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Today I remember that I don’t like saying goodbye to my girls… especially when it is goodbye for months.  This is the third time I’ve had to do it and I really don’t like it.  I guess I’m not that different to most of the fathers in the world.

After a delightful two months, Marie left us to go back to Oz.  She will work with Josh for the next six months, saving for her next step in life. 

Jesse is enjoying studying at Brisbane School of Theology and working in the church and community with some quality people.  He feels busy, which is perfectly fitting for a student.   IMG_7473

Monday nights are usually “family nights” at our home.  This last Monday, we went out to the cliff-top at Grebeni, which overlooks the Dnepr River.  It was a beautiful evening for a bbq picnic and we loved the quietness and beauty from this lookout spot.  God has given Ukraine some really beautiful places.

On the way to dropping Marie off, Pris commented again that it sure doesn’t feel like the country is at war.  In a sense, we aren’t.  The front lines seem to be set and the rebels and Ukrainian troops are just trading shots with each other.  And yet, over 600 Ukrainian soldiers have died since the beginning of the year.  The “shot trading” seems to be sadly effective.  The latest sensation is that Russia is gathering tanks and troops at the border down south.  This isn’t the first time.  In fact, if it has been Russia’s goal to lull us into thinking that nothing will come from this, it is effective.  Life goes on.  Admittedly, as I type, I can hear the big guns from the practice range across the river firing away as they train new soldiers.  But apart from that, there is nothing to cause concern for the majority of those away from the front lines.

This Wednesday, we will be discussing at our Bible study the fact that God kills. (It came up at Church on Sunday when the deaths of our soldiers was mentioned.)  It is such a inflammatory statement because most of us want a “tame lion”.  (Thank you, Clive Staples.) We think that if we can somehow wash His image of what we think is harshness, he will be more palatable to those who haven’t bowed the knee to Him.  Or perhaps we are afraid to recognize Him for Who He Is.  So many of us “tame Him” by saying that he “permits” death… as if it would be wrong for Him to ever kill!  Ironically, if He has the power to save from death, then it should make no difference to His reputation whether he permits death or actively decides to kill.  The God of the Bible is Almighty and Fearsome.  Those character traits don’t make His loving-kindness any less impressive.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see who has a correct understanding of God’s character.

The rehabilitation center continues to minister to a group of men.  Some have left.  Others have “run away”.  Some have come and stayed.  Others have come for two or three days and then decided that they don’t want to be free from drugs or alcohol yet.  Oleg, our young alcoholic left last week, much to our disappointment.  Someone found him on the road in a town near the fighting and called us.  We had them write a note for him to read when he regained his wits, and we hope he comes back to us.  This part of drug rehab work is the part I really don’t like.

IMG_7478We are looking to get more involved in visiting a jail not far from us.  Vasya is a former mafia boss who became a Christian a few years ago.  He is 37 years old and has a heart for ministry… particularly to prisoners.  He is already visiting a prison in a city about 5 hours south of us, but plans to come here a couple of times a month and spend time with our guys “training” them and taking them into the jail.  I look forward to seeing what comes of this.IMG_7504 

We got our first truckload of wood for the coming winter last week - 2.5 meter long lengths with some of them being about a meter thick.  I  think I’ll get the guys from the rehab center out here for a couple of days to help me get through it.  It will take some work!  With the rising prices of gas, wood has become very popular as fuel for heating.  Retrospectively, we should have got it six months ago as prices have already gone up considerably.  I feel for those who are on a pension and don’t have kids to help them.