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IMG_6415[1]“We’re back” - said in good old Arnold Schwarznegger style.  It’s been a good first two weeks of settling into things again.  The weather has been nice and mild, but much to the girls delight, we did get a day of big flakes which covered the ground. 

The trip here went very well.  Fly Emirates.  30kg of baggage per person is a lot more than the 23 the other airlines have given us in the past.  And they also didn’t fuss about us taking on extra carry on bags, for which we were very grateful.  We arrived in Kiev with only one bag missing.  It was amusing trying to remember what Pris had packed in it.  (The only thing she could recall was a pair of my jeans shorts being in there.)  Thankfully, I’d taken a photo of all our bags before leaving Australia and was able to give them a copy and our missing bag was quickly found.  (I think I’ll always take photos before big trips now!)  All in all, our experience with Emirates Airlines was top notch.

IMG_6356[1]The first few days back, we spent with Priscilla’s Dad and Mom.  We celebrated Mom’s birthday and seemed to manage the jet-lag fairly well.  We went to breakfast at an Austrian café during which I snapped this pic of Angel looking pretty.  (The photo below it is of the girls with Priscilla’s parents on the metro in Kiev.)

It was pretty special to see all the Rzhyshchiv church again.  Most of them are doing well.  I told Dima that if there were 100 people at church when we returned, we’d get back on the plane and go back to Australia.  Perhaps I should have said that if there weren’t 100…!  It was a real pleasure to listen to Dima lead the Wednesday night Bible study.  He has a gift and has a love for God and His Word that will glorify God in His church. 

My girls have started Ukrainian studies again… including Priscilla.  Their teacher is located in Kiev and works for SEND International teaching IMG_6353[1]Ukrainian to missionaries and their children.  She’s very good at what she does and the girls appreciate her help.

I went around the the orphanage yesterday for a visit.  It’s nice to see them becoming more a part of our church.  They have three teenagers there and seven youngsters.  The ladies who are looking after them are doing a super job.  I was encouraged by the way things are going and left feeling like God has surely shown a lot of mercy to those kids.

Jesse is enjoying his time studying in Brisbane School of Theology and serving with the Anglican church in Coorparoo.  He has an internship there for the next two years and expects God to work character and skills into his life during that time. 

Marie continues to work with Josh but has plans to come back to Ukraine in May for the summer.  She’s wondering what she should do after that and is already weighing up her options and trusting God to lead. 

Our van is back on the road!  On Monday, Shane towed me to the hill, down which I roll-started it on the way to Sergei, the mechanic’s workshop.  I couldn’t believe how loud the motor sounded – at first thinking it really needed some care, then remembering that the quietness of the Ford I’d been driving in Australia was probably affecting my thinking.  Four hours of tinkering fixed the starter motor problem and we are again thankful for wheels! 

IMG_6382[1]This Saturday, I’ll be going to the car market on the edge of Kiev to have a look at what’s on offer.  I don’t expect to buy anything, but you never know.  Something with at least 7 seats is the goal.

Tonia reported that a lot of our wood has been stolen during the winter.  I’m pretty sure I know who stole it.  I’ll have to talk to the guy about it… before next winter.  He’s out of work, an alcoholic, a convicted thief… and slightly warmer during the winters thanks to our woodpile!  A small truck of cut wood costs about $200, (call +38 099 1344042), so I’m thinking of giving our thieving neighbor a trailer load of our next order and gently suggesting that he stop stealing.  I don’t have high hopes of that happening… but losing hope isn’t much fun, nor of much benefit to anyone, so I will pray and talk with him and hope.

The state of the nation of Ukraine:  It’s been reported that Russia has been building up her forces in Crimea – an estimated 30,000 – as well as on the eastern border.  Why?  Is it a prelude to something big or scare tactics in order to destabilize?  The fighting is the worst it’s been anytime during the last six months along the eastern front with the rebels.  The Ukrainian government (Prime Minister) just survived a no confidence vote in parliament.  Polls show that less than 10% of Ukrainians trust the current government!  Last night, we prayed for the government.  They have an almighty challenge ahead if they truly want to serve Ukraine.

I haven’t mentioned our time in Australia!  In short:  it was good.  We spent two wonderful months in Sydney with our special friends at Gymea Peoples Church as well as paying a visit to Bourke Christian Academy and Finley Uniting Church, where my father grew up.  Angel and I worked with Jesse and Marie and Josh (my brother) for much of the time we were in Brisbane doing initial cleans on new houses.  We enjoyed family (that has to come first), mangoes, slurpies, meat pies, ginger beer, “the farm”, beach mission, the flora and fauna of Oz, and the surf.  What a country!  And what a privilege to have the opportunity to experience it all!

Well… Tim Miller has just helped me to sort out the problems which were stopping me from posting this, (thanks, Tim), and so I’ll hit “Post” and head into Thursday!  If you want to contact us to say hello…  dan@danandpris.com