Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas is Here!

With the arrival of almost 1 foot of snow has come much joy and delight. This joy and delight can not be rivaled by the joy and delight experienced upon the arrival of our 50 pound package from our home church Covenant and the purchase of a fresh pine smelling christmas tree! If all goes as planned pictures will be posted of us lugging our package home!!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All Things Christmas

With the Cookie Countdown has come a festive Christmas spirit. I get the urge to decorate and Garrett... well he gets the urge to build! His big project is a set of shelves for our kitchen. He drew up a nice sketch (Kenton would be proud!) and bought all the wood and borrowed a saw and he has set off! Here are some pictures of our various ways to indulge in the Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yum Yum

Since coming to Ukraine I have become an avid visiter to It's a great website for finding a recipe for anything your little heart desires to cook up! Yesterday I found The Cookie Countdown!! They send you a different cookie recipe every day until Christmas, what a great idea!! So I of course signed up and started off our Cookie Countdown yesterday with a yummy but not so pretty Pumpkin Roll and today Pecan Sandies (made with walnuts since pecans are a special imported delicacy saved for those oh so special pecan pies at Thanksgiving and Christmas). One of my favorite parts of the Cookie Countdown is that you can't peak at what is coming tomorrow! I of course would like to know what the rest of the week holds, but I can't find out until the e-mail arrives in my in box!! I was at first concerned with the thought that I would feel tied into making the cookie recipes I was sent. But I have decided that since I do not have all ingredients readily available to me I can take liberties with the Countdown and switch out recipes I want to make with ones like Peanut Butter Cookies. (Just can't bear at this point to use up my precious peanut butter in a cookie batter!)
Any Christmas favorites you think I should try?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

At Long Last

This is a day I have dreamed of for much of my teenage and adult life. I have always loved children and all things surrounding them. I can remember when I was 12 or 13 years old just LOVING to hold babies and Mrs. Hampton telling me that she hoped it would be at least 10 years until I was holding one of my own... Well that day is finally on the horizon and I am so excited, to say the least!

So today I made history for myself, I purchased my first official piece of maternity clothing!!! I know kind of ridiculous to be buying clothing I won't be able to wear for another couple of months, but oh well, I just couldn't resist. A beautiful pair of wool H&M Maternity pants with belt loops and pockets in the back, nicely lined... I didn't even try them on. Ok so that would have been way ridiculous! I am still wearing my favorite jeans and fitting nicely into all my normal clothes, I'm only 14 weeks you see. But the deal maker with these pants was they were only $1.35. Now who in their right mind can pass that up? I mean even a non-bargain shopper (unlike myself) could not pass that up!

So, I am the proud owner of a pair of pants that I may come to hate in the next months since they may be the only ones I can wear after a little while! I'm so excited it will be wonderful!

Dreaming of a big tummy,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swine Flu

In a word (or picture)...

Poor Piglet.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Adventures

A couple of months ago a couple of friends were sitting around my kitchen table and we started talking about "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway. Our impassioned discussion got us to thinking about how fun it would be to start a book club! Many moons later we have finally gotten around to doing just that! Tonight is the first meeting of our very own book club! We will begin with a real duzy, "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri. T.S. Eliot said, "Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them. There is no third." I vaguely remember reading this esteemed poem in High School (thank you Mr. Patton) but I'm looking forward to stimulating discussion (in Russian) to help me delve deeper into the meaning and ideas presented by Dante in his world renown poetry.
Wish us luck!!

p.s. any suggestions for other good books to read and discuss?


Monday, September 14, 2009

Reunion and new Bibles

Over the weekend we had a reunion for one of our Summer Camps. It was fun to get together again and we gave everyone a Bible. Please pray for these students that the Lord would use his word in their life and that they could discover him through reading their new Bibles this fall.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stress Relief... well that's what it's supposed to be!

So my mom sent me a nice surprise for my birthday! Basket weaving supplies!!! While baskets are big in Ukraine I have been unable as of yet to find a place to purchase the reed here. So thanks to Mom I am able to for the first time in 8 months let my creative juices flow into the reed. I decided to try a new kind of basket called a twill weave basket. It was quite a challenge and despite the mutterings of wrath that sometimes escape I had fun trying my hand at this technique. I have not completed the basket yet, but will post completed pics soon!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Do I have to go back to school?????????

