Saturday, September 02, 2023

День Знань 2023

10th and 6th grades

Yesterday was a strange first day of school. Strange because it was Friday, here (not Kherson), just after I got back from Lithuania, and strangest of all, because there are so few of us. But we did our traditional photos and started. 

Afterwards we went out to celebrate/cry with friends. (That was how my friends worded her invitation to me, and it was just right.)

And while we were starting here, the older two were finishing their first week of university in Lithuania.

I have done lots of hard things in my life, but leaving them was the hardest.

Here's to a good 2023-24 school year for all! And victory!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Next steps

I’ll probably write more about camp soon. It was just too wonderful to move on from without saying more. But for now, here’s a quick rundown of what’s next:

Jaan and Raia have to be at LCC on August 23. For Raia we have a reservation on a van going from Lviv to Klaipeda August 22-23. Jaan has a more complicated trip. He left last night, and he’s still on the road now. He needs to go to Warsaw and get his lost luggage from last month, then find a bus on to Vilnius, then bus or train or something from Vilnius to Klaipeda. Yana is going with him, and he’s trying to find a place for her to live and work near LCC. Jaan and Raia will move into their dorms on the 23rd, have a few days of orientation, and then classes start on August 28.

Back here in Ukraine Asya is going to a youth camp in the mountains, August 24-28. She wasn’t planning on it, because of the expense and the fact that her best friend isn’t going. However someone offered to pay for her to go, and she decided that she could do it without Sonya.

We also need to find a smaller, cheaper apartment here in Ivano-Frankivsk and move. I had really hoped to be able to go home, but Will still isn’t ready. The rental market here is still pretty bad, but not as insane as it was when we first arrived. Hopefully we can find something that still has room for for our Bible study group to meet, but isn’t so big and expensive as where we are now.

And then, of course, homeschooling and online music school starts with the beginning of September.

Please keep all of this in your prayers for us.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Camp videos of happy days

We are back from an amazing trip to camp and a little time at home. As one of the teens who traveled with us said, now we go home like guests and then leave home like... I don't know what. Also like guests? It's very hard and confusing emotionally. But our time there was wonderful.

We had a great camp photographer, and I'm going to post all the little videos she made. Maybe later as I have time to go through her photos and find our kids in them, I can put some still photos up, too. Enjoy!





On Sunday morning after camp, they showed one of these videos to the church and asked if one of the kids wanted to come up and pray to thank God for the week. Our Bogdan went right up and prayed. I know he expressed the thanks of many others, too. One little boy had said that it was like a week in Narnia, a complete escape from the war. That's exactly what it was for all of us.

Monday, July 31, 2023


(I am scheduling this to post on our first day of camp in Kherson, where Raia will be back in her element, working with kids and her friends at the church she loves. Please pray for us.)

Jeremiah 1:19 “They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. 

HomeLife Academy gave Raia their Overcomer Award for this year. 

Here's a link to full year book: 

I just took the one page about her to share here.


She has just officially graduated, and I am struck again but how much the word Overcomer fits her and what she has done in the past year. She has overcome 

  • Fitting 11th and 12th grades into one year 
  • While living, thriving, helping others under occupation and in an active war zone 
  • During unexpected sudden evacuation 
  • Through a dark winter winter without electricity 
  • Far from her very closest friends 
  • When her dreams of a certain university became very distant because Lithuania didn’t accept the high school diploma she was working so hard for 
  • Not taking the SAT when planned with her tutor and then taking it later when she was stressed and not feeling ready 
  • Passing the GED, which she never planned on taking 
  • Retaking parts of the GED to raise her passing scores even higher.... 

She still has more to conquer, including right now figuring out applying for residency in two countries almost simultaneously, not to mention starting the whole new adventure of university. Thank you to everyone who has carried her and the rest of our family in your prayers and support all these years. Please keep praying! 

If we were in normal times, we would celebrate her graduation with our family and local friends. Even that isn’t really possible right now. If anyone here wants to congratulate her, send words of encouragement, or even little gifts, her email address for both notes and PayPal is Again, thank you! 


I’ll close with these words of Jesus in John 16:22. Glory to the One who is the real Overcomer: 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Good news

Jaan’s here! With Yana! It’s so good to have him back.

Raia got her answer from LCC: she’s in! We’re thrilled.


That said, we’re still drowning. The war goes on. Jaan arrived without luggage and is caught up in the craziness of modern airline “service,” when he really has so much else to work on, too. Raia’s acceptance comes with some nuances. The logistics of everything for all of us are just too much. I can’t even explain. Stress levels are still very high. Please keep praying.

And praise God for good news.

Friday, July 14, 2023

They’re back

Will and Raia are back, sleeping after a very long night on a bus. They didn't get the visa that Raia needs. Because of where she was born, the consulate couldn't just hand her a visa, like they were doing for everyone else. Her application could take up to 30 days to be processed through Kyiv. Then she can go back to Poland and get it. Of course, this really complicates everything, both logistically and--to be very honest--emotionally. Again, please keep praying....

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Now this

Last night Bogdan fell out of a cherry tree. He fell hard, and I thought his arm might be broken, but it was late, and he was doing okay. So, we gave him ibuprofen, iced his arm, and put him to bed. Asya was wonderful; she's really calm in medical situations. This morning it was still hurting. We tried to call a taxi, but the app I like was all busy, so the three of us walked to the children's hospital. I was so impressed with them! There were hardly any lines, and they were so incredibly kind. Bogdan's wrist is fractured, but there's nothing complicated. He has a cast for 2.5 weeks, and that's all.

Afterwards Bogdan decided that we needed "Kherson lemonade" to recover, so we walked across town in the other direction to go to a coffee shop from Kherson. Asya and Bogdan had that special treat, and I had cold coffee. Then we came back to the apartment.

While all of this has been going on, Will and Raia had their appointment in Poland. As we kind of expected, they couldn't get everything sorted out right away and were told to come back after lunch. They've been running around, and as far as I know, they're back at the consulate now. Please keep praying for them.