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The Holidays are nearly over

famoThe clock has just ticked past midnight, signaling the start of Orthodox Christmas on the 7th.  For the second year running, we joined most of the protestant churches around Ukraine and celebrated on the 25th of December this year.  Amazingly, it just didn’t seem quite right.  I proposed changing the date of New Years as well… but the joke went down like a ton of bricks. 

Jesse joined us for Christmas and invited a couple of friends from Oz to join us.  It was pleasant spending time with them and experiencing their love for Christ.  Jesse is still with us and leaves in 10 days or so to go back to the life of a student at Brisbane School of Theology and minister in a church in Brisbane.

The November burning.


IMG_1029It’s kind of been an exciting  and very full weekend. 

We’ve had one of our rehab guys and his wife and daughter staying with us since Saturday.  They’re nice people who are now walking with God, so even though it’s been extra work, it has still been rewarding and just “fun”.  They want to move to Rzhyshchiv permanently once the husband finishes rehab.  If the last two days is anything to go by… they will be a blessing.

Last volleyball match for the year

“Much of what we call mental illness is not mental illness at all. Rather it is often just varying degrees of irresponsibility.” - a quote from someone who knows much but whose name escapes me.

Who am I to wade into such a subject? I hardly think that a course in counseling gives me much authority to speak… and yet, either we believe something or believe nothing and are lost. From what I’ve been taught and observed, I agree with the quote… and will carefully proceed to help people based on the truth of that statement.


We have had an interesting time the last six weeks, trying to figure out what was causing one of our ladies to act very strangely at times. Was it the onset of Alzheimer’s? Was it that alcohol had damaged her physical brain? Was it “a defense mechanism” which she was using to keep others at a distance? Was it that she was deliberately choosing to not think rationally in an attempt to justify her avoidance of responsibility for her actions before others and God? Was it a “mental illness”? We prayed for wisdom.


clip_image002It’s 10:00 Sunday night... Marie has just come in for a night away from the ladies rehab centre. She’s just regaled us with the stories of the last couple of days... nothing out of the ordinary for the reb centre, but definitely still entertaining.

Babushka Maria is such an encouragement to her. She is loving and wise and firm. Her mind has cleared up a lot since her early days and she’s a good influence on the newer ladies.

Yulia, (turned away from the camera), is also someone whose spiritual growth has been remarkable. She called home not long ago and her end of the conversation went something like this: “Mum... Pray, ok. There really is a God, ok, and we don’t see Him, ok, ‘cause He’s a Holy Spirit, but He does exist.” She’s learning so much about life and living for God. After church on Sunday, she was delighted that for the first time in her life she sang to someone… God.

Vika, (at the end), and her 13-year old daughter, Lera, are just about to “graduate”. They will move into a house not far from the ladies center for the winter. Vika is responsible for the home while Marie is here. She’s doing real well.