Today was our first day of Russian Language school! Woohoo. Kristen has class in the morning and I have it in the afternoon. Yes, we are in different classes with different teachers. I think that will be good though, or at least that's what everyone tells us. We have class for 3 hours Monday, Tues., Thurs, Fri. and have homework and speaking assignments that should keep us busy. I thought I was done with the whole "first day back to school" feeling but I guess not!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day here in Ukraine. They are celebrating their Independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. We're going to a picnic with a bunch of friends so it should be fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're off to see the wizard...

Well, ok not really, but we are off to vacation in sunny Odessa for a week! We are very excited to have a week of relaxation and rejuvenation on the coast of the Black Sea. Please pray that God will use this vacation to renew us as we look forward to a Fall full of new adventures!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

4 years and counting

Today is our 4th anniversary. Woohoo! Some of our friends couldn't believe it either when I told them. I think they think we're "old".

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

There Once was a Dog

Tonight in English Club we watched this short movie made from a traditional Ukrainian fairy tale. It is an excellent story and we had some pretty good discussions about it afterwards. 3 people from our English camp last week came too which was cool.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Just wanted to let ya'll know that we're home from our camp this past week. We had a great time with the students and know the Lord was glorified. I'm wiped right now but will try to get some pictures and stories up this week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

English Camp

We're leaving tomorrow for our weeklong English Camp outside of Kiev with the team from Suffolk. Thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Together Family Conference

Garrett took a nice picture of the team!

Discussion during one of the sessions.

Reading the participants' evaluation cards after it was all over and planning for next year!

Country Line Dancing. 10 points if you can pick out the Texan in the picture...

Ukrainian Dancing. Garrett's a fast learner!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

to the Family

Sorry for not blogging very much lately. We've been busy with a team from Dallas, TX here in Kiev this week. It's been alot of fun to hang out with them and be a part of their ministry. We've been planning for the family conference they are doing this weekend and seeing the sights of Kiev. Tomorrow we leave for a Sanatorium (Retreat Center) for the weekend where the conference will be. I'm excited to learn from what the team has to say and for the 40 people who will be at the conference! Please pray that the Lord would draw people to himself and to the joy of loving, God-honoring families.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Off to the Forest

Friends of ours took us to the forest on Wednesday to pick raspberries! We met them at the bus stop at 7 AM and then rode a local train to a forest 30 minutes outside of Kiev. We walked into the forest and were literally surrounded by wild raspberry bushes! Not only did we get to pick raspberries, we also saw this HUGE ant hill! Who could have known so much fun was so close at hand!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Warm Weather

It's been pretty warm here in Kiev this past week. It's been right around 90 and is supposed to be that way for the next week or so. We recently bought some ice trays just in time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Over the Weekend...

This past weekend was pretty busy for us. There are 3 couples in Kiev visiting right now so we were spending time with them. Steve and Dawn Sparks are in town for a vision trip. It was fun to meet Steve and see Dawn again! We had team worship Sunday afternoon and Paul Alexander preached on forgiveness. It was encouraging and nice to sing and hear preaching in English! Then, we took Bill and Martha Acker to the train station to catch their train to L'viv. They were also visiting us from Wisconsin for a vision trip. Gotta run. Off to lunch with some friends from English Club. Bye!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Yesterday we met with a guy who works with Campus Crusade in L'viv in Western Ukraine to talk about the college ministry there. We met under Lenin. This is the only statue of Lenin left in Kiev since Independence in 1991.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're back from our trip to Kherson over the weekend. We had a great time visiting the Churches in Kherson and Syropinsk and spending time with the MTW missionaries there. Here are some pictures.

Train station in Kherson

A replica of Catherine the Great's throne in the Kherson Orthodox Church

This is the Church building in Kherson. They're almost finished with the roof

Friday, June 12, 2009

We're leaving today to go to Kherson for the weekend. Our train leaves at 5 this afternoon and we arrive at 3:30 tomorrow morning. Woohoo! On the map you can see Kherson in south central Ukraine almost to the Black Sea

Monday, June 8, 2009

English Club

The group got a gift for Jon as it was his last English Club for the summer.


