Archive for the ‘rehab center “Salvation”’ Category

Do you remember doing that as a kid? I think we used to take turns with who would sit in the front seat of the car so we didn’t argue about it. Generally, it’s a prized place, you know.

So I had this interesting spiritual experience yesterday that I want to record.

Yesterday, we drove to Kiev in our van as a family. This was a big deal, as usually we have rehab students with us. A guy or two sits in the front with Vitaliy. I sit in the back with the kids, holding Una, feeding her, and a guy or two or three squishes in there, too.

I kind of hate sitting in the back because cold wind blows through the side door onto me, and when we hit a bump, you literally lose contact with your seating. (This was originally a cargo van that we switched to a passenger van, so that contributes to this phenomenon.) Also, because it was a cargo van, there’s no heating vents back there– all the warmth is in the front seat.

But yesterday, I got to sit in the front with Vitaliy. I love these drives. We chat about this and that. I’m warm. I remain seated.

So, we get to church yesterday. And lo and behold, Oleg shows up. Oleg was in our rehab program a while back. His health was so poor, we paid for his hospital treatments to relieve his stomach pains. But he was so disobeying the rules and had a crummy attitude, and he left / was sent away. Vitaliy thought Oleg was on the verge of dying and had just given up his last chance at accepting God’s mercy.

But how deep and wide and long and new is God’s mercy? Oleg is still alive.

Oleg is from the train station. That’s where he lives. Ruslan was later witnessing at the station (after Oleg had left the center), and Oleg was hateful to him. (general rule: the more you do for them, the more they hate you later, it seems– except for the grace of God which can change them, and how glorious when that happens.)

So yesterday, Vitaliy talks to Oleg, and yes, he really wants to change (suppressing the eye roll, choosing to hope all things–because we have a God with whom all things are possible). He really wants to come back to the center.

Did I mention that Oleg stinks to high heaven? from his homeless life.

So … we rearrange our day. And I’m sitting in van later as we’re waiting for the girls to finish AWANA. And I know I should give up the front seat for Oleg to sit there. So he’s not in the back with the kids, stinking, etc.

But I don’t want to give it up. It’s warm, stable, and I can chat with Vitaliy.

And I start thinking, why is this so hard for me? Sheesh, over the years, I’ve happily given up thousands of dollars, my best bath towels, my husband, been hospitable in a multitude of ways. Why is it so hard to give up the front seat on one trip, for Pete’s sake!?

And I remembered Philippians 2, where Jesus took on the form of a servant to come into world and save us. And I thought:

Jesus gave up the front seat for us.

That’s exactly what He did. He had it all– warmth, comfort, deserved worship from angelic beings, enjoyment of His Father’s presence …

And He gave up His front seat and got into the cold, uncomfortable back seat for the sake of stinky sinners who tend to treat Him with hate no matter what good He does for them.

And further, I reasoned, I have the comfort of being a co-sinner with Oleg– I can identify with him, that all the bad things he is and does, I have the same sinful capability in myself, and generally I have committed sins and had consequences, too.

But Christ didn’t even have that comfort when He gave up the front seat to identify with us. He didn’t sin ever, but He took our sins upon Himself. He didn’t ever have a bad consequence from His own sin, but He bore our consequences and still does as His Spirit lives in us.

What an amazing humility.

In the end,

It wasn’t easy giving up the front seat. It sounds so stupid, and it is just such a stupid thing to struggle over. But I didn’t want to miss the blessing of giving up the front seat out of love. … After a few minutes, I adjusted to the idea. But … was I really loving Oleg or just getting used to the idea?

So I looked at the back of his head and prayed for him. Prayed that I would love him, that God would have mercy on him to save him. And if he’s come to our center to die with us, that he would be going into God’s presence and not into hell.

And I pray that my heart would be stretched so that this hospitality would become the normal size of my being. (When I have these struggles, I think about my mom and what she did so often in so many small and big ways. It all seemed and still seems to be so easy for her, to give up this or that.)


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Here are 2 photos of the new area Vitaliy and the guys have been working on all summer.

The new heating room off to the side and the cement floor of the veranda.

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Thank you, God 👏

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We’re doing tons of cleaning out, wiping down, cleaning, cleaning, moving things away or around, wiping down the dust, cleaning, cleaning, ad infinitum …

Yesterday, we arrived early afternoon, and I just started wiping down and cleaning, and to do something simple to eat, Vitaliy had the girls go pick a bunch of sweet corn from the garden and we boiled and ate it … we still have some left– it’s great cold!

sweet corn from the garden

sweet corn from the garden

When we bought the new oven, V and I also bought watermelon and ice cream cake b/c it was Skyla’s birthday– we had already celebrated twice, but we wanted to notice the day, too.

