Monday, December 29, 2008

Holy Buckets!!

Wow, sorry it's been so long since I last wrote! It's now definitely official that we can leave this Friday to move to Kiev. We got our passports and visas in the mail today!! We weren't really worried as I had heard from the guy who was helping us with the Consulate last week that they were in the mail. But it definitely is nice to have them in hand!

On Sunday our Church had a commissioning service for us and it was a wonderful time to pray and be encouraged by our Church as they send us to Ukraine. I am excited to go to Ukraine and it feels quite real now as we are fully moved out of our apartment and have everything that we are taking to Ukraine packed in 4 suitcases. God has been good to us over the last few years of preparing and we trust in his sovereignty and power to work through us. Thanks for your prayers. Keep at it!

Our flight leaves out of JFK this Friday at 6:30pm and we'll arrive in Kiev at 11:30am on Saturday. We'll keep you updated on our status and will maybe post a few pictures once we arrive. Till then!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shipping

We've been thinking and sorting through the things that we want to ship to Kiev this week. Hopefully we'll get those things packed into 2 or 3 boxes and shipped out by the end of this week! Our apartment, or "flat" as they call them in Ukraine, is starting to look pretty messy with boxes and stuff laying around!

We have a few items (some kitchen stuff, bookcase, etc.) that we are looking to get rid of. If you're interested let us know.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

One-way Tickets

Just wanted to let you all know that we bought our flight tickets. We're leaving for Kiev on Friday January 2!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Lord's Provision

Yesterday Garrett and I were discussing all of the things that had developed that day in our plans to leave for Ukraine. Garrett said he found out that our visas are going to cost $600 instead of the $100 we had budgeted for. Being a person who tends toward worrying, I was of course worried! This afternoon Garrett called me at work to let me know that someone called and wanted to give us $600 in one time support. No coincidence that this is what we needed to cover our visa costs! What a faithful God we serve!

Praising our great God,
Kristen

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Marquis de Custine

A French dude's take on his time visiting the Russian Empire in 1839:

If ever your sons should be discontented with France, try my recipe; tell them to go to Russia. It is a useful journey for every foreigner: whoever has well examined that country will be content to live anywhere else. It is always well to know that a society exists where no happiness is possible, because by a law of his nature, man cannot be happy unless he is free.

Such a recollection renders the traveller less fastidious; and, returning to his own hearth, he can say of his country what a man of mind once said of himself; 'When I estimate myself, I am modest; but when I compare myself, I am proud.'

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Support Update

We are at 98%. Almost there! As of this evening we still need to raise:

- $95 in monthly support
- $500 in one-time support

Thank you for giving your money to support us and for praying for us.

Negative Calvinists

Ben Witherington posts on John Piper's explanation of why so many Calvinists are so negative [towards others with different convictions]. They are both very thoughtful on why this happens. This is something I've thought alot about with a friend from Grove City and on my own. Witherington says:
"...we should be placing our faith in God, not in a particular theological system. There is a difference. In the former case the faith is largely placed in whom we know and whom we have encountered. In the latter case the faith can be too often placed in what we believe we know about God and theological truth."

I think he is right and this is a temptation. It's tempting to have faith in what I know about God and do for him, rather than in him and being with him. That doesn't mean I don't have theological convictions but it does mean that I know my limits and my being. I'm a sinner whom God has saved and is in the process of sanctifying. Of course I need to know things about God to know him, but there is a thin line between trusting in God and trusting in my correct convictions about God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Support Update

We are currently at 96% of our total support. We need to raise $225 of monthly support before we can leave for Kiev. Thanks for your prayers and financial support!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Presenting Our Ministry this Sunday

Kristen and I will be doing a short presentation this Sunday afternoon during the Chinese service at our Church. If you could pray that we would clearly present our heart for our future ministry in Kiev, Ukraine. Thanks!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Russia as the Aggressor?


A new article by the New York Times today raises some questions about who is primarily responsible for starting the war in Georgia. I think, in the United States anyway, people were generally quick to assume and believe that Russia was the aggressor and was flexing its muscles against its neighbor Georgia and not acting out of self-defense. The vast majority of people I talk to about Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe assumes this. This general inclination to automatically assume aggressiveness on the part of Russia is probably best seen in Sen. John McCain's reaction to the war (And Barack Obama's albeit less hasty reaction).

