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Shane
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Wore and Piece

As I look back over the last several years, and consider the times of conflict we’ve had in our lives… the list begins to get long.

1.  Conflict with neighbors

2.  Conflict with thieves

3.  Conflict with Police

4.  Conflict with children

5.  Conflict with church members

6.  Conflict with Satan

7.  Conflict with my spouse

8.  Conflict with my friends

9.  Conflict with inanimate objects like car, computer, electricity, the electricity company, my expanding stomach!

10.  Conflict with myself

I think this list could develop another 20 points at least, and certainly not the least being the conflict with Russia and the “separs” (separatists) that is going on in Ukraine at the moment.  We seem to have quite a lot of conflict in our lives. 

I’ve been asked a couple of times now if I could deliver in our van a heap of preserves, (fish, meat, veggies, and jams), to the troops at the front.  These guys have seen conflict in a way few of us have… they risk their lives during conflict.  Interestingly enough, for most of them, their priority in this conflict is to live to see tomorrow – not to kill the enemy.  That’s a strange sort of conflict, no?  Self-preservation above victory. 

I understand the reasoning.  If I’m alive, I can go home to my family.  If I’m alive, I can continue to enjoy life.  If I’m alive, I don’t have to face the scary unknowns in eternity.  These poor lads!  And yet my thoughts turn to what could make a big difference in their lives:  Peace and a trust in God.  What price can a person place on those?  Isaiah 26  “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on thee…”.  What is the foundation of this peace?  The verse goes on to tell us that it is a trust in God.  God is both glorified by and delighted in us when we truly trust Him… especially during times of conflict.  photo

I was reminded of God’s “delighting in us” as I played with a couple of twins we were looking after yesterday.  I often test children to see if they will trust me with something they are holding.  I hold out my hand and ask for their toy.  I then show them they can trust me by taking it (if they give it), and oohing over it for a few seconds before giving it back.  When a child won’t trust me… I don’t feel the same as I do when they do show their trust in me.  God is no different.  I want to trust Him 100% for His glory and my good.

We finally got the girls passports in our hands this last week.  We started applying for them back in September last year I think.  First it was a date missed on a form, then payment problems, then more payment problems, then more payment problems!!!  Then the passports were sent to Australia, then two were sent back to Poland, then one was sent back to Australia…  It was comedic!  Roksolana, the Ukrainian secretary at the Australian Consulate in Kiev was most apologetic when she was finally able to hand them to us.  Seeing the flag hanging on the wall of the embassy made me again realize that 20 years in Ukraine have done their best to milk the Ozzie out of me… to no avail. 

Our youth group nights have been interesting of late.  We seem to be getting more kids coming out.  A number of them have also been attending a Bible study Shane is leading on Tuesday’s for the guys.  This last week, three new guys turned up for the study which is pretty photoexciting.  May God work in their hearts!

Tamara finally committed her life to Christ last week and wants to get baptized.  In the picture below, she and her son, Andrei, are marching with the communists last year.  She has struggled with alcoholism for years and periodically stayed with us while her husband drinks.  Last week following a ladies evangelistic outreach, she called with the news that she’d had enough of living without Christ.  Praise the Lord.  Please pray for her and her husband and young son, Andrei.  (Andrei is often in our home and comes to just about any church gathering that he’s allowed to attend.)