We really need to move on from Dneprorudnoe, though. It has been an idyllic place to live. We were probably able to hold out in the rough spiritual climate for so long, at least partly because we've been so physically comfortable and happy. Really, we love it! And we have people here that we love dearly. But, this church is not the place for us, and we have never been able to develop the sense of community and purpose that we need. That's not to say that these five years have been wasted for ministry and personal growth: we've seen both. However, we still need to move.
Where are we headed and when? So far, it's been a slow road. I just looked back through my journal, blog and memory bank, and this is what I found:
July 2011--really decided that we needed to move on inside Ukraine and talked about children/orphan ministry.
June/July 2012--told our churches what we were thinking.
May/June 2013--visited Agape and decided!
There have been other smaller steps and lots of praying in between, but those are the big ones, with about a year in between each. Hopefully, the next step will be faster. Ideally, I would love to move to Kherson in August. Will has already been making calls about housing there, and after camp he should be able to look at options.
Agape? (We're working on translating the web site and informational videos. Soon you'll be able to get a whole lot more info there.) Agape is an orphan ministry, based in Kherson and working throughout Ukraine... and expanding into Russia and Georgia too, now! It was founded by a Ukrainian-American couple. Agape works in orphanages, teaching Bible lessons and training Bible teachers; in "adaptation centers" where they help orphanage graduates learn how to live; in camps and more. That's just off the top of my head. For the official rundown of what Agape does, you could watch the intro for the videos.
What will we be doing? Their first suggestion was that we take on house parenting in an adaptation center, like in the video I posted. Because of the stage our family is at, we didn't think we're ready for that. Instead, we'll be doing office work. (Well, mostly Will will be working in the office, but even in the short time that we were there already he and I were able to trade off some with that. Still, my main ministry will be our home and family.) We are already helping with bits and pieces of translation for Agape. Once we move, Will will continue with that and handling English correspondence. We're counting on regularly visiting local orphanages... and we'll probably just help out with whatever needs to be done. That seems to be what we do wherever we are!
How can you pray? Pray for us to find a good place to live in Kherson. Pray for our children to do well with the transition; at this point, they say that they don't want to move. Pray that we'll be able to fit in to Agape well and help them where they have needs.
And another question from a few days ago: How can you support Agape's ministry? On the Russian page that answers that question, it says that you can:
- intercede in prayer for Agape workers and children in orphanages;
- send packages;
- pray for Agape's sponsors;
- financially support Agape's projects;
- visit children's homes with a group, to hug even just one child and personally interact with them.
Those were probably the very most basic questions about Agape and our move. What else do you want to know? Leave your questions in the comments here or email us (email@example.com), and I'll try to put together another question and answer post. That might be after we get back from camp, though.