Last night we had a really cool thunderstorm and we took a video

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Today we successfully purchased train tickets for our trip to Kherson next weekend. Kherson is a city in southern Ukraine and we are going to visit the MTW team and Church there. I was a little nervous that we weren't going to be able to buy the tickets by ourselves, but we did. Kristen and I both were on short-term trips to Kherson about 5 years ago so it will be fun to see how things have changed.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Member of the Family

Jon and Tracy are leaving for the summer and we are keeping their cat, Peanut, for them. They brought her over last night but I think she's still freaked out about the change. She likes it under our bed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

English Club

Last night was Jon's last English Club for the summer. They are going back to the State's for the summer so we had a dinner banquet for he, Allison, and Natalie before English Club. There was a record turnout with 26 people! We had alot of fun hearing a story from each person about a time when they got completely wet by accident. Then we played a rousing game of 20 questions.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Elevator Adventure

I officially have had my first "stuck in the elevator" experience here in Ukraine! Two guys from English club and myself got on the small elevator on the first floor. Another lady (in her bathrobe) also hopped on and we got about 2 floors up before it shut down in between the 2nd and 3rd floor. We were able to pry the door open and jump down onto the 2nd floor and take the other one. It was fun and relatively short! Usually it's about a half hour before someone comes and gets you out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In a Foreign Land

I'm not exactly a tourist but can relate. A few quotes from Chesterton, Emerson, and finally David Foster Wallace:

As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if it’s only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, let’s-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and-find-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest way—hostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all. (Coming up is the part that my companions find especially unhappy and repellent, a sure way to spoil the fun of vacation travel:) To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.

(From: Andrew Sullivan)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Does Science Disprove Religion?

Here's an article by Stanley Fish discussing the science vs. faith argument some people use as their explanation for rejecting religion or faith. It's deeply interesting and there is truth in what he says.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Odds and Ends

Yesterday officially began our two weeks without hot water for the summer. They need to clean the hot water pipes in our region of the city, but we still have cold water which is good! We're also hosting a girl on Saturday night who is coming through Kiev on her way back home from a vision trip in L'viv. Besides that, Life is becoming normal here in Kiev.

Friday, May 8, 2009

V-E Day and the Aviation Museum

So, today we got the chance to go with some friends to this aviation museum near our flat. Two of our friends work there as aircraft mechanics so we got to learn all about Russian planes! Over here they celebrate V-E Day tomorrow instead of today and we hear there might be an airshow going down tomorrow. I'll keep my fingers crossed...

Russian built Tu-95 "Bear" is a strategic long-range bomber. Big, cool, and 15,000 lbs of thrust in each engine

Anastra "Antrasal" Reconnaissance Aircraft built in 1917-18 in Odessa

They even had a re-enactment with the Soviet soldiers defeating the Fascists!


Be-12 Anti-sub amphibious Soviet Aircraft. Very cool and built in Ukraine

Everyone who went with the engines of an IL-18 behind us

Outside the entrance to the museum

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Playing chess in the park

Think you're good at chess? Come to Kiev and see how good you are. Probably a couple hundred guys playing chess in a park. It's fun to watch and I think this is a national pasttime in this part of the world.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Area Retreat

Sorry for not posting for so long. We didn't have access to internet where we were staying at the MTW Area Retreat in Spain. Every 4 years MTW plans a retreat for all the missionaries from Africa, Europe, and Enterprise. Ray Cortese, a Pastor in Florida, and Paul Kooistra were the speakers and it was a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement. It was especially fun for us to re-connect with some friends we met at MTW training events while preparing to come to Ukraine.

Also, here's a shout out to Laura Libassi's mom! Thanks for reading our blog!

So we came home after our trip and Spring has officially arrived in Kiev. Everything was so green and wonderful. These pics are from along the street out in front of our apartment building.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Moments From Ukraine

Some of you may appreciate these pictures more than others (for example, the Tuscher and Savoy families) but I thought most of you would get a kick of them, so here you are!

If you look closely you can see a little friend peaking up out of the side drain of my kitchen sink!

I was thinking about starting some tomato and pepper plants next week; how nice to have one I can transplant!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Пасха, "Easter" in Russian

Sorry that I haven't posted much this week. I have a cold. This Sunday is Easter here in Ukraine since they celebrate it a week later than in the West. We are having a service on Friday evening followed by watching the Passion of the Christ, I think. Then, on Sunday after the morning worship we are having a Church picnic. I'm exciting about eating traditional Ukrainian Easter foods such as Paska (special bread with raisins in it) and Holodets (meet suspended in Gelatin, so says Jon). I'll let you know how it is!