Anyway, it's helpful to read this article as it points out the tension that had been mounting for months prior to Aug. 7 and also the shelling and missteps taken by President Saakashvili of Georgia that led to Russia invading S. Ossetia.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

93%

That's where our current support is. We've raised all our one-time support and need $400 more in monthly support. Please feel free to click on the make a donation button to the right if you are interested in supporting us. Thank you for your support!

Ukraine and the Financial Crisis


I just read this article about how the global financial crisis is affecting Ukraine. While things do look pretty gloomy there in the short term perhaps this crisis will bring about much needed reform in the long term.

Prefield Training

We just signed up for Prefield Training in Brussels, Belgium. It runs from January 14 to February 10. During that time we'll be learning about church planting, culture, language acquisition, team dynamics, and will be mentored by existing Church-planters. Should be fun!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day is Here!

Today is the big day. No matter who wins it's pretty exciting to see and experience the election process we have in the US. You can follow it all online at CNN if you're so inclined.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Russia: The Land

Here is an audio slide show done by James Hill of the New York Times on the Russia that we don't see all that much in the news. In this slide show he talks about the changes and challenges of agrarian life in rural Russia. Ukraine also struggles with many of the themes he talks about and the pictures are quite amazing too!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Nice Landing

Pshhtt, I could do that anyday!

Phillies Win!!

I just wanted to let you all know that the Phillies won the 2008 World Series last night!

Monday, October 20, 2008

87%

Our support is now at 87%. Thanks so much for your support! We now really only have to raise the last $500 of monthly support. If you would like to become a monthly supporter you can contact me through this blog, my email address(gcman6@gmail.com), or by clicking on the make a donation button to the right.

Friday, October 17, 2008

CT Article on the Church in Ukraine

There is a fascinating article out today in Christianity Today about the Evangelical Church in Ukraine. If you are interested in learning more about the ministry that many Churches have in Ukraine then I would encourage you to read it.

One of the more interesting parts of this article is the reporting on the leadership situation and role Ukraine is/could be playing in Eastern Europe. Many Ukrainian Churches are sending missionaries to other parts of Eastern Europe and have a desire to send even more missionaries.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Are you Hungry and Thirsty?


I've been reading a book by D.A. Carson recently on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus' words in Matt. 5-7 have been challenging and encouraging. I'd encourage you to read these three chapters in Matthew. Here is some of what Carson says:

'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled'

"Thorough righteousness is often parodied as some form of obsolete Victorian prudishness, or narrow-minded and vehement legalism. The pursuit of righteousness is not popular even among professing evangelicals. Many today are prepared to seek other things; spiritual maturity, real happiness, the Spirit's power. They hunger for spiritual experience. But how many hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

83%

I just wanted to point out that our support is up to 83% now. We're continually faithful for your generosity in supporting us with your money and your prayers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ponderings

Hello, Kristen here! I have not had the privilege of posting on here in quite some time and have lately been pondering on life changes.
I've read numerous books that should change my life, but only recently have I realized that this has not happened. Well, lasting change has not occurred anyway. I've started reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. In the first chapter he says, and I loosely quote, "be prepared for a radical reformation in your life." This makes me excited! Ready to read the book, ready to make changes, ready to be a new person living expressly to serve my Savior. But I must admit I've felt this before to no avail. What will make the difference? Turning my life over to Jesus. Reading it prayfully, reading it humbly, reading it realistically; knowing it is not in my strength that change can be effected. I invite you to join me on this journey of radical life reformation and I ask you to ask me how it's going!

On the journey!
Kristen

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello. We are still alive.

Well I haven't posted in a little while and I thought it might be good to give you an update on our plans for this fall.

As of right now we have officially raised 78% of our support. We have a trip out to Grove City in a few weeks and some other small meetings in October. We're hoping to leave sometime after that. We also need to attend a month-long training seminar in Brussels, Belgium in January. It sounds like it will be helpful and it will be great to live in Brussels for a month too!

Hopefully in the next week or so we'll have some good news about our support level as well... Till then!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Politics in Ukraine

Well, it looks like the government in Ukraine is coming apart once again. The governing coalition in the Parliament has fallen apart and now the 3 major parties (and other smaller parties) are negotiating to form a new governing coalition. If they can't agree then The President, Victor Yushchenko, will call new elections. Again.

You can read about it here in this BBC news article.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ukraine and the Russian-Georgian Conflict

I thought I would recommend a few articles on the recent Russian-Georgian War in the Caucasus. Obviously since this took place near Ukraine I have been pretty interested in it's developments. In many ways this conflict involves Ukraine as the article by Victor Yushchenko (The current president of Ukraine) discusses.

