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Thick and Fast

“Things” seem to have been happening thick and fast around here this last month.IMG_1367

   On the family front… 

Angel has her license.  She studied up a storm in the weeks prior to the test… in Ukrainian, no less.  God blessed for the testing day and she managed to pass.  No suggestions were made for bribes or anything like that… something that is a welcome direction in the police force.

She is nearly finished school and should do so in the U.S..  She left last week to help look after some little nieces while an aunt introduces a baby into the world in a few months.  Her health is much improved and the periods of suffering are for shorter periods of time and less severe.  Manuka honey has been her very good friend these last few months.

Come July, we will join her and most of the other Bible family members for a 50th wedding celebration that Pris’ parents will hold in Ohio.  Pris is pretty excited.  We’ll be seeing Angie again, but also… the last time we were together in America was over 20 years ago.  We will get to stay with some special friends from Pris’ teen years, which will be a delight and be seeing her brothers and their families.  This last couple of weeks, I managed to figure out dates and flights and was again surprised at how cheap it is to travel when compared to 28 years ago when I first left the shores of Australia.

   On the country front…

We do have a new president.  He was elected in what is known as a landslide victory.  Generally, people are fed up with the non-action in the area of corruption in the country.  Zelenskiy is a new boy on the block – less tainted than the old politicians, and there is hope that he will at least have the will to do something.  We asked ourselves what effect the candidates would have on the spiritual well-being on the country – and it was difficult to guess.  Most of our church who voted would have voted for a new president, but perhaps a few voted for the incumbent.  We don’t excommunicate for that.  :)

   On the church front…

IMG_1373We have a new girl in rehab.  19 years in jail.  She is pretty rough.  She nearly lasted less than 15 minutes when told that she couldn’t have her last cigarette.  (We’ve only had one other who lasted less than that.)  I’m naturally hoping that God once again surprises me so that I discover that she is God’s.  At the first service she attended, I noticed that she was intently listening to everything that was said – a good sign that she is open to God?  We’ll see.

Our young Vlad has left rehab.  That really hurt.  After eight months with us, he was doing so well but then chose to smoke 1 cigarette.  Just one.  Yeah…  nope.  That little cigarette let down the barriers to pride and other sin and ended with him going home.  May God have mercy…

We have a parenting conference coming up in a couple of weeks.  We have no idea yet what the turnout will be like, but are enthusiastic at the opportunity of again sharing practical truths on this vital topic.  My voice isn’t used to teaching for 8 lectures straight and I remember the difficulty of the last couple of lectures the last time we did this.  May God give the necessary strength.

We celebrated Resurrection Sunday again in style this year.  A small group gathered for a sunrise celebration and surprisingly actually saw the sun.  Our traditional picnic was rained out, but we refused to believe it and enjoyed a fun time on the oval despite getting soaked.

Once again, our ladies (and some of us men in the kitchen) put on another ladies evangelistic night.  About 35 ladies came, most of who aren’t Christians.  We heard several encouraging comments and one lady bravely came to church the next day.  May God use His Word and the love witnessed by these ladies as they continue to think on what was shared.  A number of them keep on coming to these nights and hearing a similar message over and over again.  God can have mercy on them and convict of sin and the need for His Saviour-Son.  It would be so encouraging if this happened.

Pasha and his wife took a trip to Frankfurt a couple of weeks ago in the truck.  They just got back on Friday.  It was a great trip.  They never had a honeymoon, so in a very broad-brushstroke-way, this was a belated one.  (We looked after their two littlies.)  Pasha spoke in a church in Frankfurt and was really encouraged by their love and interest in the rehab ministry.  Our friend Sigi put them up and gathered a lot of stuff to send back with them.  The truck was full and we feel blessed.

I’ll end this in an interesting way – a distinctly negative one.  About a month ago, one of the men who had been in rehab for two weeks asked to talk with us after church.  He was two weeks in and wanted to go home and begged us to give him some money for a ticket.  We knew he would be going back to drugs and told him no, we wouldn’t help him.  We couldn’t help him die.  He left anyway and somehow made his way back to Kiev.  On Friday, he overdosed resulting in his final act on earth.

Still in rehab:

Valera       Valera Redko       Artem       Sergei       Kolya       Bogdanovich       Vova       Ruslan       Pasha       Maria       Vika       Oksana       Alyona