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IMG-1512 (1)It has been a “more-than-interesting” time since I last posted. This is my third attempt at putting something down in text… and this time I will keep on going until I’m satisfied and post it where it belongs.

Jesse and Daniella with Quintus have joined us. God blessed their travels and they have now been with us for a really special week. Their plans are to stay for a year.

In two days, Angie arrives… just to add to the joy! She plans to stay for a couple of months. Aghhh!!! I feel as if I can hardly wait!

Then in a month, Marie will fly in, just in time for Christmas – something that is way too far away!

Feelings, dampened feelings, feelings allowed full rein, and feelings expressed are interesting subjects for the psychologists to flaunt their knowledge of. All I know is that I have this sense of great expectation, deep thankfulness and a desire to hug all of our kids, (and one special little grandson), tightly in one big hug.

The contrast to the joy has been a big challenge we have faced over the past month with one of the more senior members of our church. I’ll keep my comments to a minimum here, but we recently pulled him up again because of some serious character flaws that were out of control. We told him that he was being removed from ministry for six months to work on his character with a counselor we know in Kiev. His reaction to that was not exactly Christ-like humility. In fact, he informed us that if that was the case, he was leaving the church. We are still working through the situation and are yet to see the end of the tunnel. I have compared it for myself to what a divorce must be like where there is much confusion and pain. Because of the friendship aspect to this, it has been one of the most difficult periods of the last several years.

As always though, when I step back out of the emotions and look at this situation from a more distant viewpoint, I can see that oh-so-desirable silver lining to the cloud. God perfectly shows grace to His children, and I can count several blessings that are occurring because He has allowed this situation to develop.  To quote a pretty famous Roman-Jew:  “God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”  After many years of believing that, why stop now?  … especially seeing as though it is impossible for it to not be true!

Anyway, if you pray for this little ministry in Rzhyshchiv, Ukraine, this is one topic for which we’d sure appreciate prayer.

imageA couple of parents of guys in rehab gave money towards us getting a mini-tractor! It is very “mini”, but it has already been getting a great workout in the village. Strictly speaking, before winter sets in, it is great for the soil to get turned over to aerate it before the next sowing season. So we’ve been going great guns with it during this last week.  We also have a few other fixtures to it – a snow plough and potato harvester being the most interesting. It’s Mitya’s baby and the fact that he’s looked forward to getting something like this for a couple of years makes it even more special for him.

We continue to lay tiles in the church building. A weird thing happened with that… there was a mix up in the order and we ended up getting two slightly different colors of tiles. We decided to go ahead and lay them anyway rather than go through the process of seeing if the company would swap them out for us. So now, we have a line down the middle of the hall… one that I decided would remind me not to be overly concerned about how things look. Long-term usefulness or faithfulness is way more important than how a thing or person looks.  The work crew normally consists of about 15-20 people and I can confidently say that they are definitely skilled at eating!

IMG-1523Tomorrow morning, we have our weekly “Bratskaya”. The four men who are more heavily involved in rehab ministry will come and we’ll do breakfast together as we discuss many of the issues to do with rehab and a few to do with the general running of the church. I think of it as a time of maintenance and discipleship. And many times, I’m the one who is learning. For the first time this last week, the thought occurred to me that Mitya, who finds great fulfillment in serving the guys in rehab could do with a break. I then wondered if I was thinking this thought because I was feeling as if I could do with a break! It isn’t an easy ministry to be involved in. Betrayal of love/friendship is a regular occurrence. Disagreements needing attention between the men keep on cropping up. Big decisions regarding whether or not to send someone away get thrashed out a few times a year.  There are the logistics of running two homes that require constant attention. In summary: this is something that prayer is definitely not wasted on! Thanks.

I can’t finish this without acknowledging the 50. With little fanfare, I reached the milestone and had a nice celebration of it with the church. God deemed it the way of things that I get to the 50 with lots of people in my life to love and serve in His Name and for His glory. What a privilege!IMG-1519  Jesse called a few people who loved me enough to pool in towards buying me a new computer –  hence the look of shell-shocked delight on my face.

May God bless you as He has us!