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I’ve started waking early again, like I used to. And this morning I tried sirniki– a cheese pancake thingy. They were OK, but next time, I want to buy drier tvorog (soft cheese) because what I used runs like yogurt, so I had to use too much flour. But they were still OK and we ate them 🙂

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then I made borsch today for lunch and tried steamed cabbage again (I didn’t like how it came out the first time I did it, so I asked V’s mom how she did it because she does really yummy stuff, and we’d made it together once before). Here are my helpers peeling potatoes for borsch– A is handing them unpeeled and plopping the peeled into the bowl of water.

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Here’s the goose and little … quail I think?… that the rehab guys raise (to eat) out the back door.

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I hope this isn’t gross or offensive to show … while we were in Kiev, the guys killed one of the goats to use for meat. … this is usual end of our farm animals …



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Our center has 6 guys there now, including our two leaders. Vitaliy’s been instituting new rules and structure from ideas he took in America.

Also, a businessman from a neighboring village came and asked the center to provide some cowherds for his business. He’s tired of working with alcoholics– it’s just too unstable the way they come and go. It doesn’t pay much, but it will help to cover the operating costs of the center. So two guys go to work there now daily. Igor, one of the leaders, always goes as a worker, to make sure the other guys stay out of trouble/away from bad influences.

A friend from another village came to help chainsaw/chop a bunch of wood for winter heating. V took some photos of them all working:

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bringing the wood home in a wagon

bringing the wood home in a wagon

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We just returned from our first time to attend this summer camp for rehab centers. I’ll just include a few notes:

1. The camp is hosted by a Messianic Jewish church, so the décor and music were mostly Jewish. It was wonderful! The girls loved the Jewish worship dancing– it is so family-friendly and easy to join in. The ladies and men would often separate into two groups as they danced, each circle doing their own motions.

2. Everything was outdoor, made of tents, outdoor toilets, etc. We roughed it 🙂 And it was great! Lots of mosquitoes, and I have a deeper appreciation for Off spray now.


3. I wasn’t involved much in the regular program because of the kids and being pregnant (and sleeping more than usual), but I did help translate some for the Englishers who came over just for the camp as speakers. That was fascinating. Hearing and translating the testimonies, the talks about treating addicts who also have mental illnesses, and such.

I was so touched by this English man who works in a prison with seriously mentally ill people. And he emphasized over and over how he’s never seen medicine heal anyone. He likened the meds used today as the chains of the demon-possessed man in Mark 5– they just make a dangerously mentally ill person controllable. But healing only comes from Jesus. “By His stripes, we are healed.” And several of the former addicts testified of their own healing (more of psychological problems) after coming to God.

I went back to the van after this particular lesson, and hearing all the testimonies and teaching, and I realized that 1 Cor. 1:30 was living before me:

“But by His doing, you are in Christ Jesus who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

4. Vitaliy loved the camp– He heard, learned and was involved more than I could be, and he was so touched by what he heard. He left with a lot to think about.

5. The kids loved the camp, too. Made some new friends. Handled a lot of forest-life: lizards, snails … Oh, I brought with me two pre-packaged little sewing projects, and they loved doing that– especially the one day it rained all day, we were thankful to have that to work on!

snail races

snail races

6. Our two rehab leaders– Ruslan and Igor– really loved the camp, the testimonies, the fellowship with people with the same background and work. It was great for them.

7. The theme of the camp was from Revelation 21:7– He who overcomes inherits all.

8. I’ve never met, in such a short period of time, so many folks who’ve tried to commit suicide at some point, and who God has truly spiritually resurrected unto abundant life. Really, He is a miracle-working God.

We certainly hope to have more such fellowship time in the future!

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Tomorrow we leave for a 5-day camp. We’re going to a camp for rehabilitation centers in Ukraine. Vitaliy will be translating for some of the guest speakers, and I’ll be hanging around 🙂

There will be rehab-ers, workers, families, and a few foreigners. It’s our first time attending this camp, and we’re looking forward to it.

Pray for us, for the guys going, the workers, etc.

A guy named S went through our program a while back, but he started drinking again. We’ve stayed in touch with him because his sister is a member of our church. He will be coming to camp, we hope– at least that’s the current plan, though things change abruptly with this category. S recently was in jail because he beat his mother (while drunk) very seriously. The police told him he’d be in prison 15 days, then probably serve a longer sentence …. or he could skip sentencing by going to Slovyansk as a soldier (where part of the war is going on — so now we know perhaps why this anti-terrorist campaign has not been entirely great?) Anyway, he’s out of jail after just a few days, maybe they paid bribes or something.

Pray for him, for us.


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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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