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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.

In a sense, God relieved us of our responsibility to her yesterday. She woke up and announced that she was going home. We’d been talking about sending her somewhere for the last two weeks. I just couldn’t bring myself to send someone away who might start seeking God and His kingdom. So when she made her announcement, we felt guiltily relieved that we’d had the hard decision taken away from us. We gave her money for the trip home and detailed instructions on how to navigate Kiev to get to the place where her bus would leave from… and sent her off. We got a call later that day to let us know that she had fallen out of a bus door in Kiev and was in hospital with a broken leg and wanted to come back. Grimace.

The other guys in rehab are doing well. We have one guy there now who is ready for more freedom and responsibility, but we recognize that his influence on the others is valuable. He’s willing to stay on there for a while until there are others who come through and have a similar influence as IMG_0990he does. God is glorified through Tolik.  (He is in the black shirt in the picture of some of the volleyball players and spectators.)

The three guys who are living in the house just near us are cutting wood for the winter today. They have an old clay furnace in the house which is in the middle of the wall connecting four rooms and so far, are really happy with it.

We sent Zhenya, (in the blue shirt), back home today to front up to the police station. We learned that they are looking for him and it will look better if he voluntarily turns himself in than if they tracked him down. He is accused of vandalism and theft… but says that while he is a thief, this particular time the police are trying to pin something on him that he didn’t do. He has been growing in his faith and feels peace about whatever the outcome will be – an encouraging sign. Pasha, (on the right), will stay with him and keep him accountable and be support. He used to be one of the top dogs in his prison and since becoming a Christian, Pasha has been very focused on glorifying God. He’s a classic.IMG_0983 (1)

Talking about heating… Tonight is meant to drop to -6 Celsius. I think this is the latest we’ve ever gone into the year without turning the heating on. Our fireplace has done a great job of delaying the day we turn on our gas furnace. The kids do school around the fire-place and most of our time is spent in the lounge-room/kitchen areas. It takes me back to my memories of childhood in Tasmania. “Just put a sweater on.”

We’ve had a fascinating week-end. Two people in our church came down with measles and the local Doc didn’t diagnose it properly. During the early stages, they came to church and potentially infected others. The local doctors have kind of freaked out over it. They have quarantined all children who were at church for the next seven days with the demand that the children come in each day for a check-up. The stats say that in the west, only one in 15 catch measles if people have been immunized. The chances aren’t high then, but still, for the sake of communal consideration, we cancelled church yesterday and the groups for this week. Everyone is a bit over-excited really. One of the nurses in the hospital is saying that the sect, (that’s us), brought the measles to our town and infected people. Sigh. At least she isn’t telling people that anyone who catches “our measles” will be cursed for life.

Pris is hopefully getting over a couple of problems that have bothered her for more than a month. She goes in to the doctors in Kiev again tomorrow – a bumpy drive she doesn’t particularly enjoy normally. The bonus is that she may get bring home the two measles sufferers if they can escape their hospital. Personally, I’d be surprised if they make it out without creating a big fuss. Angel will also go with her and get her toe checked out.

I didn’t get this posted last night. Today we got our first snow of the season. I’ve had three people call me so far about vehicle problems on the slippery roads. Pris is gingerly driving around Kiev.

Totally without flippancy, I leave you with this:  May God bless you.