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Strike a Light - May 08 news letter

Strike a light! Where did the last few months go! We celebrated New Year’s a couple of weeks ago, didn’t we? Without pontificating too much about how time has flown by, I must say that my age must surely be influencing the speed of time! Is there another explanation?

We are all well and enjoying life. Here in Ukraine, it is a popular response to a comment about health to say, “Health is the most important thing.” I react when I hear this and rarely let the lie float in the air unchallenged. Health is a blessing from God, but by no means the most important thing! Yesterday, we read in Galatians how Paul had ended up preaching the gospel to them due to a sickness he had. For them, it was wonderful that Paul wasn’t healthy! And it was he who stated that God’s grace was sufficient for him and that when he was weak… the God of the Universe was shown to be strong. Nice simple truths. Powerful truths.

Family News
Jesse is a son to be delighted in. He brings glory to the Lord. He has really enjoyed working up at the work-site with the us and comes up most days after he finishes his schoolwork.

Marie is growing into a young lady who I have noticed really enjoys our times of praising the Lord. She is reading well in Ukrainian and Russian and will probably have a better grasp of the language than any of us in a couple of years!

Angel continues to bring smiles to the faces of those around her. Her eczema is better than it was a couple of months ago. We tried a couple of different creams which helped as well as putting her on a restricting diet (including no wheat products). I’m sure it’s good for her character as well as being much better for her health. But she still suffers.

Ellie is fun. Her vocab is expanding dramatically and she comes up with the most creative phrases! She enjoys helping Pris in the kitchen and is gaining an appreciation for the rewards work brings. : )

Earlier this month, we had a group of seven Texans here helping to build Bruce and Debbie’s house. (Their family will be joining us in May.) The team enjoyed themselves and we certainly got a good chunk of work done on the house. It was a pleasure having a group of men who love the Lord living with us… notwithstanding the effort it took keeping them fed and watered! : )

Strawberry Farm
I was out at the Strawberry Farm today and was pleased to see things going well out there. I’ve learned not to count your strawberries before they hatch AND you’ve sold them, but things look good and our plants in the hothouse are already flowering. We are also growing lettuce in the hothouse as well as young tomato and cabbage plants to sell as seedlings in the markets around about. Funnily enough, our lettuces survived the winter and look great, so we’ve been selling them as well as our seedling cabbages and tomatoes. Oh! This last weekend, I found myself bringing home four bee-hives. A neighbour asked me to help him with our van to transport some for him and we “threw in” four for us as well. The most unpleasant thing about it wasn’t the 10+ stings I endured, but the break-down we had on the way home. Last time this happened, it took three months to find the parts! Grimace. But… the honey will be good and bees are the best pollinators for our fruit.

The church continues to present Jesus to our world here. Some are outspoken in their faith, others seem to have a deep love for Jesus and His people, and still others seem to struggle along barely keeping their faith intact; but God loves them all. He feels love for them and loves them in deed. Can we do less?

Sergei and Tanya have left for Australia for two years. I hope their absence will be a blessing for us, but it’s hard to see past the hole they leave in our fellowship. I feel like groaning at the thought! Our kids have really enjoyed the friendship of their two boys.

The villages of Baleko Shuchenko and Ulyaniki seem to have “accepted” us! Because we are foreigners and not Orthodox believers, we are under a bit of a cloud to begin with. The communists really denounced “Evangelicals” and the Orthodox Church continues the practice. Anyway, a Saturday night not long ago, I took a young man into the hospital after a friend had “helped” him break his arm. A drunken doctor attended him - couldn’t get over that - and after an x-ray and some plaster, we returned home. More doors open. Closer relationships solidified. Anyway, during the summer we hope to do “summer clubs” out there for the kids and see what comes of that.

Highlights of the last three months include:
1. Seeing a number of people visiting us from Baleko Shuchenko and Ulyaniki, the two villages I’ve been reaching out to. A family and some of their relatives have joined us for some worship time several times now where they hear the gospel and witness our love. This Friday, some of the young lads I’ve made friends with should be coming over for a visit, too. Good.
2. The discovery of a BBQ restaurant in Kiev where you pile your plate up with meats and spices and then watch a guy cook it up for you.
3. Having the kids keen to come and help Bruce build his house. The older ones actually manage to be a big help.
4. The winter has been warm! It’s meant a great saving on gas. Gaven and Masha (back on her feet after breaking her leg) sold lettuce in the market Saturday and were pleased at their success. People kept asking how we’d gotten such an early crop and were willing to pay top prices. Ellie (on the sled) enjoyed the ride on the ice. This day, the ice was releasing deep, doom-filled cracking sounds every now and again much to Pris’ displeasure.
5. Spending more time with the men: Sasha, Alyosha, Alyosha and Kolya (plus Roman and Valik who are not pictured). They are the building crew right now and the picture you see shows some of them in the “dining room”.
6. I played cricket in Kiev! The ground had been used as a soccer ground during the spring months and was devoid of grass. The pitch was a cricket carpet from India and the ball kept low more often than not, but my! Was it fun! The Indian who is the representative of Ukrainian Cricket was the captain of my team and he encouraged us to enter a team in the national comp! : ) Ahhh… it felt good to belt the ball around a bit again! I suffered after bowling a few too many overs though.

Here is a list of some things we plan to be doing over the summer months:
1. Finishing off Bruce and Debbie’s house
2. “Entertaining” my parents and two youngest sisters here for several weeks (much looked forward to)
3. Working on the Strawberry Farm
4. Running several three-day kids clubs in the villages
5. Helping to run a week-long kids club in Rzhishchiv
6. Hosting “Camp-120” primarily for Christians from around Ukraine on one of our beautiful islands
7. Taking a week off in August for a “family holiday”… probably in tents on one of our islands
8. Leveling off our back yard and giving the kids a lawn!
9. Building a couple of playgrounds in the villages (a hope rather than a plan at this stage)
10. Enjoying life and the God who gave it

We expect God’s blessing and pray that you will experience His presence and know His love until we are in contact again!

Much love,

Daniel & Priscilla
Jesse, Marie, Angel and Ellie

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