***They have also just supported us with love and listening. More than ever before, this visit I have desperately needed emotional support. The last term was … incredibly stressful. I’m really thankful for friends who’ve listened and encouraged.
***A church started supporting us.
***Another church wants to try fundraising for us 2ce a year.
***I’ve also been encouraged by the results reported from the crisis pregnancy hotline in Kiev. It’s hard, detailed, emotionally-taxing work, and it’s sweet to see fruit from that.

I want to mention, if you would like to help with operating costs for the rehab center or for the crisis pregnancy ministry, please let me know and I’ll send you information about these ministries.

As always, God has been so good, so “enough.” We’re very thankful.


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So I will stop crying about the atrocities going on in Ukraine, I’m posting a little study update.

One of my goals for this time in the States was to take the enormous Terminology Exam. It is mailed to me, and I have 24 hours to take it and then put it back in the mail.

I want to say, I like taking tests as an adult. I didn’t cram. I just systematically studied and reviewed for a few days, then ordered the test. I got a normal amount of sleep. Repeat: no cramming the night before. I myself just wanted to see what I really knew.

I got the test on an afternoon, and I betook myself to a Chinese buffet that I love, and I sat there for four hours and took this test. (While eating lovely Chinese food…. that’s an awesome way to take a test, by the way.)

I knew stuff. I didn’t know stuff.

my self-photo in the booth at the buffet

my self-photo in the booth at the buffet

I had to make a 75% to pass. A few days later, my instructor emailed that I’d made an 86%, then some bonus points. So yippee! I’ve learned. I have more to learn. (Sounds like life!)

Then, one submission also made the Honor Roll, so that was neat. I owe it all to Ukrainians. They’ve taught me to make things look sleek and professional. I’m OK with content, but they’ve helped me a lot with presentation, shall we say. I don’t mean specifically on these assignments, but just as a culture that prizes good presentation generally.

So, there’s my happy update. My current project is reading Safer Childbirth? by Marjorie Tew. A lot of things for my file on Safety of Homebirth.

And now, back to the tragic Ukrainian news …

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Jesus, the activist

The horrific testimony of this man, sadly one of many now, made me pause.  One moment of this awful story goes like this:

Police officers handed the naked Gavryliuk an icebreaker [a tool for chipping ice off the street]. “As a last performance they gave me that icebreaker, I don’t know where they got it and were making me hold it and shout ‘I love Berkut’,” he said, explaining what hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians already witnessed. “But how could I say that, who can love these beasts. I would never say that even if it means I would die.”

“Who can love these beasts?”

And I thought, that’s exactly what Jesus did!

He was 1) illegally sentenced to death, 2) betrayed by His own people, 3) tortured inhumanely, and 4) nailed on a cross to die a criminal death.

Does any of that sound familiar?

But Jesus was Amazing. Because He willingly went to the cross, forgiving his abusers, and it was the greatest act of love that changed the world before or since.

Jesus, the Activist, loved us, the beasts. And if you want to have the Ultimate Activist as your Savior, meditate on this prayer:

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

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Call me crazy 🙂

Dallas Willard is a deceased, intriguing theologian who wrote many thoughtful things. And one thing he talks about a lot is actually becoming, in your very being, like Christ.

We will do what we are. So we will need to become the kind of people who routinely and easily walk in the goodness and power of Jesus our Master. (here)

And I’ve realized that just the opposite can happen to a person, too. As I watch the number of atrocities growing in Ukraine, and knowing that these things are simply a reflection of who the president is as a person, I realized that he has become a man who is living out who he is inside. He is doing “routinely and easily” what he actually is inside.

People call on him for peace and talks. And he uses this time to do more evil. …

And this is true for all people involved in these events. What is coming out of your heart? It shows what is in your heart already.

May God have mercy on our souls. May this be clear to us all: Freedom is not a savior, democracy is not a savior. Our hearts hold us captive in sin, and only Jesus Christ can save us.


Dear Lord,
I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.

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Ukrainian politics are looking pretty grim, if you’re looking at it from a perspective of freedom, democracy, & capitalism.

That’s been my default way of evaluating politics being American.

But I’ve changed what I think about and focus on over my last 4 years in Ukraine. It all shifted for me when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008.

Georgia is very close to Ukraine geographically, and a missionary friend shared how refugees were living in the local public schools and she was doing counseling with them.

At this time, I had really wanted us to buy an apartment.

But, war? Russia breathes down Ukraine’s neck, too. Tanks, bombing … it’s not that far-fetched now, is it.

Maybe God knows an apartment we’d buy would be blasted to ruins.

I started praying for my children’s faith even more, realizing that we might be in war situations in my lifetime, or in their lifetimes.

Enter Revelation. Or, “The Book of the Revelations,” as Vitaliy puts it in English.

Over the last few years since Russia invaded Georgia, I’ve become much more aware that Ukraine is situated near to the prophesies talked about in Revelation, Daniel and other places. And putting that together with reading Isaiah, where he says things like:

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;

and where he calls rulers simply God’s instruments.

And I started thinking about how God sees it all. He doesn’t see it as a question of democracy. It’s about aligning the nations of the earth to His final ends.

I think about that a lot. That the wicked are unwittingly serving God’s plan.

And I don’t know what hardships will come, being situated where we are in Ukraine. But I read Revelation and cry every time. Well, when I stopped reading Revelation like my Bible courses taught me to read it– trying to figure out what each prophecy meant and how exactly it would be fulfilled. I asked God to show me Jesus in Revelation, and it’s so utterly moving.

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever!”

And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Jesus is King, no matter what’s going on down on the earth–wars, wickedness, rebellion. He’s in control, He’s working it towards His all-wise, all-wonderful ends.

So I pray and I ask God that He would help me know Him enough that I would not miss what I need to understand when He’s fulfilling His prophesies around me, as most misunderstood when Jesus was fulfilling prophesies when He was on earth.
That I would sing the song of Moses and the Lamb:

And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations!

Lord, who will not fear
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your judgments have been revealed.”

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my 38th birthday continues

So we all (the ladies) went out to The English Rose to commemorate my 38th– it’s family reunion week, so we’re all here.

















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my romantic husband

Vitaliy is the romantic of our marriage, I have to admit. He remembers our anniversary date, I don’t.


So, he bought me a lovely Christmas present– I was really surprised!

He has a list of every single significant and insignificant happening of our relationship together, which he pulls up sometimes and reads through.

(I do have some sweet SMSes saved that he wrote me the last few years.)

So, last summer, he lost his wedding ring in the Black Sea. Reason #38987 why we love Wal-Mart—- you can get really cheap wedding rings there!

So he ordered one with engraving!
And on the inside:
All for the happy Wal-Mart price of about 45$.

My romantic man 🙂

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