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It’s Monday morning and our home is quiet. 

The young American couple who have been staying with us for the last several months have moved out.  Yura and Oleg left early this morning for studies and work in Kiev.  My girls are reading quietly and doing school.  And Pris is doing little bits and pieces in the kitchen in preparation for a late, but special breakfast to celebrate IMG_9216Elle’s baptism yesterday. 

IMG_9209We did have a beautiful day yesterday.  Two of the guys who have gone through rehab also got baptized.  We went down to our river and witnessed the declarations of the two men and Elle.  Then we came up to our home and had a short service before celebrating with a picnic.  

I don’t think I enjoy baptisms more than I enjoy seeing someone repent and believe in Jesus, but still, they are definitely heart-warming times.  It’s one of those things in life that is easy to remember… it being so public and wet and meaningful. 

Last Friday, I met with our new mayor and several others, (including four pastors/priests), to get better acquainted with her and to talk a little about positively affecting the hearts of those in this town.  It was a fascinating meeting – mostly due to the strong presence of the Orthodox priest.  The Baptist and Pentecostal pastors said some good things and I appreciated the Seventh Day Adventist pastor’s heart and clear-mindedness.  By her attitude and talk, it seems as if our mayor has a lot of promise and wants to sincerely help people in her town.  There were some good minds in the room and generally, we had a good time sharing.

IMG_9191Some of us stayed after for coffee and biscuits… including the Orthodox priest.  It was fascinating for us to hear him “reluctantly admit” that people really needed to leave our churches and join his.  I had to laugh at the freedom he felt to tell us this!  We feel similar about those who consider themselves a part of the Orthodox church – except that we believe that there are some amongst “the Orthodox” who will be with us in heaven.  “Our” priest doesn’t believe there is salvation outside of the Orthodox church and does believe that Orthodox baptism cleanses away original sin present in each of us.  The gospel isn’t presented in the Orthodox church and reading the Bible for yourself is discouraged.  And on our side, sola fide and sola scriptura, (two doctrines that the Orthodox find abominable), are “loudly believed” by our members.  So… we have some issues that will likely and quite properly keep walls up between us.IMG_9227

Most Monday nights we have what we call “Family Night”.  We go out for a picnic or play a few games together or… do something else that’s a bit different.  Today, we went “exploring”.  We drove to a “dead village” about 10 minutes away and found a nice place by a lake and had a picnic.  (“Dead” because a lot of houses in the village are abandoned.)  A cob, pen and six cygnets came over to our side of the lake for a visit and entertained us with their gracefulness, cuteness and hissing.  Lovely.  It was a beautiful evening.

Our war is still ticking over.  It seems like every day several men are wounded and since the beginning of this year about 100 have been killed.  I need to add that those stats are pretty dodgy though.  Trusting the reported statistics requires more faith than I have in the Ukrainian government’s honesty. 

I have faith in God though.  He knows what He is doing and for what purpose. 

He will be glorified!