Article #1 is by George Freidman and gives some good historical background to this conflict as well as analysis from an American foreign policy perspective.

Article #2 is by Olga Ivanovna. She is a Russian student studying here in the States and claims that the American press has been biased and has not told the entire story.

Article #3 is the one by Victor Yushchenko in today's Washington Post. In it he talks about how this affects Ukraine.

Just so you are aware all three articles paint different pictures and reflect different views of what is happening. But I think there is something to be learned and some truth in all 3 articles.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kiev Apartment

Jon Eide(our team leader in Kiev) has recently been looking for apartments for us in Kiev and he sent us a video and some pictures of one. I thought I would post the video so you can see what a typical apartment in Ukraine looks like. It's not much different than here except that there are two rooms for all the bathroom amenities: one for the shower and sink and one for the toilet.

video

Monday, August 4, 2008

Presenting our Ministry

Today Kristen and I are going to Knoebel's for the day to celebrate my nephew's birthday. We're looking forward to spending time with family and having fun at the park.

Also, on Sunday Kristen and I are giving a presentation of our ministry in Ukraine to our Church during Sunday School. It should be fun! We'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spurgeon on Grace and Faith


I thought I would share with you some Spurgeon this morning. I've been reading his little book All of Grace which can be found at this infamous Spurgeon Archive. If you've never read Spurgeon before, you should. He was a Baptist minister in London at the Metropolitan Tabernacle during the middle of the 19th Century. Here are his thoughts on grace and faith:

Faith occupies the position of a channel or conduit pipe. Grace is the fountain and the stream; faith is the aqueduct along which the flood of mercy flows down to refresh the thirsty sons of men.

Still, I again remind you that faith is only the channel or aqueduct, and not the fountainhead, and we must not look so much to it as to exalt it above the divine source of all blessing which lies in the grace of God. Never make a Christ out of your faith, nor think of as if it were the independent source of your salvation. Our life is found in "looking unto Jesus," not in looking to our own faith. By faith all things become possible to us; yet the power is not in the faith, but in the God upon whom faith relies. Grace is the powerful engine, and faith is the chain by which the carriage of the soul is attached to the great motive power. The righteousness of faith is not the moral excellence of faith, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ which faith grasps and appropriates. The peace within the soul is not derived from the contemplation of our own faith; but it comes to us from Him who is our peace, the hem of whose garment faith touches, and virtue comes out of Him into the soul.

See then, dear friend, that the weakness of your faith will not destroy you. A trembling hand may receive a golden gift. The Lord's salvation can come to us though we have only faith as a grain of mustard seed. The power lies in the grace of God, and not in our faith. Great messages can be sent along slender wires, and the peace-giving witness of the Holy Spirit can reach the heart by means of a thread-like faith which seems almost unable to sustain its own weight. Think more of Him to whom you look than of the look itself. You must look away even from your own looking, and see nothing but Jesus, and the grace of God revealed in Him.

Friday, July 25, 2008

God is utterly in control and it is good

This week I have been meditating on God's sovereignty over his creation and his goodness towards us. This morning I was thinking through the last part of Romans 8.

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things."

The context for this passage is God's promise that he will "work all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose." It is truly astonishing to hear the bluntness of Paul in making this assertion: "What, you don't think God has your good in mind? He didn't even spare his own son for you. In fact, his son took your place!" It gives me joy to no end to know God's love for me in the gospel .

As Asaph says in Psalm 73:25,26, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2 Short-term teams in Kiev this week

This week SPRC(Solomensky Presbyterian Reformed Church) is hosting 2 short-term teams from the State's. One team is doing a family and relationship seminar and the other an English camp focusing on reaching out to new university students. If you could pray that both of these week-long events would build up the Church and that many would come. Below are some pictures from a previous English Camp, 2005 I think.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"It's Not Broke, So Fix It"

I read an article by Collin Hansen this morning about the Evangelical Free Church of America's new statement of faith. It's encouraging to see their desire to preserve orthodoxy and guide their Churches with a new statement of faith that exalts the great truths of God's wonderful grace!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our Sovereign God

This morning I've been reading and studying on God's providence and sovereignty. Here is question 27 & 28 of the Heidelberg Catechism. It gives me such joy to know that I worship and serve the living God!

