Saturday, April 29, 2017

Our family day in Kyiv

The schedule for our Kyiv trip was one day of travel, one day of documents, one family day, then another day of travel. For the family day, I thought about seeing the Easter eggs in the center of the city, but I heard that they took them down the day before we were there. Next, I planned on Pirogov outdoor museum, but then found out that it's closed on Wednesdays. So, we went back to an old favourite: the Lavra. Our children either very vaguely remembered it from our last visit, or didn't remember at all. Now they'll remember. It was really a beautiful day and time of year to visit.


Raia getting water from a holy spring



Dressing to go down into the caves.
No photos allowed underground.





Oh, and the embassy day went well, too. No one completely broke down at any point, although there were a whole lot of emotions being expressed at times. After our appointment we really enjoyed the big park by the embassy. Will and Bogdan fed a squirrel, and everyone ran wild and climbed trees for several hours. Bogdan said that he wanted to live in that "forest." Also, later when I asked Asya about the best part of the trip, she said it was Puzata Khata (restaurant) and the escalators in the Metro.

It was a good little trip, but we're very glad to be home now and still a bit tired and sniffly after all the fun and exertion.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hello from Kyiv

Yesterday we had a wonderful trip up to Kyiv. I love daytime train trips, and this is such a beautiful time of year. The fields that aren't freshly plowed, are bright, bright green. There was rain and snow and patches of sun coming from very dramatic skies, and we saw a few rainbows. Once it got dark and our children got tired, it was rather messy, though. This train doesn't get into Kyiv until late at night. It was 1:00 a.m. by the time we got to bed, and no one slept in this morning. I hope they can hold out through our embassy appointmen before anyone has hysterics or falls alseep standing up.

We need to head out pretty soon for that appointment....


Before we left home yesterday I uploaded a few photos, though. Here they are:


On Sunday I went out to the church in the village where Alys is building. She wants to "introduce" the boys who will be living there to the church so that they can already be praying and starting to feel like they know them. So, each month she's printing out photos of them and having someone share. Last month Oksana told them about Vitya, and this month it was my turn to introduce Sasha. Jennifer drove me out there; her photos are here.

After that and a special lunch with the church members, we went on to another village to meet someone who also might get involved in the ministry. When we walked into his tiny church, I noticed an Agape photo right away. (Agape has a program where they give photos of orphans to believers who will pray for them.) We recognized the girl in the photo. She was from Tsyurupinsk, and she was adopted by an American family about 8 years ago! The church has been faithfully praying for her all this time. Here is most of the church:


And then these are unrelated photos from after a concert that Jaan and Raia played in on Good Friday:



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lent and Holy Week recap


Years ago we made little people and acted out the events of Holy Week with them. Bogdan refound them and asked what they were from, so we kind of repeated what we had done before. Palm Sunday they actually went out to walk, so there wasn't a reenactment at home, but the next night we read that story, and Bogdan and Asya played it out for us.





Then we also did the cleansing of the temple:


Raia took pictures
Wednesday evening, since the Bible is silent about what Jesus did, we didn't read. Instead, we made a little Easter garden.



Thursday, I made matzo while everyone was at various classes. Then, when they came home, we read about the Last Supper and ate and drank together.


Friday I read about the darkest day in the world from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which fits really well with the Lenten Lights reading for that day. Once we blew out the candles, we also turned out the lights in our home, "sealed" them off with tape until Sunday, and tried to go to bed in dark and quiet.

And then we waited for the light of the resurrection.

(I actually got to read the Good Friday story from the Jesus Storybook Bible twice that day, because I read it to the girls at the orphanage that morning, too. They really listened well and seemed to connect more than usual. Often when I read to them, it's hard for them to concentrate, and they talk. For this story, they were quiet. At the end, several said that it was so sad. We sat with those feelings for a little while, talked about them more, and then I read the resurrection story, too. They also listened well to that and responded with joy. I don't know that I've ever had their attention for two stories in one day!)


I just realised that Jaan was really good at staying out of these photos:
He was right there with us, though.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Day

We had a very beautiful Easter yesterday. Unfortunately, Raia was sick, so we didn't take family photos, and the only picture I have of her is from our preparations the night before:


Easter morning:

An empty tomb
Christ is Risen!
He is risen, indeed!
One of our babushka neighbours brought us fresh baked Easter breads, too. She made so many that she couldn't carry them all to church the night before, so we got the unblessed ones. They still taste wonderful.

At church, instead of Sunday school, the children went on a walk around the property where they saw scenes from Holy Week.






After church we came home for a quick lunch, all except for Asya. She had to stay to get ready for the art school celebration that was the next event on the schedule. As soon as we finished eating--again, leaving poor Raia at home--we hurried back for the celebration. (Raia was supposed to take photos for the school to post online. She had been so excited about being asked to do that. I tried to get some for her, but I just don't have her eye and energy.)

The preschool group that Bogdan is in was hilarious. Only a few of them showed up, and they were the very first ones to perform.


Bogdan did sing the song loudly all the way home, and he's still singing it now. Also, as part of the program Asya's group sang; there were games, a short message from the Bible (most of these families do not attend church), the preschoolers did a craft, clowns came....

So that you can see Asya, too, here she is with a present that she got:



Today was a recovery day for all of us, and tomorrow we start back into school. We continue to sing and say and remember that CHRIST IS RISEN!

ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕС! ВОИСТИНУ ВОСКРЕС!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Nikolaev photos

Remember that trip to a contest in Nikolaev last week? Here are a few photos from it. Our group got second place.





Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring concert

March 23 was the big spring concert for our music school. It was really good. All the choirs and ensembles and dance groups performed.


There might be some professional video later, and if it goes up online, I'll add links to that. For now, here are two clips that I took when our children were playing. The first is Raia and two other students with her teacher. The second is the whole folk ensemble. (There was trouble with the sound system, and Jaan was playing even though we couldn't hear him at first. Raia said the song was "boring" without him.) This is one of the pieces they played at the contest in Nikolaev a few days later.



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March birthdays

While the rest of our family was at that flute concert, Bogdan and I went to the art school birthday party for March. Here is our six-year-old with his drawing teacher, setting out the candy he brought to share:


Then the festivities started:





All the preschoolers were so cute! And I really enjoyed one-on-one time with Bogdan.




I just took this photo outside the classroom, because I realised that about a quarter of the pictures hanging up there have our last name on them: