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IMG_6415[1]“We’re back” - said in good old Arnold Schwarznegger style.  It’s been a good first two weeks of settling into things again.  The weather has been nice and mild, but much to the girls delight, we did get a day of big flakes which covered the ground. 

The trip here went very well.  Fly Emirates.  30kg of baggage per person is a lot more than the 23 the other airlines have given us in the past.  And they also didn’t fuss about us taking on extra carry on bags, for which we were very grateful.  We arrived in Kiev with only one bag missing.  It was amusing trying to remember what Pris had packed in it.  (The only thing she could recall was a pair of my jeans shorts being in there.)  Thankfully, I’d taken a photo of all our bags before leaving Australia and was able to give them a copy and our missing bag was quickly found.  (I think I’ll always take photos before big trips now!)  All in all, our experience with Emirates Airlines was top notch.

Gone

It has been interesting to note my feelings upon sending Marie “off into the world”. With Jesse it was: “Go git ‘em, mate!” With Marie, it has been: “My little girl has left our care… I’m not sure I feel great about that! We go to join her in Brisbane in a few days.
Just thinking about Marie… the first time I saw her I was in the operating room in the hospital on Petra Zaporozhtsya St. I remember looking across at the nurses as they took her away to check her and bundle her up, knowing that after a few seconds they would bring her to me to hold. They didn’t take long and then I was holding the little bundle of breathing life. It was nice. A gift from God… who I believed would grow up glorifying Him. She has done that and a father couldn’t be happier. The years have seen her develop from “totally helpless” to “extremely capable” and it will be very interesting to see what God does through her over the next few years. And yet, having said that… there’s a definite hole left in our household.
The summer has been full of events, people, special times with the kids and good times of growth and encouragement. We leave for Oz in a week and will be there through until the end of January.
The plan for now is to be in Brissy at 2 Williamson Rd in Morayfield for a month and then make our way down to Sydney and be there until a week before Christmas. Gymea People’s Church has been so kind over the years and we’ll be privileged to live with them for those two months, right next to the church building.
Life in Ukraine has gone on much as usual.
We recently held a mini-conference in Kaharlyk for members of four churches that we have contact with in the area. Dr. Lucas van Boeschoten, (a professor from the Bible College Priscilla attended “way back when”), came to Ukraine and wowed us with his obvious enthusiasm and love for people and God’s Word. It was a beautiful time and we were thankful for his ministry.

Spectacularly good camp

IMG_4809Camp 120 is over for another year.  113 people came out to the island to be with us and it was an amazing time.  We had more couples than ever before… and more little kids than ever before.  We had more amazingly talented musicians and singers than ever before.  (Four of them are renowned in Ukraine.)  We had hot weather, a touch of rain and wind on the last two days… making for a rough crossing for ferrying passengers home.  We had four speakers who were responsible and challenging and made me glorify the Lord.  We had a waterslide on which no one died… and a Tarzan swing on which no one disemboweled themselves.  We had a non-poisonous snake in the girls toilet cubicle and two snakes which crawled into a tent during the night.  We had one “pukey” who toughed out the night and one child who on the last morning caused some consternation when he struggled to breathe for about an hour.  We had several people learn to wake-board.  And we had lots of people reveal God’s work in their lives as they served and loved.  It was a spectacularly good camp.

For me, the most memorable moment was probably killing and skinning the sheep.  Rivaling that moment was hearing Slava and Mariana’s young son spontaneously break into “song” during a guitar intro someone was doing for the talent show.  It was hauntingly beautiful, partly because it was such perfect melody of classic Ukrainian sound.

Seeing

Something nice has occurred in our family.  God has healed Priscilla and Jesse from something that has bothered them for years.

They have worn glasses for a combined total of over 40 years – with Priscilla being classified as legally blind without them.  Today, they are seeing perfectly without glasses after a visit to a clinic in Kiev that specializes in laser eye surgery.  Jesse, (yes, he’s back for the summer), has commented a couple of times so far that he loves his “upgrade” and thinks he now has better than 20/20.  Pris is loving the freedom she feels without glasses.  She feels a bit like she’s in a new body. 

It was a pretty special birthday present for Pris – a day that will be remembered for the rest of her life! 

We had a Sunday recently which was also special for the church.  Dima – the only Ukrainian in our church who is not a first generation Christian – preached his first sermon.  It was definitely a blessing to many and absolutely thrilled me.  God is good.  The next week, Sergei, a young guy we befriended on the local beach over 10 years ago, preached.  Two years ago he married and now has a little girl… and is preaching!  May these two guys grow in the Lord and serve Him greatly in His church! 

We’ve had the last session in the parenting course.  17 weeks of meeting and learning and discussing… it was greatly valued by all the parents.  We announced that we hoped to do a conference next year opening it up to anyone who wanted to learn.  This idea was met with enthusiasm… so it looks like we’ll plan to bring that about in February/March…