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Marie Baptism

Impounded

It’s Monday morning again and the girls are in school.  They’re reading about the New Jerusalem together with Pris right now circled around the fireplace and drinking hot tea.  Yesterday, we had our first snow settle in Rzhyshchiv, and it isn’t melting yet, so the temps must be below freezing.  We’re doing what most people are doing and keeping our gas heating on low while-ever we can.  Once the temperatures drop to –15, we’ll have no option but to turn it up… but for now, the fireplace does a good job of heating the lounge room and we are nice and warm.

IMG_3059Our visitors from the conflict in the east of Ukraine are doing well.  The kids have settled into school and say that they keep on getting points off for answering in Russian instead of Ukrainian.  They find it difficult.  Lena, their mother, has found work where Tonia has been working at the sewing factory.  She is a bit nervous about exactly how much she will bring home at the end of the month as she hasn’t been promised a minimum salary.  She has a week before she finds out.  But she does know that if she sews seven buttons onto a dressing gown, she gets paid 35 kopeks, (less than 3 cents)!!  That isn’t exactly inspiring.

18 percent pay cut

I’ve always felt that the financial market is a fascinating study.  Currency fluctuations, being influenced by economy, by current events, by charts, by formulas, by history, by fear and greed… it is truly a complex world!  I remember the days in Ukraine’s history when the local currency was experiencing super-hyper inflation.  Each month, for a period of a few years, money in Ukraine was losing 30% or more of it’s value.  So a car which cost the equivalent of $10,000 in January would cost the equivalent of $16,000in March.  There was great incentive to spend your salary as soon as you got it. 

The last week has seen the local currency drop in value by 18%, (about 50% during the last year).  All those who took advantage of the 24% interest rate offered on savings last year are feeling a bit burnt.  I was talking with some people over the weekend who said that they are so thankful for their gardens.  They will do ok throughout this tough period.  One of them had received a 50% pay cut on top of the incredible inflation (18%)… but they still had the produce from their garden to fall back on.  As is so often the case… when people feel like the pressures are piling on… they will often humble themselves before God.  And while I aren’t going to be cheering on the suffering, I definitely recognize the beautiful way that God works through suffering in bringing us to our knees in humility before Him.  Suffering also gives those who can love an opportunity to reveal the beautiful character of God through helping, giving, loving and speaking words of wisdom into the lives of the sufferers.

Who Wins

photoWell… no real surprises at the election results.  Ukraine is still on a heading towards Europe.  The votes are still being counted, but those who appreciate justice should be fairly content with the results.  May Ukraine see moral progress as we clean up the corruption.photophoto

The ladies enjoyed their weekend away.  Rachel and Abby flew over from the States to minister to the 40 or so ladies who went to Ivankiv, a small town about 3 hours drive away.  From reports by different ladies, they were greatly blessed.  It’s been a pleasure having these two God-loving ladies come for these few short days. 

Pray

LATEST UPDATE:  Sergei and Daniel have been released.  We are short on details at the moment, but know that they are home.  I’ll let you know more once the details come to light.

 UPDATE:  The separatists have informed the family that they have “arrested” Sergei and Daniel for crimes related to their support of the Ukrainian government.  They are being held in the old Customs Department Building in the city, Krasnodon.  From what we know, neither they, nor the church have actually helped the Ukrainian government troops in any way, but if they could have given them food or shelter back during the days of fighting, they probably would have. 

The separatists don’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to humane treatment of prisoners, so if you have given some time to praying for this family, you may want to continue with this in mind.

 

Sergei and Lena

Daniel, Kristina and Sophia

A few hours ago, Sergei and Daniel were taken from their apartment in Krasnodon on the Russian/Ukrainian border.  It is supposed that “the separatists” were responsible because their computer and some folders with church documents were missing as well.  (No other valuables were missing.)

Sergei is a miner who loves Jesus and was the assistant pastor in the Good News Church in their city of 50,000.  The church has about 100 people in it.  The separatists took over the church building and are using it as a barracks.  The pastor left the city several months ago and Sergei is overseeing the church.