Question 27: What do you mean by the providence of God?

Answer: The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.

Question 28: What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things?

Answer: That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Everything is Illuminated

So Kristen and I watched a movie the other night called Everything is Illuminated. It takes place in Ukraine and is about an American who travels to Ukraine to learn about his family (from Ukrainian origin). What's so great about this movie is how they portray the cultural differences between Ukraine and America. Kristen and I laughed, alot!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Video of the Church we will be working with in Kiev

Here is a video taken during a worship service at SPRC while we were there visiting last year.
video

Monday, June 23, 2008

Here are some photos from our vacation time in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania and at the beach on the Outer Banks, NC. We had lots of fun!

The Lucas (& Clemmer) clan altogether at Skyview

Definitely a pretty cool scenic overlook!

Kara & Travis playing in the middle of the road...

Dinner on the Sound

beautiful & ... a beaver?
My two nephew's, Josh & Ben, and Kristen & I

Some guy hang-gliding on the sand dunes

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home from Vacation

We've just returned from our vacation over the last two weeks. It was such a great time! We were at the beach last week and this week spent some time with Kristen's family in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania. I'll post more about it tomorrow with some pictures. Till then...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

SPRC Website and Vacation

I wanted to point out to you the website for SPRC in Kiev. This is the Church that we will be working with in the city.

Also, Kristen and I are going on vacation next week to the Outer Banks. We are really excited and will post some pictures next week!

For Christ and his glory,

Friday, May 30, 2008

Advice to Missionaries (and us all)

I came across this letter sent by Adoniram Judson from Burma on June 25, 1932 with some advice for new missionaries coming to the field. Below is some of what he said.

First, then, let it be a missionary life; that is, come out for life, and not for a limited term. Do not fancy that you have a true missionary spirit, while you are intending all along to leave the heathen soon after acquiring their language. Leave them! for what? To spend the rest of your days in enjoying the ease and plenty of your native land?

Sixthly. Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people. You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work -- the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone.

Seventhly. Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men -- that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good.

Eighthly. Never lay up money for yourselves or your families. Trust in God from day to day, and verily you shall be fed.

Tenthly. Beware of genteel living. Maintain as little intercourse as possible with fashionable European society. The mode of living adopted by many missionaries in the East is quite inconsistent with that familiar intercourse with the natives which is essential to a missionary.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pictures From Living in Grace


Some pictures of a waterfall near Ridge Haven

This rope-swing was tons of fun during our free time!

Getting to know some other MTW missionaries one evening


Friday, May 16, 2008

Living in Grace

The majestic mountains of North Carolina, a wonderful place to be! Garrett and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our spiritual training with Mission to the World at Ridge Haven. We, along with about 30 other MTW missionaries spent the week in lectures, personal application, small groups, prayer and fellowship. There's just something about being surrounded by others who are of the same mind that is so refreshing and delightful! We arrived at Ridge Haven on Sunday and didn't know anyone, by the time we left on Friday there were hugs all around and almost even tears of goodbye! (OK, so that was only me, not Garrett). I think the most wonderful part of the week was just hearing what God is doing in so many other people's lives and how he is alive, moving, and working!

Aside from the fun social aspect of the week; the lectures were challenging, encouraging, humbling, moving.
  • Challenging in that we were pointed toward the call to live in a posture of grace (forgiveness, surrender, repentance, reliance on God) regardless of any extenuating circumstance of life.
  • Encouraging to hear and be reminded of Christ's absolute, unchangeable love for me, his chosen child! To grow in my knowledge of who Christ is.
  • Humbling to see how often and far I stray from the One who gave everything for me. We read an article by Tim Keller about the idols in our lives. In the article he talks about near and far idols and how the things that we do, even good things are so often out of a motivation to serve an idol. For example: One of the far idols in my life is approval. So even things like helping someone out, teaching Sunday School, or working hard are near idols to serve the far idol of approval. It was devastating to see how pervasive sin is! But thank Jesus I am not left there! I am called to recognize the idols in my life and replace them with the truth of the gospel; praying in repentance and joy knowing that I am forgiven and washed by the blood of the Lamb.
  • Moving me towards my Savior. Living in reliance on him, an ongoing, never ending crying out for the Holy Spirit to enable me to live for the glory of God!

