Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Last Night in Ukraine

Hi everyone!!!!!
My bags are mostly packed- a few more things to be put in, in the morning.

 I hope I sleep the whole plane ride away, but seeing as I have an aisle seat next to two seats with baby seats I doubt that will happen-although they may be really friendly people with no qualms about a strange American girl holding their baby... That would be cool too.

A bowling party with the team and stories from Kimberly about her time here.

Kimberly and I, Kim and Oksanna

My last marshutka ride for the summer.

Mark is trying to bowl backwards... :P 

Anyway, in less than twelve hours I will be leaving Kimberly's little house on Chubaevskaya street for the last time and be headed to the airport towards America.

Monday, August 15, 2016

You are the Center of Your Heavenly Father's Affections

It sounds so very uncomfortable to say that... Not wanting to sound prideful or lifting ourselves up to such a place of esteem... Kimberly was telling me about this quote from a book she was reading "The Praying Life" They are very powerful and life changing words... if they are true.

"You are the center of your Heavenly Father's affections"

This is a place reserved for Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit in their one-ness and love they are the center of their own affections... right??? 


John 17:22-23 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that all the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 

Ephesians 1:4-5 Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will. 

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His So to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. 

This is a radical and amazing gift.... Learning to be His child and not strive or try "to love Him more"  but to come humbly before Him
 confident because of who HE is- not because of who I am; 
because of what HE has done not because of anything that I must do
Satisfied with the love that HE pours undeservedly over me, not because of how much more I can love God.

To be satisfied and content with God and who He is and find fullness of joy in His presence instead of constantly striving to "be better," and miss the joy of knowing Him. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What an American Does in Odessa

My portrait was drawn by dear Misha... I think that maybe I need to start wearing make-up again. ;

Karla, Misha, Me

Our picture... A community project- each of us had a part in it.

Said my goodbyes to these dear ones and their parents and aunt today. :( :( I am so grateful to have been able to meet them all and I will miss them. :( :( :( 
They have to leave town for a few weeks and likely won't come back until I have already departed. 

Kimberly and I had pancakes, nectarines and ice cream for supper last night... Yes, ice cream comes in a sausage-like roll here.

When we were at the store getting supplies for our supper we also happened upon matching socks and decided that it was meant to be. 

It hasn't rained very many times while I have been here... Three times actually, to be exact. This was on Sunday and it POURED for a good hour to two hours. The streets still have puddles! (Take note, it is Tuesday afternoon here already- not Tuesday morning like it is in the states.)

SO... After a wet adventure of getting to the cafe all of us girls from Ivano Franko waited out the storm in the cafe and had tea, conversation and a small hawaiian pizza.

Ivano Franko Bible Study

I actually led the Bible reading and vocabulary this Sunday but no pictures to mark the momentous occasion. ;)

More pictures of the rain...

Kimberly and I at the Kutless concert

English Club on Saturday


So what does an American do in Odessa when the camping trip is cancelled and you aren't old enough to go to the war zone-without-a-parent-because-if-you-die-the-government-would-have-issues...
I've been able to go to Anneke and Arkadiy's twice and hangout with them and play with Misha and Karla which has been such a joy.
Zhenya and I were able to get together last week and hopefully she will be able to come and read the Bible with Sasha and Lily (two friends of Kimberly's) and Kimberly and I tomorrow.
Staff meetings, English clubs have started on Saturdays now, Sundays are always busy, prayer meeting, church, lunch and Ivano Franko Bible study occasionally meetings after that, wandering Odessa with Kimberly... Oh, last week I was also able to go to Michelle's house and attend a birthday party for an orphan graduate there which was fun.
Last week when I met with Zhenya was also pretty momentous because it was my first time taking the bus by myself and having to talk to people on the bus, in the grocery store and in the coffee shop (AKA McDonalds... plans changed when I realized the actual coffee shop wasn't open) That was an experience in and of it'self.
We also had Zhenya and Lidia (a couple on our team) and their little boy Matthew, over for supper and ice cream, cookies and conversation. It was a wonderful time.

It is so hard to remember what I have told which people and who actually reads this blog to know what I should leave out saying for the fear of redundancy... Hopefully this is a decent overview.

I've been learning about trusting God as I have been trying to make plans for when I come home, work, further education and future... etc... I hate making decisions, as you probably know! Even trying to decide what to eat at a restaurant is stressful so I usually try to stick with the same thing... I know that God works through our decisions and it doesn't really matter to Him where I decide to work, what to study, where to live and do ministry- if I am seeking His will and lining up my decisions with scripture I can have the freedom to choose what I want to do and He will guide and lead through that.
I can tend to worry that some how I will make the wrong choice and God won't be able to work as much as He may have been able to, had I chosen the other option.
 This is a verse that God brought to mind that has really encouraged me.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I can have the freedom to choose, trusting that God will use my choice for His glory. Of course, hold every plan loosely and surrendered to God for Him to mold and shape or change completely but also have freedom to live 'to the hilt' every situation that I believe to be the will of God. He will guide and He will lead, in all my ways, acknowledge Him.

It was an encouragement to me even though I have heard those verses a hundred times and I hope it is an encouragement to you as well!

17 Days until I come home. :) Can't wait to see everyone at home but I will miss everyone here very much. :(