Friday, April 10, 2009


I flew home from Odessa in this plane yesterday. It was definitely really cool and a first in an Antonov for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Presbytery Meeting

I'm going down to Belgorod-Dnestrovsky in the south of Ukraine for Presbytery for the next two days. You can pray for the Church as they will be discussing some important issues about planting new Churches here in Ukraine.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Team Worship

Yesterday we had our monthly team worship. We rotate hosting duty between all of the families of the team. Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting! It's like a big potluck. We gather around 2 after our Russian church services and everyone brings a side dish, while the host is in charge of the main dish. We introduced a family staple, Pizza Dip, as the appetizer and served up lots of lasagna. I think there were 21 people here including children.

We have a balcony that connects our kitchen to our living room. The kids have sufficiently broken in our "track", running circles through our kitchen and living room. It was like a little piece of home to have lots of kids running around being loud and having fun!

As always it is delightful to sing praise to God in English and to understand God's word being preached! We thank God for the fellowship of our team members!

Thanking Jesus,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some fly break dancing

We were downtown today on the main street, Kreschatik, and watched some guys dancing for the crowds.

Spring is Springing

It's April and Spring is springing here in Kiev. Today, walking home from Russian class I noticed people cleaning up flower beds, planting flowers and trees, and beginning to make everything look nice. We've had 3 days in a row now that have been sunny and warm! I had heard that it was cloudy in Kiev all winter long but I didn't realize what that meant until actually living here. It has been shocking to see the sun shining all day long. I'm not necessarily saying that's a bad thing, it's just different than in PA. It might be better now that I think about it. When Spring comes around and the Sun comes into existence again it is really is wonderful.

I say 'springing' because I've also heard that Kiev gets snow in April too. We'll see!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pushkin and Engels

Last night was English club and there were 24 people there. I think that's the biggest group we've had since being here. Jon had everyone translate a passage. Their choices were: 1) Easy - Pushkin poems 2) Medium - a Children's Bible 3) Difficult - A Communist Manifesto. It was really fun!

Sunset on a Marvelous Evening

Monday, March 30, 2009

2700 year old grave found

The grave of a 2700 year old person was discovered in the Yanghai tombs in China. There are apparently 2500 tombs dating from 3200-2000 years BP. The grave included bridles, archery equipment, a harp, a leather basket, and a wooden bowl with some vegetative material. Very cool!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I'm going to buy a guitar today. A friend from Church is helping me as I'm buying it used from someone. I'll post some pics once I have them. Also, another friend from a city in the south of Ukraine is coming to Kiev for the weekend and we are spending the day with him. It is supposed to be sunny and 10 degrees Celsius today! Then we'll finish the day off with mafia club. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jesus speaks in Russian

I've been meeting with my Russian tutor who also happens to be the Pastor of the other EPCU Church here in Kiev. During the first 20 minutes of our lesson we read a passage from the gospel of John and try to talk about it, in Russian of course. It's been pretty challenging just to understand what we are reading let alone talk about it. But, this morning I had a little breakthrough. We read John 4:1-26: Jesus talking with the woman at the well. I was able to understand most of it and was completely struck with Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman, in Russian of course. It was fresh and full of meaning. I am filled with gratitude for all that Jesus was to her: compassionate, tough, a teacher, friend, and Messiah. And I am thankful for who he is to me and for me.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Valley of Vision - Praise and Thanksgiving

O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears to do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.
I love thee above the powers of language
to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

Monday, March 16, 2009

God's goodness

Yesterday was a testimony of God's goodness.  I awoke to a gray sky and more snow.  Unfortunately it's not as pretty since we've had enough warm weather that the snow doesn't stick to the ground anymore.  The 10 minute walk to church was cold and nasty, but the greeting at the door as we ducked in out of the rain/snow was so heart warming and full of love the gray weather was soon forgotten.  The music of the praise band warming up coupled with the smiling faces greeting us with words we are finally coming to understand made me laugh.  Waiting for the service to start I looked around and my heart filled with the sense of God's goodness.  Bringing his children together to sing his praise around the world.  This feeling was completed when we spoke to our home church on Skype later in the day.  I am so thankful for God's mercy and goodness to me in allowing me to see something of what the Church as a whole, across the world looks like.  What an awesome God we serve! 

In Christ,

Friday, March 13, 2009


So, yesterday I went to this place called "RadioRynok" about 10 minutes walk from our place. It's basically an electronics market and is definitely one of the coolest places I've been to since moving here! Jeremy Gonyea, or any guy for that matter, would love this place. You can find anything you could ever possibly want or need there. Guy stuff that is. And it's not limited to just electronics either. They've got tools, auto stuff, etc. Anyway, I found a pretty good deal on a wireless router.

