Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Agape video

Remember our trip to Kherson? And Agape? While we were there, we got to help with translating their informational videos into English. The project is still ongoing; we're translating more here, and other people are doing the technical parts. The first one of the videos ready now, though! We'll be writing more about Agape soon, but for now, you can find out about one aspect of the ministry in this video:

And if you'd rather watch the original, or if you want more, here you go.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Going on a missions trip

In our most recent prayer letter, I mentioned that we're going on a short-term missions trip soon! Well, maybe that's not the way I worded it, but that's what it is. Will's sister and a team from our home church are coming to work at a family English camp near Odessa. We've been planning on joining them since we first heard about it, but we've just recently finished the piles of paperwork and started into the preparation work for the camp. Here are two videos about the ministry: short video and long video. (I must admit that I haven't watched the long one.)

We're excited! This is the first time a church team has ever come over, and, of course, we love camp work.

We really need you all praying for us every step of the way. We'll travel to Odessa July 3 (L-O-N-G, hot trip), greet the USA part of team on July 4, have training with the South Africa part of the team on July 5, and then head out to the camp. I will be teaching the preschoolers, for their Bible and English lessons. Our children will participate with the other children, and Will will be teaching somewhere. The mission hosting the camp has provided a general missions prayer guide for us to share. If you are willing to commit to praying for us daily, please print it out for yourself, and also let us know that you'll be supporting us in that way ( We won't be able to send updates from camp, but I will try to get an email reminder out to you just before we leave. Thank you so much!

EDITED to add: here is a day-by-day prayer guide, written by one of the team members coming from California.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My weekend

I got to travel to visit with the mother of this precious boy. (Don't just glance at the photo. Read the whole post. It's worth your time.) She's been here for over a month, working toward adopting him and a sister for him. I also got to spend time with her friend, who is also my friend now, and who is here helping. And with the sweet boy himself. I completely fell in love with him!

The time away was a nice treat for me. After chicken pox and other busyness, it felt good to have a few days away from my routine. My new friends spoiled me, and I did a good bit of sitting around holding sweet babies. We also had a time of fellowship with some people who live in that city and work with orphans. I had connected with them through Agape, and they made time for us. What more could I ask for?

Well, there is a little more. I'd love to know that the two other little ones left in that group in the orphanage have families. They are both available for adoption. Is anyone out there ready right now for international special needs adoption? Write to us, if you might be: Even if you can't adopt, please pray families for Baby S. and Little L.! It's especially urgent for L., because she's already technically too old for the facility where she is, and she wouldn't survive long if transferred.

My favorite part of the visit: when I said goodbye to Mr. Sweetheart, he deliberately sat up to let me hug him! I am so glad that he has a loving family now.

By the way, Will is amazing to stay with our children and let me have a long weekend away!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Raia's birthday

I just got back from a long weekend away, but before I write about that, I wanted to record Raia's eighth birthday. She turned eight on Friday.

We started the day off with a lovely surprise: Bogdan's butterfly came out of its chrysalis!

Then, while I was making...

...birthday pancakes...
...Bogdan started yelling "butterfly, chrysalis, butterfly, chrysalis!" I kept nodding and agreeing, but then I noticed he was pointing in a different direction. There was another one!

After breakfast and butterflies, we set out for the beach. We had lots of fun in the water and sand, followed by a yummy picnic.

After the beach, everyone rested a little, and then we went to the grand reopening of the little store near us. Their special day just happened to be on Raia's birthday, and they were offering free ice cream and games and prizes. We had fun there, and then came back home for...

...tea and games with Vera.
And that was how our day of celebrating Raia ended. Happy birthday, Raia!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

From Raia

I had an idea of writing a blog post by asking each child what they thought of Kherson. Raia loved the idea, but she wanted to do it by herself. Below is her completely unedited blog post, and then my translation of it:
мы жили рядом с рекой Днепр и там много рыбаков и мы видели две гадюки и Ян словил здоровенную пиявку. и рядом  снами была котельная и шелковица и возле нас был парк и в нём ест малинки парк аттракционный Херсон нармални город но болшое я запомнила некоторие места я помню толка одно названия улица ушакова мы там были на втором этажэ унас были болшие комноти там ми розбили пят чашок и одну тирелку там вся посуда стикляноя толка немношка глиининое пасуди было весила но не очень весило кагда Ян заболэл витрянкое кагда ми все зобалели ветрянкое кроми Мами и Папи и Жени это наш кот  не заболэл наш хамяк карликови Славик и наша криса Дина это все наши звери я думаю мне пора ПОКА ВСЕМ!

we lived by the Dnepr River and there are lots of fishermen there and we saw two vipers and Jaan caught a huge leech. and near us there was a boiler house (?) and a mulberry tree and beyond that was a park and in it is a small amusement park Kherson is a nice city but it's big I remembered a few places I remember only one street name Ushakova Street we were on the second floor there we had big rooms we broke five cups and one bowl there all the dishes were glass with only a few ceramic dishes it was fun but not very fun when Jaan got sick with chicken pox when we all got sick with chicken pox except Mama and Papa and Zhenya that's our cat our dwarf hamster Slavic didn't get sick and our rat Dina that's all our animals I think it's time for me to go GOODBYE EVERYONE!

Wow. What do you think of unedited, unchecked, almost-eight-year-old stream of consciousness writing?

Sunday, June 09, 2013

More chicken pox

We had a pretty easy trip home yesterday. It's good to be back and resting a little. Our younger three are all just covered in spots, though. They're mostly okay during the day, but when bedtime rolls around, it's not pretty. The nights are long. Please pray!

See all the spots?
This will pass soon, and then we'll be done with chicken pox. And then I can write more about other, happier things.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Prayer letters

Did you sign up for our mailing list last quarter? If you want to do that now, here is the link.

Edited to add: And now here is the link to our most recent letter.