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Steady as She Goes

IMG-1928That’s how I feel about the ministry right now.  Sure, we’ve had a few incidents with a couple of different people and situations; but by and large, things progress steadily and to God’s glory.  Thankfully, the horses and sleigh in the picture is not our permanent new means of transport.  An old friend from the village let us come and enjoy the unique experience for a bit over an hour in January. 

We had a close call a couple of weeks ago when one of our guys didn’t come home after work and we discovered him the next morning drunk and penniless, having spent his paycheck on gaming and grog.  He assured us that he had made up his mind to go home to his family and nothing we could say would change it.  Normally when someone who has believed in Jesus says this, we don’t argue, but encourage them to go, warning them of what they can expect as a child of God in rebellion to Him.  My heart breaks when I see someone leave like this… and I sincerely hope that I never get used to it.  Kolya went home, was rejected by his parents, found a friend to live with for a few days, and then, prodigal-son-like, turned his thoughts towards “home”.  We encouraged him to come back and took him back into basic rehab – probably for a couple of months.  It was good to hug him again.

Igor is still in hospital.  The doctor said that they’ll probably let him go home next week after they’ve done another couple of operations.  He was diagnosed with Hep. C last week which made him feel an affinity with Job.  A couple of days later they had him do the test again… and to everyone’s surprise, it showed that he didn’t have Hepatitis C.  Happiness!  How did that happen?  They aren’t sure, but have a few theories.

Pris is doing fine.  The winter months bringing snow and ice put a bit of a damper on her jogging, which means she suffers extra pain in her right side.  We realized early on after moving here that God would likely use our home as a place where we can host people and love them and share the peace that God’s presence brings into a home.  We’ve had a beautifully busy and rewarding couple of months where that’s concerned.

IMG-1971Angel is doing well and is on the home stretch, (we think), of having the cell-structure renewed in her arms, face and neck.  We are grateful for God’s grace generously given to get us all through this interesting trial over the last two years.  She’s enrolled in the local driving school – class lessons + driving lessons.  I’m still not confident they will know what to do with her once they get to the point of giving her a license… but we shall see.   She’s been having fascinating discussions with her teacher about God and His Word.  It would be interesting if God had her there in order to be an instrument in the saving of his soul.  Right now, the plan is for her to go to Australia for at least a year once she finishes school.  That should happen before September.

Elle takes a lot of pleasure from the snow the winter brings.  She seems to take a lot of pleasure from life in general, now that I think about it.  But she is often heard commenting on the suitability the hills for sledding as we drive along.  The girls have been doing a discipleship course and today covered the topic of what it means to submit to authorities in our lives and how to make an appeal to an authority.  I think they enjoyed the lesson.

Marie continues to serve the ladies out at the rehab centre.  One of our old ladies came back to us on Sunday.  If I’d taken a photo, it would likely have caused you to think of demon possession.  The poor girl.  She left in pride and rebellion.  She returned completely broken.  (May Victoria’s spirit be rebuilt in a real relationship with the God who works miracles, and regularly does so in the hearts of men and women!)  Marie will travel with me down to Zaporizha in a few days to pick up the 4 year-old son of one of the ladies in rehab.  We are driving down overnight, submitting some documents in the city and then will see if the grandma will give up her little idol without a scandal.  We are expecting a fuss but hoping for peace. 

IMG-1994Jesse continues with his studies in Bible college in Brisbane.  He is enjoying the church he’s a part of, and thinks it’s one of the healthiest churches in Australia.  (That’s an interesting diagnosis, isn’t it.  It begs the question: How does one determine the health of a church?)  I think if Jesse had his way, he’d again be at 100% stamina already after his long year of wrestling with glandular fever.  He understands however, that God has His purposes and so is left with trying to limit himself from over-stretching it.  It was good spending time with him and seeing his love for God and His ways.  I also enjoyed some good games of blitz chess while he was here – we’re pretty evenly matched.

The rehab ministry continues to touch lives… and not just those of the men and women actually in rehab.  I realize that this sacrifice has been a big encouragement as we’ve seen dramatic changes as the men and women allow God to be glorified through them.  I snapped this photo of Sergei, (below), a few weeks ago as he was playing with the kids after home group.  I look at him now and can only say, “God is great!”

The small trucking business we were given money to start to support the rehab ministry is doing well.  We’re in the black, which is a good feeling.  I sat down with Pasha today and talked about strategy and details for a couple of hours.  We’ve been offered a couple of contracts and need to figure out if it’s better for us to have something stable that is less profitable or go with the more lucrative but riskier option of freelancing.  We have also began taking inter-city trips within Ukraine… the biggest relief being that we don’t have the border or customs holding us up.  So far, it looks as if the earnings aren’t less due to the time savings. 

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May God encourage you as you note how He is victorious in the lives of His children!