I decided while I was there to count how many women I saw and I don't remember running out of fingers... It reminded me of Lebanon Valley except not quite as farmerish and with a city feel to it. Come to Kiev and visit us and I'll take you there!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Yesterday was a national holiday in Ukraine: International Women's day! Since most people had off school and work today, we trounced around the city with some friends and visited this cool mansion built by V. Horodetsky in 1903. It's called the 'House of Chimera's'. Pretty cool!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Russian on the mind

Recently I've been thinking about some of the struggles I've been facing since being here in Kiev. Things like not being able to understand someone when they ask you a question or say something to you. For the first few weeks it's ok but it's starting to get more frustrating. Every now and then I have little breakthroughs where I actually understand that someone is asking me if I am getting off at the next bus stop or if I had a good time at mafia night last evening. Now if only I could respond with more than a few words!! 

I've also found that I've been alot more quiet since coming here, especially in groups because I can't really say all that much in Russian. I'm really thankful for Kristen and for English club on Tuesday nights! I want to be able to enter into people's lives here and get to know them. I want to be able to understand jokes and not be the only only not laughing after a joke or anecdote is told. It's shocking how the lack of that social ability really makes you feel so lonely. I wish to be able to understand why people here do certain things or don't do certain things. I want to be able to discuss scripture with people. I want to understand their questions about God and be able to engage them. 

All this is to say that I earnestly desire to learn Russian. And learn it well. Keep us in your prayers as we study and learn here in Kiev. 

Saturday, February 28, 2009


This morning Kristen and I went into the center of the city and rode on the Funicular! It goes from St. Michael's Church (old part of town) down towards the river. It was fun and we thought you might like to see some pictures. The first one is taken from the top looking out over the river and the second from the bottom after we exited.

Wiki says it was built in 1902-1905 by a Belgian owner of the Kiev trams. It only cost us a 1.50UAH and was only about 3 minutes long.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Apartment Update

So we finished putting together our bedroom and also bought a couch. Two of my friends came over and helped me bring the couch up to our apartment and put it together. The couch has a pull out bed so if you ever want to come visit us you'll have a place to stay and a bed to sleep on!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prayer Update

Dear Praying Partners,

This Sunday in Church we were struck once again by our need to learn Russian! Jon Eide, our team leader and unofficial translator was in the States for a short support raising trip. His absence left us quite frankly in the dark during the church service! We were able to discern the passage that was being preached from and every now and then a word or two that gave us some clue as to what was being said. It was an excellent exercise in listening to say the least! Please pray that we will not grow weary in learning Russian!

Thank God for the little break-throughs that brighten our days! The other morning I asked the lady who watches the door to our apartment building how she was doing. She responded, "Sophia." I thought, wow, I've never heard anyone reply in that way! Then I realized she was telling me her name! This led to a little conversation about my name and Garrett's name and some other things that I didn't quite understand. But now I know Sophia and I can smile and say what little I know to her whenever I see her!

We've started a project to get us out and exploring our city. We are visiting every metro stop, every church and most of the parks in Kiev. (just a side note!) Today in our exploration we found a little park that commemorated Gregory Gogandze a reporter who was murdered in the late 90's because he was reporting on corruption in the government. Please pray that we will grow in our love for Kiev and her people as we explore!

Please pray for protection of the unity of our team. Pray that the devil will not be allowed to get a foothold, that we will be unified in our vision to see Christ glorified in our work here and in our lives.

Psalm 89:15-18
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

In Christ,
Kristen and Garrett

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009


This morning we went to Church and then in the afternoon we got to play mafia with a bunch of people after our Active X meeting (The college ministry and outreach). It was so much fun to play, especially since accusations and defenses were flying around the room in Russian. I would be sitting there focusing so hard on what people are saying and then all of the sudden, out of the blue, I would hear, " Ya doomayo shto Garrett Mafia!"
"Whoa hold on there, Ya ne Mafia, Ya ne mafia!!"

Yeah that was about the extent of my defense.

Afterwards I sat down with a friend Andrei and he taught me some simple prayers in Russian that I can pray throughout the week. Looking forward to it!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A New Piece of Furniture!

The last piece of furniture for a couple of days! We are excited to be completing our bedroom set.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

English, Glue, and Projects...

Last night we hosted the English Club at our house for the first time. Jon will be gone all of next week and so we'll be leading it for him while he's away. He thought it might be good to participate in one before actually having to do it! There were about 15 people and most of them spoke English pretty well. I had a blast getting to know some of them and needless to say am really looking forward to it next week. It was fun to meet some new people!

