Monday, 14 November 2016

November update: another busy month. need a rest, need a babysitter!!!

Keep praying that the boys would stay part of our community and on the right path, even as they are exposed to potentially harmful influences in the college dormitories Monday-Thursday when they are not at Transition Home.  Here's a picture of us having coffee and cake with Serge (YWAM staff), Oleg and Miraslava...we want more of these moments with the boys!

Our team leader, Andrew, kindly came over with trees to plant a border at Transition Home... the guys and Joni braved the cold to get them planted before the ground froze.

Nepali food night with a dear friend (Julia) who moved to Dubai this week. It never gets easier to say goodbye to people coming and going in missions

Sveta is always braver to try new foods than the younger girls..who ate only plain rice and complained about everything else that looked unfamiliar without trying anything!

Our team is growing! Here's Justin (middle) joining us for his first Orphanage visit. We call this the 'Palace Orphanage' because it used to be a Polish stately home and it looks quite grand! We also had another Josh from Canada joining our staff this month... we now have a team with many single guys which is quite unusual in missions
a special event for girls at the 'palace orphanage'... Here's me teaching Isaiah 43:4 'you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you'... pray that this is a message the girls keep close to their hearts.
We took the girls on a first vacation to Ternopil. YWAM base was full so we had to book a hotel at the last minute, which was a new experience for the girls... it is such a JOY to see them experiencing cool stuff for the first time.
we took the girls to see some YWAM families in Ternopil, who blessed with amazing hospitality... we love our friends there so much. Here is Josh doing something silly with his friend Roman who loves gadgets

It rained so much in Ternopil but we had fun. I was utterly exhausted by the end of the weekend though, not so much of a break for Josh and I juggling the little children and co-ordinating the teenagers. I realised that we rarely relax into English language at home when the girls are around and it's hard work for my brain to keep up (even Joni's ukrainian is pretty good now and I am trailing behind)... Pray that our language would get better and better and we won't be discouraged in the learning process.

coffee in our favourite cafe in Ternopil
Amazing local food... we have never found as good a Ukrainian restaurant as this place in Ternopil.
Back to Vinnnitsa...and blocked drains. unblocking hair is one of the grossest things Josh takes on now that we live with the teenage girls! We also had blocked sewage pipes this month and it took so much time (and many gross conversations about poop, to the amusement of our team) to find the right plumber to come and clear them. I do miss how easy it is to sort out practical things like that in England.
Sveta and Zeb went to gather the last of the apples from the garden this year... sadly now we will see less of the beautiful fresh fruit and veg at market that we have enjoyed through the summer, as food is generally local and seasonal in Ukraine.
Friends we didn't see in Ternopil came to Vinnitsa for the 'Fire of Hope' youth conference that our team member, Igor, organised. His aim was not only to inspire youth about missions, but also to bring them together from different churches along with their muli-denominational pastors. Pray that churches grow closer and can work together as a united body of Christ in Ukraine.
A REALLY fun visit to an African/Portuguese church. The kids loved it. Oleg and Petya came and had real culture shock... they stood frozen staring at the African outfits and dancing around them. At least now they know church doesn't have to look 'one way'!
Surprise party for Igor's birthday
Josh goes to 'Zhmerinka' orphanage each week and is building lovely relationships with some of the boys and a little girl called Julia... you never know, they might end up living in Transition home one day!

Joni baked muffins for a neighbour called Vera (we want to get to know the neighbours more and more). In Ukrainian culture, many people cannot accept a gift without returning the blessing (so they don't feel indebted to you). So, Vera asked Joni for tea and gave her these amazing hand-made animal cookies... kind of made our muffins look feeble in comparison!
Mira and Vika are both creative and helped me when Joni's school told us "Joni needs to dress up as a leaf" with one day's notice!
Joni practiced her dance moves very seriously for quite a while, ready for this autumn celebration at school.

It's snowing!! A LOT!!
Sveta...big kid at heart!

Mira turned 17 last week and we couldn't let it go by without having a MASSIVE PARTY!! Happy BIRTHDAY, Mira!!!

All in all, another really busy month with lots of fun, stress, hard-work and prayer required. We had an outreach team of 10 arriving at the weekend so, as usual, we need lots of energy to keep going!

 As well as prayer points mentioned above, please pray for:

  • Continued health for us all, including the pregnancy (nearly 30 weeks now and counting!)
  • The health and continued care of Nina's mum, Alison in our absence. 
  • A growing of faith and interest in church/youth groups for the girls. Vika has spoken a little about being baptised whilst Mira has not been along to her youth/home group and seems quite unsure about church. 
  • Language learning
  • For us to find good babysitting options!!! We desperately need a regular break from kids and teenagers to spend time together as a couple. Josh and I also have a stirring in our hearts to go out together praying for homeless people from time to time which requires someone to help watch the little ones.

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