My favorite quote from the week was:
"Why do I need to cry out for the Holy Spirit again and again? Because I leak." D.L. Moody

Some other fun things we did:
Swinging into the pond on the rope swing!
Hiking to the water falls.
Walking up hill both ways to every meal! (no kidding! I didn't gain a pound!)
Getting to know great new people!
Enjoying an evening out with the gang at a local Pub.

We'll have pictures posted soon!

Living in Grace,
Kristen

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dollars and Ukraine

There has been much talk in missionary circles recently about the falling value of the dollar and the impact it is having on missionaries. Kristen and I have been puzzled because it hasn't affected our budget at all yet! But I read an article yesterday that explained it all. Ukraine has pegged their currency, the hryvnia, to the US dollar so the exchange rate doesn't change (or changes only minimally). But apparently that is driving up inflation in Ukraine. Imagine that!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Support Update

We recently received word from our home Church on the amount of financial support they would be providing. Praise God for his gracious provision! Our total support is now at about 66%, which means we still have to raise about $1100 in monthly support and some one-time. If you haven't noticed already, you can keep track of our support raising progress through the bar on the right hand side of the page. Thank you all for your prayers and financial support!

Monday, April 28, 2008

PCRT continued...

As Kristen posted below, I was greatly encouraged and blessed through this year's Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology! It was wonderfully edifying, humbling, transforming, and spurring. Definitely, spurring! In Hebrews 10:19, 24 the writer says

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body... let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds"

I thank God for the blessing it is to be spurred on by Godly brothers in Christ to love and good deeds! There was way too much to recount here so I'll just mention the pre-conference in which Joel Beeke reflected on persevering in joyful humility, prayer, & in the face of criticism. More than anything, I valued his wisdom and joyful heart in teaching us how to practically fight pride, seek to be prayer warriors, and how to react to and humbly face criticism.

Aside from the conference we also enjoyed:
Living in the city for the weekend (albeit in a hotel)
Avenue17 (a jazz bar with amazing live jazz music on Friday nights)
Meeting new people
Shawarma pita sandwiches at the Pita Pocket on 16th & Walnut
Cheesesteaks at Tony Luke's with Andy & Leah
A parking ticket
A flat tire on Sunday
A bathtub (Kristen)
Buying new books &
Gaining renewed excitement for ministry in the city (Kristen & I)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Philadelphia Conference of Reformed Theology

PCRT, a time when the "frozen chosen" get together and study a theme in God's word; some would say exhaustively, others wish there were more time to look a little closer. I won't tell you which camp I (Kristen) am in.
This is my 3rd time at PCRT and I am looking forward to learning more fully of Christ's blood shed for me. PCRT is definitely one of those "mountain top" experiences that I cling to when I descend back into daily life. It's too easy to lose the thrill of the gospel. So I pray that I will know Christ in the power of his resurrection not just when surrounded by those of like mind, being lifted up and exhorted together to serve our King, but also when in my own corner of the world.

I am sure Garrett will have much more to say about the conference when he posts next time, so stay tuned!

Climbing the mountain, Kristen

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Myth of Race

I listened to a lecture by Thabiti Anyabwile entitled Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church this morning. His main point is that race is an illusion and that the Bible portrays the descendants of Adam as not biologically different but one people. It is greatly encouraging and he is really funny too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Grove City, Erie, and back again

We're back from our trip to Grove City, PA over the weekend. It was great to see so many of you! My cousin was married in Erie, PA in a little town called North East along Lake Erie. We also were able to meet with a few people about our ministry in Kiev and received 2 new supporters to our team. It's amazing to see God provide for us! Here is a picture entering the town of North East, PA with Lake Erie on the horizon.


If you haven't noticed already, I added a support raising progress bar on the right to keep you all updated on our progress in raising support. Thanks for your prayer and support!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Simple Pleasures

We recently purchased a grill. It has been a great source of delight and good food! Since we despised spending vast amounts of money on a tool that we will not be able to take with us to Ukraine, we purchased one of the cheapest models available at Wal-Mart. Our grill has a few idiosyncrasies that make it quite endearing or infuriating depending on the mood of the griller. For one, the legs on the grill when fully extended bring it to about 6 inches from the ground, causing the griller to squat or sit on the pavement while grilling. The grate is large enough to hold approximately 4 hamburger patties, which actually is perfect for us! My favorite little quirk is that the warming tray, which is attached to the lid, is not quite large enough for the grill and thus falls into whatever you happen to be grilling every time you open the lid to check the progress of your delicious dinner. The old adage seems to prove true, "You get what you pay for!", but not so in our case, for we have derived so much pleasure from devouring our grilled delicacies that we have certainly gained much more than $20 worth of pleasure and enjoyment from this piece of equipment.