Today we spent a good part of the day looking for wood glue and then gluing some pieces of our furniture back together after busting them yesterday. Hopefully, it will hold!

Along with video blogging our furniture setup process we also are going to start a project where we'll travel all throughout the city and visit Orthodox Churches, museums, parks, monuments, etc. throughout the next few months. The goal is to get to know the city very well and learn as much about it as we can. So, we'll keep ya posted and include interesting photos, facts, and experiences. Poka poka!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Home Making

We thought you would enjoy seeing us making our house into a home! We are going to be video blogging for the next couple days as we build our furniture and get everything in its place. Today they delivered our bedroom set and kitchen table and we are starting to put it all together. Enjoy!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ok, so while in Brussels about 2 weeks ago a bunch of us decided to rent a van and drive to Paris on our day off. So, yeah it was a great trip despite the rain. It took us about 5 hours to get into the center of the city from Brussels. We spent about 8 hours in Paris and then drove back to Brussels. Definitely a fun experience driving in Europe, especially in a 1980's Ford van that could do max 100 km/hr and only 80 up a hill. It was fun to watch all the BMW's and Peugeot's zing past us doing 140! We got the see Notre Dame, Eiffel tower, arc de triomph, and walked down the Champs de Elysees to the Louvres. All in all not a bad day! Here are some photos.

Notre Dame

Mass beginning at Notre Dame

Eiffel Tower

The gang

Napoleon's Arch

The Louvres

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back in the big city

Just wanted to let you all know we arrived back in Kiev yesterday, safe and sound. We're glad that a few people were able to stay in our apartment while we were gone and we also had the smaller of our two balconies closed in for some storage space. It looks great and I hear they had to lift the window up 20 stories since it wouldn't fit in the elevator!

Today we went to this furniture store and bought a table and bench for our kitchen and a bedroom set!! Tomorrow we'll get the kitchen table and the bedroom set in a week or two. I think Kristen is very excited!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Complete! This morning we had our last meeting and are now completely finished with Prefield Training. We are excited to return to Kiev and I just want to share something the Peter Beck shared with us this morning from Ezekiel 47:

The River From the Temple

1 The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side.
3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits [a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?"
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, [b] where it enters the Sea. [c] When it empties into the Sea, [d] the water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. [e] 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

Pete said this is a picture of what we are going out into. We are wading out into Ukraine, and it is deep, and we won't be able to stand. We are diving into this new world. But, we are also diving into the river of God's love which is filled with life and leads to life. We are diving in...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brussels Update

Kristen and I are in our last full week of pre-field training here in Belgium. We've started to reflect on what we have learned throughout our time here and how we can take those things back to Kiev and apply them there. I have been particularly thankful for the lessons and lectures on Evangelism, Church-planting, emotionally healthy spirituality, language, and others. They have been uplifting and have encouraged me.

It's also been such a blessing to take part in the Persian Church here in Brussels. I've learned more about Christ and the Church than I ever thought I would. In a weird way I've found that our time here at pre-field training has helped to give me more focus for our life and ministry in Kiev. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Church Missional

Today we were talking about Church planting with Bill Yarbrough and he gave us a quote from Leslie Newbigin talking about the necessity of the Church to be missionary:

It is impossible to reconcile with the New Testment the view which seems to be more or less accepted among the majority of church leaders, that while missionary work is an admirable thing to do, within reasonable limits, it is not something without which the church simply falls to the ground. We must say bluntly that when the Church ceases to be a mission, then she ceases to have any right to the titles by which she is adorned by the New Testament.

Just as we insist that a Church which has ceased to be a mission has lost the essential character of a Church, so we must also say that a mission which is not at the same time truly a Church is not a true expression of the divine apostolate. An unchurchly mission is as much a monstrosity as an unmissionary Church.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." - Proverbs 4:23

Bill Yarbrough is leading us in a discussion about emotionally healthy spirituality this morning and it's great! I'm so thankful for Wendell's prompting us to study it at Covenant last year. Lord, would you teach me about myself that I might know you better.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some pics from Brugge

Kristen and I outside an old Belgian monastery which is still active

Some buildings surrounding the Markt (the main square in the city)

Belgian Waffle. Get in my belly!!

There are canals that run all throughout the city. cool huh!!

This is a place called 'the Burg' with the belfry tower in the background. For 8 EU you can go up into the tower. There was kind of a long line so we nixed that.