Thursday, 11 August 2016

4 new teens in Transition Home!

It's been a couple of months since we last wrote. It's been mad busy, we're tired... but extremely excited about our new role of parenting Transition Home. In our last blog post, we asked for prayer that the right teenagers would come to live with us. We are now excitedly awaiting two girls, Vika and Miroslava, as well as two boys, Oleg and Petya, to move into Transition Home later this month.

More exciting news, we found out we're expecting another baby! I'm about 15 weeks pregnant, due at the end of January. Our family is growing fast! Here's Joni's reaction...

 June and July have seen lots of change, adventure and unexpected hills for us to climb. In June, YWAM's previous Transition Home parents left. The Washington family played a huge part in establishing the Transition home for girls and they will be missed. Josh helped them to move back to the UK (he drove a van of their furniture and belongings back to the UK and then turned right around and came back to Ukraine!).

Meanwhile, I was with the kids in Vinnitsa, trying to unpack our things, which had been kind of on hold until the Washington family had left. I was fighting pretty bad morning sickness that week, not helped by the heat being suddenly cranked up. One day it reached 45 degrees C in the sun. I was very thankful for air-con whilst I did the hour-long school run twice a day, learning how to navigate Ukrainian roads.

I hosted a volunteer from the States that week, too, along with a YWAM team mate from Holland. These women, Chelsea and Marjolein were a Godsend. There was more clearing out in the house to do than we realised and I couldn't have faced it by myself. One day, the whole YWAM team also came by to help. One guy mowed the lawn, others sorted and boxed ministry supplies, others spent the whole day sorting through an attic-full of aid boxes which needed processing and passing on to good homes. We took the kids clothes to an orphans summer camp and bigger sized stuff to a women's rehabilitation center and a men's prison.

DTS volunteers from YWAM Vienna cleared the 'summer kitchen'
It has taken many hours, many hands to help (including a YWAM outreach team from Vienna) and three truck-loads to finish the clearing. We haven't put a single picture on the walls yet (and it seems we have more hard work ahead knocking down the broken fireplace) but we can see progress!
Actually, we can rejoice because the team has a clear attic (with insulation and plastering finished), a clean 'summer kitchen'/outbuilding (painted and floored) - this will be a prayer space for all to use - and the construction rubble from building transition home 2 is nearly all gone from the garden!!!

Vika registering in college
 Also in June, we hosted the four teenagers who are due to move in, they came to stay for a long weekend to get to know us a bit more. The boys stayed in bed until 3pm most days, they will find their new college routine a bit of a shock, I think! We traveled around many different colleges with the teens to find somewhere that would accept them. The girls got shouted out of one office being told 'we don't take orphans, you are not good enough'. I could rant about the injustice of this system and the prejudice that orphans face here, but I will focus on God working through that time...the whole team plus many of our supporters were praying and all four of the teenagers got accepted onto college courses that they are excited about. One outcome of the horrible experience was that one of the girls, Vika, asked if she could move in with us (beforehand, only her sister Miroslava had been fully committed to moving in)

Josh has been making trips to a village called Makarov with other guys from the team to help dig trenches for the construction of a new house. One of our team mates, Vova is building it for his biological mum (Vova was adopted from care when he was younger by our team leader, Andrew). One day the guys also had to put out a fire in the house next door (luckily there was a fire extinguisher in the team van)...the first car that the fire service had sent broke down on a hill so Josh and the guys did the work for them!
I have been going with the team to Bar, a summer camp for government children that runs whilst orphanages are shut. The team went weekly through June and July and has continued to visit the baby hospital room for orphans who need love, physical touch and play.

Bar summer camp crafts, face painting and games:

Yana, our visiting friend from Ternopil

In July we had lots of people visiting...the laundry machine seemed to be breaking with the amount of sheets laundered, but then miraculously fixed itself (Fritha Washington had warned us that, like some other things in the house, it seems to be running on grace alone!)
A couple from church in England came for a week, the guy (John) had no time to rest after travel when he was whisked away to Makarov to help dig. We also welcomed a family from Ternopil, a lady from the Ternopil YWAM team, and Vika and a friend on their way to the church's teen summer camp.

Sveta before Kyiv internship

Sveta is also living with us, although she has been away for the last 3 weeks in Kyiv on a work experience internship and before that went for a week to help staff a summer camp for orphans near Moldova. Sveta is simply amazing, we are so thankful that she is with us and we're sure she will be a great role model for the younger girls moving in.

In between visitors and ministry and clearing the house, I made a flying visit back to England with Zebedee to see my mum who is not very well.

 I came back to a house full of guys from around Ukraine and the States who had come to be part of Josh's worship album recording. Thank God for that cleared-out attic space! Guys playing different musical parts came and went, so for the last two weeks the house has been filled with laughter,  jazz and very loud drums (the guys had to pull the drum kit up through the window to actually get it up to the attic!). They have recorded 5 songs which are going back to Montana with a guy from YWAM, to get mixed and mastered (? - josh could explain this better than I can!) Josh feels the joy of 'making music' together, especially drawing younger guys to come and learn and be part of it all, is more important than the final product, though.

Enough from me, I could keep writing (it really has been a busy couple of months!) but we have lots more to do, still.

If you pray for us... we'd especially appreciate prayer for the new teenagers moving in (around August 25th-27th), for health (especially during pregnancy) and for continued language learning. We are also hoping for new people to offer monthly financial support to help us to run Transition home effectively. We are especially praying for increased support in time for winter coming when bills get a lot higher. Please also pray for our teammates (Vova and wife Steff), who are racing to finish the house construction in Makarov before moving to Holland in a weeks' time. My mum, Alison, needs continued prayer in her illness, including for her to trust those around her who love her and to accept the appropriate help and support she may need.

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys,

    What wonderful adventures you guys are having. We pray that God continues blessing you all and that He keeps using you all to further His work there in the lovely Ukraine to which He sent you.

    We pray that he keeps you safe and in good health during your pregnancy and after the wee lad is born.

    We pray that He also blesses you with all the finances and physical assistance that you need to bring Transition Home up to standard.

    Of equal importance, we pray that orphans over there are regarded just as highly and as valuable as all other members of society and that all forms of discrimination against them come to an end.

    We pray that all the orphans there are well placed with loving families who come to love them as their very own children; and that while they are in Transition Home, they come to experience security and love and realise what love in families is all about and how God wants families to be.

    Your family in UK loves you all a lot, inclujding all the guests with you.

    With lots of love and all of God's blessings now and always,

    TheCyclist XX