Come join us for steaks!
Kristen

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Top Ten April Fools' Pranks for Nerds

I saw this article about April Fools' pranks and thought I would pass it along to you! My personal favorite is changing the language in Google.

Forgiven I say!

So I've been reading this great book by Tim Keller, The Reason for God. I have to say that I highly recommend it if you haven't already read it. Tim Keller is gracious and wise in this book in which he makes the case that belief in God is more plausible and reasonable than rejecting him. I thought I would share a little bit of his thoughts on forgiveness. Keller is answering the question of why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins. Couldn't God just forgive us?

"This is what many may ask, but now we can see that no one 'just' forgives, if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears... As Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other's sins. On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone."

I was struck by how watered down my view of forgiveness is. I find myself thinking it is just some emotional change of heart toward someone. But, as Keller says, it is much more than that. It is bearing a debt they owe you just as Christ did for us on the cross. "You have hurt me (whether its physically, emotionally, etc.) and owe me a debt. But, I will cancel and bear that debt out of love for you." Christ has given me infinite forgiveness in the Cross. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from others?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My mother says, "Patience is a Virtue!"

Unfortunately I don't think patience is a virtue that I excel in modeling. God knows this, and this last week I've been learning the excellent practice of a "long obedience in the same direction" as Eugene Peterson calls patience.

I took Good Friday off from work, I guess this started it all! I think my computer decided that the long weekend was not long enough and has been running in snail speed since Monday morning. It's taken me twice as long to do my work all week. The most frustrating part is the waiting! I wouldn't mind if I was busy, but sitting waiting for a computer to do it's thing is incredibly frustrating! If only I understood what was going on inside this big piece of machinery! Alas, computer technology is also not one of my strong suits!

So, what am I learning from my long week of waiting?
~ Patience (sometimes just waiting is a good thing)
~ Self-Control (while throwing the computer through the window is VERY tempting, it obviously would not accomplish anything!)
~ Reliance (team work is necessary, especially since I don't know the first thing repairing and compacting data bases and the like!)
~ God's faithfulness (even though my work took twice as long, it was finished in the end and I'm still alive and well, maybe even a little more chilled than at the begging of the week)

I can't wait to see what next week brings!

Waiting in our Savior!
Kristen

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Photos from Kyiv

I thought I would post some photos from our vision trip to Kyiv last year.



An English club with some Ukrainian students. It was fun!




Lots of snow! This was the view from an apartment in Kyiv.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The law and grace

On the support-raising front, Kristen and I are still sending out information to Churches in the area. I was able to talk with people from five different Churches this week and will be sending our portfolio to them . Not too much else to report in that area. Today is the first day of Spring and I'm looking forward to warmer weather although I feel a little slighted by the lack of snow this winter. Next winter!

So I decided to take up the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge, and I am currently reading The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton. This isn't the book that I'm supposed to be reading this month but since I am already halfway through it I decided to switch things around a bit. I thought this passage encouraging and helpful:

The law and its application to all believers. "Lastly, under this head, let me exhort you all to judge of the law aright, and then let it be your care to maintain it. Let not Moses take the place of Christ; but, at the same time, make a right use of Moses. When works and obedience take their right place, when the law is rightly used, then it is holy, just and good. But if we use it as our life, then we trample the blood of Christ underfoot, and make His life and death in vain. Let the servant follow the Master; let Moses follow Christ; the law, grace..."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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Grace
God's grace to us in this time of support raising has been so amazing! How wonderful to see his hand intimately in involved in every detail; knowing he is orchestrating our lives for his glory and our good.

My token Russian phrase is: "Oh moya slova!" (Oh my word!)

Living in His Grace,
Kristinka

Добро пожаловать!

Welcome! Since Kristen and I are learning Russian I've decided that I need to use it as much as possible so that it really sinks in. Did you know that:

Святой корову means "holy cow"?

It is pronounced like this, "svya-TOI ko-RO-voo"

I don't think that Ukrainians would actually ever use this phrase since it is an American phrase. But, you would definitely get some looks if you said this to someone on the street in Kiev. Again, welcome to our blog! Kristen and I will be posting about our life here in the States and in Ukraine. The goal is to move to Ukraine in August but that depends on our support coming in before then. Thanks for stopping by and we would love to hear from you!